Summer Reading

I think my summer book stack is getting a little large. And it doesn’t include the teaching-related books I have waiting to be ready before school begins in August! But since our Cape Cod trip is upon us, I thought I’d share what I’ve got pegged for fun reading. (Also, I just learned how to make blog collages and was looking for a reason to make one.)

Summer House / Flight of the Sparrow

The Rumor / The Guest Room 

The Beguiled / The Whale: A Love Story

Wednesday WIP, Books, and a Playlist

I really miss those Yarn Alongs that included what we were all reading so I’m going to just try to keep it going here.  I’m always looking for a good books to add to my Goodreads queue so if you’ve read something you loved, leave comments or add me to your Friends on Goodreads.

I finished On the Rocks last week and LOVED it. It had a definite Elin Hildebrand vibe to it, transported to Newport instead of Nantucket. I love both spots so it worked for me either way.  I kept asking my husband if the guy’s character was accurate (read the book to find out) and he agreed it was.  I was sorry I finished it, truth be told.

I just finished reading Thirteen Reasons Why. It had been on my To Read list for a while after Leslie Ann had posted about it a while ago. My daughter watched the show on Netflix and loved it, too. Being the English major I am, I had to read the book before I watched the show. Actually, we all got an email from the Superintendent of Schools about the show and how some parents were concerned it romanticized suicide. I’m guessing they never read the book.  Not seeing much romanticizing going on.

So today’s fresh start read is Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown. I’m on page 4 of this Early American story set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony but I have a good feeling about it thus far. It centers on a Native American abduction of a colonist, real life Mary Rowlandson, and her adaptation to her life in captivity. My own ancestors were killed and/or abducted in the attack  on Fort Seybert in West Virginia (James Dyer is my 5th Great Grandfather) so it has an added bit of interest for me.  Hopefully it will be a good book.

Now onto my Wednesday WIP…I’m wrapping up the third color in my Find Your Fade Shawl (Ravelry page here).  I’m not sure how I feel about that first golden color, but I love the white pops further in.  It’s taking a very, very long time to do this even though it’s mostly garter stitch and a small amount of (easy) lacework.  I’m thinking of what I’m going to wear this with because the colors are a huge departure from my normal colors but I can’t wait to wrap up in it in the middle of a cold New England winter.

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As promised, as I was walking the neighborhood with the dog this morning, I was listening to music and decided to make a playlist of summery/Fourth of July tunes. Warning: This is meant to satisfy the varied tastes of my family and our visiting exchange student. Hope you enjoy!

You Win Some, You Lose Some

If you have read this blog for any brief amount of time, then you probably know two of my favorite things are yarn and books.  This summer I decided to join an online bookclub hosted by Leslie Anne at the blog LaLa Life. We’ve been friends over on GoodReads for a while so I knew we had similar reading tastes.  Anyhow, there was a poll that took place a couple of weeks ago and this book won…

Now, I don’t want to say this is a terrible book.  It got fairly ok reviews. But for me? Nope. I made it about 40% of the way through and just couldn’t feign interest any longer. It was supposed to be about a single mom who moved to the Hamptons to be with this guy she barely knows and she gets caught up in the lifestyle of the Hamptons although, as far as I can tell, said boyfriend is sleazy and she’s really attracted to the local guy. Meanwhile the quintessential rich Manhattan/Hamptons family is totally dysfunctional, with daughter and wife sleeping around, son has a drug problem, and dad is suffering some sort of insufferable midlife crisis.  All this while the old guard wants to shut down a summer camp. So honestly, if there was eventually going to be a streamlined plot I’ll never know because it was just horrible.

So I dropped it. I hate quitting books because I always wonder if it really did get good and I am missing a great story. It’s on my Kindle so if I am ever desperate want to give it another chance, I can read it.

I moved on to On the Rocks which was another choice in the book club (and the one I voted for) and I will be completely honest: it’s set in Newport. That was pretty much the key for me. However, this story of a woman whose fiancé drops her via Facebook as she’s trying on her wedding dress is, so far, pretty darn good. Definitely a good beach read.

Yarn Along :: February 22, 2017

Click on the image to see more at SmallThings
Click on the image to see more at SmallThings

Well, this was meant to go up yesterday but I’ve been battling a migraine since going back to school.  I keep meaning to check if it’s a full moon!  Truly, though, the kids aren’t the cause of the migraine but their exuberance makes it difficult to cope at times.

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We had a long weekend for President’s Day and headed up the coast to Marblehead for a few days.  I have a lot of pictures I will get to eventually, but it was a lovely weekend exploring, knitting, and reading. A notice of Philippa Gregory’s new-ish novel popped up in my Facebook feed and when I went to download it to my Kindle, I found a book just before it in the Cousins’ series. The King’s Curse tells the story of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, and I knew I’d just have to read this before moving on to Three Sisters, Three Queens. I wasn’t disappointed and found myself reaching for the Kindle more than my knitting ~ gasp!

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When we got home, my pre-order of A Piece of the World downloaded to my Kindle. I heard an interview with Christina Baker Kline on NPR last Thursday as I was driving home from school and got hooked. The novel is a fictionalized account of Anna Christina Olsen, the woman portrayed (although it is technically Wyeth’s wife) in the painting Christina’s World. There is such a mixture of old New England grit, a connection to my beloved Nathaniel Hawthorne, the history of Salem…it had everything going for it.  I’m now about 30% into it and I am not disappointed.

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth
Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth

The knitting this week is focused on a Sugar Swirls baby blanket in Cascade 220 Fingering. It’s a nice break from knitting lots and lots of socks for the past year. I do have a rather large stash of sock yarn, though, so expect to see more socks here soon.  The photo above is reading very, very red but the yarn colors are a nice fawny tan, bubblegum pink, and deep magenta. Clearly it’s for a baby girl. 🙂

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Yarn Along :: February 9, 2017

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Joining Ginny this week for Yarn Along. I’ve been posting more on Instagram lately. If I were to post only knitting here there would be few and far between going up because I seems to have lost most of my knitting speed.  I think the fact that I have books to go along with these posts is the only thing that save it because it really feels, to me, that I have same sock to show each week.

So true to form, it’s another red and blue sock. I had stopped to work on a baby blanket only to frog that after goofing up the first color change. So I decided to go back to the sock (no. 2!) and get that done. Yesterday was a sick day for me but I was too sick to even knit much. I’d hoped to knit 400 stitches because that seemed like such a massive number on a sock. In truth, it was six and a quarter rows. And I only made it through about 200 before I needed to lay down again.  Today is a snow day ~ our first here in Connecticut ~ and I’m determined to get down to the heel flap.

IMG_4216Pattern: Susan B Anderson’s How I Make My Socks (link here)
Yarns: Malabrigo Sock in Ravelry Red and Azule
Needles: Size 2 DPN

I just started this book, which I think is Young Adult fiction that I had purchased for Maia. So far it’s good although I’m only a few pages in. I needed a break from War & Peace which is definitely not going as quickly, easily, or as enjoyably as Anna Karenina did. I am gathering up every book I own that I never got around to reading and slowly making my way through all of them, then dedicating myself to only reading books from the library. I love books, the gathering and handling of them, but they quickly overrun our home.

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge

Casey has
read 0 books toward
her goal of
24 books.
hide

Well, this year I didn’t quite make my goal of 45 books, even counting some new picture books I’d found for my classroom. I did dial it down a bit this year, though, thinking two books a month might be doable and will give me a chance to go ahead. I think 2015 was 113% of my goal so, while it doesn’t matter a whit, I did get pretty giddy seeing that percentage.

Any good recommendations for when I finish War & Peace?

Last Yarn Along of 2016

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Click on the image to see more at Ginny’s blog

I started my 2017 Resolutions early.  I am your classic introvert who would probably never leave the house if she could get away with that. Last week I joined two (yes, I said two) groups through meetup.com. One is a book club that I won’t be able to attend until the end of January because of our yearly trek to Madison Square Garden, but the other I managed to go to last night. I found a knitting group that meets at a local Starbucks every week. Apparently they were the other half of the gromp I used to be in that kind of fizzled and regroups…but I never quite made it to those meetings again.

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If you have been following the saga of my New York Giants/Hanukkah socks on Instagram, you probably know that these have been working for a really long time. In fact I started them just before my house then went to Nigeria at the end of November. Being an elementary school teacher at Christmas time is not for the faint of heart and it took up most of  most of my mental energy.  Clearly these are not going to be given before Hanukkah is over, but I am trying my hardest to get them finished. When I went to the knitting group last night I was about a third of the way through the heel flap, and when I left I was working on the gusset. Go me!

These are tried-and-true socks from Susan B Anderson’s How I Make My Socks on her blog. The yarn is Malabrigo, which I love with all of my heart. Just kidding, but not quite.

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My other goal, although not quite a resolution, is to read War and Peace over Christmas break. I’m on page 4 and we go back on January 2 so I probably am not going to make that goal. But I’m going to plug away at it because Anna Karenina turned out to be an amazing novel.  Let’s just hope that the group chooses an easy read for the January meeting.

What I Read Wednesday

The HopefulsThe Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let me just start by saying that if you are looking for a book about the political machine, the people inside it, and the excitement of DC, this is NOT the book for you. Instead, it focuses on Beth and Matt Kelly, an aspiring writer and candidate, respectively. Matt has uprooted his wife from their home in New York to follow his political aspirations to the District under the Obama administration. Beth, meanwhile, has an incredibly whiny time trying to adjust to a city that she thinks is boring where her best job offer is writing fluff content for a gossipy blog and trying to figure out who is gay or sleeping with whom.

The Kellys have moved back to Matt’s boyhood area of suburban Maryland so Beth also has to navigate a tense in-law relationship. But the real meat of the story begins when the Kellys meet the Dillons – Texas rich kids with more connections than talent. Matt is constantly jealous of Jimmy Dillon and Beth, despite thinking her new friend Ash Dillon is a bit silly, finally finds someone who makes life in DC bearable. Until the Dillons pick up and head back to Texas. Before long the Kellys end up there, too, so that Matt can oversee Jimmy’s campaign for the railroad comission that has nothing to do with the railroad (?).

Living in close quarters and working side by side begins to unravel relationships which comes as no surprise since the reader can see that coming from page 1. Still, despite its predictablity, is an entertaining novel. The timing of reading this as the presidential election wound down may have given me an extra push to finish it, but it was still an enjoyable read. Although, truth be told, I really couldn’t stand any of these characters with the exception of Beth’s no-nonsense, take no crap college friend, Colleen.

View all my reviews

Reading Update

Well, despite the radio silence here, I have been reading quite a bit. Thought ti was time for a little catch-up.  You can see the entire list of what I’ve read, what I am reading, and what I’d like to read over on Goodreads.  I’m a bit obsessed with the app, too, since I can scan books I spot in the bookstore.  I’ve kind of stopped reading e-books because they weren’t doing me any favors in the headache department, too.

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This was an interesting novel.  Talk about skeletons in everyone’s closet! Lapena really keeps you guessing about who is messed up enough to kidnap the baby and just when you think it’s all solved…wrong!

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Of course this was part of the reading of the past few months.  It was, God help me, disappointing.  I disliked Harry and his son intensely, but really liked Draco and his son.  My son didn’t like it at all but isn’t a fan of reading plays.  I didn’t mind that, to be honest, but the story itself was just rather dull.  I can feel the dirty looks from here.

Coming Up…

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Yarn Along :: October 13, 2016

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I’m joining Ginny over at Small Things this week.  Head over if you’d like to see some more knitting projects and reading.

I’ve made it to Wednesday after a day off and two grueling days of school.  My little second graders are in the midst of cognitive testing which is a new thing for them.  It’s an annual test for this grade level in our Archdiocese and they’re doing really well but our schedule is a little off kilter.  These guys crave routine.  Well, their teacher does, too.

I cast on these socks a little over two weeks ago, I think, but they’d taken a back seat to sickness.  I picked them back up a few days ago and have been making good progress.  I love the yarn; it is so squishy that I can tell I’m going to love these socks.

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Pattern: Monkey Socks (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Lambstrings Ewetopia Sock
Needles: Size 2 DPNs

I also finished A Desperate Fortune (yay!) although I admist to skimming two chapters of modern day that were a total snooze.  I liked it, I suppose.  I went back and forth over what to read next until I walked into Barnes & Noble last weekend during Educator Week.  Yep, 25% off EVERYTHING so I splurged on a hardcover book.  The Couple Next Door is very good so far, a bit cringy and it’s sucked me in totally.  I’m budgeting knitting time so I have enough time to read before bed.  I suppose that’s the mark of a good book for me.