Happy Unraveled Wednesday! I’m joining Kat to share my reading and knitting for the week. I have a LOT of updates that I can’t way to share with you today. They include some great progress on my Spark cardigan and four more finished books!
On Monday I hinted about some unraveling – I usually push forward past mistakes, but I made several big errors in one row on Sunday night and decided to tink back and put my work away for the night. I was way too tired to continue despite being only a few rows away from finishing the body. I felt refreshed by Monday evening after I got all the kids into bed – I finished the body, closed up the armholes, wove in all of the ends (so far), reinforced the steek with my sewing machine, cut the steek, and picked up all the collar stitches – whew! And now we’re on to a delicious shawl collar, which I started last night and managed about 15 rows before I needed to move onto something else.
The collar is one of my modifications for this version. The instructions say to knit it two inches wide (I think?), but I’m going to at least double it. I love shawl collars and am going to go for it. The best thing? Once the collar is done then the cardigan is DONE because I’m not doing the belt or belt loops. And I’ll have a snuggly new sweater this fall!
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
“Dates only make us aware of how numbered our days are, how much closer to death we are for each one we cross off. From now on, Punzel, we’re going to live by the sun and the seasons.’ He picked me up and spun me around, laughing.’Our days will be endless.”
This was Claire Fuller’s debut and deserves all the stars. The premise: In the late 70s, 8 year old Peggy and her father retreat into the forest to a remote hut with no outside contact. While there, her father tells her the rest of the world has been destroyed and they are the last living humans. They stay there for 9 years until mysterious circumstances bring Peggy back to her home in London with her mother (don’t worry – this isn’t a spoiler. It’s something we learn pretty early in the book).
Like all of her work, Fuller peels back the layers slowly to give you the full picture. We switch back and forth between the perspectives of 17 year old Peggy in London with her mother and Peggy’s life in the forest with her father. It’s deliciously told: there were times that I rushed forward in the story and then I’d force myself to tap back a few screens and start again. I didn’t want to miss a single thought of Peggy’s – I was so interested in her.
This is an excellent pick for a progressive book club that’s not squeamish about sensitive topics. It begs for discussion, perspective, and debate!
The Littles by John Peterson
This was our read aloud last week and the kids really enjoyed it. I thought it was an inferior knockoff of The Borrowers, but sometimes you just want something adventurous and easy to digest. Once I let go of my snobbery about it, I ended up enjoying it. The artwork is really cute and there’s a knitting grandmother in it, which also helps!
I recently learned that there’s a whole series of these books and it looks like our library has them, so we might meander through the titles and read a few more when we’re inbetween other read alouds. Definitely a palette cleanser!
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
“Oh, aye, Sassenach. I am your master . . . and you’re mine. Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.”
I picked this one up because I was in the mood for a sweeping, epic audiobook. I attempted reading it about a decade ago but abandoned it because the violence was overwhelming for me. I thought maybe I’d gotten a little tougher and could handle it this time, but I was wrong.
There’s so much to like about this book: the sense of place, the adventure in the highlands, herbal medicine/witchiness, and the idea of walking through standing rocks and being swept into another time. BUT — I just can’t enjoy a book filled with so much graphic sexual violence. When I’m ready for my next epic romance on audio, I’m going back to the Clan of the Cave Bear series. Jondalar is less of a neanderthal than Jamie Fraser!
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
“She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate.”
This is my first ever Edith Wharton novel! I picked it up because Mary has been raving about the Novel Pairings podcast for quite a while and I finally started listening; this is the book they’re discussing this week. I was nervous – classics always make me nervous – and had no reason to be. I listened on audio and was able to sit back and sink into the glamorous world of New York high society in the late 1800s. It almost felt like watching Gossip Girl (it might surprise you that I loved it!) – it was so full of petty plots and society climbers who were willing to hurt anyone if it helped their standing.
But Lily Bart, our protagonist, is in a precarious position. While still accepted by those in high society, her family lost their wealth and she is in tremendous debt so marriage is her only way out. The rumors about her morality are fierce but she still has several suitors, yet she can’t bring herself to marry unless he is The One. Oh, Lily. She tries so hard to live a glamorous life with integrity. This book shows us just how impossible that is.
I’m looking forward to reading more classics with Sara and Chelsey and listening to the podcast episode for this book!
Thanks for sticking with this massive update this week! I can’t wait to see what you’ve been reading and/or stitching this week. I plan to be back on Friday with a short list of joys from this week – I’ll see you then!