Sunday, April 13, 2008

This is primarily a book-centric post because I haven't
done any reviewing of my reading finishes lately.
There is an update on my red-work project but that's
further down from here. Hang in there.

I finished Peony In Love a little over a week ago. I'd
had my eye on this book for quite awhile when it came
out and finally grabbed it during a book browsing spree
in a real world bookstore earlier this year.

It takes place in China, about 300 years ago and
is a love story. But it's also a great introduction to the
culture and beliefs and way of life in China back then.

****Peony is from a well to do family. She is about to
celebrate her 16th birthday and her arranged marriage
to a young man whom she has never met is due to take
place within the year. She is expected to be the
dutiful daughter and marry a stranger and leave her
family to live with his family and eventually bear
him a son, which is the duty expected of all women.
But Peony is not without dreams of her own.

Peony has lived all her life within the confines of her
father's estate, never allowed to venture out beyond
it's walls. As the story begins she is very excited to
be attending a performance of the opera The Peony
Pavilion which her father has arranged to take place
in the garden of their home.

Having studied the story of the Peony Pavilion and
relating strongly with it's cloistered heroine who
falls in love with a young man not of her father's
choosing, Peony is eager to see the epic opera
performed live. Against her mother's wishes she
and the other women of the household gather
behind screens to "watch" the performance, safe
from the view of the men also attending the event.

But during the performance Peony peeks between
the screens and spots a young man sitting in the
audience next to her father and she is smitten.
Restless and unnerved by the glimpse of this male
stranger who captures her imagination Peony slips
away from the group of women to roam the garden
and consider the wonder of the handsome young
man and the beauty and tragedy of the opera.

In a pavilion near the lake which her home is situated
on Peony inadvertently meets the young man she
had spotted and they speak. During the next two
nights that the rest of the opera is performed they
meet again and they fall in love. But the young man
does not tell Peony his name, nor does she identify
herself to him. On the third night the opera finishes
and Peony sees her young man for the last time.
But her love for him continues to grow. *******

In many ways Peony's life mirrors that of the heroine
in the opera, and the author Lisa See weaves a tale
both magical and tragic using the complex traditions
and mystical beliefs of the Chinese people, as well as the
history and controversy surrounding the opera to tell
Peony's life story. It is a beautifully written story
with it's roots in Chinese history, and it's heart in
the way the Chinese see the natural world, and what
they believe of the afterlife.

After Peony I decided to read something lighter in
nature. I'd gotten behind in my Charlaine Harris
series so I decided to read a few of her books. They
are small books so I figured that I would be able to
read a couple in a week. I'd read the first four books
in the series over a year ago, so had three more to
read to catch up. I've read two and am well into a
third book and then I'll be up to date with these. I
believe that a new one is coming out in May.
(These books in hardcover have wonderful,
sparkly dust covers. Really cool)

Sookie Stackhouse is a delightful character. Sassy and
smart, with a big heart Sookie is also a telepath who can
pick up the thoughts of those around her. In the first
book in the series Sookie meets Bill, a 130 year old
vampire who moves into the old house next door to hers.

Vampires in the world created by Charlaine Harris
revealed their existence to the human world about five
years before the "Dead" series begins. They have been
somewhat integrated into the human world since then
but the arrangement is an uneasy one at best. There
are other supernatural beings existing in the world as
well, all of whom Sookie discovers through her relationship
with Bill. But they continue to hide their existence
from the world while watching to see how the Vampires
fare and how things will ultimately work out for them.

These are not rocket science books by any means, but
they are funny, and sweet, and sexy, and a rollicking good
time. Suspend your beliefs, and go along for the ride.
You'll be glad you did.

Oh lookie....cross stitching! Here we are with my weeks
progress on the red work piece. I love the three fancy
motifs running under the numbers. They are as lovely as
the lettering to stitch, and to look at.

Haven't been able to sit outside and stitch this weekend.
Yesterday it rained off and on for much of the day, and the
temperatures are much cooler then last weekend. Today
isn't suppose to be as rainy, but it'll remain cool and cloudy
so no outdoor stitching today either.

This evening there's a spaghetti supper at church and
DH's choir Kahilla are performing afterwards for a few
songs so I'll be going to that, and don't have to cook dinner.
Last night friend Mary came for tea and we sat chatting
until 1:00 in the morning!! Don't know quite where the
time went but it was lovely.

And there has been some serious book stashing going
on here this week. My order of books on sale came
from Barnes and Noble, and yesterday morning there
was a used book sale at the Georgetown high school
which I always attend. Got some interesting stuff
there too. Click on the picture to see the titles.

Note about the picture in last week's post of the
front of the house. This was taken during the summer.
It doesn't look anything like that right now. Things
are beginning to poke out of the ground, and the
daffodils should be blooming pretty soon but we've
got a few months before things'll look as good as that.
All in good time.

Cheers all and have a great week.


Jaimie said...

Great new stash of books! I saw the Harris books at the store the other day and was wondering how they were. Thanks for the review!
I haven't been doing much stitching lately but have been very busy reading.
Hope you have a great week!

Margaret said...

Oh my goodness - all those wonderful new books to read. Don't you just love the feel and smell of books! books! books! Thanks for the reviews.

Your redwork piece is lovely.

Pumpkin said...

WOW! Look at the stacks of books! LOL! I love how you write about each book you read. You've given me some new authors to look for now :o)

Your red work sampler is looking beautiful!

Barbara said...

Great new books! :D I've been indulging in VERY light (lite!) reading with some Terry Brooks novels. Not much of a mental strain, but certainly good to keep one's thoughts fluffy and soft. ;) Just started I Am Legend and am enjoying it. Something about the tone of those 50's sci-fi novels is just so irresistable.

Hope your week is glorious!

Lynn said...

Your red sampler is coming along nicely. I like those motifs too!
Wow, incredible book stash. You must be a speed reader!
When you order from B&N do they charge you a lot for shipping to Canadaa?

tkdchick said...

Love your redwork sampler its coming along beautifully!

samplerlover said...

Hi Judy, you redwork sampler is looking lovely. I'm looking forward to seeing the final result.
My what a great stash of books you have there. Would keep me going for quite awhile.
Busy doing the dreaded housework. I hope you have a great week and look forward to catching up with you next week. - take care - Sandra.

Michelle said...

Oh I loved Peony in Love! I'm really wanting to read Snowflower and the Secret Fan! Those Charlaine Harris books look great, I will have to check them out. Love how the redwork is coming too!