May Book Haul

May is my birthday month, so I justify everything I buy during that month as “I’m older therefore closer to death, therefore I should spend money.” I accumulated a few books, mostly secondhand, and others I was gifted for my birthday, so.

These are all secondhand. And they were all impulse buys of the highest order. Naipul’s book is called In a Free State in English. I’m glad I was able to snatch up both the Turgenev and the Woolf in Oxford World Classics editions — they are annotated, which I greatly appreciate when reading this type of novel. I always feel like there’s something I’m not quite getting if I don’t have some sort of context or explanation for certain details. I’m most excited for Between the Acts — I’m a big fan of Woolf, but I’ve only read her in translation so far.

R. gave me the Miéville as a birthday gift — which I had also pestered him for, of course — and I am suuuuper excited to get to it. It’s the final book in Bas Lag trilogy — the first two being Perdido Street Station and The Scar. I love this series. It’s a mix between fantasy, sci-fi, weird stuff and steampunk. It’s engrossing, has a great world you can get lost in, and the writing is superb. I became an instant fan of Miéville after reading 40 pages or so, and he’s now one of my favourite authors. I am slowly making my way through his entire work. Seriously, the books are so good, and I think even someone who isn’t typically into sci-fi or fantasy would enjoy them. There really is something for everyone there.

And speaking of favourite authors, I placed a wee order for two of Byatt’s books — Angels and Insects, pictured here, and On Histories and Stories, which hasn’t arrived yet. I’ve only read two of Byatt’s other novels, Possession and The Children’s Book. I especially love the second one of those, but ugh. Byatt is such a talented writer; she can weave in an out of stories, in and out of time. She is masterful with her words — her novels are luxurious and long, but she never lingers on stuff she doesn’t need to, and every word is put to good use. Angels and Insects isn’t actually a novel — it features two novellas, both set in Victorian England, I believe — but I’ve read the first few couple of pages and felt like underlining the whole thing.

Lastly, Kenneth Henshal’s A History of Japan — a gift from my parents — is exactly what it says on the tin. In April I kind of went on a History kick and started reading up on all sorts of subjects. I’m reading The Penguing History of the World, and thought it would be interesting to actually read more in depth about certain countries or historical events. I also have a nifty little collection of Oxford’s A Very Short Introductions (these focus on one single topic, like the Celts, or the British empire, and they’re only about 100 pages long), and decided to supplement those with a little bit of Japanese history. This is only a very, very short primer, but since I know nothing about Japanese history, I think it’s a good starting point.

As always, you can snoop what I’m reading at my Goodreads account.

Friday Favourites #2

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you had a good week. We’ve been having very sunny, warm weather here in Lisbon — which makes me feel like I’m on Holiday and that I need to get to the beach ASAP. If, however, it’s still pretty cold where you are, here’s some reading/viewing to do over the weekend.

— A great review by Edan Lepucki on the book Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, edited my Megan Daum. I was interested in reading the book before, but Lepucki’s review makes me want to pick it up immediately.

— Stephanie from the Yarn Harlot blog met Chris Hadfield and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Why is Jane Austen so popular? Why indeed? I like her because she’s funny, sarcastic, kind of mean and not afraid to throw all that in an otherwise conventional romance novel. Plus, I like pretty dresses and British accents.

— If you are interested in my bae Jane, then check out Ron Lit’s videos about her novels. Actually, watch all her videos. She’s smart, funny, and academic in a really cool way. I love her.

— Since it’s sunny, it’s about time to revisit one of my all-time favourite albums, Toro y Moi’s Anything in Return. Which I secretly listen to all year round, shh.

— Melody’s excursion to a Latvian mittens workshop. Check out her Instagram feed for several more pictures. She also talks about the experience on her podcast.

— Let’s all take a moment to appreciate how cool it is that Yoshi’s Woolly World is an actual game.

How was your week? What are you knitting/spinning/sewing/reading/working on? Let me know in the comments!

Friday Favourites #1

Happy Friday, friends! Here’s a quick round-up of my favourite reads/things on the Internet this past week:

Why I don’t believe in dressing for my body type: A great post on just wearing what you want and what makes you feel good. I feel like everyone has heard of INTO MIND, but if you haven’t, it’s a great blog on building a simple, minimalist wardrobe that works for you and isn’t overwhelming.

— A Portuguese newspaper published a small article on knitting and how it’s regaining popularity. They interviewed Rosa and Vera, who shared the full interview on their blogs (here and here).

Susan‘s sock reports always make me want to knit all the socks, and buy all the sock yarn.

— The always amazing Fringe Association wrote a post this week about inspiring women who have great handmade wardrobes. There is plenty more there to read and explore, I’m following so many new inspiring blogs because of it. And it made me think a lot about my own wardrobe goals/decisions for the future: more on that later!

Pomcast! This is not new to anyone else but me. Pom Pom Quarterly (to which I recently subscribed) has an amazing, hilarious podcast about knitting and other things. It’s a delight to listen to!

— Loved reading Leigh‘s post on working from your stash. This is something I often struggle with, as I want all the pretty things, and ignore that I already have pretty things at home that I can work and create with. It’s funny how you get so used to the things you own you stop seeing them.

Quince and Co.’s new collection for their worsted-weight linen yarn, Kestrel. I am especially enamoured with Yarrow and Hibiscus.

Bookrageous‘ latest podcast on strong female characters. They do a killer job of explaining exactly why pop culture places women on either the weak or strong side of the spectrum, and why that sucks.

— My favourite song this week: Way To Be Loved by TOPS. It’s been so sunny here, and this song is so spring-y.

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As for non-online reading, I’m working my way through two books at the moment: Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country and Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places on audiobook — I am enjoying the latter more, as I knew I would. Flynn always writes the most complicated, interesting characters, and super enjoyable, edge-of-your-seat mysteries.

What are your plans for the weekend? Will you be reading or knitting something (or maybe both?) Tell me in the comments below!