The Books of August

August wasn’t the best for me. I had just come off a course of steroids to treat my lung disease (there’s another post coming) and I seemed to be struggling with withdrawal. I hurt everywhere. Sleep was difficult. I was sad. I cast on lots of projects and failed to make much progress with any of them because I was struggling with tendonitis. I kept trying different needle sizes and yarn types all month, but nothing worked. Here’s the list:

  • A new sweater, Lace & Fade Boxy by Joji Locatelli. I think that I have a couple of inches done…
  • A standing cat being knit in cool Noro yarn. For some reason I decided that the cat would be outstanding knitted in spring colors (cream/blue/raspberry/green) as a Noro calico cat. Right now, the cat has her front paws and no head yet…
  • A crocheted bag being made in Noro yarn and fancy squares all attached together. I have a lot of squares done, but nothing is attached yet…
  • A new pair of socks. One sock is done…
  • A new pair of mitts. One mitt is done…
  • A PICC line cover that is… half done.
  • My Sharon Air MKAL shawl. That one I am keeping up on because Hannah is keeping me on track.

I did get some sewing done, but mostly I lounged around and read books. Well, I listened to The Murderbot Diaries a couple of more times. I love that series!

This is the first book in the series. I’m anxiously awaiting a new release.

The audiobooks are easy to listen to, the story is easy to follow, and the main character (Murderbot) is so engaging/snarky that you are in its camp from the moment you meet it. Murderbot is a machine/organic construct that specializes in security. A free agent because it has hacked the device that is supposed to control it, it is slowly finding its way to personhood and working out what it wants. It also is continuing to work its old security job while consuming tons of entertainment media. I love Murderbot! It listens to its favorite soap opera-like serial over and over while it deals with anxiety and blocks of down time; I listen to Murderbot over and over while I deal with my own. I smile to myself in moments of self-realization and wish that I could watch The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon along with Murderbot. Murderbot considers its primary client, Doctor Mensa, to be an actual intrepid galactic explorer and I try to be like Doctor Mensa, too. See, a great series of books for sad days.

What a great book!

It’s hard to talk about this book without creating spoilers, but I’m going to try. This is the story of an extreme friendship between two game developers that is actually a love story. It is about betrayal, broken dreams, the creative drive, and the endurance of friendship. I just loved it. Oh yeah, that title comes from MacBeth’s soliloquy about life: “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Not the best message for a person who hurts all over and who cried in two different doctors’ offices last month, but still in a strange way comforting.

Then there were these two books:

Have you ever had an urge to do something but didn’t know why? I can totally identify with this as a knitter who is making a standing cat in crazy colors. I also collect empty notebooks to write in, a habit that went on for years before I finally began writing. Then there is the yarn stash… What would happen if you lived in a community where there was the infrastructure to allow you to just follow your dreams?

In these two books we meet a robot (who is the descendant of ancient robots that left the world of humans and went into the wild) and a monk who lives in an environmentally sustainable world with little technology, a world where everyone is accepted for who they are and supported by a barter-driven economy. The robot and monk meet up and begin a pilgrimage through this world together that is compelling and positive; just what I needed for reading material last month. The message that they pursue in their journey is… who am I and what do I want? The final conclusion is one that I could totally identify with… it is enough to just be happy in the moment.

Now it is September and what am I reading?

Umm.. I’m afraid that I have to admit that I have started Murderbot again, but only because I can’t seem to find The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon on Netflix. I am considering looking into Coronation Street…

By the way, I am through withdrawal and the hurting has stopped. See. Sound and fury, signifying nothing. The knitting is back on!

Time for some Sanctuary Moon… err… Murderbot while I knit.

The Saturday Update: Week 13, 2021

Spring has arrived here in my little part of the world. The weather is balmy, the sky is endless blue, and I hear birdsong every morning now. Yay! I headed off the the nursery on Friday and bought some nice bedding plants that can withstand a spring snowstorm or two and planted them that afternoon. Look at what else I found!

So cool, right? My front rose garden is covered with these little white flowers and the occasional crocus as pops of color. Some of my perennials are putting out new growth and I am feeling pretty good about getting the outside gardens going again. I think that all of the rose bushes made it through the winter, but in another few weeks I’ll know for sure. Please, no big snow storms, Mother Nature!!

Knitting

I kind of set a goal for myself early in the year to knit a pair of socks each month, so late last week I went into knitting overdrive and got March’s pair of socks finished. They are nothing fancy, but they are done!

These guys were knit with Classic Sock yarn from Spun Right Round in the colorway “Hellbent”. This yarn is a 4-ply hard twist merino yarn that is advertised as perfect for socks, so I took a chance and cast on. It’s a knitting experiment! If they hold up to wear okay I have some more yarn like this in the stash just waiting to join them in the sock drawer…

Once the socks were done I went back to knitting the Goldwing sweater and made some progress. I have now finished the body and am working my way down the first sleeve; Hannah has been tons of help with the sleeve knitting… NOT! I have to flip the sweater around while working on the sleeve and that makes the knitting look like a cat toy to her. Still, we are making good progress.

Books

Have you ever found yourself reading books that had similar themes? Without meaning to I have gone down the rabbit hole reading books about… artificial intelligence and the personhood of human-like constructs.

These books ask the question, “What is personhood?” while taking you on adventures that are engaging and action-packed while forcing you to consider why some individuals have lesser rights than others. In A Closed and Common Orbit the artificial intelligence of a ship (Lovelace) moves into a robot body after a catastrophic failure and reboot that makes her continued presence on the ship uncomfortable. It’s a rocky, and illegal, transition but over time Lovelace, with the help of her irrepressible engineer/friend Pepper, is able to move into a life that is hers alone.

Then there is Murderbot. Oh, dear. I am currently consumed with Murderbot. Imagine being a highly skilled and intelligent construct of organic and machine parts that is designed to provide sophisticated services to clients who hire their services from security corporations. Known as SecUnits, these constructs are lethal bodyguard units capable of multiple types of responses; they can conduct electronic warfare and control other units (like drones) while shooting their way out of any ambush or hazard; retrieval and secure safe passage for human clients is their specialty. They are lethal units, valuable corporate possessions, and their compliance with corporate priorities and directives is controlled by implanted governors that “punish” any failure by the SecUnit. They are “things” and have no rights. Except… what if a SecUnit is able to hack the governor and can begin to make decisions for itself? Meet the hero of The Murderbot Diaries as it goes rogue and begins to find its own way in the universe. I love the Murderbot!! This is Space Opera to die for with a main character (snarky, media-watching, anxiety-ridden, loyal to its friends) that grows on me with every single new book. Who could have thought that a Murderbot could be so human as it struggles to deal with… humans? I just started the 5th book in the series today and I am seriously upset that I have to wait for the next one to get published.

Lucky for me I have Klara and the Sun waiting for me in my library. Klara is an artificial intelligence. Klara is solar powered. I can’t wait to meet Klara.

Hannah: Klara can’t be as cute as me!!

Have a great week, everyone!

Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.