Unraveled Wednesday, December 27

Unraveled Wednesday, December 27

This week its all about my reading and a review of the best books I have read all year. It was so much fun to go back through my books and do a little memory lane reminiscing with all the incredible books I have read!

I will end up with 85 books finished this year, which includes Urlula K. Le Guin’s No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters. I have about 20 pages to go, so this will be super easy to finish. This is impressive for me because I began the year slowly and was 11 books behind my goal of 60 books when Summer Book Bingo started. So, to end up exceeding by 15 books ummm, that would be 25 books!! I am quite proud of myself!

I had hoped to finish Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach, but I don’t think that is likely to happen, but that means it will be #1 for 2018 and give me a very good start for next year!

Now, on to my best of books (and really, these were the best off – all books here received a 5-star rating from me!), starting with books I should have read long before I did:

  • 1984
  • Moby Dick, The Whale
  • Animal Farm
  • On the Road
  • The English Patient

If you have not read these, I highly recommend doing so. I listened to all of them and they had incredible narration (even Moby Dick which I listed to via the Moby Dick Big Read. Now, I understand that having 136 different narrators might put some people off, but they were ALL excellent.

Up next are books that are part of a series:

  • And, in first place is Louise Penny’s series with Armand Gamache. I read 4 books in this series this year: The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder, Bury Your Dead, and The Brutal Telling. It seems incredible, but each story in this series is better than the one before. If you like a good mystery, this series is WONDERFUL!
  • Next, is Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Department Q series. His latest installment, The Scarred Woman was SO GOOD! And, I love Carl Morck almost as much as I love Armand Gamache! Nordic Noir at its best!
  • I also loved Viveca Sten’s The Sandhamn Murder Series, especially Tonight You’re Dead.
  • Finally, Lotte and Soren Hammer’s series with Detective Konrad Simonsen, I found The Hanging to be the best one I have read thus far, but I enjoyed the other books in this series too.

I delved a bit into poetry this year, and was so pleasantly surprised by how much it resonated with me. I devoured two Mary Oliver Books: A Thousand Mornings, and Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver. I also loved Wendell Berry’s A Small Porch: Sabbath Poems 2014. Expect to see more poetry in 2018!

I also snuck in a children’s book: The Night Gardener, which was lovely in word and picture.

I read one biography: Hillary Clinton’s What Happened. It was cathartic for me and beautifully read by Hillary herself.

Now for the rest of the list and there are many, but trust me each of these books has stayed with me, they are thought provoking, moving, and at times uncomfortable. But, good books should stretch us and sometimes take us out of our comfort zone. These books do that and more:

  • The Secret History
  • I am the Messenger
  • A Gentleman in Moscow
  • The Nix
  • 4 3 2 1
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
  • And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
  • Lincoln in the Bardo
  • The Help
  • South of Broad
  • Beach Music
  • Millard Salter’s Last Day
  • Life After Life
  • Little Fires Everywhere
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing
  • Elmet
  • The History of Love

So much good reading this year, and I am equally excited about next year. I am participating in Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, because one thing I learned this year was that those books that were outside of my comfort zone were some of the best books I read all year long!

And, so, it is almost time to set my Goodreads goal next year, and I am going to challenge myself there as well with a goal of 100 books.

What about you? What was your favorite book (books?) of the year!

ALSO!! Because, simply-linked has been performing less than optimally (but what can I expect for a free application!) Please leave your blog link in comments. Thanks for your patience and participation as I work out the best way to make this work best for all of us!

P.S. Sorry about the bad photo today, but the light has not been cooperative at all. But, my sweater grows, I am almost done with the waist shaping and then have about an inch and a half before the colorwork at the bottom (and then on to the sleeves so, sadly there is no chance this will be done this year)

Unraveled Wednesday, December 20

Unraveled Wednesday, December 20

‘Twas five days before Christmas and all though the house…

Lots of stirring. Lots of last minute things I did not plan for, or expect, or yeah.

And, then my darling daughter wondered if I would just buzz over to Target to get something that my Target had in stock but hers did not.

Umm, I love her dearly, but Target five days before Christmas? I am pretty sure I won’t even be able to get into the parking lot! So, yeah… at least that was not added to the “must complete list” in fact, this one did not even make to the “in my wildest dreams list” (Thanks, Kym for that great list name, because prior to reading your post it was the “no effing way list” lol)

However, my super-secret knitting is DONE! Cross that baby off the list! Woo hoo!! Which brings me back to my regularly scheduled knitting, and I am making progress. I am through the beginning of the shaping decreases and onto just straight knitting for a bit. And, Mother Nature has turned the heat up outside so the urgent need for another sweater is not as pressing. But, I knit on!

Reading has been good and next week I will be sharing my favorite reads of the year!

I finished listening to Sing, Unburied, Sing. Wow. What an amazing, powerful book. Excellent narration as well! I gave it 5-stars.

I finished listening to Bonfire, which I also did not love. It did not live up to the hype and got 3-stars.

I also finished reading The Rules of Magic. I thought this was an okay read, but not my cup of tea and it only got 2-stars.

I am listening to The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden and I started reading The History of Love.

And, after Thursday night (my last choir rehearsal before Christmas eve) I am free to read to my hearts content! And, READ I will. I am 3 books away from hitting 85 books read this year and I am determined to do that! Also, to everyone who says, how can you read so much? Well, I am a rabid audio-book listener! I start shortly after I get up and have about 7 hours a day to listen. You can get a lot of “reading” done in that amount of time! It is truly the BEST!

But, I hope that crazy is not reigning at your house and that you are embracing the season and thanks for joining me today!

Unraveled Wednesday, December 13

Unraveled Wednesday, December 13

The rush of the season makes for little knitting time, so no real progress on anything. However, I have managed to get some rounds in on Treysta. I am just so in love with the colors in this sweater. It makes me happy even if I can only knit a haphazard round here or there! The body grows slowly, but it grows!

I am still on the Peace Train and I worked on it last night at Knit Night. It is the perfect peaceful knitting project, and it has grown a bit from this photo taken during the daylight hours on Tuesday!

I am ever so grateful for audiobooks as they are the perfect companion for the rush of Christmas.

I finished:

The Hundred-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared and LOVED it! I have added another of Jonas Jonasson’s books to my “read list” The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden.

I also finished Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance. I enjoyed it and it was a quick read. It reminded me of Jungle Book, in that here is a story of Weylyn Grey who was raised by wolves. It is a charming little tale. There is magic and wonder and fantasy and it is a beautifully told story.

Currently reading:

Sing, Unburied, Sing and The Rules of Magic.

Up next is Bonfire. I am really pushing hard to get to 85 books before the end of the year. I am close, but it will require some work!

What is occupying your time this week?

Thank you for joining me this week!

Unraveled Wednesday, December 6

Unraveled Wednesday, December 6

This week there was a bit of unraveling and a careful bit of unknitting. Sigh.

The unraveling bit involved my Peace Train knitting. Right pattern but wrong yarn? Or perhaps, it was the wrong pattern for the right yarn. Thus, my Peace Train Knitting has a definite Decemberist vibe now. And, the fabric is much nicer. I will be on the lookout for some wonderful fingering weight yarn to use for the Peace Shawl, but that won’t be my focus this December.

The unknitting was entirely my fault. One would think if the pattern author took all this time to lay out super clear instructions for short row shaping, including making sure you have different markers so you don’t mess up, that well, I wouldn’t mess up! However, apparently, I can’t follow instructions multiple times in a row correctly, so I am tinking back to fix my mistake. I should be back on track shortly, and then sleeve division. (Really, I am blaming this mistake on Outlander – I should have been Decemberist Peace Knitting not keep track of where you are in a pattern knitting!) I am sure you will get sick of updates on this sweater before it is finished, so I promise to share a different view next week! (Hopefully!!)

Now for the reading!

In the finished category:

  1. Bury Your Dead with Armande Gamache and I LOVED it. I gave it 5 stars and highly recommend this series.
  2. Never Caught. It was a quick listen and I enjoyed it. It is a fascinating story and I learned things I did not know. It is incredibly well told and amazing frank. My opinion of George and Martha Washington has diminished greatly after this book. If you love history, you will enjoy this book. I gave it 4-stars.
  3. Simply Clean. I had hoped for some amazing motivation in this book, but really, there was none. The idea of “just pick up after yourself” is great (I mean who does not know this already????) but the concepts do not at all seem logical. Her 10 minutes might work if you live by yourself in a studio apartment, in a real house it seems highly illogical. I gave it 2-stars.

Currently reading:

The Hundred-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared…a suggestion from Mary and I am loving it. I am almost halfway through and hope to be done this week.

Up Next:

  1. Sing, Unburied, Sing.
  2. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
  3. Bonfire

What are you reading right now? And, thank you for joining us today!

Unraveled Wednesday, November 29

Unraveled Wednesday, November 29

No unraveling here at all this week, just plenty of sweater love! This is my finished Rusty, which turned out better than I could have imagined. Things I would change…I reduced the number of stitches picked up, but I think I could have reduced a tiny bit more. But, it is much better than previous attempts at this! I had to add in 3 stitches on the round before I began the color work to get the pattern to work out correctly. But, I just love this sweater. It is warm and so comfortable! I would absolutely knit this again with the exact same yarn. And, can I talk about Plutolopi for a moment? I LOVE IT! You might think it would be kind of iffy looking at the wheels, but it makes the most amazing fabric! I will definitely be knitting with this stuff again!

Now, if only sweater weather would stay here for a bit! This week we have headed back to the upper 50’s and low 60’s during the day. Crazy. And, what is crazier is that Steve mowed the lawn yesterday. Yeah. He was thrilled, let me tell you! LOL

And, now how about some reading updates!!

I have about 10 chapters to go in Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny. It is so good, and I am hopeful that I will have this done before November ends!

I finished Pioneer Girl: The annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder and LOVED IT! It got 5 stars from me and I highly recommend this for anyone who has read and re-read the Little House books.

I also finished A Small Porch by Wendell Berry, oh my. I loved it. This was my first Wendell Berry book, but it won’t be my last. It was such a breath of fresh air for my head, and I gave it 5 stars as well.

I have some good things in my listening queue that will be up next: an interesting suggestion I got from the library – Never Caught, The Washington’s relentless pursuit of their runaway slave, Ona Judge, by Erica Armstrong Dunbar. And The 100-year-old who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonason which was recommended to me by Mary. I am eager to start listening to them.

So many books, so few days left this year. I won’t make 100 books read this year, but I am hoping to get to 85 (I am at 72 books completed today!)

But, really… what are you making this week?

Unraveled Wednesday, November 22

Unraveled Wednesday, November 22

Hello Unravelers!

It’s the pre-Thanksgiving Unraveled, and I don’t know about you, but there has been little knitting OR reading around here this week.

But, I do have another sweater in progress! I am making my way through the colorwork section of the yoke but with only knitting a couple of rows at night, this won’t be done anytime soon. I am shooting for sleeve divide to be completed next week!

On the reading front – I had hoped to have Ali Smith’s Autumn: A Novel done this week but that has not happened either! Exhaustion has crept in and I have been lucky to read a paragraph before falling asleep.

BUT! I did finish Mary Oliver’s Devotions. Oh my. I loved it, and this has moved into the “must buy” category. The poetry is absolutely wonderful, and it has been much appreciated in these hectic days of late.

In my ears is Bury Your Dead with dear Inspector Gamache. I am not too far along, but it is wonderful!

I also have been reading a few pages of Pioneer Girl each night and I am enjoying it immensely.

I hope your Thanksgiving preparations are going smoothly and that you have no last-minute trips to the grocery store this week!

What are you making this week?

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