It was an up-and-down week. I had four days off, from Sunday to Wednesday, and I got plenty of reading, sewing, writing, and general relaxing done. My mending pile is much shorter now. I finished a couple of books I’d been meaning to read, and I’ve mostly drafted the next chapter of my ongoing fantasy writing project. I also managed to sleep in a little, which is great given that I often have trouble sleeping during the summer.
I also went to a nearby state park on Wednesday. The weather was lovely– the temperatures have dropped to tolerable ranges, and I went in the morning while it was even cooler. The only problem was the bright sunshine. In these treeish areas, the contrast between light and shadow makes it difficult to get a proper exposure. Still, I managed to get a few shots I liked:
Obligatory Mina Photo:
Mina’s been a little clingy this week. She’s by my side pretty much all the time these last couple of days, and if she’s not within arm’s reach, she is perched somewhere where she has a clear view of me. All night long, she’ll be laying on the nightstand, or right next to my head, which is a comfort I’ve needed.
Because I have some sad news:
My other cat, Sidney, who I got when he was a kitten and I was still in college, passed away on Thursday evening. It was kind of out of the blue, as he had been to the veterinarian just a few weeks ago and was given a clean bill of health (given his advanced age– he would have been eighteen in a couple of weeks).
It’s been strange coming home from work and not seeing him lounging on the floor wherever he pleased, or having to step over him while working in the kitchen because he’d decided that the middle of the kitchen floor was the perfect place to be. I also miss him coming into the bedroom in the middle of the night and complaining about the general state of things for a few minutes before heading back to the kitchen to sleep the night away.
He was a jerk to everyone but me, but he was my jerk, and I miss him so much.
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
- Make, Sew and Mend: Traditional Techniques to Sustainably Maintain and Refashion Your Clothes by Bernadette Banner
- The Heroine with 1001 Faces by Maria Tatar, audiobook narrated by Julie McKay
- Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold, edited by Paula Guran
I’ve been following Bernadette Banner’s YouTube channel for the last couple of years. She is a fashion historian who sews clothing using the same methods used in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. She is a delight to watch, and I have learned so much about sewing, as well as embarking on some of my own sewing projects thanks to her videos. I bought her book, Make, Sew and Mend, when it came out last spring, but hadn’t gotten around to reading it until this week. It’s a great guide to basic hand-sewing methods, as well as discussing fabric and fabric care and showing ways to adjust or repair your own clothing so you don’t have to just toss it out or have someone do an expensive repair for you. I will definitely be referring to this book again, as I still have some mending and other sewing projects I want to finish up in the next few weeks.
I finished reading Maria Tatar’s The Heroine with 1,001 faces this week, too. It was an interesting look at stories geared toward women over the past couple of millennia, and how folk tales, fairytales, and so-called “old wives’ tales” have been persistently denigrated as lesser things or bowdlerized for children and promptly regarded as less-serious or not meant for adults. But the original fairytales, Tatar argues, were meant for an adult audience and gave women a creative outlet for dealing with abuse and violence in their own lives. This is a perspective I had never considered before, and gave me a new outlook on fairytales altogether. Tatar goes on to discuss more modern stories, culminating with characters like Nancy Drew, Miss Marple, and Lisbeth Salander. It was a fascinating look at a wide variety of stories and female characters, and I definitely recommend it for anyone who is interested in learning more about literary history.
And while we’re on the subject of fairy tales: I also finished Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold, edited by Paula Guran. Like most other collections of short stories I try, my overall opinion of the collected what that it was just okay. Some of the stories, like Tanith Lee’s ‘Beauty’ were fantastic, while others were in the middle, and some I attempted a few pages of before straight-up skipping them. I think, from here on out, I will probably pass by short story collections unless they’re for a particular universe (like Star Trek or The Sandman, where I don’t have to try to figure out a whole new world in a handful of pages.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- The Falcon’s Eyes by Francesca Stanfill (89/832)
- Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas by Jennifer Raff (5%)
- We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen, translated from the Dutch by Liz Jensen, Emmy Ryder, and Charlotte Barslund; audiobook narrated by Simon Vance (8%)
I’m not very far into any of these. I finished three books in the first part of the week, and then I started these on either Wednesday or early Thursday, and due to the aforementioned events, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read on Thursday evening or Friday. I’ll be reading more of them this week and I have high hopes for all three, given that the first 90 pages I’ve read of The Falcon’s Eyes have been great, and the others come highly recommended by friends whose reading tastes I trust.