Monday, July 31, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge: July 31, 2017

I zipped through Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor this week.  I LOVED this book - entertaining, fun characters, all sorts of history geekery that I loved.  So as soon as I finished this one up (which was for week 20), I opened up the second in the series for week 21 (A continuation of a book you've already read.)  

A Symphony of Echoes continues the story with Max as our protagonist, as well as many of the supporting cast from book 1.  Book 2 has Max being chased by Jack the Ripper, visiting Canterbury Cathedral of Archbishop Thomas a' Becket and figuring out what dodos enjoyed eating for afternoon tea.  I'm about halfway through this second book and enjoying this series so much I'm wondering how I will make myself pick something else on my challenge list once it's over. 

For those keeping score, I've read 28 out of 52 books for this year's challenge, so I've got 24 more to go!



The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.

3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.

8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth:  Summerlong by Peter Beagle.

13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.

22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (linkPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain 
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions.  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction:  
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Stitching Wednesday - July 26, 2017

A fun week of stitching things.  I worked on Village of Hawk Run Hollow, block 4, for my 6-day rotation on that.  I'd say I'm perhaps just under halfway through the block?


This will be the town's boarding house and while I haven't stitched the modifications on this one for personalized details, I will be changing up the sign to reflect my Gram's name.  This one is on hold then until August.

Yesterday I then started the final 6-day rotation for July, which also was a new start I've been saving to work on as a birthday treat for myself (technically tomorrow, the 27th, but I'll be working on this for 6 full days as well) - Chatelaine's Desert Mandala.



Not a great photo as it's a download off the Chatelaine site of the mockup, but this is what it will look like when it's finished.  I'm stitching mine on a 28-count hand-dyed Lugana fabric by Picture This Plus in the Calypso colorway.  I thought all the desert-y colors would really pop off this fabric.

I've started in the center at the tree and lightning bolt. The colors are plain DMC threads and the silver bits is sparkly Petite Treasure Braid.


I'm really enjoying working on this so far - lots to keep you interested and fun to watch the picture take shape.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Reading Challenge 2017: July 24, 2017

I finished The Paris Wife by Paula McLain for week #27, a book by one of your favorite authors.  I really enjoyed this one.  I felt the author really brought Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, to life. She created a picture of a complex marriage to a complex person and all of the difficulties inherent in that.  The sights and sounds of post WWI Paris were also brought to life, with the glittering ex pat society as well. If you like historical fiction, you'll probably enjoy this one!

Next up, I started Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor for week #20 - a book you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading.  One my Da sent me (and he's now sent me the next 4 in the series too!) and one he specifically thought I would really enjoy.  Note to self: Take this advice.  Any time my dad recommends a book to me as "something I think you'd really enjoy", I wind up absolutely loving it.  He obviously knows my taste!  :)  All the stuff I love - a smart and fiesty heroine who is a bit of an introverted socially inept history geek, adventure, time-travel, lots of trivial history tidbits snuck into the text by the author, who obviously has done some research.  I'm really looking forward to this one!

From the Goodreads site:
"History is just one damned thing after another."

Behind the seemingly innocuous fa├žade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document - to try and find the answers to many of History's unanswered questions...and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back - to the death. And, as they soon discover - it's not just History they're fighting.

The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.

3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.

8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth:  Summerlong by Peter Beagle.

13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
linkPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain 
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions.  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction:  
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Stitching Wednesday - July 19, 2017

This week I've been working on my Under the Sea SAL from Lakeside Needlecraft, and I started and finished up the July clue.


I made some changes to the original design of the mermaid.  I wasn't thrilled with her face - her eyes looked a little odd to me - so I turned her in profile so she's chatting with the cute little green fish and altered her hair to make that work. This finished up my 6-day rotation on this piece, and I'll be waiting for the August clue to work on next month.

I also have been participating in the Dog Days of Summer SAL through Cross-Stitch Finish Line for the last week.  The SAL ran 07/14 through 07/19 (today), and I worked for 30-60 minutes on different projects for each day to correspond to the themes/prompts.

07/14 - S: Seashore.  Under the Sea SAL. (You can see that above).

07/15 - U: Umbrella.  A Stitching Shelf.  I added in a few hundred stitches of confetti on this piece and no, you can't see the umbrella in the area I worked on, but there is one in this design further down.





07/16 - M: Design name beginning with M.  I started Mabon by The Primitive Hare.



07/17 - M: Munchies - something to do with food.  Welcome Autumn (which has a pumpkin).  See below also for R.

07/18 - E: Eternity - a piece taking forever.  I changed up my project choice and worked on the Under the Sea SAL since that's a year-long project (which feels like an eternity).

07/19 - R: Red - a project with the color red in it.  I also decided to stick with the Welcome piece since it had red in it and it was still on my Q-snaps.  I worked on the lettering this morning since that is in a pretty wine red color.



For the next 6 days, I'll be working on block #4 of Village of Hawk Run Hollow.  I'm hoping to make some decent progress on this block this rotation. Here's my current status on this piece.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Reading Challenge 2017 - July 17, 2017

I finished up David Roberts's The Lost World of the Old Ones.  I loved this book - interesting, not dry (because you know sometimes nonfiction is a slog, even if you are interested in the subject matter).  I zipped my way through this book, was thoroughly entranced by all the hidden gems in my neck of the woods and learned a lot from the book.  A recommended read.

This weekend, I started The Paris Wife by Paula McLain for week #27, a book by one of your favorite authors.  I read another book by this author last year (Circling the Sun) and really liked her writing style, so I had this on my to-read list since then.  It's a historical fiction written from the point of view of Ernest Hemingway's first wife (of 4), Hadley Richardson.  Set mostly in Paris in the 1920s, in the community of the creative "Lost Generation" of Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and George Sand, the book tells the story of their 7 years of marriage before Hemingway's infidelity breaks it apart.  I'm just about halfway through this one and really enjoying it.  The fact that it's told from Hadley's point of view (rather than the more typical point of view via Hemingway's writing) makes for an interesting read.  I like the author's deft handling of Hadley's character and the ups and downs of her and Hemingway's personality.  Hoping to have that one finished up this week.

The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.

3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.

8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth:  Summerlong by Peter Beagle.

13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
linkPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain 
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions.  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction:  
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location



Spinning Friday - July 15, 2017

A bit over halfway through the Tour already!

I finished up the first braid I was working on.  Originally dyed as a gradient, I broke this up and spun for 2-ply self-striping socks.


Roving:  Superwash merino, dyed by Two If By Hand. in the Pirate Jenny colorway. 
Weight:  Fingering/sock weight.
Yardage/Ounces: 320 yards/3.7 oz



Next on the wheel, I started a braid of Falkland wool from FatCatKnits in the Cassidy colorway.  I'll be working on this over the next week or so.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stitching Wednesday - July 12, 2017

I had a page finish for the Shoot The Moon project - which nicely closed out my 6-day rotation on that project for this month.



I was very happy with my progress on this piece this month.  The project has 12 pages in total, so if I can try to get one done every month's rotation thru the end of this year, it'll be half finished.

I also snuck in a small finish.  I've been working up the set of Celtic festival inspired freebie patterns from The Primitive Hare, and Lammas is coming up on August 1st. These only take a couple of hours to stitch up, so this is already finished!


I stitched this using a scrap of hand-dyed 28-count linen from my shop (colorway Time Traveler), using a hand-dyed variegated cotton from Ship's Manor for the letters, and a limited edition Gentle Arts colorway for the stalks, and then Oxblood, Winter's Wheat and Dark Dune hand-dyed cotton threads from Colour and Cotton for the rest. I backed it with some neutral cotton fabric I had in stash. I love how it came out!

Starting July 7th, I began the next 6-day rotation working on Star Weaver, which is a storykeep sized (aka bookmark) piece charted by Heaven and Earth Designs with artwork by Tom Cross.


I finished the first page last month, and I've been working on page 2 of 3 (and a wee bit extra) this rotation.  I just started the very peak of his pointy hat yesterday.


This one will get a few more days of focused work (through the 12th) and then I'll rotate on to my Under the Sea SAL.  The July clue was released at the beginning of the month, but I've opted to wait to work on it a bit so I can use the project for another SAL being hosted by Cross Stitch Finish Line for the Dog Days of Summer. The idea is to pick one project a day for 6 days (the 14th thru the 19th) that fufill the criteria for S-U-M-M-E-R.  I've picked:

07/14 - S: Seashore.  Under the Sea SAL.
07/15 - U: Umbrella.  A Stitching Shelf.
07/16 - M: Design name beginning with M.  Mabon by The Primitive Hare.
07/17 - M: Munchies - something to do with food.  Welcome Autumn (which has a pumpkin)
07/18 - E: Eternity - a piece taking forever.  I'll head back to work on Star Weaver a bit.
07/19 - R: Red - a project with the color red in it.  Solitude ornament.

Next week, I'll have photos of those projects and hopefully an update on the Under the Sea project too.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Reading Challenge 2017 - July 10, 2017

I finished listening to Pride and Prejudice via the audiobook this weekend.  I really loved this version, which I grabbed from my library's downloads via Overdrive. It wasn't super theatrically done, which I liked, but the reader gave enough personality to each character's voice that it wasn't confusing or difficult to follow.  A nicely done version, which I enjoyed immensely.

This week, I'm reading The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts for week #28 - a nonfiction. I'm getting my history geek on with this one - it's a great read.  Interesting and fact-filled, but not too dry and since this book focuses on the history and archeology of the Four Corners region, I love being able to see the places the author describes in my mind.  I'm about 75% of the way through this book and enjoying every page.  Even without finishing it, I'll recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in the culture or time period of the Ancient Ones (Anasazi) and the 500 years or so covering 1000 to 1500 AD.

The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.

3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.

8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth:  Summerlong by Peter Beagle.

13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
linkPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions.  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Stitching Wednesday - July 5, 2017

I kicked off the current 6-day rotation (July 1-6) working on the Shoot The Moon (mini) piece.  Artwork is by Lee Ann Seed, and it was charted by Heaven and Earth Designs. I purchased this pattern without the background, so it's a silhouette project in essence. Here's what the original design looks like:



I'm stitching mine on a 28-count Lugana that I hand-dyed in a gradient from light to dark purples, using DMC Black (310).  I started in the upper left hand corner, and here's where I am as of July 4th.


I'm going to try to finish the first page of the pattern over the next 2 days, and then it'll be time to move on to the next 6-day rotation, when I'll be working on Star Weaver.

I also finished up the Mill Hill Pike's Peak Santa this weekend.  I'm waiting on felt to back it with, but the stitching and beading are both finished.


Super cute and I'm looking forward to having him on the tree this year!





Monday, July 3, 2017

Reading Challenge 2017

Finished up The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead this week (week 8's theme: a book written by a person of color).  I can see why this one was picked as an Oprah reading group choice, as well as a NY Times bestseller.  It explores a lot of the racial prejudice mid-19th century, and looks ahead to the difficulties in assimilating the population of freed slaves into the country's workforce - not just difficulties with a white/black tension, but the difficulties within the groups of African-Americans as well.  There was a section of the book (just past the halfway point) where I got bogged down in it.  It was a slow go for a bit but the last several chapters are thought-provoking and well-written.  Not an easy read by any description, but an interesting one.

I've started the audiobook of Pride and Prejudice  as my week #23 book - a book from the BBC's "The Big Read".  A nicely done version of it which I'm enjoying quite a bit.

I also zipped through 2 other books over the holiday weekend:
Wool by Hugh Howey for week 29, a book published outside the 4 major publishing houses.  Disclaimer that this book and the others in the series, since this is more like a novella, have now been republished by Simon and Schuster, I believe.  Originally, however, it was published by Broad reach.   Let me just say that I'm glad this book was only 58 pages.  It really has nothing to do with wool (sorry to disappoint - there's a small reference to wool in the story, but if you are looking for sheep, they ain't here.)  A dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale.  I wasn't into it, but I finished it.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, for week 19, a NY Times Bestseller.  The quickest synopsis of this book is Sheldon Cooper Takes a Wife.  I had this book in my to-read list from the library for a while, although I wasn't sure I would engage with it, but I found it charming, sweet, funny and engaging in a quirky way.  The main character has Asperger's and while that tends to be a positive in terms of his analytical mind (he's a genetics professor at a university in Australia), it tends to be a negative in terms of his social interactions.  The story of how he finds the perfect woman (for him) despite himself and his highly scientific questionnaire, and the ability to strive for happiness was wonderfully told.  Nicely written, well paced, with great characters (and without hitting the reader over the head about anything to do with Asperger's), I really enjoyed this one!  A surprise, but a good one.  :)

I'm at 24 of 52 books read for the year here at the halfway point - 28 to go!  I haven't decided what I'll pick up this week for reading - I've got a few I want to see if I can find at the library and I'll decide once I see what's available.


The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.

3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.

8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth:  Summerlong by Peter Beagle.

13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
linkPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions.  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location

WIPocalypse September Check-In

I think, thanks to randomly adding a day here and a day there in Arbitrary August, I wound up with a bunch of finishes for September. Octo...