Friday Reads ~ in which I remember Shakespeare

Happy Friday! It’s time for a reading update.

Since last week, I have finished (re-)reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s been a looooong time since I’ve read any Shakespeare.I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it, but also how hard it can be to pick it back up after putting the play down. I didn’t read the whole thing at once – there were a couple of days between reading sessions due to one reason or another – and I found that when picking it back up again I got rather confused as to who was who. The minor characters’ names can get quite similar, and I had to go refresh my memory as to who was who. (I guess in that respect, reading Shakespeare for school is easier – with the study guides, you have a quicker character reference.)

With Midsummer finished, I started Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae (and Sneaky Pie) Brown. (Mrs. Murphy book #1 – and one fun side note, I hadn’t realized before I started the book that Mrs. Murphy was the cat and not the human.) I haven’t gotten very far yet (you know you haven’t gotten far into a mystery novel when you haven’t yet reached the murder) but it’s a cute book to this point. I really like the way the pets interact, for one thing. (That’s a good thing, since I’m reading this one because of the inspiration from the Cat Mystery Reading Challenge.)

I am also planning on starting a new audiobook soon, but I’m not sure what yet. I often listen to an audiobook and read a paper book at the same time. So I’ll likely pick something new to listen to before I finish the first Mrs. Murphy book.

My next paper book will probably be Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris. I meant to read this one last year for the 2016 Reading Challenge, but never got there. (I read two memoirs last year, but counted neither of them toward the memoir category; that’s what the NPH book was going to be. Oh well.) I haven’t committed to this, though. It’s just a “probably”.

I also have two new (to me) Girl Genius graphic novels that I might read concurrently with any or all of the above. They (graphic novels) are involved enough for me to consider them as books, but they are different enough from text-only books that I have no problem with reading them at the same time. I guess this is the same thing as listening to a book before finishing a paper book.

Have a great weekend! Have you read any good books lately?

WIP Weds… or not

Okay, this is the point where I’m supposed to share my crafting progress pictures. Except… this week I don’t have any. Instead of doing much knitting (or crochet or sewing or anything else) I’ve been playing Stardew Valley.

What is Stardew Valley? It’s a farming (and foraging and adventuring and mining…) simulator game for many consoles and on PC/Mac. I’ve heard it compared to Harvest Moon, if you know that game. (I haven’t played it.) Time management is crucial here, but it’s pretty good (at least at the beginning – I’m in Fall of Year One) at reminding you about important dates.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some corn to harvest.

 

Friday Reads ~ new for 2017

We’re going to try something new for Friday Reads now that it’s a new year. Previously, I was using my Friday Reads blog posts to post reviews and such. However, that also means that if I had no book to review, I had nothing to post.

Instead, this year, I will be posting every Friday (or nearly) with an update on what I have read, what I am currently reading, and what I hope to read next.

Early this week (or perhaps late last week?) I finished reading (or rather listening to) Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty & the Beast by Robin McKinley. A full review is here, but the short version is that I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to readers of all kinds. This is a very traditional Beauty and the Beast, yet with enough fleshing out that it is a full-fledged novel and not just a short fairy tale.

And then more recently I finished listening to The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. That one was very bittersweet, given her passing last month. A full review of that one (read by the author and her daughter) is here. If you have any desire to listen to this one, I highly recommend it. If you want to read the book in some form but don’t have a preference as to format, I’d still suggest listening to it. I LOVE listening to memoirs as read by the author. You know you’re getting exactly the reading they intended.

I also finished reading the book of short stories, Project Elfhome by Wen Spencer. I had read some of these stories before, but not all of them. I did re-read even the ones I’d read before, since I’ve read either one or two more Elfhome books since the initial reading. (Full review is here.) It wasn’t as good as the full-length Elfhome novels, because part of what I love about those is how I get sucked into the world for the duration of the novel. Being short stories, it was harder to get fully immersed in the world. However, it was still very enjoyable and I’ll be happy to add this book to my set of Elfhome novels.

At the moment, I am currently reading Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is slow going at the moment because I’m reading it for story research and not just for pleasure. I’ve read it before (at least once) and have seen the play performed as well, so there are no surprises for me in the plot.

And next, once I have finished Midsummer, I intend to read Wish You Were Here, the first book in Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy series. That’s a cozy mystery series I’ve known of for a while, but never really considered reading until I joined the 2017 Purrfect Mystery Challenge, and committed to reading 10 cozy mystery novels that featured cats. I’m really looking forward to that one.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy your current reads!

WIP Wednesday ~ Geekalong and Sock knitting

First of all, I am still considering this the 2016 Geek-A-Long blanket. I started it in 2016 with the 2016 squares and rules. I didn’t finish it in 2016, but that’s still officially which blanket this is. It doesn’t matter that I’ve already included some 2014 squares, or that I will be including some 2017 squares. If I can figure out a way to make the size difference work, I will be including some 2015 squares also. Because I like them all.

Anyway, here are two finished squares that I haven’t shown you yet. Mortal Kombat:

and The Legend of Zelda (Majora’s Mask).

Also my start on the very first GAL square ever, the Caffeine Molecule:

It will be knit with the same yarn combo as Majora’s Mask, because that’s what I already had out and I was feeling lazy. Plus, I had always planned to knit the caffeine molecule in a variegated yarn, so this still fits my grand plan. (Not that I really have a grand plan.)

I have also been working a little on the Babette Blanket (still want to get that finished this year!) though I have no new pictures of it. And my travel knitting has been the Hedera Socks. Since I’ve been working on that over my lunch breaks all year (hehe, I love being able to say that! One of my favorite things about New Year’s) I have gotten some decent progress on the socks. Here’s a slightly old photo of the first sock, taken just as I finished the heel flap and was going to start the heel turn.

Hedera progress 1/3/17

I have since finished the heel turn and started the gusset decreases. But again, I haven’t taken any newer pictures than this one.

I hope you’re having a great week, and get some good progress on your hobbies this year, whatever those may be!

Friday Reads: 2016 Recap

So, 2016 is over and 2017 has begun. That means the end of one reading challenge, and the start of a new one. Here’s how I did with last year’s:

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Not too bad, considering. I did start a couple of other books that I never finished, and there were some books I finished which I couldn’t add to this list because I didn’t find a place where they fit. So I did read more books than this, but not the right kinds to complete this challenge.

That is part of why my next challenges are going to be more general and less specific. For instance, this year I will be reading 10 cat mystery books, and will be reading at least 3 new books for every 1 re-read. The plan is to whittle down the pile of TBR books already on my bookshelf this year. Though we’ll see where I actually end up with it — there are lots of books I want to read which aren’t on my shelf already, too!

I hope you have a great year full of great books!

WIP Wednesday ~ in which we start a new year with an old project

So here we are in a New Year! And I have started to work on… a very old project of mine.

This week I have been working on the Babette Blanket. I started this project nearly seven years ago in April of 2010. I haven’t worked on it in a long while, but I really do enjoy the project. It’s my only current crochet project, but that’s neither why I enjoy knitting inter why I stopped working on it. It’s just a really large project and I have a bad habit of getting bored of big projects before I finish them. However, I intend to finish this blanket this year. (It’s on my 101 in 1001 challenge list, too.) To that end, I have decided to finish crocheting all the rest of the squares before I assemble any more of them.

(Since it’s been ages since I posted about this: I had been crocheting the squares. Then I thought maybe assembling them would keep me interested in the project longer. So I put some of them together. That was fun, but I still let the project slip away. This time around I’m going to finish the rest of the squares, since I really don’t have that many left to make. Then I will assemble the rest of them all at once.)

In any case, here are the squares I finished making on New Year’s Day. (We binge-watched MST3K shows while I crocheted.) I haven’t taken pictures of the rest of the squares I crocheted this week.

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I can also show you something else that I finished recently but haven’t posted on the blog yet: the finished Leaving Cowl. I had to get it in the mail as a present, but since it should have been delivered and opened by the date this is published, I can post a picture of it now:

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This was enjoyable enough to knit, but the picot edging was tedious. It looks good, but if I make this cowl again I’ll probably knit the other edging. I used Cascade 220 Sport for this cowl, and that yarn was lovely to work with. I’ll happy to work with it again, though I don’t have any projects in mind at present.

Happy 2017! May you have many fun projects to work on, regardless of what your hobbies are.

101 in 1001 ~ update the sixth

It’s time for the 6th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

December is always a weird month for challenges. Many of them run over a calendar year, and so December is the last chance you have to finish them. And even if the challenge runs over a different timeline (like the 101 in 1001 challenge) there’s still a feeling like you need to finish ALL THE THINGS in December before the New Year starts. And yet… there’s also so much going on with the holidays and such that it also seems harder than usual to get long-term-goal things done. Oh well. All things considered, I think I did pretty good this month. Have a great New Year’s Eve, and Happy 2017!

Here’s this month’s progress:

December 2016
1 item completed this month
25 items currently in progress

Food #41: Try 3 new wineries in my local area ~ 12/4/2016

Our local winemakers got together this year for an annual holiday thing where they all collected Toys For Tots, had tastings (sometimes with extras not usually on their menu), and – in some cases – had holiday-themed music or craft vendors onsite. It was a lot of fun, and provided the excuse we needed to visit our local winemakers. We only made it to 4 wineries over the course of the weekend, but since we found out about it last-minute, I think we did good. (Found some amazing new wines, too.)

Writing #94 & 97: Complete the first draft of the 2016 NaNoNovel Find a writing schedule that I can keep going for 3 months minimum

This one is in progress. Sadly, I think it might take a while yet to complete the novel – but I am determined to do so. I am loving my story, even if progress on writing it is a lot slower than I’d hoped. Also, I have yet to get a writing schedule worked out. I’ve been trying writing at different times to see what works, but haven’t really made it a “schedule” yet. Hopefully soon, once the holiday stuff tapers off and our routines all get back to normal (whatever “normal” is…) I’ll be able to get something figured out.

Arts & Crafts #7: Finish knitting the 2016 GAL blanket

I’m working on this one, but I’m not sure I’ll be finishing it in time to enter it into the official GAL drawing. Still, I’ll keep working on it until it’s done.

Health #49: Use Invisalign to get my teeth straight

I found out that this should be done sometime this spring, if everything goes as scheduled. My teeth might need more adjustment after the process is officially “finished”, so it might go longer than this spring. However, it should still be finished relatively soon. Yay!

Anyway, here’s to some more good progress in 2017. Have a Happy New Year, everyone!