Long before I was a knitter, I was a voracious reader. My earliest memories are trying to read my Richard Scary Busy World Book. Mine was a hand-me-down with a busted binding with out of order pages that I never tired of trying to make sense out of. Once I was in elementary school and had the fundamentals down, I would read ANYTHING I could get my hands on. This continued through for years. I would finish the assigned books in a couple of afternoons. I plowed through the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, the Babysitters Club (I wanted to be the artsy fashionista Claudia!). In middle school I transitioned to (way age inappropriate) Anne Rice novels. High School lead me to Vonnegut and Faulkner- both of which I devoured with reckless abandon. College brought reading solstice- Murakami namely with Kafka, Kundera, Nabakov, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky thrown in for good measure. When I needed something easy, I read through most of the Forgotten Realms novels (my partner at the time was really into D&D novels). After college, the amusing joy of Prachett. Along the way I discovered how much I LOVE non-fiction. Namely single source non-fiction. I’ve read books on Twinkies, Salt, Cod, and Wood to name a few.
I’m “well read”. But my reading life was shockingly lacking of women authors.
Last year (2019) I made the decision to read more women authors. My bookshelf has a few: Banana Yoshimoto, Mary Roach, and Zora Neale Hurston. But not enough.
Last year I read a few books by women:
Pride and Prejudice.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
The Sixth Extinction (NF)
My Dear Hamilton
Before We Were Yours
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (NF)
This year, I’m off to a good start, once I took advantage of my local library’s partnership with Hoopla.
Make Your Home Among Strangers (Capó Crucet)
Remembering Shanghai (Chao, NF)
House of the Spirits (Allende)
Yellow House (Broom, NF)
Girl, Woman, Other (Evaristo)
Books and Islands in Ojibwe County (Erdrich, NF)
Vanishing Fleece (Parkes, NF)
Lady Killers (Telfer, NF)
I try and pick (and design) projects that are easy enough to read and knit. Honestly, I’m not good enough at crochet to be able to do them both at once. But practice makes proficient! So if you notice my propensity for “simple”, this is why. I don’t want to choose between fiber arts and reading.
I digress. Impetus for this post was my reading of Vanishing Fleece (disclaimer: this is an affiliated link) a couple weeks ago (this book is available on Hoopla). It was a non-fiction intersection of my great loves: fiber arts and single focus consumable goods. I enjoyed the insight into domestic fiber production, milling, and the various dye processes. I even discovered that the Kraemer Mill was a short drive (like an hour) from my parent’s house. All these years I could have been getting local yarns! I know some people think non-fiction is dry, but this book was a really fun read. It didn’t change my life, but it did give me some insight to a niche industry that is so dear to me. I am inspired to seek out yarns that support local farmers and domestic mills- simply because I don’t want variety to disappear. Differences in breed and spin make creating interesting!
What good books have you read lately? Do you create and read, or are they separate activities?