Monday, December 31, 2018

My Year in Reading

According to Goodreads, I have read almost 200 books this year! I had meant to read fewer books than last year--bit ended up reading more!

Here is a breakdown of my reading, not presented in any particular order except category. You can find my reviews by typing the book title in the search bar on the right side of the blog homepage. Some of the books I read in 2018 will be published in 2019. I have marked them with a *.

My reading was still heavy on current political and social issues, represented by nonfiction and fiction choices.

American History & Politics
My choices favored my interest in Revolutionary War, WWI and WWII eras, and the 1960s. 
Rush by Stephen Fried
The First Ladies of the Republic by Jeanne E. Abrams
Frank & Al by Terry Golway
In the Hurricane's Eye by Nathaniel Philbrick
LBJ's 1968 by Kyle Longley
The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Tim Tate
The Hidden White House by Robert Klara
The Man Who Walked Backwards by Ben Montgomery
Wasn't That a Time by Jesse Jarnow
A Force So Swift by Kevin Peraino

American Inventors and Business
The great creative thinkers and the influence of business and industry on society
Tesla Inventor of the Modern by Richard Munson
Atom Bomb to Santa Claus by Trevor Homer
Wanamaker's Temple by Nicole C. Kirk
American Advertising Cookbooks by Christina Ward
Janesville by Amy Goldstein
Voices From the Rust Belt by Anne Trubeck

True Adventure
The girl in me loves a story of survival against the odds
Adrift by Brian Murphy
White Darkness by David Grann
To the Edges of the Earth by Edward J. Larson

Books on the Current Political Climate
Some pretty scary stuff!
Fire and Fury by Michael Wolfe
Fear by Bob Woodward
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky
The Splintering of the American Mind by William Eggerton
Identity by Frances Fukuyama

Books on Inclusion and Justice
Immigration, Civil Rights for all, economic parity
Lighting the Fires of Freedom by Janet Dewart Bell
A Bigger Table by John Pavlovitch
The Opposite of Hate by Sally Kohn
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
Patriot Number One in Chinatown by Lauren Hilgers\
Give People Money by Anne Lowry
Journeys An American Story by Andrew Tisch

British History
Queen Victoria by Lucy Worsley

Memoirs & Autobiographies
Inspiring stories!
The Sun Does Shine by Ray Hinton
Song in a Weary Throat by Pauli Murray
Together at the Table by Karen Oliveto
Tomorrow Will Be Different by Sarah McBride
Surrendering My Ordination by J. Philip Wogaman
The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
My Dead Parents by Anya Yurchyshyn
Call Me American by Abdi Nohr Ifrin
Calypso by David Sedaris
Becoming by Michelle Obama

The Poisoned City by Anna Clark
Overrun by Andrew Reeves*
The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell

LGBT Themed Fiction
Southernmost by Silas House
Tin Man by Sarah Winman
A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
Sugar Run by Mesha Maren*

Multicultural Fiction
Many are historical fiction. All offer insight into the human experience.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
I Have Lost My Way by Gaye Foreman
Gateway to the Moon by Mary Morris
Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop
The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
The House of Rougeaux by Jenny Jaeckel
Half Gods by Akil Kumarasamy
There There by Tommy Orange
We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels
All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy
The Tyre by C. J. Dubois
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Historical Fiction About Women
The eternal and timeless experience of being female.
Learning to See* by Elsie Hooper
The Falconer* by Dana Czapnik
The Last Year of the War* by Susan Meissner
The Only Woman in the Room* by Marie Benedict
Marlena by Julie Buntin
The Latecomers by Helen Klein Ross
Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl by Jean Thompson
Transcription by Kate Atkinson
A View of the Empire by Sunset by Caryl Phillips
Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt
The Only Story by Julian Barnes
The River by Starlight by Ellen Notbohm
The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg
Island of Sea Women* by Lisa See

Historical Fiction
Vividly bringing the past to life through fiction.
The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason
So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernieres
The Wreckage of Eden by Norman Lock (a story about Emily Dickinson)
A Long Island Story by Rick Gekoski (set in the McCarthy era)
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
The Italian Party by Christina Lynch
Dust by Mark Thompson
I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows
West by Carys Davies
The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King by Jerome Charyn* (A novel about Teddy Roosevelt)
Sea Chase by John Braddock (Young readers fiction about John Quincy Adams)
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Historical Fiction with Fantasy Elements
The Cassandra* by Sharma Shields
The Bird King* by G. Willow Wilson
Ahab's Return by Jeffrey Ford
A Boy in His Winter by Norman Lock
Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Circe by Madeline Miller
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Science Fiction
Unholy Land by Tidhar Lavie
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys

Mysteries and Suspense
The Garden of Blue Roses by Michael Barsa
An Anonymous Girl* by Greer Henricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Bring Me Back by A. B. Paris
Jack Was Here by Christopher Bardsley
The Ancient Nine by Ian Smith
Siracusa by Delia Ephron
The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne
Truly, Madly Guilty by Lianne Moriarity
Feared by Lisa Scottoline
After Anna by Lisa Scottoline
Dead Bomb Bingo Ray by Jeff Johnson
Death in Paris by Emelia Bernhard
Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon
Marne by Winston Graham

Literary Fiction
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Tinkers* by Paul Harding
Nothing But the Night* by John Williams
Laurentian Divide by Sarah Stonich
Vacationland by Sarah Stonich
Virgil Wander by Leif Enger
Florence Gordon by Brian Morton
Ohio by Stephen Markey
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay
Meet Me At the Museum by Anne Youngson
A Collar for Cerebus by Matt Stanley
All We Ever Wanted by Ellen Giffin
The Red Thread by Ann Hood
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Hard Cider by Barbara Stark-Nemon
The Family Tabor by Cherie Wolas
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
The Dependents by Katherine Dion
The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman
Laura and Emma by Kate Greathead
Maria on the Moon by Louise Beech
Stoner by John Williams
The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypool White
The Mystery by Matthew Mackintosh

Retellings of Classics
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Mary B by Katherine B. Chen

Humorous Novels
Limelight by Amy Poepple
#HockeyStrong by Erika Roebuck
High Noon in Hollywood by Warren Adler
Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
The Norma Conquest by Warren Adler

Short Stories
You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld
Collected Stories by Susan Sontag
We Are Gathered by Jamie Weisman
A Beautiful Place to Die by Sam Bigglesworth

Lessons From Lucy by Dave Barry
I See Life Through Rose Colored Glasses by Lisa Scottoline

Nonfiction Inspiration
The Dark Interval by Rainer Maria Rilke
A Glad Obedience* by Walter Brueggemann

The Flame by Leonard Cohen

Books About Books and Writers and Artists
Meg Jo Beth Amy by Anne Rioux Boyd
J. D. Salinger and the Nazis by Eberhard Alsen
Whistler's Mother by Daniel Southerland
The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt
Louisa At the Front Lines* by Samantha Seiple
Jane Austen for Kids* by Nancy Sanders
Guilty Thing by Frances Wilson
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
Simply Austen by Joan Klingel Ray
The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel by Charles J. Shields
The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt

Books About Quilts
Pattern books and quilt histories
An American Quilt by Rachel May
Southern Quilts by Mary Kerr
Landscape Quilts by Ann Loveless
Oh Scrap by Lissa Alexander
Tilda Sewing by Heart
Pin Pals by Carrie Nelson
Quilt Big by Jemima Fiendt
My First Book of Sewing
Whimsical Wool Applique by Kim Schaefer
Creating Art Quilts with Panels by Joyce Hughes
Paint By Number Quilts by Kerry Foster
A Splendid Sampler 2 by Pat Sloan
Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Machine Quilt
Intuitive Color and Design
Allie Aller's Stained Glass Quilts
Stitches from the Yuletide by Kathy Schmitz
Patchwork Loves Embroidery Too
Red and White Quilts
Antique Needlework Tools by Dawn Cook Ronnigen
Art Quilts Unfolding
The Researchers Guide to American Genealogy

Charlie Harper's Birds and Words
The Refrain of Thomas Cole*

Books I did not finish
Sight by Jesse Greengrass
Boomer 1 by Daniel Torday
Princess: The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II
by Jane Dismore
Imagining Shakespeare's Wife: The Afterlife of Anne Hathaway by Katherine West Scheil
The King's Favorite by John Vance

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch is Katherine Arden's third book in the Winternight Trilogy. I reviewed the first books The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower here

I was quite taken by the 14th c Rus' setting, the Russian fairy-tale-inspired characters, and the female heroine journey. Arden studied Russian in Moscow, so reading the books the reader is immersed in Russian history and traditional culture. 

The series, in essence, is about a young girl growing up, discovering her abilities and place in the world, at odds with societal expectations. Historical Russia becomes a fairy-tale kingdom where both men and devils must fight to survive.

The Bear and the Nightingale 
In 14th c Russia, Vasya, who can talk to horses and hear the household spirits, dares to claim the right to make her own fate. Against her family's desires and the demands of society and church, she resists the life laid out for her. Even the pagan gods, whose power is slowly fading, try to harness her for their good but she will not be chattel to anyone. She fights the evil spirits that threaten her family, protected by the Winter King Morozko. When the spirit of Death in the form of a monstrous bear attacks their community, Vasya is blamed and labeled a witch by the priest Konstantin. Her choices limited to marry, enter a convent, or be killed as a witch, Vasya dresses as a boy and goes out into the world with a horse from Morozko, the unworldly stead Solovey, or Nightingale.

The Girl in the Tower
In the cruel winter, dressed as a boy, Vasya flees her home where she was driven out as a witch. After battling a Tartar army she finds refuge in a city where she is reunited with her brother Sasha, the valiant monk-warrior and childhood friend of the ruling prince. Her exploits impress the prince and she leads his band to track down the Tartar marauders. Vasya accompanies the retinue to Moscow and is reunited with her sister. Also in Moscow is the tormented Konstintine, the priest whose misguided faith drove him to persecute Vasya in her hometown. The story includes a twisted plot of false identities, a heritage of women who can communicate with the spirit world, and a riveting epic battle.

The Winter of the Witch
This installment brings the epic story to an exciting climax as the Rus kingdoms are threatened by the Mongol Golden Horde, and the chyerti fight for survival as they are forgotten as Christianity spreads. 

Vasya learns she is descended from a line of witches and pledges to help the chyerti coexist with humanity. Central to the continuing story is Vasya's monk-warrior brother Sasha, their sister Olga and her daughter, the nascent witch Marya, the Rus' Prince, and the misguided Christian priest, Konstantin, whose lust for power overrides his faith. 

Vasya's demon mentor Morozko The Winter King, a god of death, and his brother Medved, the Bear, god of chaos, have been enemies. To protect her Rus' kinfolk, Vasya's task is to bridge their gap and make them ally with humans.

In the Author's Note, Arden states that from the start she planned to end the trilogy at the 1380 Battle of Kulikovo on the Don River between the Grand Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich and the Tatar temnik Mamai. There was a historical warrior-monk who battled a Tartar warrior as in the novel, and the Grand Prince did trade places with a boyar so he could fight incognito.

I sped through The Winter of the Witch, a compelling read. There are two epic battles. As I noted in earlier reviews, the myth of the female hero continues as Vasya receives help and magical helpers. I noted repetition in the story, stock images or phrases, in the style of Epic poetry. 

The series would appeal to readers who like strong female characters battling for freedom and those with an interest in fairy tales, Russian folklore, and fantasy. 

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

The Winter of the Witch: A Novel
by Katherine Arden
Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine/Del Rey
Pub Date 08 Jan 2019 
ISBN: 9781101885994
PRICE: $28.00 (USD)

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Quilts

For once I have more finishes than starts! Only because I took 8 quilt tops to be long arm quilted.

Starts include:

This quilt made with the Thistle fabric line animal prints. I decided to add an outer border, so I need to make more blocks.

Redwork blocks of Little Red Riding Hood based on a 1919 pattern. I have fabrics to set them together.

I started this A Tisket a Tasket quilt from Bunny Hill and have nearly finished hand quilting it--then it needs embellishments.

I finished making 12 blocks for my yellow roses quilt, which still need to be put together.

I started my Bronte sisters quilt. It now has a lot of flowers. 

I made several more blocks for my Great Gatsby quilt.

Finishes include:

I made this wall hanging based on Stitches from the Harvest embroidery patterns 

I just finished hand quilting this Peter Pan applique quilt. The Riley Blake Neverland fabric line inspired me. I used Marion Cheever Whiteside Newton's Story Book applique patterns. Hand appliqued and hand quilted.

I made this wall hanging for the weekly quilt group's fabric challenge. The image is based on a Victorian illustration.

I finished hand quilting the Jane Austen Family Album, patterns shared by Barbara Brackman.
My quilt tops that were longarm quilted included:

Icicle Days, a design from Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill
Fox Kits design from Sew Fresh Quilts
Big Block in two colors

 The MODA Bee-autiful Sew Along embroidered quilt
A quilt made with my father-in-law's shirts
This quilt top is prettier in real life, with sparkling fabrics.
No photo yet, but I finished a queen-size quilt top for my son. 
For Christmas gifts I made five pillow cases, two dice bags, two tea cozies, and made this applique for a tote bag for my son's girlfriend who is a knitter.

Tote, dice bags, and a pillowcase
For the weekly quilt group Christmas exchange I made this placemat.

My plans are to continue to clear out my UFOs, finishing more quilts in process. I also have bought fabric for a pattern of stars and a house using this main fabric from Connecting Threads' Winter Flurries collection.