Good morning, friends! It’s Wednesday and I’m linking up with Kat at As Kat Knits to share what I’ve been reading and stitching this week. I have another big stack of books and a little story about my WIP to share with you, so I’ll hope you’ll visit me for a bit!
KNITTING THIS WEEK:
I was so happy to start my DRK Everyday Sweater last week. I was motoring along, listening to an audiobook, when I realized that something was wrong. I don’t always stop to check stitch counts, but something was… off. Like, 34 stitches off! So you know me, I just kept going another 4-5 rounds, considering my options. I figured I could make it up somewhere in one of the yoke increases. But the more I thought about it, the less optimistic I became. So I sat down with the pattern and a calculator and lo and behold: I discovered that I overlooked a whole section of instructions. That decided it for me. I ripped it:
And decided, for an odd reason, to film it. But there’s something satisfying about watching a ball winder do its job, isn’t there? And I blame my husband for my difficulties with getting the needles out – he was distracting me!
And here I am, back to the ribbing, without a single stitch lost – relief. And I’m ready to try again!
READING THIS WEEK:
I adore Kate Quinn and was anxiously awaiting the publication of The Diamond Eye. The description sounded amazing: Mila, a librarian from Kyiv studying to become a historian, becomes one of the most decorated sharp shooters during WWII.
I will admit that the timing of this release has colored my perception of it. Mila fights with the Soviet Union, which of course, includes Russia. I had a hard time stomaching the fact that she was fighting alongside the ancestors of the people currently bombing her own homeland right now. And to watch cities such as Kyiv and Odesa fall during WWII… well, it all felt so familiar and tragic.
Most of this book takes place on the front lines of the war, which must have been difficult for Quinn to write about. I know it was difficult to read. And the plot fully revealed in the last 1/3 of the book felt contrived. I’m sorry to say that I couldn’t wait for this book to end. But I’m anticipating Kate Quinn’s next book because she’s still one of my favorite authors!
It was wonderful to visit the village of Lansquenet again! In Peaches for Father Francis, Vianne and her daughters return after receiving a letter from Armande, written before her death and asking her to return to the village because someone needs their help. They stay in Armande’s old house, which Luc has inherited and is in the process of putting together. When they arrive, they find a village that appears different than when they left, but the same undercurrents exist. Many of the traditional villagers are unsettled due to a new community that has joined them: a group of Muslims. And, as usual, Vianne works her magic with chocolate to bring everyone together.
The Strawberry Thief might be my favorite of the Chocolat series. Vianne and Rosette have returned to live at the village of Lansquenet and have reopened her lovely chocolaterie. Anouk decided to stay in Paris to live with her boyfriend, which causes Vianne such heartache. Narcisse, the crotchedy florist across the street, dies and leaves behind quite a mystery. He leaves his oak wood and strawberry patch to Rosette and a confession to Francis Reynaud, which is slowly drawn out through the entire novel. Meanwhile, Narcisse’s family lets the old flower shop to the mysterious tattoo artist, Morgane. Vianne immediately senses that Morgane has powers, which frightens her. Surprisingly, Vianne joins forces with Francis Reynaud against Morgane, which has consequences.
The Chocolat series has so much of what I love about the Armand Gamache series: a village full of quirky people and food. So much delicious food. I’m always inspired to get into the kitchen and cook when I read these books, which is a very helpful push! And I’m hoping that Joanne Harris writes more of these books. I simply adore them.
I borrowed The Final Revival of Opal & Nev from Libby twice, and both times thought, this would be amazing on audio! I kept waiting for my state to purchase an audio copy of the book and they never did, so I decided to use an Audible credit. And I was right: this book is amazing on audio! It’s a mock-documentary about Opal and Nev: musicians in a rock band in the 70s. Opal is a young black woman who grew up in Detroit and Nev is a skinny, red headed Brit. I think you can do the math, especially when the multiplier is the 1970s.
This reminded me a lot of Daisy Jones and the Six, but really dug into race in America. Opal is a fascinating character and I enjoyed listening to her tell her history and her side of the story. This book asks us to think about what we’re willing to tolerate and what we’re willing to sacrifice to ensure equal treatment in the US. The ending is heartbreaking and superb. Totally worth waiting for on audio!
Bryce is still on a Captain Underpants kick and I’m just going with it. I think we’re just revisiting all of his favorite hits. This one is the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part I: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets. I don’t think I need to say much more about it? We’ve now restarted the 10th one. !!
That’s about all I have this week. Next Wednesday will be a lighter post for sure – my hold for The Books of Jacob came through at the library and I have a feeling it’s going to occupy a lot of my time! But I hope to be back on Friday with a few pictures of flowers and some moments of joy. Until then – please stay safe and cozy!