Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Unraveled, Week 7/2024

Oh friends, it seems I was a bit too enthusiastic about how my Monday was shaping up when last I posted and karma felt the need to bite me.

After I hit post and sat through my daily morning meeting, I went out for a run. It was cold again, but the sun was out and I was feeling good. Just as I was nearing the 3-mile mark, I took my eyes off the sidewalk to look at one of the cute neighborhood dogs -- and promptly tripped on the sidewalk and went flying into it face first. I will spare you all a photo of my poor mangled face; suffice it to say it's not pretty. I've scraped up much of one side of it, required a couple of stitches in my upper lip for a gash, have a black eye, and broke off a pretty sizable piece of one of my top incisors. I also keep discovering new sort places and bruises on various other parts of my body. But I am very thankful it was not worse. I didn't lose consciousness or break any bones (aside from my poor tooth). The woman walking the dog immediately came to help me. The Mister was able to leave work right away to take me to urgent care and, while I was getting stitched up, called my dentist to get me in for an emergency appointment this morning. The scrapes are starting to heal and the swelling is going down, but I'm going to look like I just came out of a boxing match for a while. I'm posting all this not to gain sympathy (really, I'm okay, more annoyed at myself than anything) but because some of you may see me on a Zoom in the next several weeks and I wanted you to be prepared!

But now back to the usual business -- it's Wednesday, which means it's time to check in with Kat and the Unravelers!

Aside from the loss of time spent sitting and waiting at urgent care (for which I was very thankful for the Kindle app on my phone!), this injury has not affected my crafting. I have mainly been spinning the past couple of days and have a finished bobbin of singles to show for it.

I've added a bit to my sweater as well, though it doesn't look all that different from the last time you saw it. Reading, though, has been quite good in the past week.

I can't remember exactly when I heard about In Memoriam, but I'd had it on hold at the library and read it in two days after I got it. This a story about two young men who meet and fall in love at a British boarding school and whose lives are torn apart by World War I. But it's about much more than that. It's about the unbelievable horrors of war and about the effects of being a soldier on the psyche. It's about the bonds of friendship formed among young people. It's about a search for identity -- nationality, sexuality, purpose in life -- in the midst of one of the greatest tragedies the world has ever seen. I'll admit I wasn't blown away by the writing, but it's a good story decently told, and I enjoyed it, despite the difficult subject matter. I gave it 4 stars.
I had requested The Berlin Letters via NetGalley after reading the synopsis and read it quite quickly after I received approval. This is a story that takes place in two timelines. In the prologue, we see the beginning of what will become the Berlin Wall, as a toddler Luisa is quickly passed over the barbed wire to her grandparents on the western side by her mother. We meet Luisa again in Washington, D.C. in the late 1980s. Having flunked out of CIA operative school, she is now working for the agency as a codebreaker because of her natural talent for the subject -- a talent that was encouraged by her recently deceased grandfather. When a coworker comes to her for help with the letters referred to by the title, Luisa notices a small mark on a letter that she knows she has seen before, and she goes looking through her grandparents' house in search of some clue her grandfather left her. She had been told her parents had died when she was young and that was why her grandparents had raised her, but suddenly she's not so sure they had always told her the truth. She soon finds evidence to suggest that not only was her grandfather known to the CIA, but her father is still alive -- and she may be the only one who can save him from an infamous Stasi prison. This is an entertaining and tense ride through the repressive years of the DDR, with the constant threat of surveillance, betrayal, and "accidental" deaths. I have no idea if the codebreaking details were accurate, but they felt well researched. The writing isn't great, but it's entertaining enough and certainly kept me reading. I gave it 4 stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Harper Muse. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This book will be published March 5, 2024.

Finally, I listened to Erasure, the 2001 novel on which the recent movie American Fiction is based. Thelonious "Monk" Ellison is a novelist whose novels are critically acclaimed but commercially failures. When his most recent manuscript is rejected by more than a dozen publishers and yet a book that he sees as a sell-out stereotype called We's Lives in Da Ghetto becomes a huge success, he decides he can do better and writes his own satirical novel of what white America thinks life is like for a Black man. Naturally, it becomes the next big thing, bringing Monk fame and fortune even as he as ashamed of selling out. At the same time, he is dealing with challenges and tragedies in his personal life. The book is brilliantly written, but I think I missed out on a lot because I listened rather than read with my eyes. There are some seemingly unrelated interludes that I didn't really understand, and the entirety of the book Monk writes (which is included as part of the book) made me really uncomfortable, though I realized that was the point. I gave it 3 stars.

I'm nearly finished with another ARC, Real Americans, and I've also just started Larry's Party as part of next in-depth book study that Mary is hosting -- this next year, we're focusing on backlist Women's Prize winners.

What are you making and reading this week?


  1. Sarah! I am so sorry about your fall. You seem to be in good spirits - but wow! I hope you're taking it slow and taking care of yourself.

    What a great week of reading! I still haven't read Erasure but it's on the list. Take care!

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your misadventures, but glad to hear that you were able to get things patched up relatively quickly. Cute dogs are cute but maybe it's best to admire them while standing still in the future. I hope the dentist can fix your tooth easily and your pain and bruises lessen this week. Take care out there! (Thank goodness injuries caused by reading, knitting, and spinning are rare!)

  3. Sarah! I'm so sorry you took such a fall. Having done the same I can tell you it's very uncomfortable for anyone you meet to see a ravaged face. Hope it's not too painful and that you heal quickly!

  4. YIKES. Sending healing vibes your way. Hope everything heals up quickly.

  5. Oh no! Falling like that is the worst, sending you lots of quick healing thoughts!

  6. Oh, Sarah! Loads, just loads of sympathy are coming your way anyway. Because what a terrible experience -- though I'm glad to hear you're in good spirits. Sheesh, what a time. What did the dentist say this morning?
    I've had it in the back of my mind to go see American Fiction -- but would want to read the book first. Kind of on the fence...
    Very best wishes to you for quick healing, comfort, and confidence back out on the sidewalk. ♥

  7. oh Sarah, my whole body hurts for you!! hope the dentist was able to fix your tooth and I'm sending all the good vibes for healing!! (also, I definitely think Erasure works better in print - all those interludes are quite clever, and just beg to be read and re-read) ... looking forward to diving into our backlist study!

  8. Oh gosh Sarah! I am so very sorry for your trip and fall. I've done that twice now...the first time I looked like a battered wife and the second time I needed quite a few stitches in my knee. I hope your healing is quick and thorough and that the dentist was able to repair your tooth. On the bright side, you've had a good week of reading for sure.

  9. Oh Sarah, that fall sounds awful. I hope everything heals well and that everything feels better soon. I'm glad your husband was able to help you to Urgent Care in a timely manner. I love the blues in the fiber. Take good care. Rest as needed.

  10. Oh Sarah. That fall does sound horrible! May the dentist swift and painless and those bruises fade quickly! I am sending you all the healing vibes your way!

    Your spinning is, of course, so lovely! And your reading always inspires me! (I have erasure on hold at the library!)

  11. Oh no, Sarah! I'm so sorry to hear about your . . . face plant. I hope you're feeling less pain today -- although I imagine it will take awhile for those bruises to fade. I am sending all the quick-healing-juju your way. Much love to you. XO

  12. Oh, Sarah! I'm so sorry to hear that this happened to you and I hope you are improving! Those sorts of falls are the worst and I am relieved that you didn't hurt yourself more than you did. Hopefully that tooth is all fixed now, too.

  13. I’ve also got the Alice win book as I want to read on Goodreads. I’m wondering if we both saw somebody else reading it on Wednesday?

  14. Anonymous5:14 AM

    PS, really sorry to hear that you had a horrible fall. I hope you recover swiftly. Rachell

  15. As one who has what a friend once described as an "uneasy relationship with gravity", I sympathize with your fall and resultant injuries. As bad as they were, it could have been much worse. Baby yourself as you heal!

    1. I am laughing because that is a great way to describe it! I guess I also have such a relationship with gravity! Fortunately by now I am nearly completely healed.