Recommended Reads: The Haunted Hotel

Friday, 29 October 2010

The Haunted Hotel!
This week, in true, Halloween spirit, I picked a book from Penguin's Classic Horror series, The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins. It is truly a work of Victorian fiction. Victorian morals play a big roll in the novel; there is a virtuous young lady, Agnes Lockwood, who can do no wrong and an evil Countess who has stolen the good woman's fiancee, Lord Montbarry. When the Countess marries the Lord, strange things begin to occur. It's not long before Montbarry is dead and the fates of Agnes and the Countess are intertwined. As with most Victorian novels, the plot takes a backseat role to characters and setting. It's a quick read to get you in the Halloween mood.

I am so glad it's Friday. This week has been long and full of worry (just school stress). I'm looking so forward to an afternoon of baking Halloween treats! I'm also developing two new patterns to post in the coming weeks. (focusing on the positive!)

Hope you have happy Halloween!

Recommended Read: Great House

Friday, 22 October 2010


Last week when I wrote about The History of Love, Carly let me know that Nicole Krauss would be in Toronto this weekend. I was so excited, I immediately bought tickets to her reading tomorrow afternoon!

This morning, I finished reading her third novel, Great House. The characters are linked by an antique desk; there's a writer from New York, a husband in London, a father in Israel and a lover in England. Krauss does loneliness perfectly, each of her characters experience the same feeling in a unique way. I cannot help but compare Great House to The History of Love; Great House is much bleaker and far less charming, but that is not a criticism, just a caution.

It is mysterious.

Krauss doesn't play all her cards; bits and pieces of the character's stories are never shared. I love the thrill of the reveal and Krauss didn't come through this time. That being said, Krauss can be counted on to write a good story.

Fall baking!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Gingerbread and Nikole's feathers

I wish I could slow down and enjoy the fall season a little more. The leaves are changing and dropping so quickly, but my weekly allotment of free-time is shrinking in proportion to the assignments that are piling up.

Nonetheless, I'm still taking some time to relax and bake my favorite fall treats.
I finally put my new Herriott Grace feather cookie cutter to good use making gingerbread cookies. I wait all year to break out the gingerbread (it doesn't really feel right to me in the spring or summer), it's my favorite kind of cookie!

Gingerbread and Nikole's feathers

Mini Pumpkin pie

This is one of the pumpkin pies I ate for breakfast.

Gingerbread and Nikole's feathers

Lastly, this is my favorite hot chocolate in the city.
It's from La Merceria, all they do is steam milk and break off a piece of Lindt chocolate and melt it in. So simple and perfect with some of their delicious alfajores.


Recommended Read: The History of Love

Friday, 15 October 2010


Wait? It's Friday already?!!

What happened to my week? I'm sorry I missed my regular post! Really, where did this week go? I guess I can be thankful that it's Friday and the weekend is near, that's always a good thing.

This week's book is Nicole Krauss' The History of Love, it's not a new book for me. I read it once three years ago and read it again in anticipation of her new novel Great House that came out last week (I'm half-way through it!). I couldn't have a recommend reads series without mentioning The History of Love. One of my favorite lines is "Her laughter was the question he wanted to spend his whole life answering". My second favorite line is: "Leo Gursky is survived by an apartment full of shit".

The History of Love combines humor with heartbreak, young (14 year-old Alma) and old (octogenarian Leo Gursky), romance and loss. This novel is so touching, the end is so phenomenal I cry every time I read it.

In other news, fall is in full swing. I dug out my hot water bottle, or "hottie" as they're called on Toast's website, for the first time last night. I've also had pumpkin pie for breakfast more days than I should count. Isn't fall the best?

leaves and shoes
Last year's gorgeous leaves.

This photo makes me smile.

Recommended Reads: It's Kind of a Funny Story

Friday, 8 October 2010

In honor of it's theatrical release, I thought I would read the novel It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. I caught a showing of the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and it was wonderful.

The novel is classified as young-adult fiction, but I think the themes are relevant for adults, and the large print is a nice change! The premise for the movie and the novel are the same: Craig is fourteen years old and under tremendous pressure to get good grades so he can "get into a good school, so he can get a good job, so he can buy a house, so he can have a family, etc." In desperation one night he finds himself on the ledge of the Brooklyn Bridge. Instead of committing suicide, he checks himself into a psychiatric hospital and to his dismay, ends up in the adult ward where there is a mandatory one week stay. What follows is Craig's own day-by-day account of learning how to get back on his feet. Despite being about mental illness, it's not depressing and it's really earnest.

I think It's Kind of a Funny Story reminded me that it's really easy to put too much pressure on myself. Craig is a fourteen year old, worrying that if he misses one assignment his whole future will be destroyed. Life shouldn't be something to stress over, it should be enjoyed. So there's the moral of today's recommended read, that, and the fact that the movie is really fun.

Another great piece on depression (that's similarly not depressing) is Andrew Solomon's MOTH story The Refugees.

On that note, I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Catch the movie if you can! (or wait until cheap Tuesday)

Fellow Canadians, have a happy Thanksgiving!

Estelle Pullover

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Estelle pullover sweater
(photo by G. Crawford at The Knit Cafe)

In case you ever doubted it, modeling is a tough job. Not that I really have experience with that kind of career, but this past weekend my friend Julie and her talented husband (known to the internet as G) were kind enough to let me try out the job. They agreed to take photos of my newly completed scarf and sweater while we were out celebrating Nuit Blanche, an all-night, free event featuring art installations all around downtown Toronto.

If it looks like I stuck with one pose, it's true.
It really was hard work, I swear.

This is my finished Estelle Pullover.
Ravelry link here.

sweater detail
(photo by G. Crawford at The Knit Cafe)

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