Carry Me

I’m almost done my Evergreen books for the year – my ninth book was Peter Behrens’ Carry Me. It tells the story of Billy Lange and Karin Weinbrenner and their lives in Germany between WWI and WWII. I went through a period a few years ago when I was obsessed with WWI and WWII and read everything I could get my hands on until I reached my saturation point, and since then I kind of steered clear so I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about this one.

Carry Me by Peter Behrens

I wanted to like this book, I really did. It tells an important story and gives a very different perspective – looking back at WWII Germany we always ask how such a thing could happen, and Billy shows us just how a normal man caught up in his day-to-day life might let those early signs slip by him. 

But Karin – ugh! She goes through some horrible events and does brave and heroic things and yet even with all of that the only impression I get of her is poor little rich girl.’ She’s reminds me of Daisy Buchanan and Lady Brett Ashley, the type of woman who only really exists for the male protagonist to brood over. It’s a shame, Behrens is an extremely talented writer and he plays with the narrative in some quite interesting ways, but I just couldn’t get past my distaste for those main characters (although given the amount of literary acclaim it’s received I guess most people don’t feel the same).

 

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The Break

I don’t know what to say about this Evergreen book except that it was a really tough read.

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Katherena Vermette’s The Break tells the story of one fateful event on a cold winter’s night. We get many perspectives on this tragedy and the events leading up to it and its aftermath. As the book progresses we see how these perspectives belong to a group of different women (and one man) who are all connected in some way, shape, or form.

I can’t say I enjoyed this book since it deals with such gut-wrenchingly difficult subjects. I did find it engrossing, one of those books that is really difficult to put down. These women demonstrate such strength and resilience and it was inspiring, but overall this book just left me very sad.

The Wind in the Willows

Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.

-Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

The July block in my Happily Ever Stitchalong was Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. I did read the book when I was younger but when I think of this story the first thing that comes to mind is that kind of creepy stop-motion TV series. Anyhow, I rewatched the series while I was working on this and it was quite pleasant in that slow, pastoral English countryside way (as an aside, I never noticed as a kid, but how weird is it that there are almost no female characters? I’ll have to reread the book and see if there are any in the original.)

Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Happily Ever Stitchalong The Wind in the Willows

I liked this month’s block but I made so many little mistakes here and there. I kept having to rip out and restitch sections, which really slowed my progress for the month.

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The Spawning Ground

I was pleasantly surprised by my latest Evergreen read, The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. It takes place around one of the many B.C. rivers where salmon spawn; one side of the river sits the Robertson family homestead,  on the other is a Shuswap  community. The novel opens with a protest against a development that threatens this integrity of the river.

The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

With that sort of set up I was expecting a very particular sort of story, but that was not at all what I got. I’m having trouble writing about this one because there’s such a major twist and I feel like it would be kind of a spoiler to reveal it, but it happens so early in the plot that it’s hard not to hint at it. Let’s just say I enjoyed this book and would recommend it, but not necessarily to anyone and everyone.

Little House on the Prairie

The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.

-Laura Ingalls Wilder

June’s Happily Ever After block was Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie. I read some of the books as a child but didn’t really remember much of the details so this was a perfect opportunity for a reread.

Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Happily Ever Stitch a Long Little House on the Prairie

I read the first four books in the series (Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie, and On the Banks of Plum Creek) and quite enjoyed them for the most part. I loved the descriptions of farming and cooking and making butter and sewing clothes and all the details of self-sufficiency. Reading this as an adult though makes me really wonder about a few things – what kind of father puts his family through all of that when it isn’t necessary? And the attitude towards ‘Indians’ in Little House on the Prairie – I know it was written at a different time but oh my!

Anyway, on to the cross stitch.

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