April Wrap-Up

Books and baby

In April I read: 4 books: One e-book (‘The Post-birthday World’), two audio books (The Bell Jar and ‘North and South’), and one physical book (‘Mariana’).

Best read: That would be Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. But it was a reread so it doesn’t really count. So the best read will be ‘Mariana’ by Monica Dickens. which proved to be an adorable little surprise.

Most disappointing read: ‘The Post-birthday World’ – a good idea poorly conducted.

Longest book ‘North and South’ (531 pages / 20 hrs 8 mins)

Books bought: Zero – I’d rather spend my limited me-time reading than buying books.

Reading challenge status: I’m 9 books ahead of schedule! Those long walks with the pram are brilliant 😀

reading challenge

Books and baby

books

Did you read any good books in April?

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The Bell Jar

the bell jar

An intelligent and creative young girl slowly falls apart when she’s supposed to be having the time of her life. A beautiful novel of gender roles, identity and mental illness. One of my favorite books.

The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath
1963
234
New York and Boston, 1950s
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.

Esther Greenwood, an intelligent and creative young girl, wins a writing contest and is awarded a job for the summer at a fashion magazine in New York. She should be enjoying the glammer and excitement that comes with the trip, but instead Esther finds herself sinking deeper and deeper into depression.

I was supposed to be having the time of my life.
I was supposed to be the envy of thousand other college girls just like me all over America.

Esther is a torn soul with a serious identity crisis. In New York she befriends two girls: the good girl Betsy and the bad girl Doreen. Esther feels attached to both girls but cannot be herself completely with either. Betsy is how Esther knows she should be, she's the girl she was brought up to be: finish college, marry a nice man and have kids.

I made a decision about Doreen that night. I decided I would watch her and listen to what she said, but deep down I would have nothing at all to do with her. Deep down, I would be loyal to Betsy and her innocent friends. It was Betsy I resembled at heart.

Doreen on the other hand is wild and promiscuous, the kind of girl she is warned against by parents, teachers, books and movies. The kind of girl Esther is afraid to become but who she also feels drawn to.

Being with Doreen made me forget my worries. I felt wise and cynical as all hell.

It seems to Esther, there is no place for an inbetweener like herself. She doesn't fit either stereotype and is throughout the novel haunted by these limitations. She can't just be a person, she has to choose a ready-made role.

On top of that, Esther has no idea what to do with her life. She's about to finish school and is frustrated with the limited roles for a young woman. She's expected to marry and have children and forget about her education and writing.

I also remembered Buddy Willard saying in a sinister knowing way that after I had children I would feel differently, I wouldn't want to write poems anymore.

I think this was my third visit to The Bell Jar. I listened to the audio this time and can highly recommend Audible's version, beautifully narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal - she did a fine job of captured the wit and sarcasm of the novel.

Even though the novel is dark and tragic, it's also light-hearted and extremely humorous. Particularly the scenes in New York and the flashbacks to her school days and her romantic relationships are some of my favorites. It remains one of the most clever and amusing books I have ever read.

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Currently Reading #5

cat and book

I’m currently reading an adorable novel: Mariana by Monica Dickens (great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens). It’s a sweet story about a girl growing up and I’m enjoying it immensely. It reminds me a bit of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, only so much better – at least in my opinion. I’ve only read about 100 pages, but I’m very much hooked – I desperately need my daily dosis. It’s been a long time since I felt that way about a real physical book. My reading time is limited, so it’ll probably be ages before I finish reading and writing a review.

The other day, I was reading while Edith took a nap. She woke up after only 20 minutes and refused to go back to sleep even though she seemed tired. So I thought Why not try and read while she’s relaxing in my arms? Like we used to do when she was very little. Boy was I naive! She kept crawling around, grabbing the book, trying to put it in her mouth, and crumbling the pages with her little hands. I can’t believe how much she’s changed in just a few months. I think I managed to read one sentence then I gave up 😀

What are you currently reading?

baby and book

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A Little Life

a little life

One of the most heartbreaking stories I’ve read in a long time. A story of abuse, self-destruction, love and friendship. Were it not for a few flaws, I would have given it 5 stars.

A Little Life
Hanya Yanagihara
2015
Audio
720 (32 hours 51 mins)

In 'A Little Life', we meet a group of friends in New York. We dab into their lives, learn about their history, their dreams and their friendships. And then we linger at one character in particular; Jude. Jude is a mystery that is slowly revealed word by word. His is a tragic story of a life ruined, a destructive self-hatred, a soul utterly ruined.

This book was a rare treasure. I was very interested in Jude's story, and desperately wanted to know what had happened to him to make him the way he is. His self-destruction was heart-breaking, and while I cheered for him all the way, I knew I was in for some sorrowful hours. This is one of those novels that stabs you in the heart repeatedly. But it's also a beautiful story of love and friendship.

Why wasn’t friendship as good as a relationship? Why wasn’t it even better? It was two people who remained together, day after day, bound not by sex or physical attraction or money or children or property, but only by the shared agreement to keep going, the mutual dedication to a union that could never be codified.

I listened to A Little Life on audio, and I think that was the right format for this book. One of my favorite groups on Goodreads read it a few months ago, and one of their critiques was the writing. There were many long sentences and interposed sentences. That wasn't a problem for me, however, as the narrator, Oliver Wyman, did an excellent job performing the book. without overacting, I was always aware of where we were and which character was talking.

My top critique for this novel is that it was a bit unbelievable. There were too many horrible things happening to just one person. It was extremely overdone. And though I liked the writing, I thought there were too many repetitions. This was easier to cope with on audio, but I can imagine it would be annoying to read by oneself.

Throughout most of the book, I was completely engrossed in the story. The characters felt like old friends, and I found myself thinking about them when I wasn't listening to the story. Most of the way through, this book felt like a 5-starred read, but due to the repetitions and exaggerations mentioned above, it felt more like 4 stars.

What he knew, he knew from books, and books lied, they made things prettier.

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Knitted Comfy Cowl

knitted cowl

After about a billion knitting projects for baby Edith, I figured it was time to knit something for myself. I wanted something comfy to wear and easy to knit. Something nice and warm around the neck and shoulders. I let myself freestyle, but was inspired by the top part of a recent project, Katniss’ Cowl. I switched the rip stitch for the coin stitch, divided by pearl stitch where I also decreased. I’m very pleased with the result. It has become one of my favorite pieces – I’m wearing it almost every day.

knitted cowl

Wilcox also likes it …

cat and knitwear

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An English Boy in New York

An English Boy in New York

An entertaining YA about a boy who loves to knit. A bit like an episode of ‘The Inbetweeners’ with a ball of yarn.

An English Boy in New York
Boys Don't Knit #2
T.S. Easton
YA
2014
Paperback
286
Haven't been able to write for a while.

Ben from Boys Don't Knit (in public) has won a knitting competition and gets to go to New York with his parents and his wanna-be gangster friend. In New York, he accidentally claims in an interview that he can knit faster than a machine, and is unwillingly thrown into another knitting competition. One he can't possibly win.

I've really screwed up this time. And it'll take more than a bit of super fast knitting to put this right.

This was a cute read, but it lacked some of the yarn-magic from Boys Don't Knit (in public), which was adorable. Most of the plot was predictable and the jokes a bit flat. I did have a bit of fun while reading, but I felt absolutely nothing after turning the last page. I guess this sequel wasn't necessary. It didn't really cast on anything new to the knitting story. Just a trip to New York, some conflicts between Ben, his friends and his girlfriend, and the battle of man against knitting machine.

There could be much better ways to write this sequel. Ben out of school, working hard to become an independent knit-designer could be an interesting plot. Or Ben at some Design-school.

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March Wrap-Up

Books and Baby

Books and Baby

Books and Baby

The sunny days have changed my maternity leave drastically. It’s much more pleasant going for long walks with Edith. And she has started taking naps outside in her pram, which is brilliant! She gets fresh air and I get a short break. We’re going to the cinema every Wednesday and take a baby yoga class every Thursday. That being said, I’ve started to miss work. The days are long, and I get bored now and then. Edith’s naps have been very short lately (about 25 minutes) so it’s difficult to get something done, like reading, blogging and knitting – as soon as I get started, she wakes up. And eating takes so much time! I sometimes wish I could just pop a pill instead of actually eating, just to save time 😀 But I really shouldn’t complain – Edith is a good girl, and she lets me get my beauty sleep.

In March I read: 3 books: 2 physical books (Hvor Intet Bryder Vinden and ‘An English Boy in New York’) and 1 audio (‘A Little Life’).

Best read: Definitely ‘A Little Life’ by Haya Yanagihara. The characters feel like old friends I will miss after saying goodbye.

Most disappointing read: That would be ‘An English Boy in New York’. Though it wasn’t bad, it didn’t live up to Boys Don’t Knit (in public) and was totally unnecessary.

Longest book: ‘A Little Life’ with its 720 pages (or 32 hours and 51 minutes if you listen to the audio)

Books bought: 0! I’ve been a good bookworm this month! (Yes, there are books on the way in the post, but that doesn’t count as I haven’t received them yet)

Next month I’ll read: In April, I’ll listen to ‘North and South’ by Elizabeth Gaskell with The Victorians! on Goodreads. And then I’ll continue ‘The Post Birthday World’ on e-book and my reread of ‘The Bell Jar’ on audio with Mr. Boyfriend.

Next month I’ll buy: I really shouldn’t buy anything as I’m still short on shelf-space …

How was your March? Did you read any good books? And what do you have planned for April?

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Edith in Knit

baby knit

As soon as I discovered I was pregnant, I started knitting baby clothes like a maniac. Not all have been successful. Like the tiny bow hats and the petite socks, which were all too small. And then there was the super cool fox-hat, which could have been a perfect fit if I hadn’t forgot about it until Edith had outgrown it. But there are pieces of knitwear that have become favorites in the little bookworm’s closet.

Like her little blue dress. I wouldn’t mind later on making a similar dress for her in a larger size.

baby knit

Her little green cardigan has from the very beginning been her everyday jacket. At first I tied rubber bands around the sleeves so it could also function as gloves, but now she’s grown into it and has a separate pair of gloves.

baby knit

Her scarf was quite useful this winter:

baby knit

Her little blanket with a hoodie is a very good alternative to a duvet, and it can function as a sleeping bag or a wrap as well. I hadly ever use the button, but just wrap it around her instead.

baby knit

One of her many many hats:

baby knit

And. finally, the very first thing I knitted for her: her poncho. Naturally, this is not for sleeping, but it’s quite practical when she’s in her auto chair or her sling – practically anywhere when her arms are down by her side (as opposed to the preferred up-in-the-air baby position).

baby knit

baby knitted poncho

baby knitted poncho

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Hvor Intet Bryder Vinden

hvor intet bryder vinden

En spændende og velskrevet thriller, der kan få dig til at glemme verden for en stund.

Hvor Intet Bryder Vinden
Leonora Christina Skov
Thriller
2015
356

En gruppe kunstnere og forskere tilbydes arbejdsophold på en ukendt ø. Her skal de i en måned bo i et glashus totalt isoleret for omverdenen, og fokusere på deres arbejde. Der er intet telefonsignal og det er umuligt at komme væk fra øen. Og så begynder mystiske ting at finde sted. Et reb i loftet som ingen kender til, og nogle af deltagerne forsvinder pludseligt. Langsomt afsløres det hvad - eller hvem - de alle har til fælles som et dystert punkt i deres fortid.

Dette var uden tvivl en underholdende roman. Jeg var meget grebet af fortællingen og mysteriet, og havde hele tiden lyst til at læse videre. Det var et godt koncept til en thriller - en genre der ellers normalt ikke interesserer mig.

Persongalleriet var en blandet oplevelse. Der var nogle sjove karakteristika og gode små detaljer. Især en duftekspert med kyniske kommentarer og uforskammet manglende pli morede mig. En kvinde efter mit hjerte! Generelt brød jeg mig derimod ikke om fremstillingen af mænd i romanen - de var enten nogle dumme svin eller ynkelige tøsedrenge. Nogle gange en blanding.

Selve handlingen og mysteriet blev for meget til sidst. Jeg var blevet advaret om, at det var lidt overdrevet mod slutningen, men blev alligevel overrasket. Jeg købte simpelthen ikke ikke historien. Og det er en af de bøger jeg glemte alt om efter at have vendt den sidste side.


The Danish novel 'Hvor Intet Bryder Vinden' is about a group of artists and scientists who are invited to an unknown island to concentrate on their work. Strange things happen and one by one they disappear. It is slowly revealed that they have a shared past - a person who they all knew.

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Knitted Dress with Falling Leaves Stitch

knitted baby dress

I finally finished this dress for Edith. I casted on while I was pregnant but put it aside for other more urgent projects. I made some alterations to the pattern, because the skirt was too difficult for me. I kept making mistakes and started over again and again, never getting it right. So I decided to make the skirt in this falling leaves stitch pattern instead, which was much easier – and prettier if you ask me. The top of the dress was quite easy to knit, and you can basically use any stitch you like for the skirt. This is a pattern I wouldn’t mind knitting again and again with various skirts.

knitted baby dress

The pattern is for a baby dress, but I used Big Merino yarn from Drops and size 5 needles, so it’s a rather large dress – it will probably fit her when she’s about 2 years old.

knitted baby dress

I loved knitting the falling leaves stitch pattern – it’s so pretty and rather easy once you get the hang of it. I might use it again for a different pattern – a scarf perhaps.

knitting stitch

When I casted on about 5 months ago …

casting on

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