Why I struggled to read in July and why August is already better

Let's go ahead and address the elephant in the virtual room —I didn't read s*** in July. Of the four books I cracked open and attempted I disliked two, struggled to get into a third and LOVED the fourth. I'm going to chalk it up to a summer slump, being busy AF, and lack of inspiration.

With all that in mind, I’ve canned July's superlatives. But if you want to know more about the four books in question, follow me over on Goodreads. I keep notes and write tiny reviews as I’m reading and finishing books during the month.

 
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August might not be any better as far as reading goes, but I’m not going to let that stop me from trying. I’m thankfully 20/30 books for 2019, so a little summer slump won’t derail my reading challenge.

Here is what I’ll be reading this month alongside my knitting and cross stitch projects:

  • “A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab — ADSOM is a holdover from July. I'm about 100 pages and really not getting into it. It may end up as my first DNF (did not finish) of the year.

  • “Bloom” by Kevin Panetta — I've been reading a lot of “to be continued” webtoons on my phone recently that are leaving me with all the feels. I picked up “Bloom” at the library to fill that sentimental, need a-happy-ending romance gap.

  • “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi — I've been meaning to read this one for ages! I've heard great things from everyone that's read it and can we talk about those exclusive Maji clan editions from B&N?! Definitely can’t wait to start CBAB this month.

  • “Obsidio” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff — I can’t get enough of the “Illuminae Files.” I secretly don't want it to end, but also I have to know how it ends. I fully expect to read this in a single sitting.

  • Tithe” by Holly Black —I LOVED this book in middle school. It’s been over a decade since I last read it, so technically still a reread. But Holly Black is going to be at the National Book Festival here in DC this month and I want to try to get it signed alongside my copy of “The Wicked King.”

  • “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell — Rainbow Rowell is also going to be at the National Book Festival this month. Since I’ve not read any of her work, want to squeeze this one in before hearing her speak.

What are you reading this month? Any of these? Something else? Let me know in the comments below.

My Harry Potter story

This week, Harry Potter turned 39 and I hit over 20 years of being a Harry Potter fan. Everyone's story of how the came to love the boy who lived is different, but I thought I'd share a bit of mine today in honor of his birthday.

Like most good things, this story starts in a library. I was 8-years-old an in the 2nd grade. It was our first class trip to the "grown-up book" section of the library. Up until that point, I'd mostly read books with pictures in them still. I'm sure I was already in love with books and reading at this point. I used to listen and read along to "hooked on phonics" tapes outside for fun at home. But on that day, we were encouraged to go look at the shelves of books without pictures — chapter books.

The memory is fuzzy, but Billy and Morgan, two boys in my class, dared me to read the biggest book we could find. At 320 pages, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was the biggest book on the shelves we could find. Young Emily didn't back down from a challenge and checked the book out without hesitation.

I don't remember how long it took me. I struggled with some of the words -- Diagon Alley become Dragon Alley. I can’t even remember how I originally tried to say “McGonagoll” or “Dumbledore”. Hooked on Phonics can only get you so far at the age of 8, but I finished all 320 pages of it.

9-year-old me reading  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire  for the first time. This photo also stands as evidence that I started sitting on chairs in odd ways very young.

9-year-old me reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the first time. This photo also stands as evidence that I started sitting on chairs in odd ways very young.

The rest is history. Midnight release parties, going to the movies opening night, scrolling eBay for cool merch. My mom even bought me the soundtrack to the first movie one week when I was home from school sick. My childhood is littered in memories of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Not all good. I actually got made fun of a lot for loving Harry Potter throughout school. Even though I wasn’t the only kid reading it and going to see the movies, I was probably the most teased for it.

Looking back I can kind of understand why and that the teasing was about more than how much I loved the books. I was a loud, obnoxious and opinionated girl who didn’t give a damn what most people thought of me (TBH not much has changed). And even though it sucks to have been teased for loving something, I’m sure I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Harry Potter or the friends who loved the series too.

I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed. ‘Never be ashamed,’ my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.’
— Hagrid

These days I still get teased by friends (new and old) for how much I love Harry Potter, but it's now all good-natured. I am after all a 28-year-old with almost 4 complete sets of the same 7 books and have had multiple vacations focused on Harry Potter-related activities. Teasing comes with the territory. I’m lucky to have been dared that day in the library and for it to have been J.K. Rowling’s book I found.

Most of my collection of Harry Potter books. A few are missing including my odd Spanish copy of Goblet of Fire. I can’t read a word of it.

Most of my collection of Harry Potter books. A few are missing including my odd Spanish copy of Goblet of Fire. I can’t read a word of it.

Hogwarts House Pride Knitting Patterns

One of the very first things I knew I wanted to do when I decided to launch emmmysue.com was to help fellow nerdy crafters like me FIND cool AF nerdy things to make. Hell, my very first post was about some of my favorite Harry Potter things I've knit. Why create a scarf when you can recreate your favorite fictional character's scarf? Those cool AF arm warmers Rose Tyler wears in season 1 of Doctor Who? I've knit them. Bella Swan's mittens? I've made 3 sets.

So, it should really come as no surprise that I've pulled a list of some of the most magical Hogwarts knitting patterns available for my Harry Potter celebration month here on the site. As Dumbledore once said, "I do love knitting patterns."

 
Why buy a Hogwarts scarf when you can make your own? Pictured is a finished Slytherin “Cursed Scarf.” Pattern here for free on emmmysue.com

Why buy a Hogwarts scarf when you can make your own? Pictured is a finished Slytherin “Cursed Scarf.” Pattern here for free on emmmysue.com

 

5 knitting patterns for the Hogwarts student in your life:

  • Keep your neck warm with the “Cursed Scarf” pattern, inspired by the house scarves seen on stage in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Available for free here on emmmysue.com with yarn suggests for each of the 4 houses (as well as a color friendly option for all the book loyal Ravenclaws out there). Knit yourself one of these and you’ll be the envy of all your Harry Potter friends.

  • Nothing says Hogwarts Alumni quite like these hand knit Hogwarts Socks by Pauliina Mathlin. These aren’t for your first time knitter, but for the witch or wizard who knows their way around charts and color work, making a pair of these should be easier than using Mrs. Weasley’s self-knitting needles.

  • FACT: Hufflepuffs don’t get enough love. But knitting this “Hurray Hufflepuff socks by Karen S. Lauger should bring a smile to all your proud Badger friends. Not a Hufflepuff? Don’t worry, she’s also done up charts for the other three houses.

  • These Hogwarts Coffee Cup Sweaters from Pattymac Knits are easy knitting AND a really subtle way to show off your house pride while downing a cup of coffee. A great first time project for someone looking to learn magic loop and knitting in the round.

  • “Lion, Badger, Snake, Eagle” by Dianna Walla are some of the most beautiful mittens a Hogwarts student could dream off. Well worth the $5 pattern cost (or $15 for the whole set). I’m eyeing to make myself and my husband some matching Slytherin mitts later this fall.

I know these aren’t the only 5 knitting patterns inspired by our favorite boy wizard. Drop me your favorite HP knits in the comments below.

June 2019 Owl Crate Box - Libraries of Wonder

I bought OwlCrate’s June box on a whim last month when I realized the included book was "Sorcery of Thorns” by Margaret Rogerson. Between Charlie Bowater's artwork amazing artwork and the blurb on Goodreads, I knew I HAD to own this book. I figured if it came in a box it wouldn't be as bad on my wallet as buying the book from the bookstore. (Don't look at my logic closely because it's total bullshit.) The fact that OwlCrate, a subscription box I'd been meaning to try, was featuring the book in their June box made my decision to buy all that much easier.

And I'm so glad I did. I love pretty much everything that OwlCrate created for this box. And even the stuff I didn't love has grown on me. The theme was “Libraries of Wonder” and all the items and the included book are inspired by fictional libraries.

  • Lanai Taylor Tote Bag - I'm not a huge fan of this art style of the design, but this is a seriously solid tote. It fits my laptop, two book beaus and all the other random things I carry around with me every day.

  • Quotes about Libraries Coasters - I don't need more coasters, but these put our very large collection of random bar coasters to shame. The featured art by KDP Letters really pops on the coasters. I have a book sleeve from another box featuring her work, but it's unreadable due to poor printing. These are so much better.

  • Skeleton Key Pen - SUCH a smart inclusion in this library-themed box! I love that it's useful and still on theme.

  • Book Beau Coffee - I haven’t opened this yet, but based on the amazing smell of the bag, it’s going to make a great cup of coffee. Book Beau hasn’t failed me yet.

  • Narnia Bookends - Designed by Hey Atlas, these cute metal bookends will probably end up in another bookish home. I'm big on Narnia nor are my shelves every empty enough to need bookends. Maybe I'll do a giveaway over on my Instagram.

  • “A Sorcery of Thrones” by Margaret Rogerson and enamel pin - I’ve not had a chance to start the book yet, but I’m so in love with OWLCrate’s changes to the dust jacket. Their version is a lovely and deep purple where as the original hardback is teal. OwlCrate does not disappoint with their custom dust jackets. And don’t even get me started on the enamel pin by Brio + Brandish. This cat themed pin as me so jazzed to read the book.

All in all a super first box from OwlCrate. I’ve already ordered their July box and can’t wait to see what surprises they have in store!

If you’re interested in getting a box, follow my referral link and subscribe to OwlCrate or pick up a one time gift box (that’s what I’ve been doing).