The felted bag is done, and no one was more surprised than I was when I picked it out of the washer and saw how well it felted! The yarn is Nashua Woolly Stripes and the pattern is the French Market Bag. I used nearly all of the six skeins I had. All that is left is a ping-pong-sized ball, which I will use to make an I-cord button loop to hold it closed.
I will use it as a project bag this afternoon at my knitting group. Appropriate, because I cast on for it there,
Outrage and Rampage by John Sandford & Michele Cook, books two and three of a three-book series. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this unknown-to-me series by my favorite mystery/crime/thriller author, John Sandford. The plot features a mysterious and evil corporation doing tortuous things to animals and people in their labs, formerly homeless teenagers now living in a *hotel* run by a generous artist, and a nefarious plot that reaches almost to the top in the government. Nearly all the characters were teenagers, there were only two trustworthy adults, and all the other adults were Bad Guys. Yup, this is a YA book. But the writing is not simplistic as many YA books are. The book is almost as violent and bloody as other Sandford books, but I would have loved it as a teenager. 4★
The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman. Although I love Neil Gaiman as a person — he is funny, humble, endearing — I have trouble with some of his books. Like this one. Beautifully written and illustrated, but the mysticism baffles me. Anansi Boys and American Gods were also baffling. His shorter books — Stardust, The Graveyard Book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere — are much easier for me. That said, you should always read anything by Neil Gaiman. 4★
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult. I have read several books by Picuolt and enjoyed them all. This one, same. The story is set in the early days of the covid epidemic: March 2020. Set in NYCity, the main characters are Diana, who works for Sotheby’s, and Finn, her partner, a surgeon in the last year of his residency. He may be a surgeon, but this story is when the NY hospitals were very nearly overrun with serious cases, and every professional in the hospital has become an infectious disease pulmonologist. 4★
[digression] I was thinking about Picoult and my perception of her writings. In my mind, she is a purely escapist writer, not a *literary* author. But then I remembered Stephen King; he too is not considered a *literary* author, but over time the compelling nature of his books has worked a change in perception. Established critics like those at the New York Times have also changed their label on King; he may not be *literary*, but he is definitely a widely read author, the Charles Dickens of horror in our time, and therefore perhaps worthy of being considered *literary*. The common feature of King and Picoult is the sheer volume of their writings. According to goodreads.com, King has written over 50 books ( I quit counting at 50) and Picoult has over 40. Those are a lot of books. Perhaps perceptions of Picoult as an author are diminished because she is a female writing largely about women; how can that be considered *literary* (tongue planted firmly in cheek)? Anyhow, I have resolved to read more of her books.
I want to thank John Sandford, Michele Cook, Neil Gaiman, and Jodi Picoult for delivering such wonderful books. I have never read four, four-star books in a row.
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. I may have finished this audiobook. After the story *finishes*, there are a couple sections that appear to be excerpts from it, repeating. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this one. The story is set in early 1960s Harlem and centers on Ray Carney, who owns a furniture store on 125th Street. His father was a small-time criminal, as are many of his friends and relations. Although he is essentially law-abiding, he is not above stocking the occasional piece of furniture or console TV that mysteriously fell off the truck. I went to a convention in La Crosse over last weekend, which gave me ample opportunity to listen. The story is enjoyable and entertaining and besides being a good novel is also a kind of sociological analysis of Harlem society, both legitimate and criminal. 4★
Outlander. Such a good show. We think we may have actually watched season six before — there were parts that looked familiar. But it wasn’t enough to spoil our enjoyment. Google tells me that season 7 is in production, so I will watch for it to be released on video.
China Beach Season 3 is waiting for me at the library. What a richness we have in viewing enjoyment!