Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Unraveled, Week 16/2022

Every week at this time I feel surprised that it's already Wednesday, and today is no exception! And I have to say that every week I am always so grateful to Kat for hosting her weekly Unraveling link-up because I always have a framework for my post.

Knitting this week is all about the handspun Hitchhiker. I've been pretty much monogamous to this project since finishing my sweater last week, although I did do a bit of spinning (but not enough to share). Here's where things stand today, and you can see from my progress keeper -- which I've been moving up at the start of my knitting time every day -- that I didn't do as much yesterday, but that was mainly because I had a very busy work day.

My current ball of yarn is getting small, and I think I will be ready to start blending in the next color after another row or two. Originally I was thinking that I would work the three blue-heavy skeins from lightest to darkest, but considering that the rows are getting longer and eating up more yarn, now I'm thinking it might be smarter to reverse the order and use the yarn from least amount to most amount left. What do you think?

After a week with no finishes, this week I finished two books -- and one of them probably could count as more than one book given its length!

The Books of Jacob took me a full two weeks to read, and it was quite a journey. I was intrigued by it after reading the blurb, and I was encouraged by the fact that both Mary and Margene had enjoyed it. I read it knowing that I was likely going to be confused and that there were a lot of characters, and throughout my read, I kept waiting for things to come together. In my opinion, they never really did. This is a strange book, though well written, and I'm still not entirely sure of the point of it -- or I wasn't until I read the author's note at the end and learned that the Jacob of the title was a real person and this book is an imagined account of his life! There are some supernatural elements of this book, which I enjoyed, and a lot of talk of religion, and it's a brick, to be sure. I'm still processing my thoughts, but I can say that I thought it was just okay -- I gave it 3 stars. Know what you're getting into before reading it, if you're inclined to, and maybe see if you can get it from the library if you're not sure if you'll like it.

In need of something totally different, I listened to Julie Otsuka's The Swimmers on my walks on Sunday and Monday. I had heard part of the author's interview on Fresh Air a few weeks ago, and then Mary mentioned in our Zoom this past weekend that she'd enjoyed it, so when I saw the audiobook (only 4 hours long) was available from my library with no wait, it seemed like a sign. The title refers mainly to the first chapter/section of the book, but in my opinion it's really about one of the swimmers and her struggle with fronto-temporal dementia. It feels very much like the author used this work of fiction to work through her grief at losing her mother to the disease, and there are some beautiful but also truly heartbreaking passages. I gave it 3 stars.

I'm currently reading All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, which I'd been waiting for patiently from the library for some time. I'm also hoping to pick up the next book we're discussing for the Erdrich-along soon, and maybe then I'll finally get back to Braiding Sweetgrass and Young Mungo.

What are you making and reading this week?


  1. Your handspun hitchhiker looks really great. I think I will pass on The Books of Jacob.

  2. Your handspun Hitchhiker is stunning! I think it's a good idea to use the yarn from least amount to most amount left as you suggested; those rows do start to get long towards the end. I've been thinking about putting Jacob on hold, but I think I'll give it a pass. If I'm going to invest that much reading time, I think I want to be on a stellar book.

  3. Oh, boy. That felt like a big investment in Jacob (at least, it would be for me) with not enough return. I actually have a library copy of our next Erdrich read, but I really want to postpone as long as possible--for the sake of my memory when it comes time for discussion! And speaking of which--Mungo also just came in. (of course!) Might just have to bite the bullet and jot a few notes.

  4. Oh that handspun Hitchhiker is coming along beautifully! I'd love to see an author talk for The Swimmers - based on the acknowledgements, I know she did research on swimming and dementia, and I'm wondering just how much of the story is autobiographical. I'd love to think the whole book is a tribute to her mom, but I'm just not sure.

  5. The hitchhiker is wonderful. I think working from the least amounts of yarn to the greater amounts is a good idea. No sense wasting good handspun or having umpteen little amounts leftover. I really enjoyed All That She Carried. I am always in awe of writers who do such meticulous research and then craft it into a story.

  6. Gorgeous Hitchhiker, of course ;)

    I'm anxious to finish The Books of Jacob and maybe we can process it together? There's a lot to think about with this one! (And I can't get past my own stubborn annoyances, which I emailed you about this morning.)

  7. Lovely Hitchhiker, Sarah. It's going to be just beautiful -- and all the more special because of your handspun!

  8. I'm not sure why it never occurred to me until now to use multiple colors. I have so many ideas for more combinations now!

  9. I had Jacob's Books home the month before last but couldn't bring myself to start (it's a brick to be sure!), and now someone else has it currently. I do have two other books of her's (Day-house and Night-house and one collection of short stories) which I still have to start, but I think I might like them (and Jacob's Books, too). I really enjoyed her writing style and the sprinkles of fantasy, as well. I'm curious!