Unraveled Wednesday | 8.10.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.10.22

Greetings, dear Unravelers!

Happy Wednesday to you all! Here we are moving quickly through August…how on earth is the the 10th already?

Anyway, I have some knitting to share with you this week. I managed to get the back of my sweater completed and I am working on the front now. The rows go quickly when you are doing short rows, don’t they? I will be well on Sleeve Island next week! Woot!

I also have finished my August Gnome. (and there is a NEW MYSTERY GNOME coming in September!!)

Marly with his Fiddlehead Fern hat and stand out beard!

Marl Meets Gnome FTW! If you are looking for a quick project that is not super fiddly, this is the gnome for you! I am calling him Marly… because he absolutely is that! Eventually, he will sit in my office where I paint and I am hoping that his whimsy inspires me to not take myself too seriously, to lighten up, and remember that painting is fun!

I know that last week was a slim reading week… it happens, right? This week however… I have all the finishes!

The Memoirs of Stockholm SvenThe Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t know how this book crossed my radar, but I am so glad it did! I quickly fell in love with Sven. I so enjoyed how this story moves from 1916 through the late 40’s and all of Sven’s adventures!

**Spoiler Alert** Eberhard, the dog, dies and it is heartbreaking.

Yet through all the hard times, Sven’s friends and family remain a constant for him. I love the letters to his sister, Olga. I love that his niece, Helga comes to stay with him with her daughter. But most of all I love the relationship he forges with his great-niece, Skuld. Sven, “Uncle” Tapio, and Skuld become the most lovely little family. And as Sven shares his memories, I could not help but be drawn in to their rich, warm world.

I highly recommend this beautiful story!

Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket: StoriesToday a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket: Stories by Hilma Wolitzer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book came on my radar thanks to a friend (Bonny)… and I thought that a collection of short stories would be the perfect before bed reading. It was, very much!

I found that I could relate to some of the stories more than others, but Wolitzer’s writing is snappy and on point (even in 2022!)

If you are looking for some “potato chip” reading… this is it!

Build Your House Around My BodyBuild Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have not stopped thinking about this story since I finished it…. for me, the sign of a very good book!

This book appeared on my radar when I saw that a friend (Margene) had read it… and my library had an audio copy!

It is a mystery. It is a ghost story. It is a revenge story. There is time travel. There is so much folk lore. And so many layers… and Kupersmith unwraps them masterfully! I did not want to stop listening!

I originally gave this book 4-stars, but because I cannot stop thinking about it, I have amended my rating to 5-stars. And really… read this book!

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family KeepsakeAll That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Originally, I struggled to get into this story… I was listening to it and that format just did not work for me. So I got on the list for the ebook and waited.

In between I read The Love Songs of WEB Dubois and I think that was the perfect book to prepare me to settle in to read All That She Carried. They fit well together and the change in format to reading with my eyes worked much better with this book. There are images to see that make the reading more powerful.

I do very much recommend!

The Rising Tide (Vera Stanhope, #10)The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Get your wellies on and grab your umbrella and come along with Vera as she and her very able crew work to solve another mystery.

This mystery takes place on Holy Island and, of course, I wanted to know more about this curious place where the tides can obstruct the causeway…either keeping you in, or out.

A weekend with friends and a suicide opens this story for us. Or is it a suicide? Vera has her suspicions!

I love Vera so very much. She is so lovable. Cleeves does a masterful job of drawing the reader into Vera’s team as you all work together to solve the mystery.

I won’t share more and won’t give away the ending… but it is brilliant! I highly recommend this latest installment to the Vera Stanhope series!

I want to thank Netgalley, Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books for providing this ebook for review.

That is all I have to share with you today! What about you? What are you binging on this week?

As always, if you write a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.27.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.27.22

Greetings, Gentle Unravelers!

I have much been thinking about all of you this week and how, for me, these posts… your posts… really feel like a weekly knitting group. We share what we are making and what we are reading and more… and I love that feeling!

This week my making was sort of all over the place. I dug out an appropriate handbag to bring to Jury Duty and found tucked away inside an old project… you know from the days when I actually went places during the week and would have the occasion to sit and knit? Yeah, well I found a half completed Rikke hat inspired by Bonny… long forgotten in a bag that had been put away. Thankfully I had someplace to go recently (despite having to give up my needles) once I saw the hat, I could not leave it uncompleted. Once I returned the needle, it was quickly finished! It just needs a bit of a spa treatment and will be ready for cooler weather!

I have 3-ish inches to go on my sweater back… and then I do some shaping of shoulders and binding off the neckline. So I am making some headway! However, there is still a long way to go to completion!

I also knit two more pop squares for the blanket. It is my new thing to do when I am really wanting to cast on something new. It is working well on keeping that urge corralled! LOL

This might have been the finest reading week of the entire summer! Three incredible books… and all so very different.

Bel CantoBel Canto by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again, I am drawn into a story simply by the characters in this sort of Stockholm Syndrome tale.

It is loosely based on the Japanese Embassy crisis in Peru that happened in 1996-ish.

Stepping outside of all that reality, Patchett reimagines what might happen within the walls of the lavish home. The lines blur between hostage and hostage taker in a fascinating story that profoundly beautiful. The characters are so very believable. I could not put it down!

I highly recommend!

Crying in H MartCrying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An incredibly beautiful memoir to Zauner’s mother… it is tender, profound, and yes, painful at times. The writing is really wonderful… intimate. Perhaps more so since I listened to the author read it to me.

The story is delightful… and so very real. I cried frequently. But can we talk about all the food for a moment? I have this burning desire to spend several weeks eating Korean food… breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It struck me that this story could not. be told without the food… and that simple fact is what makes it so very relatable. Food is the thing that binds us all together… sharing a meal, sharing conversation, sharing the joy of life… and sometimes death.

I highly recommend this book!

The Transit of VenusThe Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The struggle was real to get settled into this book. I tried multiple times to find the rhythm and almost gave up. But then a bit of “forced reading”… aka Jury Duty … and I eased past those first 100 pages and then the story carried me along.

The writing style is really so beautiful… different, challenging, perfect. The story of two orphaned sisters, Caro and Grace, and how their lives are inter-twined with those around them… for good and for less than good. There is enduring love, loss, good choices, bad choices, heartache, and more in this really epic story.

The last 75 pages… oh my.

If you are looking for a book that will make you think… read this book. This book is so full of so many tidbits that if you are not reading carefully, you will just gloss over and miss out on the brilliance that Hazard brings to this story!

And there you have my Knit Group update! What about you all… what do you all have to share this week?

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.20.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.20.22

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?

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.13.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.13.22

Greetings, Unravelers!

The making this week feels slow… just lots of round and round and round knitting. But all that round and round knitting means that there have been inches added! Yet I happily remind myself that I am not a “finished project every week kind of knitter” and that is exactly how it should be, amirite?

I have roughly 3 inches to go on my sweater and perhaps a bit less on Sock Number One. I need to try it on Steve and see how much more is needed…but I have been avoiding doing that because I know I still have miles to go! lol

The Grey’s of Summer Knitting

I also began my July Gnome… I have a hat completed, washed and blocked. My July Gnome has a “leafy” theme… which I thought was perfect for the height of summer! He is currently nameless, but rest assured, he will have an appropriate name!

As you can see above, I have spent a good bit of time sitting outside painting. Gosh, I am really loving it! so much! I love sitting outside, under the pergola, and I had a lovely little treat this week. “Our” bunnies made a nest very near the table and she gave birth on Tuesday… and yes, I unexpectedly witnessed this bit of wonder! So I have painting buddies, lol! Mom and Dad are hovering nearby and I love watching them from my seat!

And we have a week with no reading finishes! I know. But that is okay, I am have about 8 hours to go in The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois… I am enjoying it, but gosh is it long and it has so many really difficult bits.

I am almost finished with a book I got from Netgalley. Blaze Me a Sun: A Novel by Christoffer Carlsson is a mystery and it is so so so good! Carlsson is a new to me author and this book, which was a best seller in Sweden, is being released soon here in the US. If you liked Henning Mankell’s writing, I think you’d like Blaze Me a Sun very much.

What about you? What is in process for you?

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.6.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.6.22

Greetings Unravelers!

(I am not mentioning any of the shootings that happened over the holiday weekend but that does not mean they are not on my mind. They are. I just don’t have any words to express my thoughts how is it possible that we are on the 187th day of 2022 and there have been 300+ shootings nationwide. I do know that I think about public spaces differently these days… and that makes me so very sad.)

Meanwhile, of course there is knitting…I am making slow progress on the socks for Big Foot. And honestly, I do not know who I am knitting by the seat of my pants with these socks! No pattern… making it up as I go! What?? I am not quite to the halfway point of the foot but I am through the toe increases. I am going to do another short-row gusset after thought heel… that will have planned placement! I am making good notes, which if I got by Sam’s socks… the second went much faster than the first! So I knit on!

And I pulled out that sweater and managed a few dozen more mindless rounds. It is good TV knitting.

The reading this week was a rather mixed bag…one book was rather meh and the other a huge hit for me at least. Your mileage for either book may vary!

CrossroadsCrossroads by Jonathan Franzen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It took me several days post finish to rate this book. First, this book is a commitment, it is long and that does not mean it was good. It is wordy in a way that was unnecessary, imo.

Next, the cast of characters are utterly unlikable… Russ, Marion, Clem, Becky, and Perry are seriously the family you hope you never meet. They are off the charts dysfunctional…really, not quite believable dysfunctional. There is an abundance of religiosity that, to me, seemed stereotypical of non-denominational churches of the time that this was written. Much of this book missed the mark for me and several times I considered not finishing…but I held out hope for an ending that gave me some hope.

My rating… 1.5 stars rounded up to 2 stars. I do not recommend.

Remarkably Bright CreaturesRemarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are looking to add a bit of whimsy to your summer reading, look no further than this whimsical tale! It is heartwarming. It will lift your spirits. It will pique your interest in the Giant Pacific Octopus! And this book does an excellent job of reminding me that I do so love an octopus who can tell his story… who is smarter than humans… and who loves a happy ending.

I loved Tova and Marcellus so much! I confess that I cried…lots. And I gasped a few times!

I highly recommend this fabulously whimsical tale!

That is all I have for today. What about you? What are you making this week?

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

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