Today’s segments include: noteworthy, drafting, fully drafted, lit review, and five favorite things. Let’s knit together!
February personal sock yarn club drawing
March personal sock yarn club prize
Riding on the Metro Socks by Wendy Johnson, knit in Plucky knitter MCN fingering colorway Burgundy Bets, on size 1/2.25mm signature needles.
Vanilla socks in Vesper Intergalactic, on size 1/2.25mm signature needles
Lit Review Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation
I thought that 3/4 of this book was excellent, 5 stars worthy in fact, and the last 1/4 was a waste, 2 stars worthy. I thought up until book club time that I was going to give it 5 stars on Goodreads, but after much contemplation, I think I will knock it down to 4 just because of the ending. I won’t tell you about it, but if any of you read through til the end, I’d like to know if you agree with me.
I’d rather talk about the part of the book that I found to be excellent and frankly brilliant. The story is about a child, Kimberly, who emigrates with her mother from China to America. Kimberly was taught English in China, but her understanding of it once she comes to America is not very good. Kwok brilliantly demonstrates what Kimberly hears through the way she writes, using unitelligible English words when Kimberly doesn’t understand. Kwok does a brilliant job putting the reader in Kimberly’s position and helping us see through her eyes. Since I listened to this on audiobook, I really appreciated how powerful these language differences can be.
Another layer of brilliance to this is why Kwok puts us in Kimberly’s position. The book is written for priviledged Americans to see how poor Americans live in the United States where things aren’t supposed to happen this way. Kimberly lives in a slum in Brooklyn, no windows in her apartment, no heat other than the oven, rodents and cockroaches everywhere. She is dirt poor. Her one hot meal a day is at school. After school, she meets her mother at the factory and works there to help earn a living. Her family’s cultural norms do not allow them to reveal their circumstances or ask for help. Kimberly is a child and she has no choice but to live this way. I was so angry about this while reading, and yet I know it’s true that there are people in America who live this way.
I think this would be a great book for my students to read. It’s a relatively easy and quick read, and it’s told through a child’s perspective. It does a great job of illustrating issues about language and English, which I think my students should think about. I would recommend it to you if you are interested in politics of language. I’d love to read Kwok’s essays and see if any of them would be appropriate for courses I teach such as essay writing.
Our next book club book is Young Romantics: The Tangled Lives of English Poetry’s Greatest Generation by Daisy Hay. This book is not available on audiobook, so I am reading it on my Kindle instead.
Five Favorite Things
1. Girls and Lena Dunham
2. Cosby sweaters: Huxtable Hotness and The Cosby Sweater Project
3. Bad Amy yarn
4. Wollmeise DK
5. New (to me) party game: Word on the Street
Wherever you travel, bring your knitting along, and engage your creative process!