Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Unraveled, Week 46/2022

Happy hump day, friends! It's another gloomy one here, and it feels quite a lot like winter. Yesterday we got our first measurable snow of the season -- a bit more than an inch, according to the National Weather Service. It was coming down in very big clumps for a while there, and some of it stuck to the grass and the tops of things like garbage cans, but it's all melted this morning (I'll have to be very careful about wet leaves on my run this morning). I have the lights on in my bedroom/home office already, so you know it's very dark outside, so I apologize in advance for the poor quality of the photos in this post.

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for my weekly link-up with Kat and the Unravelers and a check-in on my crafting and reading.

Truthfully there has not been a ton of knitting since Monday because I've been focused on finishing up my combo spin. As of this morning, this is all that's left to be spun for the third bobbin of singles, and I'm very confident that it will be completed today:

I was anxious to get this wrapped up because I was expecting my Fibernymph Dye Works Holiday Countdown Set to show up this week -- which it did, yesterday!

I decided to get the fiber set this year, so I have 24 bags containing 10 g of fiber each. I will not be waiting until December 1 to start spinning because, aside from the fact that I won't be home all of the month, we have some big things happening mid-December and I have a feeling my crafting time will be seriously curtailed. So I'm hoping I can wrap up the combo spin this week and get started on my spinning of this fiber next week.

It has been a heck of week for my reading, with five finishes (though two of those were extremely short, so don't be too impressed).

The first and my favorite of the bunch was The Marriage Portrait, the next Read With Us selection. I think by now you all know how much I love Maggie O'Farrell's writing, and this book just blew me away. The subject of the novel is Lucrezia de'Medici, the teenaged daughter of Cosimo de'Medici who is married off to the duke of Ferrara after her older sister, who had been betrothed to him, dies suddenly. At the very beginning, the couple is in an isolated hunting lodge, and she is convinced that he will kill her while they are there. The story then goes back and forth in time, giving us a full picture of Lucrezia's short life in the dazzling setting of Renaissance Florence. The writing is absolutely spectacular and the story compelling. I won't give any spoilers, but I will say that I was very pleasantly surprised by a twist at the end that I did not see coming -- and I expect we'll be discussing it in depth when we meet in January! I gave it 5 stars.

Over the weekend, I listened to the audiobook of The Boys, which Bonny recently recommended. Following her advice, I did not read any synopsis or reviews of the book before I started it, and I'm glad I did. This is one of those books where you will have a particular opinion of the characters and then there will be a moment where everything you thought you knew gets flipped on its head. I will not share any details beyond that because I think, like Bonny, that it's best to go into this book as a blank slate. I found it to be really well written and thought provoking, though I will caution you that it is, in many ways, a pandemic book and one that deals with the isolation and loneliness of the pandemic, so if that is something you're not ready to deal with, you may want to skip this one. I gave it 4 stars.

I picked up A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance several weeks ago when it was a Kindle deal because the author is one of those featured in this season's lineup in the speaker series I'm subscribed to, and I find I enjoy the lectures even more when I've read the book the authors are speaking on. This is a nonfiction work that explores the contradictory role of Black artists and performers in American culture -- how the Black body can seem to be simultaneously invisible and invaluable depending on how it serves white culture at any given moment. It's also partly a memoir, and the writing reflects the author's work as both a poet and a critic. I suspect there's a lot I didn't fully understand as a white reader of this book, but I found it to be really interesting and learned a lot of new things. I'll probably have to reread it at some point. I gave it 4 stars.

The two very short works were both read yesterday, so that should give you an indication of what I mean when I say "short"!

I was delighted to find that Claire Keegan's newest work, Foster, was available on Hoopla, which meant no wait. The digital version claimed it had 60-some pages, but I think it actually had fewer than that. As you'd expect from something so short, the writing is very spare and leaves a lot to the reader to intuit. The gist of the plot is this: the unnamed narrator, a young girl who is one of many children in a family that is struggling financially, is taken to live with a childless couple over the summer, and while she's there, she learns what it's like to live in a home where there is affection and care. My main complaint about this book is the same one I had about Keegan's last novel: There's just not enough. This felt to me like the start of a novel but not a complete one. But there is skill require to evoke strong emotions without saying much, and for that I give her credit. I gave it 3 stars.

As the cover indicates, Alice Hoffman's The Bookstore Sisters is, truly, a short story at just 36 pages. It was a title I picked up for free through the Amazon First Reads program; I'm much more selective about picking up books through this program now, but because I know I have enjoyed the Hoffman books I've read, I was willing to take a chance on this one (and it's so short, even if it was bad, I wouldn't have spend much time on it). It turned out to be a quite enjoyable about two sisters who have long been estranged and the family bookstore that brings them back together. It was a pleasant way to spend a half an hour or so on a gloomy afternoon. I gave it 4 stars.

I'm currently tackling a brick of a book -- Demon Copperhead, which I'm reading in hardback. I'm only 30 pages in but am enjoying the voice of the title character, and I'm hoping I can find some extra reading time (so far I've only picked it up before bed) so make some headway, because this is not a book I want to carry with me on our trip!

Tonight the Mister and I are attending the WQED Cardigan Party, back in person after two years off for COVID, and our cardigans are ready!

What are you making and reading this week?


  1. Lots of lovely fiber and spinning here! I have a dumb question - what is a combo spin? I know I've read this before on your blog, but I'm not sure I know the real meaning. I think it's spinning a combination of fibers but there may be more to it than that. I'm looking forward to The Marriage Portrait discussion and I'm glad you enjoyed The Boys. I can see that it's a book people might either enjoy or hate. I'm going to check Hoopla for Foster. Have fun at the cardigan party!

  2. I can't remember what a Cardigan Party is! I'm going to look for Foster on Hoopla and The Book Store Sisters on Amazon - I know I did not pick a prime book recently, so maybe I can pick up a short story! Your spinning is so pretty and I can't wait to see what you unwrap in the packages that arrived!

  3. I read The Boys, too, on Bonny's recommendation and I liked it a lot. I have Demon Copperhead on hold but haven't gotten it yet. I'm currently reading The Colony and I think it's great so far.

  4. Can you remind us what a "Cardigan Party" is? Your reading and your spinning are so inspiring. I am about half way through The Marriage Portrait. The writing is beautiful but for some reason I have mixed reactions to the novel. I'm waiting until I finish to pass my final judgement. - Not that my final judgement is all that important to anyone but me. ;-)

  5. I hope you enjoyed your Cardigan party! I love this tradition :) And what a great week of reading! I am anxious to get to the Marriage Portrait and Little Devil in America has been on my TBR for a while!

    I love your idea of starting your holiday countdown spins NOW. I hope you enjoy that process! And I'm anxious to see your finished combo spin. What a wonderful week!

  6. Gorgeous spinning, Sarah! I love your cardigans were all ready for the Cardigan Party! What fun!

    I just started Marriage Portrait, but have not gotten too far in. My plan is to settle in with it later today. (And I did not realize it would be so icy this morning... I did not wear my YakTrax on my walk with Sherman and I needed them! So be careful out there today!)

  7. Love your cardigans -- and hope you had a great time at the Cardigan Party. :-) I'm reading Demon Copperhead right now, too.

  8. Can't wait to hear (and see!) about the Cardi Party!!