a book review, marmalade and a sweater

March 13, 2021

I know I've told you that I read a lot, but I don't often share what I'm reading because there are already so many good book reviews available. Still, I have to tell you about Shuggie Bain as it really touched me. It takes place in 1980s Glasgow about a little boy living with his alcoholic mother. You find out early on that Shuggie is different from the other boys, "no right", and everyone, and you too, know what he's about except Shuggie himself. Everyone tries to change him except his mother, which is really the only good thing she does as a mother. When he is finally old enough to begin gathering some self awareness or insight about himself, he has neither the time nor the tools to do so because he has spent all his young life taking care of his mother. She and Shuggie have been abandoned by everyone; husbands, boyfriends and  the older siblings. It's a heartbreaking story but one I could not stop reading. When I was away from the book I would be thinking, how is little Shuggie getting along? and I would run back to it. It's the same reason why I can't stop watching Shameless (it's on its last season and Frank was finally diagnosed with alcohol induced dementia, about time I'd say) and why I couldn't stop watching Breaking Bad. Shuggie Bain is a great read with excellent character development, and if you've read it, I'd love to know what you think. BTW, I get all my books from my local library using the free Libby app for both audiobooks and print books. I read reviews online or in the paper, then go on my app and place a hold. Sometimes it takes months but I don't mind. I just finished We Run The Tides and really did love it because I loved immersing myself in the 1980s Seacliff neighborhood of San Francisco. I've got The Royal Governess to read next after I finish up Infinite Country, which I don't think I love as much as everyone else seems to.  If I run out of recent releases to read, I go back and reread a Jane Austin, an Ivan Doig, or a Willa Cather. 

I'm sharing pictures of MORE marmalade. Because of my success with the kumquat marmalade, last week I made a lime marmalade from the limes from our little lime tree. They are yellow and might look like lemons, but they are limes. If you allow limes to ripen on the tree the skin will turn yellow and they will get juicier and sweeter but the pulp will remain green. The next batch I made was from Meyer Lemons from my neighbor's yard. Both are so good and taste nothing at all like the store bought marmalade, which we don't like at all. Carter loves it and requests marmalade soldiers for snack time--toast with crusts removed, buttered and marmaladed, then cut into fingers. Very British! The recipe I used was the very easy Three Ingredient Marmalade from the It's Not Complicated blog. It uses fruit, sugar and water. You use a candy thermometer to make sure it sets up properly so does not need added pectin. I handed some out to neighbors saying, "Even marmalade haters will love this marmalade". I should make one more batch as I seem to be giving a lot away!

Also, you can see I'm messing around with my Waterlogue app. It's a time waster but is totally fun. 

The last picture is me wearing a newly finished sweater designed by Libby Jonson. It's a plain 'ole vanilla V neck which is just the kind of thing I wear often and love to bits. This is a great pattern to have in your pattern library. I also think a V neck is flattering on everyone--man, woman and child. The pattern is Oatmeal and I used Rowan Island Blend DK and it's fabulous yarn, very soft with an interesting texture, BUT, it is crazy expensive and I would not have tried it except that Little Knits had (and still does at this writing) it on deep discount. 

Mods and details of my Oatmeal on my Ravelry page
Oatmeal pattern by Libby Jonson

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Thank you for popping in. If you would like to make a comment, 
please scroll down or click here.
xo Kristen


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  1. Thanks for reminding me of Ivan Doig! I was casting about for an old-reliable read when his name popped up in your blog post. Perfect.


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