My Fairfield sweater has been in time out for a month as I pondered all your suggestions of how to make it smaller without ripping and reknitting. More on that another week.
But never fear, I have still been knitting up a storm. Specifically, I have been making blue hats for the Hatnothate anti-bullying project.
Lots of hats.
Because I have lots of blue yarns that I want to use up. Stash busting, amirite?
Worsted yarns on the left. Don’t let the indoor colors fool you; they are all blue, even the ones that photographed brown. Fingering weight on the right. Long ago I bought a half-finished afghan kit; the half-done part is all gone, but I still have the yarns. I intend to use them up in this hat project.
Guess what? I have been reading, too! I finished four books since I last did an Unraveled post. What were these books? I shall tell you.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This was for my book group, which was participating in The Big Read. Interesting tale of post-pandemic dystopia. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely mine. Following the threads of connection among the disparate characters was fun. 3✭ out 5.
Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs by Dr. Michael Osterholm. I read this one because my book group went to hear the author speak as part of The Big Read*. Smokey went along because he had taken an epidemiology course from Dr. Osterholm when he was in grad school and remembered it as teaching him some important concepts. The doctor is a dynamic public speaker and taught us all a few things about public health and epidemiology.
Of particular interest in our part of the country is CWD, chronic wasting disease, which has infected the deer herd in Wisconsin. CWD is a prion-caused disease similar to Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and bovine spongiform encephalitis, more commonly referred to as mad cow disease. The scary thing about CWD is that the only way to disinfect against it is by fire; because a prion is not a living thing, it is not affected by traditional means of disinfection like boiling or antiseptics. If a hunter kills a asymptomatic deer carrying CWD and takes the deer to be processed into steaks, chops, roasts, and sausage at a local meat-processing establishment — of which there are several in my county — any beef, pork, or other meat subsequently processed there can become contaminated. Additionally, there is no conclusive test for CWD short of an autopsy on an animal, and pathologists are reluctant to perform such an autopsy because the entire autopsy suite and its equipment might have to be destroyed if the test is positive, since there is no non-destructive way to disinfect against the prion.
As you can tell, I was particularly fascinated by this whole topic. And, sadly, what I learned means that I shall buy no more grass-fed organic beef from a local farmer because it is processed at the same facility that (presumably) processes venison every year during deer season. 3✭.
(Note: I didn’t actually finish the book. It became too many acronyms and epidemiological concepts; too dry for me.)
Stoner by John Williams. It had a very high rating on Goodreads, which is my current way of choosing what to read next. I found the book extremely well-written; Williams has a fascinating way with words. The book did not grab me as much as it has others, but it was still worth reading. 2✭ out of 5.
Next up was The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne, story that follows the life of a gay man in Ireland from his out-of-wedlock birth in the late 1940s to his death at 70. The depiction of the closed minded, misogynist, homophobic Catholic county is devastating; the list of people who embody those characteristics is headed by priests and politicians. 4✭.
When I returned some books to the library I grabbed this one off the shelf. (Fascinated by pandemics much, Kat™?) It turned out to be a thriller written in a disturbingly pedestrian manner, with one-dimensional characters whom I found to be extremely annoying. I gave it 2✭ rather than the 1✭ it really deserved simply because the plot kept me reading to the end.
When All Is Said by Anne Griffin. I only read about 10 pages of this one because I was pretty sure I knew what was going to happen in the rest of the book, and I was Just.Not.Interested. YMMV.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. As I started this book I wondered if it were worth reading. But I kept turning pages until, 3-1/2 hours later, I finished it. As one who participated in the early ’70s drug scene — although nowhere as deeply as the characters in this book — I found this fascinating. Echoes of the checkered story of Fleetwood Mac and other bands were ever present, so much so that the next morning I listened to several Fleetwood Mac albums in chronological order.
Authors are told to show the reader, not tell her. This book is the epitome of that; the entire novel is told in quotes from the characters who “lived” it, and their recollections do not always agree. I found it great fun to discover the personality quirks of the characters through their own words. The drummer is a bit dense, the keyboardist wants only to play music and have no personal life, one guitarist is jealous and insecure, another is only in the band until he isn’t, and the two main characters are simply fascinating. I found their interactions to be complex and fully realized. This author creates characters that are so true-to-life that more than one reader on Goodreads.com asked if this were a real band. 4✭.