Monday, December 30, 2013

The 10 Best Books I Read In 2013

Unfortunately, 2013 was kind of a crummy year in my reading life. I only gave 5 stars to three books, and I was vastly disappointed in many. Still, I did enjoy some good reads. Below are my 10 favorite books I read this year -- and I'm hoping that I'll have a much harder time compiling this list next year because I've read so many amazing, brilliant books! (All images are from Goodreads.)

Tie for 1.
The Passage by Justin Cronin
5 stars
First in The Passage trilogy
Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
My Review

This novel of a government experiment gone horribly wrong and creating zombie-like monsters thrilled me from cover to cover!

Tie for 1.
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
5 stars
I loved Me Before You just as much as The Passage, which is kind of funny since they're completely different types of books. It's a novel of romance and self-discovery and a quadriplegic named Will, and it will make you smile and laugh and cry. I'm excited to read more of JoJo Moyes' work in 2014.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
5 stars
I read The Secret Keeper way back in January but I haven't forgotten this amazing tale of a daughter discovering her dying mother's secrets.

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
4.5 stars
This is my favorite Emily Giffin novel. An 18-year-old who was given up for adoption as a newborn goes in search of her birth mother, a New York City television writer and producer who has told nary a soul that she had a baby at 18.

The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne
4.5 stars
The World's Strongest Librarian was a humorous and interesting memoir written by a Mormon reference librarian who has Tourette's and competes in strongman competitions.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
4.5 stars
Young Adult Historical Fiction

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
4.5 stars

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
4.5 stars

Divergent by Veronica Roth
4 stars
First in the Divergent trilogy
Young Adult Dystopia

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
4.5 stars
First in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series
Honorable Mention
The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron
4.5 stars
Holiday Fiction
My Review
This book was just too cute not to include! It was a great holiday read.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Furry Friday: Meow-y Christmas

The animals weren't thrilled about it, but we managed to get everyone in a family picture by our tree! Even though Lily looks like she'd rather be having another urine sample taken at the vet, I think it's a pretty cute picture.

We had a wonderful Christmas in Indiana with my grandma, aunt, uncle and cousins. It was the first holiday we've spent with family in a couple years -- that's one of the benefits of being back on the Mainland. Hope you all had a great Christmas, too!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Books I Asked Santa For

The theme for this week's Top Ten Tuesday list at The Broke and the Bookish is the top 10 books you'd be happy for Santa to leave you. I didn't want to repeat my Winter TBR list from a few weeks ago, so I didn't quite make it to 10. But, let's be honest, I'd be happy to see any and all hard, rectangular wrapped items under the tree!
"A Discovery of Witches" was my favorite book from 2012 and I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the final book in Deborah Harkness's All Souls trilogy this summer. I don't re-read books all that often, but I have a feeling these will become favorites. And I already know I want to read them again before I delve into the series ender.

I've been wanting to read this memoir for ages, but I seem to never get to it. And now it's been selected as the Big Read 2014 book for Dayton (a library-sponsored program in which people across the city are invited to read the same book and come together to discuss it -- possibly [hopefully?!] with an appearance by the author) and the hold list at the library will most likely grow exponentially soon. I am 99.9% sure I'm going to enjoy this book, and it wouldn't hurt to just own it.

This book of canine-themed poetry by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver just looks so stinkin' cute! I'm expecting it to be heartwarming, humorous and touching, and I'm planning to read it with my best friend/furry son, Conan!

I'm planning to at least start George R.R. Martin's epic series this winter, and I'd kind of just like to own the entire brick (err, box) set. I love the TV show, so I'm pretty positive I will think the books are the best thing since sliced bread and Harry Potter.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: "Just One Day"

"Just One Day" by Gayle Forman
Young adult
First published in 2013
369 pages
My rating: 3 out of 5
(image source)

It's so disappointing when you finally get around to reading a book everyone raves about and it just falls flat for you. That's exactly how I felt about "Just One Day." I read about it on book blogs all the time (some people think it's life-changing!) and I was really hoping to love it, but it just didn't resonate with me.

Allyson Healey has just graduated high school and she and her best friend are traversing Europe with a teen tour group before heading off to college. Allyson has lived a very structured, sheltered, good-girl kind of life and spent most of the tour doing just that, but a sponataneous decision in England leads her to meet a handsome Dutch Shakespearean actor named Willem. Quite uncharacteristically, Allyson agrees to go to Paris with Willem for just a day -- a crazy kind of day full of adventure and happy accidents and spontaneous decisions. Allyson feels gloriously free of all her burdens -- overbearing parents, expectations, college, time, and her collapsing friendship with her best friend. It's as if she's a whole new person, the kind of gutsy, confident, impulsive person she never knew she could be.

But when Allyson wakes up the next morning Willem is already gone. She's forced to return to the States brokenhearted and confused. She starts college, taking and failing all the pre-med courses her mother has planned out for her. She doesn't make friends. She's miserable and depressed. But as the year goes on Allyson slowly begins to emerge from her shell and starts to rediscover the girl she was that one day in Paris, the girl she wants to get back to.

"Just One Day" is the story of Allyson's journey of self-discovery. In the course of a tumultous year beginning with her chance meeting with Willem and cultimating in a trip back to Paris to attempt to track him down, Allyson finds out who she really is and who she wants to be. That's great. Except that I found Allyson to be kind of annoying, needy and weak-willed throughout pretty much the entire book... not to mention clingy and obsessive and extremely naive. I had to keep reminding myself that the point of the book was Allyson's revolution -- she had to recognize and shed those traits to become a new person in the end. But really, I spent most of the book just wanting to take her by the shoulders, give her a good shake and tell her to let Willem go!

I also had to constantly remind myself that "Just One Day" is a young adult book, that Allyson is only 18, that everyone is naive in the ways of the world and the ways of love at 18. So why, then, has this book made such an impact on so many readers way over the age of 18? I really have no idea.

The first half of the book was mostly Allyson's spectacular day in Paris. But the second part was broken up into months, and it reminded me an awful lot of "New Moon," the miserable second book in the Twilight series in which Bella is depressed and pining over Edward for endless chapters. Ugh! Otherwise, I found "Just One Day" to be fairly well-written for a young adult book, though there were some annyoing copy editing errors and typos that were missed. Forman recently released a sequel, "Just One Year." I'm not sure if I'll read it or not. It seems that even people who are wildly in love with "Just One Day" were a bit disappointed with its follow-up.

One thing I want to add to my reviews in 2014 is a favorite quote or two from each book. So here goes:

Favorite quotes:
*"I think everything is happening all the time, but if you don't put yourself in the path of it, you'll miss it."
*"Maybe accident isn't the right word after all. Maybe miracle is. Or maybe it's not a miracle. Maybe this is just life. When you open yourself up to it. When you put yourself in the path of it. When you say yes."

So I just realized those two quotes say essentially -- and literally! -- the same exact thing. I guess that must have been the only theme of the book that I liked!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Furry Friday (On a Rainy Saturday)

My best friend Katie and her dog Ruby were here for a visit from Texas last week and it was so nice to see two of my favorite people, furry and not-furry. I also wanted to show off our awesome new Christmas tree topper, an aluminum boxer dog cut-out!
Conan and Ruby get along so well and it's so fun to watch them play together. Despite the huge size difference (Conan weighs 70 pounds and Ruby weighs something like 18) he's so gentle with her! And she's full of spunk and sass and bosses Conan around. She's an adorable puppy and she keeps Conan feeling young. (Though she does have an unfortunate affinity for snacking on my Victoria's Secret underwear...)

I love our new boxer tree topper from the Etsy shop ScreenDoorGrilles. Jarrod and I have had the hardest time finding a tree topper we like that will fit on a real tree. When I stumbled upon this one, I knew it was just perfect. Conan will top our Christmas trees forever!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mini Book Reviews: "Allegiant," "Takedown Twenty" and "Duck the Halls"

I've read a few books lately that are new installments in various series and I didn't think they warranted entire reviews, but I still wanted to mention them. All book covers are from Goodreads.

"Allegiant" by Veronica Roth
4 out of 5 stars
 I was soooo excited for the last installment of the Divergent trilogy, which came out in October. I read "Divergent" and "Insurgent" last February and had been anxiously awaiting the conclusion ever since. But as I closed the back cover I was disappointed -- this was my least favorite of the three books. Both Tris and Tobias kind of got on my nerves and I wasn't happy with the ending. Plus, the constantly changing point-of-view between Tris and Tobias every few pages got confusing. However, I do think this was the most well-written book of the trilogy, and I'm looking forward to whatever Veronica Roth writes next.

"Takedown Twenty" by Janet Evanovich
3 out of 5 stars
Well, this is book #298 million of the Stephanie Plum series, and it's pretty much the 298 millionth (err, 20+) iteration of the same basic plot. The first dozen or so of the Plum books are GREAT! I absolutely recommend them to everyone. But they've been going downhill ever since, and while I'll keep on reading every single one until Janet finally puts the series to bed and solves the Great Stephanie-Morelli-Ranger Love Triangle, I've been let down by the quality of the last several books. Surprisingly, though, I actually enjoyed "Takedown Twenty." It was had a decent little mystery, some romance and it even made me laugh out loud. Plus, it had a giraffe.

"Duck the Halls" by Donna Andrews
3 out of 5 stars
I don't know if I'm outgrowing this once-favorite series or what, but the last few books have been quite underwhelming for me. Several years ago I grabbed "The Penguin Who Knew Too Much" from the new shelf at the library because the cover looked intriguing (who doesn't like penguins?) and I quickly proceeded to read all the previous books in Donna Andrews' bird-titled series of cozy mysteries. If you already read Donna Andrews, you'll probably like this holiday mystery. But if you're not acquainted with her work, I would recommend starting on the earlier books because these recent ones -- yawn, what was I saying? Oh yeah, they were a bit of a bore. And also bogged down in a ridiculous amount of information about whatever particular event the plot is centered around. I now know far more about heritage livestock breeds than I ever cared to (from "The Hen of the Baskervilles," the previous book in the series) and various terms and practices of every type of Christian church (undercroft, anyone?).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

End of Year Book Survey 2013

My favorite book blog, The Perpetual Page Turner, is hosting its annual End of Year Book Survey. I'm excited to participate and take a look back at all the books I read this year! (View the entire survey and see other participants' answers here.)

1. Best book you read in 2013?

Tough choice, but I'll go with "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. Government experiments gone wrong and zombies, oh my!

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?

Unfortunately, there were a LOT of these this year. I think this may have been one of my worst reading years ever --  there were books I struggled through but hated, books that bored me to sleep, and books that I couldn't even finish. A few of the books I was expecting to like much more than I did were "A Casual Vacancy" and "The Cuckoo's Calling" by J.K. Rowling; "Inferno" by Dan Brown; "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" by Alan Bradley; "The Heist" by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg; and "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" by Jennifer Chiaverini. I also expected to really love "The Fault in Our Stars" but wasn't as wowed as the rest of the book blogging world.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
"The World's Strongest Librarian" by Josh Hanagarne was a great autobiography by a fascinating guy who's got Tourette's, is a strongman, and spends his days working as a reference librarian in Salt Lake City.
4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
"Divergent." I recommended it to everyone (friends, family and library patrons alike) who enjoyed the Hunger Games books and even bought it for a couple friends.
5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
There are a few of these: the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books by Laurie R. King, the Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin, and the Matched series by Allie Condie.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
Kate Morton. I loved her book "The Secret Keeper" and will definitely read more of her work.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
"Ender's Game" was the first real science fiction book I read.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
"Divergent" was a real page-turner, but so was "The Secret Keeper."

9. Book you read in 2013 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
I hardly ever re-read books! But I might re-read Deborah Harkness's "A Discovery of Witches" and "Shadow of Night" before the ending to her All Souls trilogy comes out in 2014. (P.S. This is kind of cheating, since I read both of those books in 2012.)
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

11. Most memorable character in 2013?
Quadriplegic Will from "Me Before You" by JoJo Moyes.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Huh. Nothing is coming to mind here. Like I mentioned above, this wasn't the greatest reading year for me. So I'll tell you which book affected me the most that I read last year (which was a much better year for books for me!) -- "Unbroken" by Laura Hillebrand, the true story of an Olympian turned WWII bombardier turned POW.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
"The Beekeeper's Apprentice," the first in Laurie R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. And after picking up several used Maeve Binchy novels over the past few years, I only just got around to reading one this summer.
15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2013?
"The Age of Miracles," a coming-of-age/end-of-the-world tale by Karen Thompson Walker, had tons of quotable quotes and lovely writing. Of course, I didn't write any of them down...
16.Shortest and longest book you read in 2013?
Shortest: "The Yellow Birds" by Kevin Powers (226 pages -- luckily, since I didn't like it)
Longest: "The Passage" by Justin Cronin (784 pages)

17. Book that had a scene it it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it?
"Allegiant," the final book the Divergent trilogy. I didn't love everything about this book, and I was anxious to compare thoughts with my mom and friends as soon as I finished.

18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2013?
Louisa and Will in "Me Before You," and Liesel and Max in "The Book Thief." I also always love the Stephanie Plum-Lula friendship in Janet Evanovich's books (like this year's "Takedown Twenty").
19. Favorite book you read in 2013 from an author you've read previously?
"Where We Belong" by Emily Giffin.
20. Best book you read in 2013 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else?
"Horns" by Joe Hill.
21. Genre you read the most from in 2013?
Not sure. Mystery?
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
If I were 10 years younger, I'd totally have a crush on St. Clair from "Anna and the French Kiss."
23. Best 2013 debut you read?
"The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Stedman.
24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
"Divergent" or "The Bone Season" by Samantha Shannon.
25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2013?
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" by Maria Semple.
26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2013?
"Me Before You" by JoJo Moyes.
27. Book you read in 2013 that you think got overlooked this year or when it came out?
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette." It's so kooky and hilarious!
Looking Ahead:

1. One book you didn't get to in 2013 but will be your number 1 priority in 2014?
Oh gosh, there are several of these! First place would probably be "House of Hades" by Rick Riordan. I had it checked out from the library but ended up returning it because I knew I wouldn't have time to read it. And of course there were dozens of people ahead of me when I put my name back on the hold list.
2. Book you are most anticipating in 2014?
The final book in Deborah Harkness's All Souls series.
3. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2014?
I want to read more, and read better books. 2013 was a very disappointing year in reading for me, and looking back at my blog posts it's hard to believe how few books I actually read! I feel like I'm at a bit of a crossroads in my reading life, like I've suddenly grown out of genres and authors that have appealed to me for years. I hope to experiment with some new types of books and authors in 2014. I've already decided to delve into the world of fantasy; George R.R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson are on my to-read list.

My reviews of books mentioned above:
"Anna and the French Kiss" by Stephanie Perkins
"Divergent" by Veronica Roth
"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
"Horns" by Joe Hill
"Inferno" by Dan Brown
"Me Before You" by JoJo Moyes
"Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" by Jennifer Chiaverini
"The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker
"The Beekeeper's Apprentice" by Laurie R. King
"The Bone Season" by Samantha Shannon
"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak
"The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling
"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green
"The Heist" by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
"The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Stedman
"The Passage" by Justin Cronin
"The Secret Keeper" by Kate Morton
"The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" by Alan Bradley
"The World's Strongest Librarian" by Josh Hanagarne
"The Yellow Birds" by Kevin Powers
"Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
"Where We Belong" by Emily Giffin
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" by Maria Semple

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ten Books On My Winter To-Read List

Every week The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top 10 Tuesday, which is great for me because I love books and I love lists! This week's prompt is the top 10 books I'm hoping to read this winter. I didn't do so well with my fall TBR list, so I have some catching up to do!

1. The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
I came across this new novel while browsing BookPage at work. The story sounds intriguing and funny. And I love the cover!

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
I've never read Neil Gaiman but I've been meaning to. And it seems like everyone and their mother has read this book in the past few months. I see it all the time on book blogs, and it passes under my scanner at the library pretty often. This book has a pretty neat cover too!

3. Just One Day by Gayle Foreman
My favorite book blogger, Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner, absolutely loves this book. I'm not a huge fan of the young adult genre, but I want to give this one a try.

4. We Are Water by Wally Lamb
Wally Lamb is another pretty famous author I've never read, so I thought I'd give his latest work a try.

5. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I came across this book while browsing a "best mysteries" list on Goodreads. It's said to have a Gothic atmosphere, which I like, and it's about a special book. Hard to go wrong there.

6. "The Way of Kings" by Brandon Sanderson
One of my goals for 2014 is to expand my literary horizons and read some new things. I'm going to get started with this popular fantasy novel, the first in a series. (It better be good -- at over 1000 pages it probably weighs more than a brick!)

7. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
I love the TV show, so I'm pretty sure the books will blow me away!

8. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I'm almost kind of tired of seeing this book everywhere! All I know is it deals with the art world, and it's gotten a ton of publicity.

9. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
I really loved "The Passage," the first book in Justin Cronin's zombie trilogy, and I need to read book 2 before the final installment comes out later this year.

10. The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
When we got to Ohio last February it was so cold and dreary and miserable, and I decided I would re-read all some or all of the Harry Potter series this winter so I'd have something to look forward to on those gray days. It's been a couple years since I've read "Deathly Hallows" and a few more years since I've read the whole series, and it will be so nice to delve back into these old favorites!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Book Review: "The Dogs of Christmas"

"The Dogs of Christmas" by W. Bruce Cameron
First published in 2013
233 (small) pages
My rating: 4.5 out of 5
(image source)

I was instantly drawn to this book because of the adorable Santa hat-clad dog on the cover (who wouldn't be?!). And I wasn't disappointed -- this cute little holiday novel includes puppies, romance and my home state of Colorado -- what could be better?

Josh is a rather socially awkward 30ish guy who lives alone in a cabin in the mountains of Evergreen, Colorado. He works from home, is still getting over the loss of his girlfriend Amanda, and is something of a hermit.

When Josh's jerk of a neighbor suddenly shows up on Josh's doorstep with a pregnant dog, explains that he has to make an emergency trip to France and speeds off leaving Josh with his mouth hanging open and a dog leash in his hand, he's quite obviously flabbergasted. Josh has never owned a dog before, knows nothing about them, and is horrified that Lucy might suddenly decide it's time to deliver her babies.

Though Josh is both reluctant and nervous about caring for the dog abandoned on his doorstep, his sometimes silly concerns about Lucy's welfare as well as his instantaneous bond with his new canine charge are touching and will be understood by any dog lover. Lucy and her puppies -- along with Kerri, a beautiful and funny woman who works at the animal shelter -- will help Josh break out of his shell and find happiness.

This story is cute and festive but there's also a slightly deeper plot, which is sometimes missing in holiday novels, and I found the writing and dialogue to be really well done. Cameron clearly believes dogs are amazing creatures who enrich the lives of their humans in so many ways. If you agree, then this book is definitely for you. If you're not so sure about dogs, you should read this book anyway and it might just sway your opinion. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top 10 Things I'm Thankful For

This week's Top Ten Tuesday prompt at The Broke and the Bookish is the top 10 things you're thankful for, book-related or otherwise. I have plenty to be thankful for this year and always, and it was hard to choose just 10!
(c)Eugene Robinson(719)591-6550
1. I'm thankful for...
My wonderful family, and that I've gotten to see my mom, dad and brother twice this year. I have an awesome husband and we love our son (who just happens to be of the furry variety) like crazy. The cat's ok, too.
2. I'm thankful for...
The year and three months we've had with Conan since his lymphoma diagnosis in August 2012. And I'm thankful that we can afford the chemotherapy that's given us that extra year.
 3. I'm thankful for...
National parks. Jarrod and I have been to some amazing ones: Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado; Big Bend National Park in Texas; and Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee (above). One of my life goals is to visit every one of American's stunning national parks.
 4. I'm thankful for...
Good books! There's nothing like getting absorbed in the pages of an excellent story, and there are so many different ones to choose from. I can learn transfiguration with Harry Potter, survive a WWII POW camp with Louis Zamperini, or ride along with bounty hunter extraordinaire Stephanie Plum in all her misadventures.

5. And...
Libraries. Not only do I enjoy working at one, but I've always appreciated the vast number of shelves filled with endless adventures -- all FREE for the taking (er, borrowing).

6. I'm thankful for...
Sunny days!
 7. I'm thankful for...
Luxurious, buttery soft merino wool yarn. And my ability to knit. At least I'll have one skill to contribute if the zombie apocalypse ever happens.
8. I'm thankful for...
The three years we got to spend in Hawaii. Oh, the adventures we had. Sea turtles, flowing lava, stunning waterfalls, powdery tan sand, brown sand, black sand, green sand, monk seals, coral reefs, parasailing, 80-degree weather year round. Sigh...
 9. But I'm also thankful for:
Our time in Ohio. Sure, it's frigid and dreary half the year and there's reeeeally not a whole lot to do, but I'm grateful that we get to spend three years just a couple hours away from my grandma and relatives. And Ohio does have its attributes, like an adundance of delicious sweet corn. And this state gives a new meaning to the term "fairs and festivals"!
10. I'm thankful for...
My best friend Katie. And that she taught me to make sushi (vegetarian for me) when I visited her in Dallas this summer. That was a revelation, and sushi now has a regular rotation on our meal list. Yummmmm! I'm also thankful that Katie will be here to visit in two weeks, and that I get to see her more often now that we live in Ohio.

What are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving? Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Knitting FO: Holly Jolly Christmas Wreath

Back in August I went to visit my best friend Katie in Dallas, and on the flight home I started brainstorming some knitting projects to pass the time. I came up with some pretty random ideas before I wondered: Why not knit a "sweater" for a Christmas wreath? And so I did!
I bought a 12-inch foam wreath form, used a handsaw to cut through the form so I could slide my knitted tube on, taped it up and sewed the knitting shut. (Pattern and picture below.) I used some burlap, ribbon and hot glue to make a big eye-catching bow, and -- ho ho ho -- I had a festive holiday wreath!
Here's a close-up of the simple cable pattern I used. It would've looked better with four sets of cables  or perhaps just one instead of three, but I wanted lots of ribbing so the knitting would be stretchy and hide as much of the green wreath form as possible.

(The only drawback to using burlap ribbon is that it sheds everywhere, as you can see!)
After cutting along the seam in the wreath form, I had my husband help me slide the knitted tube on. I used some packing tape and toothpicks to secure the join, slide the knitting all the way around and sewed it shut. I planned to put a big bow to cover the seam in the knitting, but if you wanted to leave it unadorned you could do a provisional cast-on and Kitchener stitch it shut.

This pattern would be easily modified to suit any cable design. If I were to knit it again I'd probably just do one cable instead of three.

With size 6 double-pointed needles, cast on 33 stitches and join to work in the round. Repeat the following rows until the tube is around the same length as your wreath form's diameter. (I did 46 repeats.)

C4F: Put two stitches on cable needle and hold in front. K2 from left needle. K2 from cable needle.

1. K2 P1 K4 P1 K2 P1 (repeat 2 more times)
2. Repeat row 1.
3. K2 P1 C4F P1 K2 P1 (repeat 2 more times)
4-6. Repeat row 1.
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