books


This year was a bit of trying one all around.  While the SO & I were better off than a lot of folks, we still spent 3/4 of the year stressed about the future – there were times when we didn’t think we would make through. But instead of dwelling on the negative, I thought I’d end 2011 on some of the positives that happened.  With lots of pictures!

First was adopting our silly cat.
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Even when we were at our most depressed, Rorschach kept us sane & laughing.  She really is the best thing that could have happened to us.

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On that same note, volunteering at Pixie Project was one the things that made me the happiest this year.  A bit of animal therapy for me every week was what I needed.
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I ran my first 5K this year

my first 5k!

It was a lot of fun and I was very proud of myself.  I was never a runner but I was determined to complete it.  And I did pretty well actually!

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I got to finally see my beloved Red Sox play my second loved Mariners.  Even though the Sox lost (and ended up being the start of their horrible end of season) I had so much fun.

sox game

I also got to see the Blazers for the first time -in fact, I’ve seen them twice now!  It was a very sporty year.
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I got to travel more this year – mainly work related but it was all wonderful.

I went to OH in June for TNNA with my lovely coworkers.  Then a month later it was off to Boston where I visited 20 yarn shops for work.
MA trip

I got to reconnect with my dearest friends out there too
MA trip

Closer to home, I went to the coast with my Mom in the spring & again in the fall.  It was a good trip for both of us (and for Maddie the dog).
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We didn’t go to very many shows this year, but the few we did were great.  Eddie Vedder was probably my favorite, but I also saw Social Distortion, Thurston Moore, the Posies and a special performance by Wild Flag at OPB with only like 50 other folks.
wild flag

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Of course I knit a lot this year (it’s part of my job!)  Since I blog so much for work, it’s hard to find time to post to this blog.  In any case, I made a lot of stuff I’m very pleased with, including my favorite new sweater.
ProvidenceVert3

My friend Jenny is also an awesome photographer.

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It didn’t seem like I did a whole lot of reading but I read all three Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books (liked them all) and the three books in the Hunger Games (liked the first, didn’t think the others were as good) .  I seem to spend more time rereading Jane Austen (especially the new annotated versions of the novels).  I also discovered it’s far easier for me to listen to audiobooks – especially at work when I’m doing a lot of just data entry.  I joined Audible and made it through all 5 Song of Ice & Fire books (by George R. R. Martin – I’m pretty obsessed with the TV show as well) and my current favorite, Bossypants.
wpid-bossypants
I really do want to read more next year but I think it will mainly be audiobooks again.

I also I discovered I can’t live without the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast.  It really gets me through the week & relisten to them all the time.

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While 2011 was not a great year, I’m very thankful that the SO & I managed to get through it with our relationship still strong.  I think if we could get through the last 2 years, we can get through anything now
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I’m also thankful for our fantastic friends who were also a huge help in keeping us sane through 3/4 of the year  (especially Carmel & Shawn, who were actually with us at many of the events I mentioned above).  Love you all.

Here’s hoping for a wonderful 2012 for everyone.

I don’t normally get too personal here – or anywhere really.  But it’s been a rough couple of months, mentally.  The thing about long distance relationships, you expect the long distance part to be over at some point and then when that date gets pushed back & pushed back & pushed back, it has a wearing affect on you.  And that has been getting to me.

Part of me feels my complaints are not nearly as bad as what others are going through and I shouldn’t be so down. My SO isn’t fighting a war in some distant land for years on end.  We both have jobs & are financially stable. We’re both healthy and have great friends & family.  So I keep such whining to myself for the most part- I may make the odd post on facebook or a passing comment to friends  but try my best not to have a pity party and have everyone feel sorry for us.  But it still has been getting to me a great deal.

And in this internet age, it’s not like we don’t have the option to “see” each other every day.  It’s not like when I was growing up – my father was in the Air Force and there would be months and years that he would be sent on TDY where we were lucky to get a letter or a phone call every couple of weeks.  We now have cell phones with unlimited minutes to anywhere in the US, gmail chat – even video chat.

But you can’t hug a video image.

And while I have a wonderful job and coworkers and fantastic friends & family that I spend time with, it makes me feel lonely sometimes.  It’s not the same.

So in the midst of yet another delay, other annoyances this week, and the prospect of an uncomfortably hot weekend in Portland – I had reached my breaking point.  So I took myself to the Oregon coast.

I love the Oregon coast – I will say it’s in my top 3 favorite places on earth. I felt my body instantly relax when I came around the bend and saw the ocean.

I found a perfect place – a hotel in Seaside with ocean view from the room and within walking distance of the Boardwalk (as opposed to right on it – way way way too many screaming kids).  It’s quiet and relaxing.

It’s my weekend dammit, so I decided to do some of my favorite things.

I listened to a lot of music.

I love Mumford & Sons. A. Lot.

I had a new book to read

behind the curve I guess.

I, naturally, had knitting.

Brattleboro Hat from my new fave knitting book, New England Knits

My room had a jacquzi so I had a little relaxing spa.

Um, I may have a problem with Lush...

I ate & drank.

And just attempted to relax.  I don’t know if I feel better.  I still feel sad & a little empty.  But I guess I’ll just keep managing.

Awake my soul...

Since up in my heading I mention “reading” I thought I should have a post on books. I’ve been on a bit of a buying kick.

recent book purchases

recent book purchases

I’ve bought these since early May – some I bought in Portland because they were great deals ($3 for Wendy Knits, $2 for Running With Sissors). You’ll notice a couple of things:

  1. I get really into authors – when I read one book by them (Michael Pollan, Cokie Roberts, Augusten Burroughs), I usually immediately buy another, if not all of them.
  2. I’m behind the times – The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Founding Mothers, and Running With Scissors were all super popular while I was working at Borders, but I didn’t read them until now.
  3. I’ve really been into nonfiction at the moment but I do like a bit of brain candy once in awhile.
  4. These don’t include audio books – I just bought the new David Sedaris audio of When You Are Engulfed In Flames (best title ever), plus I bought a couple of Stephanie Pearl McPhee audios – Casts Off and At Knits End

Currently I’m reading Dry – after finishing Running with Scissors on the plane, I had to get the second one. I’m trying to finish Ladies of Liberty but I think I put it down too long.

Melissa recently posted a meme on her blog that I loved so even though I’ve gotten away from doing them, I had to do this one. I won’t tag anyone, but I hope others will do it – I really love reading book lists.

Guess who my favourite author is.  Just guess.

Guess who my favourite author is. Just guess.

1. One book that made you laugh: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchet. It’s my go to book when I’m sad.
2. One book that made you cry: I think there have been several so I’ll go with Little Women
3. One book that you loved as a child: So many. I was such a reader. I’ll go with The Cricket In Time Square. Or Bunnicula. I was really into talking animals. I still read a lot of “kid” books.

My kid books collection.  With added Shakespere!

My "kid" books collection. With added Shakespeare!

4. One book you’ve read more than once: There are tons – I am always rereading books. I try to read To Kill a Mockingbird at least once a year – hands down my favourite book of all time & I always get something new out of each reread.
5. One book you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it: The Stephanie Plum mysteries. I always read them within a week of their release, though this was the first time I’ve actually bought the hardcover – I was going to give it to my sister but she bought it already.
6. One book you hated: Of Mice & Men. Though I like other Steinbeck books
7. One book that scared you: The Shining by Stephen King it’s the only book I remember reading that I actually had to stop reading because I kept hearing noises and it scared me so much. Remember that episode of Friends where Joey had to put The Shining in the freezer? Yup, that’s me.
8. One book that bored you: Usually if a book bores me I stop reading it. I do think I slogged through Bleak House by Dickens.
9. One book that made you happy: Vince & Joy by Lisa Jewell, someone I think should be more popular than she is.
10. One book that made you miserable: Wuthering Heights is the first thing that comes to mind.
11. One book that you weren’t brave enough to read: Crime & Punishment because of the length, although I have read the unabridged Les Miserables and Anna Karinna
12. One book character you’ve fallen in love with: Fredrick Wentworth from Persuasion. My iPod Nano is named Fredrick. My other iPod is named Darcy.
13. The last book you read: Running with Scissors is the last one I’ve finished.
14. The next book you hope to read: After Dry, I plan on reading In Defense of Food.

Well that’s it! Let me know if you decided to do this meme – I would love to read it! 🙂

I swear, I think this sweater hates me.

I finished it – oh nearly 2 weeks ago – and I haven’t until now gotten a picture of it (and not really a great one either).  First, the ends curl – my fault because I put the lace on the bottom and on the arm cuffs but didn’t think about the curling (CB now knows what “curling” means as I ranted about it).  Then it took 2 days to dry – not unexpected – and I wore it, think I could maybe get a picture of it during the day.  I spilled hummus on it, right on the boob.  Not a good look.  So I rewashed it, waited for it to dry…and then the weather was pretty horrid all weekend so I decided to wait to take a picture.  Then I wore it yesterday…and I got really sick, I thought it was the flu, but since I feel better today, maybe not, but I felt awful.  Worse off it took me 3 hours to get home – when you have to rely on public transit & you live an hour away,  it sucks.  I came home and slept for something like 15 hours, in between trips to the bathroom.  I feel better today, but stayed home just in case.

Since it was a beautiful day, I figured I would take some pictures before the sweater killed me in my sleep or something.

Blue Gable

Started: February 17th

Finished: March 30th

Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, Lapis – 3.25

Pattern: Green Gable

Needles: Size 4US & 6US

Notes: I’ve had this pattern & yarn for nearly two years, seriously.  I’m glad I finally made it but I don’t feel it’s the most flattering sweater on me – or maybe I’m just cringing at the pictures because of my weight gain, (which I’m working on).  Anyway, I love the way the Zephyr Girl knits look, but they never seem to turn out right on my body shape.  I still have yarn & the pattern for Rusted Root but I think I’m going to stick to cardigans for awhile.  I did a couple of mods – decreased much lower for my long waist and increased a bit.  Then I added lace to the bottom a la Turtlegirl & to the sleeves – but as I mentioned before, I should have planned better and bound off differently.

In any case, while not my favourite knit, probably one I’ll wear (unlike Wicked) – I do like Cotton Fleece & I love the colour.

I’ve been reading quite a bit – which may explain my blog negelect. I bought 3 books this week – the new Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (I love her, but this isn’t anything different), the new Jennifer Weiner (who’s book & blog I adore, although this one made be bawl my eyes out), and today I got in the mail Clara Parkes’s The Knitter’s Book Of Yarn (we won’t mention the sock yarn I got as well), which I think will be very handy.  I don’t talk about books as much on here anymore – I still read, but not working in a bookstore makes a huge difference.  I work across the street from Borders but when I go in, none of the books seem to speak to me.  I’ve been on another one of my Jane Austen kicks until this week.  But I did read an excellent book a couple of weeks ago – The Monsters of Templeton.  I loved it – I don’t think I can even try to describe it with out it sounding ridiculous but it is fantastic.  I would say the best novel I’ve read in a very long time.  The author’s blog is pretty excellent too – I can’t wait until her next book.

Also, I’ve been annoyed by several threads on Ravelry lately.  I wish everyone there would read this before jumping in on things they don’t know anything about.  (If I can’t put this on my blog, where else can I?)

I don’t miss working in retail.

But I do miss seeing all the books coming out & being “in the know”.  I also miss my gift card I got at Borders every month (every full time employee gets a $30 gift card every month) because I definitely bought a lot more books, especially knitting books. Since leaving Borders in September I haven’t bought one knitting book & barely any other books (not that we need them – between CoffeeBoy & myself we have 100’s of books – some of which we’ve actually read!)

However…

People actually give me books for gifts now!  I guess the thinking before is “oh she’ll just buy her own books” (a direct quote from my sister).  I actually got 3 lovely knitting books for gifts this year.

First is one I’ve mentioned before – Alice Starmore’s Fisherman Sweaters.  CB bought it for me a week or so before Christmas for no particular reason other than he liked it.  So I’ll count it as as Christmas gift.  It is lovely – there are several sweaters I want to tackle, although they are definitely more intricate than I’ve made before.  CB doesn’t wear sweaters so there’s no pressure to make one for him, so these will be for me…I may tackle one after Cozy.  And let me tell you the crap CB gave me for not using this book for my new sweater – teasing, of course – although I told him that that yarn is too busy for those lovely sweaters.  Whew!

Next is from a gift exchange I did with friends here in MA – the lovely girl who got my name is also a knitter & was pretty excited by Mason-Dixon Knitting when she saw it on my amazon wish list.  I do like this book a lot – I don’t think I would have ever bought it myself but there are several patterns I want to do.  I’m thinking I might do a log cabin blanket for my dear grandmother – the blanket in the photo above is one that she crocheted for me for Christmas.  Unfortunately, her birthday is this week, so this will either be a present for no reason or for next Christmas.  I think I’ll use Cotton-Ease – it’s easy to get here & I won’t have to buy it all at once.

Finally, my dear best friend of 15 years actually bought me Domiknitrix for Christmas.  Unfortunately I already have (and love) it so I exchanged it for something I’ve been wanting since it came out – Veronik Avery’s  Knitting Classic Style.  Oh my, if I don’t ever make anything from it, it’ll still be worth having.  It is BEAUTIFUL.  I’ve always been a fan of Veronik’s designs (although the one I attempted – the Dollar & Half Cardigan – ended up being frogged).  I’ve grown to be more of a fan of classic, vintage inspired styles more than the “new” style.  Anyway, I do want to make the cover sweater, although I may attempt to adapt for the Merino Style I have in the stash. Bulky yarn, unfortunately, is not a good look for my bulky body.  Anyway I highly recommended book for anyone.

Yah for knitting gifts!

Cozy update:  4 inches in the body.  13 (sigh) to go!  I forgot how boring knitting stockinette on a sweater in the round is.  But it’s good for this lazy weekend – pretty much we’ve been watching football (note: CB watches football.  I half pay attention & cheer for the teams CB cheers for (Packers!) and ones I feel I should, given my location (Patriots!) and boo the people that annoy me (both Mannings – are they in EVERY commercial?) and relaxing.  Today however, I’m going to play in my craft room – one of my yarn shelves fell a couple of weeks ago (I think it was the books on it) so I’m going to fix it today.  Happy Sunday & see you tomorrow for a Monday Socks update.

Ebay is a very dangerous place. Granted, a lot of stuff is overpriced and don’t get me started on the bidding wars (“How dare this person outbid me! I must rebid”) where you spend way more than you wanted or needed to. I don’t look at ebay very often but I needed new jeans & the only jeans that I’ve found that fit me perfectly is Gap Long & Lean – and it’s way too expensive to buy in the store…if they even sell it in the store? I detest clothes shopping so I don’t think I’ve gone to the Gap for awhile.

So I found a pair for a good price ($16, including shipping) then started looking at yarn lots. Big. Mistake.

Got this in the mail yesterday:

 

Cascade 128 (Green), Patons Voodoo (black), Plymouth Yarn Bably Alpaca Grande (light blue), Gedifra Micro Chic (silver) Patons Pooch (light blue, pink)

All cost about $17. I have no use for the Voodoo or the Pooch – Pooch might be a scarf for my niece but I really don’t like knititng with that kind of novelty yarn – but I love the Cascade and I really love the Plymouth – I understand now why knitters keep certain yarns in the their stash – I love petting it. 🙂 It will probably be a hat or another Panta for myself.

This was kind of yarn blindness on my part – Bulky yarns? Novelty yarns? What? – but I’m pleased with what I got. That’s nothing compared to the auction I won yesterday…I won’t get it for awhile (even though shipping was $15, it’ll still take 7-10 days? What?) but I feel almost guilty for the deal I got. The $35 (including the shipping) would really only cover the two skeins of Koigu and the Lorna Laces Shepard Sock – but I also will be getting 5 balls of KnitPicks Merino Style, 1 hank of Memories, 1 ball of Simple Stripes, 1 ball of Essential as well as 6 balls of Elsbeth Lavold Cotton Patine and 2 hanks of Cascade 220. Oh and some random Lion Wool-Ease (ick). Seriously, I feel guilty. But perhaps I should save feeling guilty until I actually get it – the picture on the auction is purty though.

One last bit of damange…I went to a super JoAnns sale – I had a 50% off coupon but when I went in, everything was on sale it seemed like. I picked up some notions & some items for my spring fling pal. I also got some cotton for the nephew’s Spidey backpack and used my coupon on this:

 

It’s a handy little guide that I’ve always thought I should get so when I have a problem or question I don’t have to rely on the internet. And only $7.

As for actual knitting content, I’ve picked up the Dollar & Half Cardigan again and thisclose to finishing the sleeves. Next the back & then the 2 fronts. I’ve seen some lovely FOs on the KAL so I’m anxious to finish. But I swear, I’m knitting slower than ever.

Maybe it’s because of the beautiful weather yesterday…I spent most of the day in the yard and fixing my bike. CB was off as well so it was a lovely day together. But back to work today…and my last day as a supervisor as well as my last Saturday there – huzzah!

Wow, I’m so excited that there were so many hits on my lil’ ol blog for FYS – I hope some people stuck around to read my rambling.  Today is mostly pictures though, I’ve been doing a lot of yard work in between work so I haven’t been knitting as much so not much to update.

I listen to too much Lime & Violet – last week they talked about Dyeabolical Yarns and I fell in love.

boltneck.jpg

This is her colorway Boltneck – actually one of the ones that Miss V mentioned on the podcast.  It’s DK weight, superwash merino 280 yards.  Lovely.  Because I need more sock yarn.  Sigh.  It’s my favourite colours though, I had to have it.

I mentioned last week that I was making some Fixation socks for my mom for Mothers Day (or Easter I guess, but that’s not going to happen)…well right after I posted about it, a dear friend of mine lost someone very close to her – and it was right after I was freaked out about my grandmother.  She is a knitter (though not an obsessed knitter like me) and allergic to wool…so I decided I’m making them for her instead.  I’ll have enough for some for my mom too, but these need to come first.

Finished one.

sarahsox.jpg

I’m using Turtlegirl’s pattern & it’s working well – I’m just worried that I’ll run out of yarn.  But look!  I CO for the second sock already.  I’m getting better…and totally ignoring the 4? 5? unfinished socks nearby.

And I have CO-itis.  But the photo didn’t turn out at all…I’m not sure why.  But I’m making the Textured-Square Bag from the latest Knit It with my Lion’s Cotton.  I want a new bag. And red!

Finally, my fabulous Mellow secret pal stickyfingers sent my last little gift.  She made me a cute little bookmark that immediatly went into my current read.

bookmark.jpg


How cute is that?  Thanks sticky!

That’s the Michael Chabon book I mentioned last week by the way.  It’s good, taking a little bit to get into, but that’s what usually happens with his books.

I haven’t had a chance to post in awhile…mostly because I didn’t think I had much to post. Knitting-wise, my Dollar & Half Cardigan is still coming along (but still on the sleeves) and the only other thing I’ve been working on is my KIP socks (the Tofusties) and they are not much longer either. So…I didn’t post. I’ve also been working a lot of night shifts (well, I’m off by 10, but still) and when I get home, I pretty much want to veg.

But today I had a lovely day – well after a depressing doctors appointment (I’m fine, it was just an annual, it just cost more than I expected and I realized I’ve gained even more weight than I thought. Sigh.) I just got back from Abundent Yarns where I got to see the Mason-Dixon girls talk. I actually don’t own the book (although I read the blog sometimes), but I since it was on my day off & such a nice day for a drive, I decided to go. They were, of course, very fun to listen to. I think I recognized some internet people there, but I’m so damn shy, I didn’t talk to anyone. I also got overwhelmed by the crowd so I didn’t stay & knit either – it was a fair size crowd, not that big, but I felt uncomfortable anyway – again with the shyness. And the store! It was lovely – nice selection, but not sensory overload like Yarn Garden. So much Cascade too! I’m loving the Sierra Quatro (especially #96) but I restrained myself – especially after taking pictures for the Flash Your Stash 2007 that happens on Sunday – that was quite an eye opener. I also know where to go when I want some Cascade 220 – I think they had everything. I’m still partial to Close-Knit, but I enjoyed Abundent Yarns.

I did by something, of course. I decided I wanted to make my mom some socks for Mother’s Day – she always comments on my socks so I thought I’d make her some fun ones. I was going to use the yarn I won from Manda a couple of weeks ago, but it didn’t call to me. Plus, I wanted something she would wear in the spring & summer – i.e. not wool. So I was looking through the sock yarns there (one vent – why do my favourite yarn shops have very little sock yarn? I’m not a fan of the ones that actually do.) and then spotted the basket of Cascade Fixation. One colourway caught my eye & when I saw the name of it, I had to get it for my mom.

fixation.jpg

Sadly, while it looked fine on my camera, it really got washed out but the label called it Margarita! (On the website it’s colour #9904). My mom loves her margaritas & this is lovely stuff – lime green, peach, pink – so I thnk she will like it. Or else I’ll keep them! This will probably be a quick knit – I’m just making shorty socks (like the one for the KAL) because that’s what my mom likes, so I might even have enough for a pair for myself, not sure. I’ve never knit with this before.

Speaking of my mom, I went to visit her last week. My grandmother was staying there too, taking care of my mom after her surgry (although earlier this week my grandmother was taken to the hospital – it was extremly scary for a couple of days, but she’s much better now). Mostly I wanted to visit with them but I also wanted to get my car registered – I haven’t really drove it in 2 years but now I’ve got it all squared away – huzzah! And since it wasn’t as expensive as I expected it to be, my mom & I went yarn shopping! Teehee. We are both really bad enablers. We went out to the Knit Shop – a place neither of us had been in a couple of years. And the sock yarn! Okay, I wish my favourite places here had their selection. I found some Opal Rainforest – my favourite pair of socks is made from the Parrot colourway – and I fell in love with the Caterpillar one so I treated myself.

opal.jpg

Oh how I love it. Just like all my sock yarns…I need to quit collecting them & actually finish a pair!

Then we made the mistake of going into the “backroom” where there TONS – and I mean tons – of yarn on closeout prices. I was very good – though I was very tempted by some Cotton Fleece for $5 (with enough skeins to make a cardi…sigh) I just picked up some yarn to finally make CoffeeBoy some socks.

boysocks.jpg

I’ve never heard of this yarn, but it’s obviously a german company – it’s a nice sportweight grey tweedy yarn that I think the boy will like. They probably won’t be made for awhile since they are all wool, but at least I have something in mind for CoffeeBoy – part of me feels guilty I’ve never made (or rather finished) anything for him. I actually don’t think he cares but I would like to make something for him.

nsfy.jpgI also checked out some books this week- No Sheep For You from Amy Singer and Interweave Knits Favorite Socks . I read NSFY – I really enjoyed it, it goes a long with my facination with unusual fibers rather than a wool allergy. I think I’ll end up buying it – I’m dying to make the Cables & Os cardi. I think that might be next project after D&H cardigan. I haven’t looked at FS all that much, just flipped through it, but I think there’s a couple of things I’m going to have to make out of that too. But what I really really want is More Sensational Knitted Socks. We are supose to get it this week at work, so hopefully when I get back to work on Friday, it’ll be there waiting for me. I’m also planning on picking up the new Yarn Harlot book as well – I get my $30 gift card on Sunday, plus I have a credit of about $15 coming on April 12th. What else would I buy but knitting books?

In other reading, I haven’t been keeping track of books I’ve read like I planned on doing this year. I’m currently reading The Friday Night Knitting Club because I got a free copy of it. It’s not my usual thing, but enjoyable. But I also got an advance copy of The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon, who I love. I also have a major crush on him after meeting him when he stopped by the store to sign some books. Now I’ve met a lot of authors that way and at work, I’m not shy & can talk to anyone (I’ll have to save my Chuck Palahniuk stories for another time) but I totally turned into a stammering schoolgirl when I asked him to sign my copy of Summerland. He is so adorable & so nice. Although I will say that Jasper Fforde is still my favourite out of all the authors I’ve met – and his new book is out in July! Just like another series I’m obsessed with. I think I’ll be reading nonstop that month!

Okay, that’s a much longer post than I intended. Ah well, that’s what I get for going a week without a post.

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