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 BoisThe 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 DivineWhen 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 SwimmersThe 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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