Yarn-along: shawl & How to Be a Heroine

Happy Wednesday! I am still feeling quite relaxed after my quiet weekend. It makes a great change from the anxiety I’ve been experiencing for the last few weeks. For the first time in a while, I’m happy to be working part-time as it is giving me time to knit and read (though not as much as I’d like, of course). I’m loving both the project I’m working on and the book(s) I’m reading.

What I’m knitting: green lace shawl

What can I say, I’m a slow knitter. 🙂 I am really enjoying this shawl, though, and I am in no rush. There is a slight hiccup, in that I don’t have enough of the yarn…luckily, the green is quite similar to the yarn I used for my lace jumper, so I’m going to find a logical place to switch yarns & hopefully make it a design feature. Hm. Fingers crossed it doesn’t look awful.

What I’m reading: How to Be a Heroine, by Samantha Ellis

Lizzie has great taste in books, so when she mentioned she’d read this I had to try it, too. To be fair, I’d heard about it elsewhere, too. It is about the heroines & authors who influenced Ellis while she was growing up: who they were, what they meant or represented to her when she was younger, and how she reads them differently now that she is an adult. It’s well-written and fairly well-argued, though she does jump to a few conclusions I didn’t agree with. The beauty of this, though, is that while it’s critical, it is clearly intended to share Ellis opinions and encourage discussion. There’s space for me to disagree with her about what makes a good heroine and what makes a strong woman. Also, as a bonus, it’s really making me want to go back and read lots of classics. I started reading this on Monday, am about halfway through, and can’t wait to carry on reading.

Linking up with the Yarn Along:


6 thoughts on “Yarn-along: shawl & How to Be a Heroine”

  1. I adored How To Be A Heroine, even when I didn’t agree with her. It left me wanting to chat to her about books for hours, and to find out about key heroines who weren’t included (I’m thinking especially of Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture The Castle)


    1. I really enjoyed your post about this book, Janet, so thank you for commenting & leading me to it. 🙂 I think it’s clear Ellis wrote this book to spark discussion (seems to be a common theme in all the reviews I’ve read), which is brilliant, because so many non-fiction books seem to be about providing an answer rather than encouraging the reader to think for themselves. It’s so refreshing.

      Embarrassingly I’ve never read I Capture the Castle, along with a shocking number of the books Ellis mentions. Hopefully one outcome of reading this will be lots more tangential reading! One of my favourite heroines is Antonia Shimerda, from My Antonia, though I’m not surprised she’s not included since Ellis is British.


      1. Or, more accurate, she grew up in Britain. Just realised that her position as a daughter of immigrants is a huge factor for her & I accidentally dismissed it in a sentence!


  2. I really enjoyed the part of …Heroine that dealt with her status as the daughter of immigrants. My parents were immigrants to the UK just before I was born so it was great to read something that reflected some of my own experiences. Oh and you really must read I Capture The Castle, it’s SO good!


    1. Where did your parents emigrate from? I’m an immigrant myself (though only from the US) and my mom was an immigrant to the US, but Ellis had such a different experience than me. Was it similar to yours?


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