Greetings, Gentle Unravelers! And a happy Wednesday to you all!
Apparently hot hot weather means lots and lots of knitting time! (Truth, I spent little time outside after 9am each day… early morning weeding only!)
I have some momentous knitting achievements this week. I have divided for the sweater sleeves! This is good and bad… good in that I am only working with half the stitches, the bad thing is that I can no longer avoid those purl rows! Ha! I have an inch or so done with roughly 10 inches or so more to go.
I also finished the BIG FOOT FOOT! Yep, heel placement is in and I am now cruising on the cuff of the sock.
And… drum roll please… I have a NEW GNOME!
Meet, Gnigel. He is an avid gardener. His speciality though is carrots! LOL
So first, about dear Gnigel’s shape…. it is curiously similar to Kym’s watering devices and once that was in my head…well, it has stayed there. I have tried to “reshape” Gnigel to no avail. So in order to make him less “Garden Dildo” and more “Garden Gnome” enter the carrots… because of course, right?
Anyways, I free-styled those carrots, gave them some lovely carrots tops, and even managed roots! And that garden basket… even I can knit “Basket Stitch” for a small item! And, now dear Gnigel is on the mantle with the other gnomes! And I am sure that he is sharing all the good gardening stories!
After week with no finishes this week I have three completed books. (And I am well into Bel Canto… my goodness I love Patchett’s characters!) Anyways, these books have some stellar characters as well and I recommend all of them!
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book. Oh my. It is epic. It is heartbreaking. It has believable characters. It has good things and it has some very, very ugly things as well. And I really loved every word. It is a well-told story, along two timelines… woven together so expertly. I felt incredibly privileged that Jeffers invited me in so I could learn.
This book comes with some trigger warnings… There is child sexual abuse by a family member – it is painful but if you are paying attention, Jeffers tells us how to get through those bits. Ailey’s advice from her professor served me well as I worked through all the painful bits. Jeffers puts a face on the people who were enslaved… you cannot read this book and remain unchanged.
I highly recommend.
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“And if anyone asks, you’re Chinese. The boy had nodded. “Chinese,” he whispered. “I’m Chinese.” “And I,” said the girl, “am the Queen of Spain.” “In your dreams,” said the boy. “In my dreams,” said the girl, “I’m the King.”
A precursor… what I know about Japanese internment during WWII would be drops in a thimble. After reading this book, while I might know the tiniest bit more, I still don’t know enough. But Otsuka has spurred me to learn more.
One thing that struck me with this unnamed family – their stoic acceptance of what happened. I fell in love with this little unnamed family… unnamed, I think, because this family is everyone interned and no one in particular. The anonymity of this family made me see the bigger picture.
The timeline felt a bit “choppy” to me, I was wanting to know more about the in-betweens… the before, the during, and the after.
And, despite the timeline issues, I do very much recommend this little book!
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Once I started listening to The Swimmers, I could not stop.
It starts with a group of swimmers, all very different, swimming each for their own reasons… they come and go with little interaction with each other outside of their time in the pool. And one day a crack appears… and then the story takes off in the most incredible way. Don’t focus too much on the crack… after all, our lives have cracks that there but are not necessarily visible, don’t we? Rather focus on the people in the story… and one in particular – Alice.
Get LOTS of tissues and buckle in… it is a short ride to the end, but wow is it a powerful one! The writing is incredibly beautiful. I cried, lots. And I have not been able to stop thinking about Alice since I finished the book.
This is a must read book. Really. Go get it now!
What about you? What is helping you combat the heat?
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Gnigel is too cute!!! And those carrots are amazing 🙂
KAT! Those carrots are adorable! Gnigel is so sweet – phallic shape and all. That hat! That basket! My goodness.
You’ve had an amazing week of reading! I have been so tempted to read Julie Otsuka but have been worried that her work is too sad for me. But maybe it’s worth it?
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Holy smokes, every little bit here is so rich and full!! First, Gnigel. I was so smitten with his hat that his likeness to the garden dildo didn’t strike me until a few seconds after my hat swooning 🙂 . Everything about him is charming and adorable, and nice work on the carrots!
Thank you for the heads up on the triggers for Love Songs… and– thank you for the Otsuka recommendation! I have had a deep curiosity about the Japanese internment camps for a number of years. It’s something so incredulous to me, though it probably shouldn’t be, but it is… and I’m just starting to dig around to learn more about it. I started Isabel Allende’s Japanese Lover but was so disappointed I did not finish. (I have found that I like her earliest work but not so much her later books.) I’ll add this one to my tbr.
Stay cool! It’s a steamy one here on Lake Erie today!
Your gnome is spectacular — the additions of the carrots and the basket are perfection!
I thought the first section of The Swimmers was a little too repetitive for me, but the rest of it broke my heart a bit. I’ve been meaning to check out her other books, so thanks for that recommendation. And I really need to get to Love Songs — I’ve had a hard copy sitting on my nightstand for months!
Gnigel is extraordinary, mainly by you giving him such unique gardening touches! The carrots are just perfect along with the basket. This was really a stellar week with three great book finishes and wonderful knitting. Way to go!
Your little Gnigel the Garden Gnome looks very sage and wise in the ways of the world, particularly in the mysteries of growing of carrots.
And look at that teeny trug you’ve placed over his arm for carrying his fruit and veg in from his plot…..a very necessary accessory for someone of his standing
The Swimmers is on my list for this year- thanks for the recommendation.
Gnigel is wonderful!! Love his hat. Love his basket. Love, love, love his carrots. (And boy did I crack up at the mention of Kym’s watering devices – LOL). Congrats on being on the tale end of Big Foot and getting to the sleeve divide of your sweater. What a great week of reading you had. Like Katie, I have shied away from Otsuka’s books thinking they might be a bit too sad or intense for me. I may need to re-think that.
The gardening gnome is simply fabulous, what fun. Your books sound good but a bit harrowing for me at the moment.I dislike heat at the best of times but combined with a throat infection mean that I have spent most of the last ten days asleep.
the details of your gnome are so so beautiful! I love the basket and the wee carrot 🙂 GAH. I am walking the dog at 8:30 am and it’s a slog to get through. I just cannot get out earlier so we walk slowly and enjoy whenever there’s shade.
I just got The Swimmers. 🙂
Oh, that gnome. He’s a feisty one, I can tell. And I adored The Swimmers!
The gnome! I did notice the . . . hat shape . . . right away. 😉 The gnome is spectacular, Kat. And I love what you did with the carrots and the roots and the charming little basket. I think this is my favorite of all your gnomes! Bravo! I also loved The Swimmers — and I’ve got the The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois in my Audible library. I’m eager to give it a listen, but I’m still dancing with Trollope. . . XO
I love the gnome. The leaf on his hat, the carrots and the basket – oh my. Darling. Kudos for the progress on the sock. I’m waiting for The Love Songs to come in on my library holds.