Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Quilts & Morgana

Today I finished another book.  This one is non-fiction and quilt related.  I found this in my local library on the new book shelf when attending one of my Wednesday morning quilting gatherings.  The book is American Patchwork - True Stories From Quilter's edited by Sonja Hakala. It was published by Thomas Dunne Books in 2007.  Here is a  picture link for the e-book from amazon.com.
On the back:
For those who enjoyed the honesty and insight of How to Make an American Quilt, this is a moving collection of personal stories that highlight the laughter, sadness, friendships, frustrations, and triumphs shared by the more than 21 million people across the country who call themselves quilters.

These touching tales from sixty-seven contributors nationwide form a patchwork of their own in the words of each individuals unique narrative. From the quilt that reunited a family divided by war and an ocean to the twenty-two foot banner that accompanied a dying woman on her last journey, American Patchwork is sure to capture the hearts of quilters and quilt lovers everywhere.

Wonderfully varied, instructive, nostalgic, amusing, and often poignantly written, this gem of a book will be treasured for years to come.

I thoroughly loved this book.  The stories were short, quick & easy to read. With in the book, there are close to 70 stories that are shared from the likes of Earlene Fowler, Jeanine Williams, Jacqueline Campbell, you find a variety of authors to enjoy.  It is has titles that include A Guy That Sews, A Box of Tears and Project Linus that you can find in the Table of Contents. There were a few names that I recognized from the quilt industry. Others not so much.
As I read the stories, it was like I was getting a small peek into their personal life. 

I have found the quilters are generous people and they are willing to share their fabrics, talents and so much more with others around them. They are quick to rally to a cause when the need is seen.  Not only here in our community, state or country, it is a calling that is heard around the world.  No matter the skill level a quilter might be at.  They are always sewing, donating and gifting a bit of happiness will things have been dark & dreary. 

It really does take a quilter to really understand the underlined meanings of each story as we all have probably be in the same situation ourselves.  It shows me the reach that quilts have had one person's life and how it has caused a small ripple in a pond.  As the ripple moves out, the ripple grows far bigger and impacting even more of those farthest out in the moving ripple. I believe this book would also have that effect on it's readers. It goes across so many states of emotions that will have you looking forward to each one.  

The desire to understand human kindest, emotions and forgiveness are some examples of the stories in this wonderful book.  If you need time away from the sewing machine for one reason or another, this collection of short stories is one way to unplug with a world around us that never seems to slow down.  I found that when I was having to wait on something or someone for any number of reasons, this book give me the "food for thought" reading that would have me slow down and ponder what I have read.  I have recommended this book to several of the ladies in my little quilting group where it is making the rounds quickly.  We enjoy talking about the stories and it seems that we a variety of favorites that various as much as we do.  I do believe in it's a strong contender at 4.5 out of 5 stars personally and with the group it goes from 4.5 all the way to 5 stars.

Now for those who enjoy a good Arthurian based books. I just finished I, Morgana by Felicity Pulman.  I received this ARC from NetGallery and the publisher Momentum Books.  I have excepted the ARC in exchange for my fair & honest opinion.

 

At a young age, my thirst for anything that took place in the Arthurian time frame in my reading development. The Mists of Avalon, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Ivanhoe just to name a few. In those we know that legend has to how Arthur became the King.  There has been countless books, movies and apparently one season on TV before it was cancelled. So this not a new plot line so to speak.

But it this we are suppose to be looking at in a first person account view point of Morgana, Arthur's half-sister; who has grown old and longs to reverse time.  But age has stolen her magical powers so she must resort to taking up her quill & parchment instead.  

We all know that she not actually portrayed as a nice person in these stories.  Shortly before her father's death, Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall; names Morgana his heir upon his death in ruling of his realm and  rule his lands wisely.  Morgana takes this oath to heart and solemnly swear that she would not let him down.  But even as the book opens and Morgana is working with Merlin, we can see that she is willful, undisciplined, quick to judge & has a venomous hatred for those she perceives of doing her wrong.

This short sightedness plagues Morgana through out the book. We find that many people end up on that list. Everyone from Uther Pendragon, Arthur, Merlin, Guenevere, heMorgana's 1st born son - Mordred and even Launcelot incurs she wrath.  All of the fore-mentioned have been on the receiving end of Morgana's sharp tongue, magical potions, deceit and her need for vengeance. We also learn of her indiscretions outside of the martial bed which produced two children out of three.  Mordred, Marie and then Owain - son of Urien: King of Rheged; whom Arthur married Morgana to as a way to gain a much needed ally.

Throughout the book I found several historically errors in the timeline. For example, Morgana and her father - Gorlios goes to London to meet with High King Uther Pendragon.  Well London wasn't called London in the 5th century much less have the Tower of London at the time.  

It would be nice to have some way distinguish the passing of time in the book.  I find that a bit disconcerting at that lacking detail. Then the mentioning of the Otherworld  was never really explained. Is this where Morgana had hope to find and go back to reverse history from all her mistakes, spitefulness and supposedly prevent the series of events in her mind?  Then she sends her daughter Marie and Guinglan through to the other side of the "Otherworld" to another time where they are suppose to be safe from danger?

To me, Morgana is betrayed as a scheming, vengeful, over-ambitious and deceitful to all that surrounds her.  She uses her magical powers to trick, poison, and attempt murder when she doesn't get what she wants.  It's hard to like her or even sympathize  with her.

The rest of the characters has other issues with me.  The book makes Arthur seem wishy-washy, weak, blind to the obvious (including the treasonous affair between Lancelot and Guenevere), and lacking the traits that should make him King.  Launcelot comes across as a man-whore who spends some length of time with Morgana at Joyous Gard and this results in  her becoming pregnant out of wed-lock. He also magically entangled with Guenevere to the play in a role in the demises of Camelot.  Then we have Guenevere who is a hot mess.  This comes across in her spoil brat attitude, she is whiny, jealous of any female who might talk to Launcelot and hatefulness towards Morgana.  Merlin is found lacking in the story and in court.  It's like it was half a thought that he was randomly tossed into the story because it was excepted.

And then ending after Arthur dies at the Battle of Camlann around 537A.D. at the hand of His & Morgana's son - Mordred. We have Morgana, Guenevere and Launcelot all end up in sort of abbey or priory to basically be forgotten.

This rendition of  the King Arthur saga just didn't have to the same feel to it's predecessors did.  I had hopes for this one, as it was taken from other view point than Arthur's or Merlin's.  I did finish the book and I liked it, but I didn't love it as I had hoped.  I wish the author had smoothed out some of the glaring wrinkles before sending it to publication.  I would give this 3.25 out of 5 stars possible.  Again please remember that is just my opinion on this book.  You may read the same book, swoon over it and give it a 5. But on the other hand you might not even finish it, as I saw on many other reviews.  I would even like to invite you to share you review right here for all to see.  Until then... this is where I will say good evening.  

Toodles,
Tricia