Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Unraveled, Week 40/2023

Would you look at that number up above? Somehow we only have 12 weeks left this year, and I don't like it one bit -- it's going by way too quickly. September still feels like it was only two weeks long, though I guess being down with COVID for two weeks will do that to you. In any case, it's Wednesday, and that means it's time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers! I am happy to kick things off with a completed pair of socks:

Pattern (such as it is): 68 stitches, stockinette, with a tubular cast-on and forethought afterthought heel
Yarn: Woolens and Nosh superwash Targhee fingering (411 yds./100 g) in Boss Ass Bitch; used ~333 yds./81 g
Needles: US 0/2.0 mm
Started/Completed: September 7/October 3

Mary asked for a photo of these on my feet, so here's a bonus shot:

An afterthought heel is never going to fit my feet as well as a flap and gusset, but I do like what it does with the stripes. It's not something I'll do very often (I think this is maybe my third pair ever?). These are a snug fit, though they've not yet been washed. But snug socks are a good thing, because they usually loosen as they're worn.

Because it's Socktober, I will soon be casting on another pair of socks using this pattern (Ravelry link) and these yarns:

West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply

Reading has been excellent the past week, and I can officially say that I have read all of the Booker shortlist. I was also thinking that if the authors of the four books I finished this past week were in a band, they'd be called Paul, Paul, Paul, and Mary.
The Bee Sting is the book I kept wanting to get back to reading but was repeatedly thwarted by work. When I finally had the time to really focus on it, I was able to speed through it. This family story is told from the point of view of its four members, and we learn all about their history, their mistakes, and their regrets. Though the whole story is told by an omniscient narrator, each character has their own unique voice (and in the case of the mother, that means no punctuation whatsoever, which I adjusted to but was still quite annoyed by). There's something sinister coming at the end of the book, and you can tell from the very beginning; as you get further into the book, the pace really picks up and point of view changes more rapidly. (Who was it who said that the pacing reminded them of Birnam Wood? Because that comparison was spot on.) It's a long book -- 600+ pages -- but well worth reading, though I found Imelda's sections to be somewhat of a slog because of the punctuation issue. I gave it 4 stars.

Mary recommended Wild and Precious: A Celebration of Mary Oliver several weeks back, so I'd put it in my favorites on Hoopla for when I needed some audio to listen to. This is billed as an audiobook but is really more of a long-form podcast. It is exactly what the title says and features reflections on Mary Oliver and her poetry by celebrities, former students, and academics. The best part is that it includes clips of Mary Oliver herself reading her own poems. Even though there is some discussion of dark topics, the mood is light and every word is enjoyable. And at only around four hours, this is something you can squeeze in when you need a break from heavier reading. I gave it 4 stars.

Speaking of heavier reading, on the same day, I finished Prophet Song, a book I put down only to sleep, shower, and exercise after starting it. This book has been called dystopian, but to me, it felt very possible. It takes place in, we assume, present day in the Republic of Ireland, where a totalitarian regime has taken control of the government and instituted "emergency powers" that allow it to take away more and more rights and silence those who speak out against it -- but in such a way that people don't really realize what's happening until it's too late. It is, I imagine, quite similar to how things started in Nazi Germany, and it is so chilling because it feels very much like it could happen today. I can't say that I loved this books, but I was absolutely enthralled by it and could not stop thinking about it when I wasn't reading it. The writing is fabulous, though the style is a bit unconventional. This isn't a book I would recommend to most people, but if you're a fan of, say, The Handmaid's Tale or other books that are fiction but read like they could be true, you would enjoy this. I gave it 5 stars, for the artistry and the compelling story.

My final title for the shortlist (and my final Paul) was This Other Eden, an imagined tale of a tiny real-life island off the coast of Maine that was home to a multiracial group of inhabitants who were forcibly removed from the island at the behest of racist eugenicists. There isn't much of a plot to this book (other than the inhabitants' removal toward the end), but the book tells the history of the family who originally settled on the island and about the current residents, who are all quirky and unusual but lovable. And the writing! I think the writing is the best part about this book. I do wish Paul Harding had included some historical facts about what actually happened, but I will just have to do that research on my own. I gave it 4 stars, mostly because of the writing. (Also, this one is short -- just a little more than 200 pages. I started it Sunday night right before bed and finished it Monday before dinner.)

I still have some other titles from the Booker longlist that I want to read, but now that I've read the finalists, I don't feel as much urgency to get through them. I am currently reading Wellness, which I know a number of you have already read or are in the middle of. I had asked my Libby app to notify me when my library got it, and I put it on hold as soon as I got the notification, so I ended up first in line for it.

Today is washer repair day -- please send good thoughts that they are actually able to fix it because I have about five loads of laundry that need to be done!


  1. LOVE the stripey socks. Congrats on a finish.

    The new ones look like they will be a very interesting knit.

  2. I love those stripey socks with their perfect stripey heels! But your review from these Booker Shortlist titles has helped me put them on my TBR list! Thank you!

  3. The stripey socks look wonderful Sarah. I've never done an afterthought heel, but I love the way it looks with the stripes. The yarn for the new pair is very pretty (and kind of Halloween-ish). I'm reading The Bee Sting but am not real interested in it....I'm in Imelda's section and finding the lack of punctuation very annoying (and am wondering how he even wrote it that way!!).

  4. Those socks will be amazing! Sending all the good washer repair vibes your way.

  5. How are there only twelve weeks left in the year?? Where has it all gone??

  6. Those socks are fabulous! I'm looking forward to reading The Bee Sting!

  7. Your completed socks are wonderful and I'm sure the next pair will be, too! I've looked at that WYS yarn too many times and I bet once I see your socks knit with it, I'm going to have to break down and buy some. I'm having a tough time with The Bee Sting, and the lack of punctuation issue is part of it. I'm reading The Caretaker and just enjoying it so much more, so it may be a book I need to come back to at a better time. Sending good washer-fixing thoughts your way!

  8. The striped socks look great with that heel. I am another one who prefers the fit of a heel flap and gusset or maybe I am just old-fashioned. I'm sending good thoughts and hoping by this evening that your washer is fixed and running.

  9. As usual, the stripes are FAB! :-) I read Prophet Song last week . . . and what a gut-punch. I had a total love-hate relationship with that one, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone, actually. But. . . Artistry, for sure! (And I think This Other Eden is highly overrated. . . ) ;-)

  10. You had a Booker-ful week of reading! Love it! I'm having a FOMO moment with Prophet Song but still want to wait until it's published in the US. At least that's what I keep telling myself :p

    Those stripes are gorgeous. I love the colors!