Friday, May 17, 2024

Literary Sewing Circle: Finale & Project Link-Up!


Today is already our final day of the Literary Sewing Circle focusing on Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog!

I hope you've had the chance to read the book, and both the first and second inspiration posts, and are getting lots of ideas for a project of your own.

The project linkup will be added to the bottom of this post: as soon as you are done your project, just pop a link to your post into the linkup and we will all be able to visit your blog/instagram etc. and explore your creation -- remember, it can be sewn, or knitted, crocheted, embroidered... any textile art that you practice.

I've read To Say Nothing of the Dog a few times now, and have also read all of Willis' novels except for a couple of the earliest ones. I can say that her Christmas themed short stories are pretty delightful as well! 

I think this novel shows her style well -- lots of silliness, dialogue, science-y references, and history. Plus so many references to other works of literature. I find this is a frequent combination in her work, but in this particular novel it combines to a high degree of satisfaction! The characters here aren't quite as dithery as in some other books. Verity actually has common sense and takes action, while Ned is the most indecisive and clueless character. I find this balance entertaining, especially when Ned suffers time lag most intensively. 

Of course, the central role of cats to the story is always a pleasure, and the spiritualist scenes are highly amusing. I've just been rereading/rewatching some Lord Peter Wimsey stories so it was fun to have those references here as well. I also find the conversation about history, between the professors, and the concept of time travel and temporal contradictions, all so interesting. I studied history in undergrad so recognized some of the bits of the professorial arguments -- perhaps it didn't need to be covered so obviously, but thinking about time and history in a story like this is kind of integral to the subject matter. Also, when reading it this time, the mention of a receent Pandemic struck home in a different way than it did years ago. 

Putting aside all the thinking and the cerebral critique of this story, as a reader I find this great escapist fiction. It's fun, amusing, clever, and satisfying, which is why I reread it. I would love to be able to visit the Victorian era - dress in those outfits, have tea at a country house, visit a jumble sale - it would be a delight. This is as close as I can get :) I hope it was an enjoyable trip for you, also.

A real Victorian penwiper!

Questions for you: 

Did you enjoy the madcap style of this story? Have you read Three Men in a Boat to compare it? Did the humour work for you? Did you have a favourite character? A favourite time period in the story? Did you think the concept of time travel worked as it was created here? Did any particular elements of the story strike you? Where/When would you go if you had access to the Net?

Please share your thoughts on the book, its themes, characters, or anything you noted about it -- either in the comments here or on our first Book Talk post, or on your own blog with a link to your longer thoughts in the comments so we can find it. I love to talk about the experience of reading so feel free to comment no matter when you're reading this post; if you've read this I'd love to hear your thoughts.

What project have you made, inspired by your reading of To Say Nothing of the Dog? Share a link to your project on this post as soon as you're done! The linkup will be live until May 31 --  you have another 2 weeks of sewing time to finish and share. 

(If the linkup does not work for you please leave a comment with your project)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Afraid it's only fantasy sewing for me. I'd love to make the 1940s nightdress version of the Victorian day dress. And wonder how to improvise when 'even the boots had ruffles' Thank you for introducing this book, it was so much fun. Margaret in North West England.

    1. So glad you enjoyed this one, Margaret! It's a fun read, and I'm happy you played along even if only via fantasy sewing ;)


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!