Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Reading Challenge: November 29, 2017

Still working my way through week 18 - a really long book:  The Time Traveler's Almanac.  Enjoying most of these stories, although some are better than others, but I've got about 175 pages read so far.

I started and finished Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett for week 50 - a Penguin Modern Classic.  Not one of my favorites this year.  Slow and stodgy, but I finished it.  Very Victorian moralistic-driven plot and a lot of navel gazing. You can pop over to Goodreads via the link to see if it'd be your cup of tea, but it was not mine, so no recommendation for that one.

This week, I'm reading The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns.  This is for week 34, a book set in the Southern Hemisphere.  This is a collection of short stories set in New Zealand.  It's a set of 10, but all of the characters are interwoven in some fashion.  I just started this last night, but I can't wait to read more of it.  The stories are all set in the colonial period (early 20th century) and cover multiple immigrant, as well as native peoples' experiences in the country.  The three I've read so far range from a homesteader's wife to a native trader in Auckland, to a "fallen woman" in one of the whorehouses in town.  Glad I found this one (thanks to a Goodreads Listopia search)!  A fuller review when I'm finished it.

Currently standing at 49/52 books read with 3 left to go (and 2 of those started!)


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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
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: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
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): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall.
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
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 (link) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
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): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
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) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett.
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: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Reading Challenge: November 21, 2017

I finished The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean from the library to read for week #35 - a book where one of the main characters is royalty.  I was interested to read this book as I didn't know much about Wallis Simpson except as sort of the maligned "other woman" who "ruined" the kingship of Edward VIII.  Obviously readers will know how it turns out in that Wallis does wind up with the Prince who becomes Edward VIII - but this book actually doesn't delve into their relationship that much.  Missing was the information on their German-supporting tendencies and his abdication, and everything about their life together really beyond how they met.  Even that is a little confusing in this book.  I understand it's a historical fiction; however, there are 2 major characters in this book - Pamela and John Jasper - who Wallis grows up with and who appear to be influential in her meeting Edward.  All well and good, except when you read the notes, these 2 characters are completely fictitious.  (huh? if that's a thing then how DID Wallis wind up meeting Edward?) 

The book is mostly focused, then, on Wallis's younger years, her somewhat topsy-turvey childhood, her education and her eventual bad first marriage and pallid second one.  I appreciated the portrait of her in her youth that definitely was mirrored in many of her adult-life choices, but I wish this one had been a little bit more on the straight and narrow in terms of historical facts and that it explored her relationship with Edward beyond the moment when she agrees to become his mistress.  3/5 stars for this one.

I then grabbed So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins for week #48 - a banned book.  This is an autobiographic memoir about the author (as a young girl) having to flee northern Korea at the end of WWII with her mother and older sister.  They are Japanese nationals - her father is a diplomat who is away from the family when the crisis occurs - and they are forced to flee as refugees back to Japan.  I actually am not sure why this book is a banned one.  Maybe it was at one time and isn't really found on school reading lists anymore?  Anyway, I'm sure at one point in time school kids were not supposed to read about refugees starving to death and people being shot and girls being raped, so maybe it's just a sad commentary that I didn't think there was anything really graphic in this book (events are mentioned but not described in detail) that would put off most high-school aged students today.  The story of her journey with her mother and sister is a testament to courage and strength, but the book really is lacking in terms of setting the events within the political context of the time.  The World War and the surrender of Japan are mentioned very peripherally, but the events of the story are hard to place within the larger context of the historical timeline. 

I decided to start week #18 - a really long book, so I've begun reading some of the short stories in The Time Traveler's Almanac.  My plan is to try to read 100 pages or so of these stories each week and finish this up by the end of the year while reading other things.

That leaves me with 3 other books to start.  I'm going to pop off to the library this afternoon and see if I can grab something suitable for the remaining weeks.

Currently standing at 48/52 books read with 4 left 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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
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: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
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): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall.
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
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 (link) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
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): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Bone People by Keri Hulme.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
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) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
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: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Reading Challenge: November 15, 2017

I finished The 19th Wife by David Eberhoff, for week 47, a book you saw a stranger reading, last night. This book, which tells the parallel stories of two polygamist wives in Utah (both of whom were counted as wife #19 by the man they were married to), follows Ann Eliza Webb Young who was married to Brigham Young, and also traces a contemporary story set in a polygamist sect in southern Utah.  I appreciated the deft handling of this subject - the author does not cast any moral shadows on the decisions people made throughout - and I think he presents a fairly unbiased opinion of both sides of this issue.  He neatly wraps up all of the social and historical tidbits into two engrossing story lines; I would happily have read either story on its own but I liked how he used the historical story and the contemporary one to show how things have changed, but also how they have perhaps remained the same in some instances. A good historical counting of the growth of the Mormon church in the early 19th century.

One footnote:  The author ends the book saying that no one knows what happened to Ann Eliza but that's actually not true.  Perhaps he was unaware at the time he wrote the book, but at least as of 2017, it's been confirmed she moved to Sparks, Nevada in the early 1900s, passed away and is buried in the graveyard there. 

I just downloaded The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean from the library to read for week #35 - a book where one of the main characters is royalty.  This one is a novel about Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII of England.

Currently standing at 46/52 books read with 6 left 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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
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: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
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): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall.
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
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 (link) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
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): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Bone People by Keri Hulme.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
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) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
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: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

FO: Timber Bay Hat

As another stashbuster project this week, I started and finished the Timber Bay hat this week.


This is a slightly slouchy, very simple and quick to knit textured pattern hat.  I did not do a double-layered brim, as written in the pattern. I worked the twisted ribbing for 2" and then started the rest of the pattern.

Project Details:
Pattern: Timber Bay by Melissa Schaschwary.
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Worsted in the Moss colorway.
Needles:  US size 5 (for the ribbing) and 7 (for the body of the hat).


This one will go into the charity/giveaway bin.  It's not a great color on me personally, but I really liked the shaping and fit of the design, so I know it will keep someone else'e head warm this winter season.  Another great stashbuster and a quick knit.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Reading Challenge: November 8, 2017


I finished Stronger than Magic this week for #52 for a book set in a fictional location. (It's sort of a fictional location.  Philadelphia and Hawaii are mentioned in it, although neither of the places in the book with those names bear much resemblance to their actual locations beyond cheesesteaks and island beaches.)  I gave this 3 out of 5 stars.  It was just okay.  I really liked the premise of the story, but I had a hard time getting attached to the heroine of the book.  There was a lot of whining and I get it - she grows up as the book goes on, but I think she was a little too stereotypically whiny angst-ridden teenager.  The story line itself was a bit predictable.  Not a great read -  I was just sort of meh about this one. 

I also read Tower of Thorns by Juliet Mariller this week for topic #44 using a recommendation website on what I should read next. I should state up front that this book is #2 in a series, and I haven't read the first one.  Despite that, the main characters, Grim and Blackthorn, were so well developed, I had no trouble getting right into the story.  (Although I'm also now intrigued enough by their back story to likely pick up book #1 at some point).  This is sort of a retelling of a fairy tale, although I suppose it's really more like a new fairy tale told in a traditional style.  All the things you would expect - a wicked curse, the little people, a quest, herbs and brews, and lots of hidden meanings in everyday things.  The main character, Blackthorn, is a healer and is asked to try to rid a local tower (surrounded by a briar hedge) of their local monster who spends the summer days howling.  She and her faithful companion, Grim, set off to see what they can discover to help rid the local landowner, a lovely younger woman, of this menace.  The lady tells them only bits and pieces of what Blackthorn and Grim find out is the real story.  I won't say it exactly ends happily, but in the end, the monster is vanquished and the curse is broken.  I'm becoming a big fan of Mariller's writing style and stories which seem to seamlessly bridge the gap between a historical fiction and fantasy for me. Likely will put more of hers on the to-read list for the upcoming year. 

I just downloaded, but haven't started The 19th Wife by David Eberhoff, for week 47, a book you saw a stranger reading.  This book actually hit my radar when we were flying back to visit friends in Utah for their wedding several years ago.  (We lived in Utah for 4 years before moving here.)  I've always been a bit curious about Ann Eliza Young, who was the 19th wife of Brigham Young, and who divorced him (and, FWIW, went on to become a local businesswoman, which definitely was NOTHING like the norm for her culture and time).  This one seemed like an interesting read, so here it is on the list.  That'll be my reading choice for this week, and will report back next week on it.  

Holding out hope I will be able to get perhaps an exta week ahead and can still possibly finish the "really long book" before the end of the year!

Currently standing at 45/52 books read with 7 left 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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
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: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
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): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall. 
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
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: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
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): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Bone People by Keri Hulme.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
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) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.

49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
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: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.



Thursday, November 2, 2017

FO: Sagebrush Infinity Scarf

I finished up a great stashbuster project this week - the Sagebrush Infinity Scarf.



Project Details:
Pattern: Sagebrush Infinity Scarf, designed by Romi Hill.
Yarn:  Tendril from Tale and Tendril on Etsy.  Colorway is Gringots.  (Color looks a bit gray-er in the detail shot and a bit yellow-er in the above mood shot.  Color in the final photo is probably closest to real life.)
Needles: US size 3.


I used up all but about 3 yards of the 400-yard skein.  This cowl is worked back and forth, flat, from one end to the other, starting with a provisional cast-on.  The provisional cast-on is then unzipped and the 2 ends' worth of live stitches are grafted together with a 3-needle bind off to create the loop. A very straightforward pattern, nicely written, like Romi's usually are, and perfect for a stashbusting single-skein project.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

2018 Reading Challenge Topics

The list for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks 2018 Challenge has been released and I'm loving this year's list.  I'm definitely going to participate in this since I've enjoyed the last several years so much.  (Really thrilled to see the 4 element topics - I'm thinking I'll read one of those in each of the Full Coverage Fanatics FB xstitch group when we work on those quarterly SALs!)

Mostly posting this as a reference point for myself, but if you've got a great book recommendation for me based on any of these topics, give me a shout!

The 2018 List

1. A book with the letters A, T & Y in the title
2. A book from the first 10 books added to your To Be Read list
3. A book from the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards (link)
4. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #1 Earth (in title, cover, content, setting, author...)
5. A book about or inspired by real events
6. A book originally written in a language other than English
7. A gothic novel
8. An "own voices" book*
9. A book with a body part in the title (heart, bones, teeth, skin, blood, etc)
10. An author's debut book (their first book to be published)
11. A literary fiction
12. A book set in Africa or South America
13. A book with a plot centered around a secret (forbidden love, spies, secret societies, etc)
14. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #2 Fire 
15. A book with an unique format/writing structure
16. A narrative nonfiction
17. A book you expect to make you laugh
18. A book with a location in the title
19. A book nominated for the Edgar Award or by a Grand master author (books & authors)
20. A book rated 5 stars by at least one of your friends
21. A book written in first person perspective
22. A book you have high expectations or hope for
23. A medical or legal thriller
24. A book with a map
25. A book with an antagonist/villain point of view
26. A book with a text only cover
27. A book about surviving a hardship (war, famine, major disasters, serious illness, etc)
28. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #3 Water
29. A book with a "Clue" weapon on the cover or title (lead pipe, revolver, rope, candlestick, dagger, wrench)
30. A short book
31. A book set in a country you'd like to visit but have never been to
32. An alternate history book
33. A book connected (title, cover, content) to a word "born" in the same year as you (link)
34. A suggestion from the AtY 2018 polls, that didn't win but was polarizing or a close-call (link)
35. A book featuring a murder
36. A book published in the last 3 years (2016, 2017, 2018) by an author you haven't read before
37. A Women's Prize for Fiction winner or nominee (link1link2)
38. A science book or a science fiction book
39. A book with a form of punctuation in the title
40. A book from Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list (link)
41. A book by an author with the same first and last initials
42. A book that takes place on, in, or underwater
43. A book with a title that is a whole sentence
44. A ghost story
45. A book that intimidates/ scares you
46. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #4 Air
47. A book where the main character (or author) is of a different ethnic origin, religion, or sexual identity than your own
48. A book related to one of the 7 deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth)
49. A book from one of the Goodreads Best Books of the Month lists (link)
50. A book with a warm atmosphere (centered on family, friendship, love or summer)
51. An award-winning short story or short story collection
52. A book published in 2018

*an own voice novel is a book about marginalised protagonists (by ethnic group, religion, sexual orientation, mental illness, etc) written by an author who shares that same identity. 

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