I have been trying to focus on reading more during my 'down' time - say, 3-5A. Since I tend to obsess, I am slowly easing off the knitting (one sweater 99.9% done, second sweater 90%, scarf/shawl too boring to spend too much time on, socks on the needles). I can feel myself being drawn towards my BritBox subscription (curse you, Marianne), so I am tempting myself with a stack of physical and virtual books - the latter of which maintains my sanity during my daily commute.
Right now, I am listening to Rough Beauty by Karen Auvinen, a memoir that was enthusiastically referred by Bestie, Sylvie. I couldn't find it via Libby, my library's audiobook app that allows you to borrow audiobooks from your library for free, so I got it on Audible. The nice thing about Audible is that you can test listen - very important because a narrator can make or break a book's enjoyment. I cringingly remember listening to Jane Eyre, where the male narrator took it upon himself to read Jane's parts in a piercing falsetto, or the recent horror read in HIGH DRAMA. As I have listened to Rough Beauty, I've been swept up with Auvinen's words - with her, you are facing the mountains in Colorado, seeing the swathe of spring flowers and hearing the birds, or sitting in a cabin while the winter winds roar. She is what I always wanted to be in my heart of hearts - fierce, independent, brave. I am bracing myself, as I've reached the part where her companion of many years, a fine dog of the Husky persuasion, is reaching the end of his life. I will most likely have to pull off to the side of the road to get through that or listen to it at home.
For home reading, I am savoring Inland Island, by Josephine Johnson. This book is out of print - Amazon refers to it as a Story Press endangered classic. I found my copy through Thriftbooks. This is also about a woman's observations of nature, but in a totally different voice. Her language is fierce, amazing and true. It is not the carefully, albeit lovingly, crafted prose of Auvinen's, but a language that is so completely pure that it's breathtaking. Descriptions that make your mind take a sudden seat - BAM! There are whole paragraphs that I have marked with the ever-handy Post-It notes that I want to memorize so that I can summon them up when I want to be reminded how really beautiful words can be. I will never dismiss the miracle of a lady beetle again.
I still have to face my knitting - my summer-weight green cardigan needs to have its ends woven in and be blocked. I am quite happy with it. My worsted weight steel-grey sweater is continuing to challenge me, which I am enjoying immensely. I had made the mistake of starting an easy knit for waiting rooms, etc., instead of my usual sock project. Mistake. It is so mind-numbing that I am loathe to pick it up. It may be mouldering in its project bag for years. I have a big list of sock gift-giving so I had better get cracking. No matter how hard I try to ignore it, the days are getting shorter. Summer is sprinting by - or should I say flowing by. We have had over six inches of rain since the beginning of August - the opposite end of the spectrum to our friends on the left coast.
Thanks to friends with gardens, I have had zucchini crust pizza, zucchini fritters, zucchini and sweet corn pie, zucchini breakfast cake. I am planning on an eggplant Parmesan this weekend, along with more fritter-making, as these freeze well and are a nice, quick dinner when you are mired in February. Another batch of gazpacho is on the near horizon. It's nice to be awash in vege - although I do miss growing it myself. Next year. Next year.