On my personal Facebook and Twitter profiles I include the description “reader of fat books”. Which is true. For several years I kept a link to my Goodreads shelf in the sidebar of my old blog. It’s no longer in the sidebar but if you’re on Goodreads you can find me as lostcityknits.
I love a good thick novel, but I also have recently found that I love a good thick book of letters. A few weeks ago I finished My Faraway One, the first collection of letters exchanged between Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Steiglitz from 1915 to 1933. There are well over 800 pages in this fascinating doorstop of a book which took me exactly six months to read. The letters begin early in the relationship of Steiglitz and O’Keeffe and include the letters sent during O’Keeffe’s first few visits to New Mexico.
There were times I felt much like a voyeur reading these very personal letters. They provide a good insight into a complex relationship and marriage with corresponding ups and downs, closeness and betrayal, from the participants themselves. What the book also does is offer the reader insight into of the art world and the couple’s interaction with influential figures such as Marsden Hartley, Paul Strand, Diego Rivera, D.H. Lawrence and Mabel Dodge Luhan. And I enjoyed O’Keeffe’s descriptions of what was going on in her life as she worked on pieces that I’ve seen in museums from New York to Santa Fe.
I’ve been a fan of O’Keeffe’s work for some time. My visit to Taos and Abiquiu years ago tremendously impacted my life. This book is the first volume, and there is no doubt I’ll collect the other volumes as they are published.
Currently on my nightstand is Lonesome Dove, another thick book (960 pages in a mass market edition). Like many people I have associated Lonesome Dove primarily with the mini-series of 1989. This association is common but the mini-series does not do justice to the Pulitzer Prize winning novel. My copy is old, its cover a bit brittle, and now tattered as well from being shoved into my purse on overnight trips. Lonesome Dove is a classic tale of aging and longing for one last adventure. Both Woodrow Call and Augustus McCrae were Texas Rangers in the days when being a Texas Ranger meant fighting Indians, visiting whores, and saving settlers. It’s also a tale of love, friendship and the end of the era of wild buffalo herds.
This epic novel is incredibly well crafted. The sentences are beautiful and drew me to savor and reread descriptions of prairies and rivers. The insights into the personal relationships between Call, Gus, Lorie, Newt the youngster, and the rest of the Hat Creek Company as well as descriptions of the fears and bravado of the cowboys moving the herd of cattle from Texas to Montana are what make this novel worth reading – even if you aren’t a fan of westerns.
With all of the reading I’ve been doing the past few months it feels as if I’ve gotten less knitting done this winter than in winters past. I’ll finish Lonesome Dove this week and the books waiting on the night stand are slimmer volumes.
I’m having such a great time dyeing the new PathWays Sock Yarn that yesterday I cast on not one but two new socks. Below is the very beginnings of Cookie A.’s Stalagmites in colorway Pot Bellied Stove. If you have not flipped through the new Cookie A. book Knit.Sock.Love be sure to pick one up at your LYS or local bookseller. The photography alone is worth the cost of the book, and you’re sure to enjoy the patterns which range from quite simple to more complex patterns. My Hederas were simple, but Stalagmite’s going to be one of those complex patterns with numerous charts and a different sequence of charts for each foot. This one is great for people who are construction geeks!
Because Stalagmite is complex I’ve also cast on one of my simple DVD socks. If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll know that we don’t have television reception, but we do enjoy Netflix DVDs. I call my basic toe up socks DVD socks because they’re so mindless I can knit on them while watching DVDs in the evening. Here we have the toe of my first sock in colorway Bittersweet, named for the berries that are often used as autumn decoration. I love the ranges between orange, rust and red.