Unraveled Wednesday’s Knitting and Reading

Hello, Friends! I’m still here. Still knitting, reading, teaching, doing each next thing. As usual on Wednesdays, I’m rushing to get everything ready for my marathon teaching day on Thursday, but I did want to pop in for Unraveled Wednesday.

The log cabin squares continue to be every bit as wonderful to knit now that I’m on square seventeen as they were on square one. I’ve started thinking of them as my portable happy place. I might have to knit them forever.

On the reading front, I picked up Exit West by Mohsin Hamid and Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coban at the airport. Exit West has a fascinating set up and some crazy good writing. It is unusual in that there is a significant piece of fantasy—doors opening to other places on the planet—that guides everything in the plot, but this is the only fantasy element in the story. I like my fiction set firmly in the real world, so it was interesting to notice how this single fantastic element affected my level of interest in the book. The story takes a hard look at communities and borders and things like what it means to be a native and a migrant. It was good enough that I’d definitely read something else by Hamid.

Don’t Let Go is the first of Harlan Coban’s books I’ve read. I regularly see his name listed alongside other writers whose books I enjoy, but for some reason it took needing a book to read in the airport and running across this one to make me actually start something by him. Don’t Let Go was good! It wasn’t life changing by any means, but it was a well-plotted, fast-paced, entertaining read.

The other book on my mind these days is Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich.* Holy moly. I’m teaching it to twenty-year-olds who are pretty sure they’ve seen it all, and even they are blown away. Apparently, after reading it near the end of his life, Maupassant said: “I realize that everything I have done now was to no purpose, and that my ten volumes are worthless.” I totally get it.

Check out what everyone else is knitting and reading on this Unraveled Wednesday over at As Kat Knits!



*The Peter Carson translation is my favorite.


  1. “Death of Ivan Ilyich” is the next book I’m planning to read as soon as I finish “My Cousin Rachel”, I already have it waiting on my ebook reader, so it’s surprising to read about it here! I’m trying to organize my reading a bit, because I’ve started a few different books simultaneously and now I’m trying to finish them one by one.
    “Exit West” sounds interesting, I’m really looking for books about migration experience and meaning of being a migrant, so I might add it to my list!
    Also, the log cabin squares look really great just like the previous time 🙂

    • melinda

      Hey, Kat! Definitely check out Exit West. There are things there that I will be thinking about for a long time. It’s also an interesting read on a formal level in that Hamid’s sentences are these huge, unruly things that twist and turn all over the place. The writing almost starts to feel like another character because it’s so distinctive and so revealing about the story Hamid wants to tell. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is in a class by itself. I’ve never read Tolstoy’s longer novels, and spending time with Ivan Ilyich is making me thing I absolutely can’t live much more of my life without diving in. Thank you for stopping by. I’d love to hear what you think of Ivan Ilyich and also Exit West if you end up reading it. Take care!

      • Thank you for the recommendation – I will definitely add Exit West to my list (which is even longer than my knitting queue…).
        I remember we had to read Anna Karenina in high school and I just didn’t finish it because I couldn’t stand any character in the book. I think I might have more understanding and compassion for them now when I have more life experience myself and I’m no longer an angsty teenager 😉

        • melinda

          Haha! I hear you on that. I think it’s something along those lines that’s made me wait so long but that also makes me think now might be the right time. If I decide to take the plunge, I’ll let you know how it goes. 😉

  2. kayT

    Log cabin squares are beautiful.
    Could you please tell me the name of the shawl at the top of the blog? And is it a project on Ravelry? I love the colors too and want to know all about it, please!

    • melinda

      Thank you, Kat! I’ve kept letting Wednesday get away from me without doing an Unraveled Wednesday post, so I just had to make it happen this time. At 12:01 AM every Thursday, I think, “Shoot! I missed it again!” LOL I really do enjoy this series on your blog so much. Thank you for hosting it!! 🙂

  3. Great to read that you’re in the company of such great books. Novels and Noro squares – I can’t think of a better mobile happy place for being on the road. I’m intrigued by the Hamid novel and will place it on hold! (I study migration, and am very interested in his fantasy-take on borders and mobility that you’ve discussed!). Thanks for sharing this one. And now, I need to re-read Death of Ivan Ilyich! The Maupassant quote – whoa! Safe travels, Melinda. 🙂

    • melinda

      What a fascinating area of study! If you have recommendations for other novels that touch on these issues, I’d love to know about them. Tolstoy blows my mind. Like I mentioned in response to Kat’s comment above, I think the time has come for me to read the biggies. Have you read War and Peace or Anna Karenina? I’m about halfway through Les Miserables right now, but when I finish that, it might be time to finally read War and Peace. Thank you so much for commenting, Shirley! Take care! ❤️

      • For sure! One recent novel that is coming to mind is Celeste Ng’s first one – I look forward to the chance to read her newer one. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the biggies. I’ve never read War and Peace, or Anna Karenina (or Les Miserables!), but you’ve inspired me, now, to stop by the Classics next library trip. Looking forward to more literary-knitting news. 🙂

    • melinda

      Awww, thank you, Melissa! I love that too. I’ve had almost as much fun watching the squares pile up as I’ve had doing the knitting. Ha! Thank you so much for stopping by. I’m behind on my blog reading and podcast watching, but I’m anxious to catch up on your recent adventures! Looks like you had a blast!

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