Knitting: The heel has turned! I have three more stripes on the foot before the toe decreases. I think I may make it before February. Here it is:
And I think I did better with the heel gusset this time, thanks to your suggestions to pick up an extra stitch:
But, I'm definitely going to have to wind my second ball of yarn, since this is all I have left:
I'm hoping that it doesn't look obvious. These are not the same dyelot, but I have my fingers crossed.
Reading: I finished two excellent books. I'm currently reading Murder on a Hot Tin Roof by Amanda Matesky, the fourth in a series of mysteries set in 1950s New York. The sleuth is Paige Turner (ha, ha), a writer for Daring Detective magazine. I like these pretty well. Without looking at a jacket photo or reading a bio, I'm pretty sure Ms. Matesky didn't actually live through the 1950s. I think her 50s are well-researched, but there are a few too many stock characters, phrases, and events referenced. They don't bother me all that much, but, for example, her sidekick is her Jewish friend (who says Oy Vey a lot) who's dating a Beat poet and frequents jazz clubs. I can almost imagine Ms. Matesky going through a list of 1950s "must haves" and saying "Yiddish? Check! Beatnik? Check! Jazz scene? Check!" But the blurb on the back of the book from Romantic Times (is that a real magazine?) says that "Matesky adeptly captures the atmosphere of the 1950s" so maybe I'm being too picky. Besides, I do enjoy these, and as they're set in a different era, they're very different from your typical cozy mystery, and references like the films the characters go to see are fun.
I finished The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Very, very good. Sort of gothic in feel, so if you like that sort of thing, you'll be right at home. It reminded me a little of Jane Eyre. It was an absolutely engrossing book with rich characters and a captivating plot. It begins with Margaret Lea, amateur biographer and daughter of a book shop owner, who is summoned by a famous author, Vida Winter, to write her biography. The author has told many versions of her life story in the past, all conflicting and none of them true, but now she's ready to reveal the real story to Margaret. Naturally, Margaret herself also has a story to tell. She listens to Vida's tale, visits her childhood home, and conducts her own research, and the story of Vida Winter slowly unfolds. The title refers to one of her works, a book of stories called The Thirteen Tales in the earliest printing, but later corrected because the thirteenth tale is missing. It was a lovely read, and Ms. Setterfield's first novel, so I look forward to seeing what else she comes up with.
I also zipped through Welcome to Higby by Mark Dunn. I had loved his Ella Minnow Pea, and I enjoyed this one as well, though it's very different. It's more of a traditional novel, a slice of life story set in a southern town over Labor Day weekend. The characters are all quirky in their own way, and all interconnected. The chapters are insanely short (75 chapters over 339 pages), but the story is remarkably cohesive, and the conclusion elegant. It was a light, fun read, and I'd recommend it.
Writing: Revising. Slowly.
Cooking: Nothing new to report. Haha! If you guys want to send me a list of what's in your pantry, I'll do my best to suggest menus :)