Thursday, December 1, 2016

Turning the Page on November 2016

nov collage
Between the anticipation of the holidays, new shows and movies to get excited about, knitting projects and Thanksgiving feasting, November was a pretty good month for me. Here are some of the highlights:

*We saw "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and I thought it was a delightful movie! Dear Santa, please bring me a niffler and a bowtruckle for Christmas. (Or at least the Newt Scamander and niffler Funko Pops!)

*Jarrod had to work from noon to midnight on Thanksgiving, so I had the laziest Thursday ever and then we made our big feast on Friday. We had fried turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn pudding, roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash, cranberry sauce, rolls and pumpkin cheesecake -- and it was deeelish!

*I did a little bit of Black Friday shopping online, and I ordered myself a Bose bluetooth speaker and a shirt that says "Books Turn Muggles into Wizards." I also ordered some kids' books because Jarrod and I are going to become an aunt and uncle in January!

*I've also been working on shopping for my Broke and Bookish Secret Santa buddy. I ordered two of the books on her wishlist, and I also bought some Jane Austen socks and a wooden bookmark from the Etsy shop Juniper and Ivy. And I picked up a bunch of Hawaii snacks! Chocolate-covered pineapple, coconut-chocolate macadamia nuts, coconut syrup, etc.

*We started watching two sci-fi shows this month, "Stranger Things" and "Westworld." I had heard a gazillion rave reviews of "Stranger Things," and since I got Netflix streaming so I could watch "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" (which I have yet to do), I was excited to finally see what all the fuss is about. I absolutely adore the '80s nostalgia and music, and the plot -- though kinda wacky -- is pretty good too. "Westworld" is a new HBO show about a futuristic Wild West theme park staffed by extremely human-like robots where people can go to act out all their illicit desires. Also kinda wacky, but we've enjoyed the first couple episodes. (We've also been watching "Designated Survivor," "Survivor," "Elementary" and "Poldark." We've got a zillion episodes of "The Walking Dead" saved on the DVR but after that horrific first episode of the season I just can't muster any desire to watch them at the moment.)

*We totally re-did our front flowerbed. When we moved in back in June, it was just a dirt patch with three crotons in varying levels of decline. We went to a cool nursery owned by an older British guy (with a wild bird who follows him around like a dog) and picked out some lovely ferns and other plants. It was a LOT of hard and filthy work getting the garden in shape, but it looks great now. One of these days I'll post before and after pictures on the blog. (Our backyard underwent an even more major transformation!)

*Jarrod and I were devastated to watch the wildfire unfolding in Tennessee. Jarrod has many fond childhood memories of visiting Gatlinburg, and we went to the Smokies five times in the three years that we lived in Ohio. It's one of our happy places -- the national park is absolutely stunning and so peaceful. It was quite sad to see that our favorite mini golf place, Hillbilly Golf, burned down. :(

nov books

Books read: 9
"The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton (4.5 stars)
"Today Will Be Different" by Maria Semple (3 stars)
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead (4 stars)
"A Fatal Grace" by Louise Penny (Inspector Gamache #2) (4 stars)
"Sweetbitter" by Stephanie Danler (3.5 stars)
"To Capture What We Cannot Keep" by Beatrice Colin (3.5 stars)
"Turbo Twenty-Three" by Janet Evanovich (3 stars)
"The Fifth Season" by N.K. Jemisin (4 stars)
"The Christmas Town" by Donna VanLiere (3 stars)

Books DNFed: "Nevernight" by Jay Kristoff

Currently reading: "The Masked City" by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library #2)

Favorite book: "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton was so good! If you need a book to curl up by the fireplace with, this is a fabulous choice!

Biggest let-down: "Today Will Be Different" by Maria Semple. "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" was such a quirky, fun read and I had hoped her new book would carry on the tradition. But, while it was ok, it definitely didn't have that special charm that made "Bernadette" such a good read.

And I was so bummed that I just couldn't get into "Nevernight." It was the writing -- someone needs to take away the author's Big Book of Similes and Metaphors! -- and the teeny tiny print and the irrelevant footnotes! It was just so looong and the writing was so complicated to parse out at times. It was taking me probably three times longer to read than a typical book, and after 40 pages I decided it just wasn't the right time for me to be reading it. Maybe I'll try again one day.

December release I'm most excited about: Meh. I didn't even put together a December book release post because there's really not a lot coming out this month that strikes my fancy.

Book(s) I'm most excited to read in December: I have a few well-reviewed books coming up: "Maybe in Another Life" by Taylor Jenkins Reid and "The Couple Next Door" by Shari Lapena, both of which I'm hoping to love as much as everyone else. I'd also reeeeally like to finally get to "Morning Star," the last book in Pierce Brown's phenomenal Red Rising trilogy.

Book I won: "The Fire by Night" by Teresa Messineo, a WWII story due out in January. I love Goodreads giveaways!

Books added to my to-read list: 19 (Way too many! I blame the Goodreads Choice Awards.)

Books added to my maybe-to-read list: 15 (Bad bookworm! Bad girl!)

Most intriguing TBR addition: "Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World" by Nell Stevens (out in March). For one thing, it has a penguin on the cover. For another, it's set in the rugged, frigid Falkland Islands, and I have a thing for books that take place in cold climes. And it's an interesting-sounding memoir. Win-win-win!

Books read from my fall reading list: 4! ("The Forgotten Garden," "The Underground Railroad," "To Capture What We Cannot Keep" and "A Fatal Grace.")

Books read from my must-read-in-2016 list: 1 ("The Forgotten Garden.") Only 15 left to go, and one whole month to read them! (Guess those'll be the bulk of my must-read-in-2017 list!)

Favorite bookstagram: Look at that gorgeous pile of library books! Plus my first peppermint (white chocolate) mocha of the season! (Find me on Instagram @knittinglindsay!)



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At the beginning of the month I decided to try my hand at designing some hat patterns, since I've been tossing around the idea of opening an Etsy shop to sell my knitted goods. I really like how both these hats came out, and pattern designing was pretty fun. Even if I don't go forward with the Etsy shop idea, I might try to write up the patterns and put them on Ravelry.

The end of November was taken up with the Gilmore Girls mystery knit-along, meant to be worked on while watching "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life." I really wanted to finish my re-watch of the original show before watching the new episodes, so I've been knitting while watching season 7. I'm in love with the main color yarn, called aspen forest. It reminds me of Colorado, my home state! (More photos to come once the MKAL is over and I've finished knitting. Didn't want to spoil the surprise for anyone else still working on it.)

My next project will be a Newt Scamander Hufflepuff scarf (from "Fantastic Beasts") on request from one of my Harry Potter-loving friends. That marled gray yarn is proving extremely hard to find a match for, though!

Favorite post: Holiday Gift Guide: Books to Buy for All the Readers on Your List
I had fun putting this post together and really thinking about all the books I've read the past couple years and what kind of readers they'd appeal to. If you need some bookish Christmas gifts, check out my guide!

Book Reviews:
The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore (4 stars)
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (3 stars)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (4 stars)
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (4.5 stars)
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (3.5 stars)
To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin (3.5 stars)

Favorite Review: The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore


  1. I hope you enjoy "The Couple Next Door." I'm one of the odd ones who didn't really care for it. I found it to be like Gone Girl for me in that I really didn't like ANY of the characters. However, I have seen a lot of people like it so it may have been just me. The fires in Tennessee have really been sad and since I live in a close state, I've seen a lot of coverage. I see you finally gave up on Nevernight. Hope you have a great December!

    1. Sadly, I did abandon "Nevernight." Yesterday at the beach I only managed to read like 7 pages, and I decided it just wasn't the book I needed to be reading right now. I hope you enjoy it much more when you read it. You'll have to let me know if it's worth giving another try.

      Hmm, interesting about "The Couple Next Door." I loved "Gone Girl," but it was special. Normally I have a hard time with books where I can't connect with any of the main characters. We shall see!

  2. As a TN resident the story of Gatlinburg has been so sad, and affected several people I know.

    1. It's been terrible to watch from afar. I hope no one you know lost their homes!


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