Category Archives: reading

Reading the 20th Century

(First, and as an aside: I am winning over knitting. The socks are 90% complete and all they need is a Sunday afternoon movie and they will doneski. Take that, knitting ennui! You are not the boss of me!)

Once upon a time there was a group blog called ‘Knit the Classics’, a project in the shape of a virtual book club where participants would read a ‘classic’ book each month and have the option of doing a crafting project to accompany that read. Then, something happened in the Blogger brand of internet and the KTC blog got nixed. The KTC project was revived in part by a Knitting 19th Century Novels group on Ravelry (Ravelry link there), which I’ve been happily participating in (I’d never read Alice in Wonderland before and am excited to read Dracula).

And then I got to thinking that the 20th Century could use a companion group. I started thinking about it months and months ago, and finally now that I’m using my brain to think thoughts again post-thesis I have had enough wherewithal to start on this. Naturally every project needs co-conspirators, so I enlisted the help of my friend Liz who is both a Ravelry user and a knitter, avid reader, and generally friendly and all-around groovy person.

To get this party started we have to come up with a half-dozen or so titles to put on a reading list (I’m sure we’ll end up soliciting suggestions as the group continues, but hey, we gotta start somewhere), so we each went off and tried to come up with a list of 20 titles and are planning a chat this afternoon to start whittling them down. She’s posted her list and since all’s fair in knitting and Reading List Elimination Death Matches, I figured I’d do the same and post mine. Impressively, our lists are almost 100% different, which should make this all the more interesting to choose the first few. Do we go with the most widely-known? Even balance between male and female authors? Alternate late-20th C with early-20th C? A mixture of genres? Short ones? Long ones? Prize-winning ones? Obscure rarely-read ones? Oi with the poodles already.

I don’t know who’s going to survive the bloodbath of the selection process, but by tonight we should have a starting selection. Even a short list of 20 was hard enough that we both copped out and added extra. Here’s mine:

20 from the 20th Century

Lord Jim (1900), by Joseph Conrad
Mrs Dalloway (1925), by Virginia Woolf
The Great Gatsby (1925), F. Scott Fitzgerald
All Quiet on the Western Front (1929), by Erich Maria Remarque
The Maltese Falcon (1930), by Dashiell Hammet
Rebecca (1938), by Daphne DuMaurier
Nineteen Eighty Four (1949), by George Orwell
The Wicked Pavilion (1954), by Dawn Powell
Catch-22 (1961), by Joseph Heller
Slaughterhouse Five (1969), by Kurt Vonnegut
Watership Down (1972), by Richard Adams
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979), by Douglas Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces (1980), by John Kennedy Toole
The Name of the Rose (1980), by Umberto Eco
Midnight’s Children (1981) by Salman Rushdie
The Color Purple (1983) or Meridian (1976), by Alice Walker
In the Skin of a Lion (1987), by Michael Ondaatje
Oscar and Lucinda (1988 ) or The True History of the Kelly Gang (2000), by Peter Carey
The Remains of the Day (1989), by Kazuo Ishiguro
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (1991) or Girlfriend in a Coma (1989), by Douglas Coupland
A Fine Balance (1995), by Rohinton Mistry

But first, I’m going to finish these socks.

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Big talk

Oh, sure. Going to “finish a sock or a sweater”, I said. “All week to knit” I said. I should have known that as soon as I made such plans for myself, my brain would do an about-face and say, “no, maybe not so much.” The kitties were darling and would have happily allowed me all the knitting I pleased. At the beginning of the week I had 1 unfinished sweater and 1 unfinished pair of socks. Now on Saturday I still have 1 unfinished sweater and 1 unfinished pair of socks, although the socks are arguably close, since I have turned the 2nd heel and need to only do the foot.

I did actually manage a bit of work this week, and also some visiting with Toronto people – 2 knitting nights in a row! Purple Purl and Lettuce Knit! A trip with a friend to find her sock yarn at Romni Wools! (AND I escaped without any yarn myself, which I feel shows remarkable restraint. I know I’ll be back for my birthday this coming week.)

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I have also been enjoying a return to Reading Books. (Did you know you can read books? You just get a book and then you read it. And then when you finish it you can read another one. Groovy). I’ve spent the last couple of months tearing through paperbacks and have lately been moving into the contemporary literature area, ranging from the “OMG someone actually published this?” (The Friday Night Knitting Club was sadly not for me) to the “OMG why have I not been reading this sooner?” (Jasper Fforde and the ‘Thursday Next’ novels).

Strangely I have been seeing very few films (maybe I need more movie-appropriate knitting projects), but I suspect it is only a matter of time before I finally see WALL-E, The X-Files, and perhaps even Mamma Mia. I am tired of the endless Summer Boy Movie Blockbuster Extravaganza of Money-Making and would like to see something with at least one non-vacuous female character in it. (No really, Hollywood. Just one. That’s all I’m asking.)

It’s a shame cables don’t make good movie knitting though, because I tells ya, this Halcyon sweater has been on the books too long – I note that i cast on in April which is now at least 3 months ago. Come ooooon, cables. It’s you and me. Let’s finish this sucker.

Next post: Either the WIPs will have the glory, or I will. Coming soon to a suspense-filled blog read near you. Have a great weekend!

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Can’t knit. Reading.

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Although the After Dark Nightie is so close to done that some knitting breaks may be required. As will be food, drink, and sleep breaks, naturally. The day started out quite busy and bustly but now I’m settled in, enough to give myself lots of time for this this weekend. No speed-reading for me. ;)

Better get down to business…

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Filed under mason-dixon, reading