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!
Loved the glimpses of your visitor whilst unraveling! And Opal and Nev is on my list!
Thanks Jordy! She is always so curious – I love it (most of the time). I hope you enjoy Opal and Nev – it was a lot of fun!
Fun film – makes unraveling a little nicer! I keep meaning to read another book in the Chocolat series (I’ve only read the first).
I started “Opal and Nev” but couldn’t get into it. After reading your review, I think I might not have given the book enough time. I’ll give it another shot. Your take on “Captain Underpants” made me laugh. Perfect for kids. But for adults… 😉
It certainly took me a lot of time to find my groove with Opal & Nev. I don’t know if you listen to audiobooks very often? If not, this is a great choice if you’re looking to give them a try. And Captain Underpants – oh my goodness. Oh.my.goodness. I do okay when we only read 1-2 in a row, but I think we’re on our 4th or 5th in a row now? Sheesh 😉
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I don’t listen to audiobooks very often, but I do like them. That’s how I listened to the “Midnight for Charlie Bone” series, wonderful books for ten and and up. After Captain Underpants. 😉
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Oh ugh for actual unraveling! 😦 I am glad you are back on track and weren’t further along!
I am working my way through The Books of Jacob… and I am enjoying it!
So glad to hear you’re enjoying The Books of Jacob! I started it last night and am thoroughly taken with the setting, but am not really sure what’s happening? I’m excited to really dig into it this week 🙂
I find unraveling with a ball winder very soothing — almost worth the pain of having to rip! But at least you discovered your error fairly early on and didn’t lose too much knitting. I’m sure you’ll be back to where you were in no time.
I knew Opal & Nev had to be listened to, so I didn’t even try reading it with my eyes. I read it before Daisy Jones and the Six, but I agree that they’re similar (though both enjoyable). I’m excited for you to get into The Books of Jacob; I’m still working my way through it — just passed the halfway point! — and am really not sure what to think yet. I’m committed to finishing, though, and I’m hoping I can find the time this week to get through the rest!
That ball winder thing is cool!
I still want to read Opal and Nev. I’m mad at myself that I haven’t picked it up yet!
I love my ball winder! It’s so handy 🙂
The book isn’t going anywhere, Laila! You’ll get to it 😉 But yes – I think you’ll love it!
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I can so relate to your Everyday Sweater story … glad you’re back on track (and hope you don’t get to the “third time’s a charm” place where I tend to go with many of my sweaters). I now have all four of the Chocolat books on my TBR. They are all available at the library, and I plan to binge just as soon as I finish my Womens’ Prize reading (which might be this month, assuming I’ve already covered the short list?!)
Thanks Mary, but I think I fell into your same trap. I started again last night and found that my stitch count was off after my first yoke increase. I think I’ve figured out what I’m doing wrong and am planning to rip back out tonight. Yikes!! I hope I don’t have to do it a fourth time!!
I hope you love the Chocolat books. I sure do! Spring is a good time to read them, I think. Such fun!
I just hate it when you have to unravel , I’ve had to do the same thing not too long ago on a sweater I was knitting but it’s better to catch early 😊
You’re totally right – I caught the mistake nice and early 🙂 Thanks for your sympathies, Tina!
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I’m glad you are back on track with your sweater. Kudos to you for making the decision after only 4 or 5 rounds. And thank you – I had no idea that Chocolat is a series. Where have I been? I’m off to see what’s available at my library.
I didn’t realize Chocolat was a series; mind you, I’m not sure if I’ve read the first one. Maybe I’ll give it a go!
Good job getting restarted on the sweater!
Chocolat is one of my favorite books (and movies)! I love rewatching it on Easter so it seemed fitting to read these two books last week 🙂 I hope you enjoy the books!
I have never seen a ball winder, fascinating to watch.I suppose in the UK most of our yarn comes in balls to begin with.I’m a fan of Joanne Harris, but Chocolat is my favourite.
I’m surprised that ball winders are new to you, Cathy!! And I’m with you – Chocolat is SO GOOD!