What I did on my summer vacation…

What I did on my summer vacation…

…or, my five-ish best reads of the summer!

For me, this was truly the Summer of Reading (Thank you, Mary for organizing another amazing Summer Book Bingo!)

This summer hearkened back to the days of my childhood and the joy and excitement that was summer reading. Growing up as a child, we had little money and we did not take vacations, so for me a good book would take me far away!

And, that was how I spent this summer – miles and miles away inside the pages of the books I read. It was a wonderful summer with 50 books and 2 Bingo Cover All’s! But, not all books are equal, and I thought a great way to wrap up the summer would be to highlight 5 books that I don’t think you should miss! And, if you have not read them – these are books that I would urge you to read and soon!

Number one on my list is Warlight by Michael Ondaatje in post-WWII London. I truly loved this story and I loved how Ondaatje told it. His way with words is masterful and his characters are so memorable! I truly hope that this book will win the Man Booker Prize this year. It is most worthy, in my opinion!

My second favorite book of the summer was The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner. This book drew me in from the first page with a line from Derek Walcot’s poem Islands: But, islands can only exist. If we have loved in them. And, so I spent a good number of days on the island Castellamare falling in love with it and the Esposito family. I truly did not want this book to end!

Coming in third was The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman. And, yes, I read all three books this summer because spending time in Brakebills and Fillory was so exciting! And, while I thought book two was not quite as good as books one and three, this series has stayed with me and the final book was just amazing and how Grossman wrapped up this series was spectacular and I highly recommend it! (After note… did you know there is a SYFY series about these books?? Yeah, I did not either and you can find seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix)

I was fortunate to be able to fit a good number of Louise Penny’s books with Armand Gamache in Three Pines on my cards (three this summer) and I am going to lump them (The Nature of the Beast, A Great Reckoning, and Glass Houses) together in fourth place. You can never go wrong with Armand!

Finally, I am at the truly hard choice of picking a final book to bring this summer to a close, and I have thought about this long and hard as to which book I will put on this Best of Summer list. It was not an easy choice because I read so many amazing books this summer. But, in the end Paris in the Present Tense by Mark Helprin gets the final spot. And, really… spending time in Paris this summer was not painful at all! This book was so much more than I expected and it made me laugh, it made me cry, and I fell in love with Jules Lacour! This book easily gets 5 stars!!

You can see my entire list of summer reads here. 

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Make it Monday | 8.27.18

Make it Monday | 8.27.18

This weekend was truly the stuff of dreams. Steve had a work function, so he was gone until Sunday, which meant I did what I wanted all weekend long!

There was so much reading! I am three books away from a second cover all…. Yes, you read that correctly! I am focused and can almost taste success even if it might come down to the wire next Monday so stay tuned!

I made a Beach Hair Don’t Care headband. I knit it at a slightly tighter than recommended gauge and now I am hoping that it stretches out as I think it will with a bit of blocking. But… In case it doesn’t, a second has been started at the recommended gauge! Ha!

I finished the lace work of Tegna, which means that it is now the perfect knit… just round, and round, and round… for 15 or so inches! Haha!

I also pulled out Strokkur and made some good progress on a sleeve!

All this weekend productivity has energized my Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend! Happy Monday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.1.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.1.18

Hello, Unravelers!

Knitting marches on and I am to the amazing and incredible bind-off of KK’s MKAL. I love it, but it is the epitome of slow however, there is a lovely rhythm to it. I should have a photo to share of the finished and blocked shawl next week sometime. Yay!

Meanwhile at my sewing machine…

I have re-positioned darts for an improved fit for the Esme top/tunic. I believe I have now perfected the fit of the pattern and feel ready to forge ahead to fall with some more sewing. I also solved the conundrum of the cap sleeve fit with a bit of bias tape, and the fit and ease of the armscye are greatly improved! All these adjustments consumed my brain and significantly slowed my progress, but the results are so very good, it was worth it! The second Esme top with the bodice adjustments will have three-quarter sleeves and my stack of too-big clothes has almost all been re-purposed into better fitting clothing.

July reading was especially wonderful! I finished three books this week (and 14 books for the month!)

Ready Player One: 4-stars. I enjoyed this book and it held my attention, but it seemed a bit staged to me. If you are a gamer, however, I believe that you would absolutely love this book.

So Long, See You Tomorrow: 3-stars. This book was from Michael Ondaatje’s favorite reads list. It was thus far one of my least favorites… Honestly, I do not at all enjoy any story where “cheating spouses” are the theme. However, how he told the tale from a variety of perspectives was most interesting.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: 3-stars. I had much higher hopes for this book but, for me it fell flat. However, hearing Maya Angelou read it was a high point.

Current reads:

I will finish A Great Reckoning today, and this twelfth book of the series did not disappoint at all. Louise Penny has only improved this series with each successive novel. I highly recommend!

On my iPad I am reading The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, I am not far into it, but so far…so good!

My listening queue has blown up a bit… I am buckled in and ready for all of it and have found audio books the perfect partner for sewing!

What are you making or reading today? If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below!

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Unraveled Wednesday | 7.25.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.25.18

Greetings Unravelers!

I have a FO to share with you all today! Yes, my Beekeeper Cardigan is done! I love how it turned out, and especially the hack of knitting the sleeves flat and seaming them! Thank you, Mary for being the encouragement I needed to step out of the box and try something different! With all the adjustments, this sweater took me 8 days to knit, including the unraveling of the first sleeve and reknitting it. Yes, 8 days to a finished sweater! You can see all the details here.

And, I am back to plugging away at my Vodka Lemonade and making headway through mystery knitting clues. All in all, a very good knitting week!

Did you all see that the Man Booker Longlist was out yesterday? I got very excited to see Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight on the list! Of course, my “want to read” list has expanded but in a very good way!

Now, ready for something really exciting??

I have my Cover All for Book Bingo! That’s right… Bingo Card One is DONE!

I had a good week for finishes:

The Weight of Ink: 4-stars. I really enjoyed this novel, very much! It is well written, and I loved how it posed the two time periods and the two remarkable women, Ester and Helen. If you like history, you’ll love this novel.

Anna Karenina: 4 stars. While it was long (and wordy), but it was an interesting look into life in Russia. If you have not read this classic, you should!

Hillbilly Elegy: 5-stars. This is a well written, and at times, painful look into life for a forgotten segment of society. It is narrated by the author and I highly recommend.

Out Chasing Horses: 4-stars. I have had this book on my “to read” list ever since I finished Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes. This novel did not disappoint at all.

The Long Winter: 4-stars. I have read this book dozens of times and each time something new speaks to me. Also, I am profoundly grateful that we don’t get winters like they did in Nebraska!

Six of Crows: 2-stars. I had higher hopes for this YA novel. I thought it might be a bit like the Magicians, but for me it fell flat.

Ariel: 4-stars. Honestly, I picked this because it was short and really, I knew nothing about Sylvia Plath’s writing (outside of The Bell Curve) and I did not know she was a poet. Some of the poems in Ariel blew me away and I will be looking for more of her poetry to read!

Now, for the current reads: I just started listening to Ready Player One and started reading So Long, See You Tomorrow – both of which I was able to fit in to my second bingo card!

There you have my week! What about you? What are you making and reading this week?

If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below!

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Tiny Moments Tuesday | 7.24.18

Tiny Moments Tuesday | 7.24.18

The determination to get caught up is strong and I am so close!

Close on a cover all for Book Bingo and close to being caught up with KK’s MKAL clues! AND… as you can see, I am still not close to the end of skein number one!

Happy Tuesday all!

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