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broodings from the burrow

June 18, 2019

most anticipated releases of the next six months
posted by soe 1:46 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic at That Artsy Reader Girl is one of my semi-annual favorites: looking forward to the books to be published over the next six months. Specifically, what are our most anticipated titles?

  1. The Starless Sea by Erin Morganstern: November (I loved The Night Circus (like wrote a fan email the minute I closed the book kind of love) and have been waiting for Morganstern to publish literally anything else since then.
  2. Rainbow Rowell’s Pumpkinheads: August (A YA graphic novel set in a pumpkin patch in October. I have been looking forward to this since the day years ago that she announced she and Faith Erin Hicks would be collaborating on it.)
  3. The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas: October (The latest in the Lady Sherlock series, which is one of my all-time favorites.)
  4. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell: September (A surprise sequel to Carry On, which I should re-read before this comes out.)
  5. The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas: September (The author of my favorite mystery series takes on the teenaged Woman Warrior of ancient China.)
  6. Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Party: July (I haven’t read any of her other books yet, but I’m on the waitlist for the audiobook.)
  7. Mackenzi Lee’s Loki: Where Mischief Lies: September (Teenage troublemaker? Yes, please!)
  8. Summerlings by Lisa Howorth: August (Set in Washington, D.C., in 1959)
  9. Hope Rides Again by Andrew Shaffer: July (The second in the Obama-Biden crime-fighting bromance series)
  10. The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill: September (A prequel to the adorable Tea Dragon Society)

How about you? What new releases are you looking forward to coming out in the latter half of 2019?

Category: books. There is/are 4 Comments.

June 15, 2019

brandi carlisle
posted by soe 1:20 am

For my birthday back in February, Rudi gave me concert tickets to see Brandi Carlisle this summer at Merriweather Post Pavilion amphitheater. This was before my car’s terminal diagnosis and Columbia is not easily accessible without one, so I’ve been a little stressed about how we were going to get up there. Luckily, Sarah kindly came to our rescue earlier this week with the offer to borrow her car for the night.

Rudi at Merriweather Post's Skydeck

It’s been a couple years since Rudi and I last saw a show out there and things have changed significantly. They’ve developed the area around the park and built more formal parking areas (as opposed to grassy fields) outside the venue and built an addition inside. They’ve added box seats at a mezzanine level and then above that built additional lawn seating they’re calling the skydeck. That new section offers 100-200 general audience members the chance to watch from a sodded-over balcony. We sat up there for the opening act, Lucius, a quartet of two male instrumentalists and two female singers who harmonize beautifully around a single mic (and who favor unusual matching costumes). I wasn’t familiar with their work, but I love vocal harmonies, so Rudi correctly guessed I’d enjoy them. In addition to doing their own songs, they covered “A Dream Is a Song Your Heart Makes” and Prince’s “Purple Rain” quite admirably.


Between the opening and main acts, we procured some refreshments and found our ticketed seats (while today was a gorgeous night for an outdoor show, we have experienced some doozies of thunderstorms from the lawn, which is not especially fun and who can tell the weather four months in advance?). Rudi, knowing my sometimes panicked reactions to crowded venues and a lack of personal space (my favorite GA spot is against the very back wall), found us the perfect seats — two of a tiny four-seat row next to a pillar — but with great sightlines. I have never felt so seen.

Brandi Carlisle

While I certainly knew the name Brandi Carlisle, was pretty sure I’d seen her as an opening act, and own her last album, I wasn’t sure you’d describe me as a fan. I mean, I couldn’t sing along with her songs, I thought. I was incorrect. I knew plenty of her songs, including “The Mother,” about her doubts after her first daughter was born; “The Story,” a love song that was featured heavily during the 2008 Olympics; and “The Joke,” about being yourself and living your best life.

She shared the stage with twin brothers, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, with whom she writes her songs and who provide backing harmonies and strings, as well as a drummer, a pianist/keyboardist/French horn player, and a trio of string players (two cellists and a viola player). They captured a broad range of music together — thoughtful and rocking, personal and transcendent. And all while Carlisle’s soaring voice ties it all together with an intimate bow.

Carlisle marveled throughout her set how amazing it was to see so many people here to see her. She had to take a moment to compose herself early in the set, saying you always think you know what it’s going to feel like. She assured the audience that she was especially grateful because she knew that so many acts would give anything to experience the sight and that she’d never take it for granted.

She finished her main set and her planned encore, and it was obvious people were expecting the evening to conclude there. But then Carlisle walked back out on stage alone with her acoustic guitar for one final song. “A special night called for a special song,” she said. She began to play and quickly asked people to pull out their cell phones to light up the night sky:

It was a very nice birthday (plus four months) present.

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June 13, 2019

knit-free unraveling
posted by soe 1:52 am

While I have carried knitting with me a bunch of places, I’ve done nothing else with it this week. So I’m not going to bother showing you this week’s lack of progress on any of those three (!) projects.

I have, however, been reading.

Here are the four books I’m currently working on in paper:

Knit-Free Unraveling

I mentioned that Rudi found Peter Mayle’s final collection of essays at the book sale on Sunday. I’m loathe to rush through them because, well, he’s dead and no more will be coming. I love his humor and count A Year in Provence as one of my favorite books of all times. (And one I’d been thinking of re-reading in the near future.)

I bought Elizabeth McCracken’s Bowlaway at the start of this spring after Rudi mentioned hearing about a book that featured candlepin bowling in Massachusetts at the outset of the 20th century on NPR while driving home from the ski hill. She was reading locally soon after that and I noted how many people at the event enthused about her style. (I felt bad; I’d never heard of her.) The Tournament of Books is running a summer edition, Camp ToB, with several books I’m actually interested in, so I pulled it out earlier this week, and have proceeded to attempt to read aloud to anyone sitting still in my proximity clever turns of phrases, gems of sentences, and even whole paragraphs. (As an aside, isn’t it interesting how reading aloud, particularly to other adults, is such an intimate act, yet we really don’t value it as such? Here is something that nuzzles my soul, we say; I hope you will find it moving in a similar fashion.)

I started Emergency Contact last week and, to be honest, I’ve found the beginning a little slow to get started, and I would give up on it soon if my friend Jenn didn’t rave about it so. Our two main characters have finally just had their first solo encounter, so I’m hopeful that it’s about to pick up.

Finally, I had a day today and at 7:30 finally headed out into the beautiful evening to read at the cafe for a bit. I needed fun and familiar and pulled the latest Discreet Retrieval Agency novel out of my library bag to keep me company. Lola and Bertha (and dog Cedric) are up in Vermont on a case that’s gone pear-shaped just before Christmas. You may remember that I read the third book in the series, Come Hell or Highball, earlier this spring, and I don’t usually like to binge series. But I requested it from the library and it came in quickly and … well, it was what I needed tonight, so I’m glad it was at hand.

Would you like to see what other people are reading and hear about how they actually work on their knitting, rather than shifting it from one bag to another? Head to As Kat Knits for her weekly roundup.

Category: books. There is/are 1 Comment.

June 6, 2019

early june unraveling
posted by soe 3:24 am

Early June Unraveling

This needs to be short, because I dozed off writing it and I have to go to bed.

I suppose I would get further faster with my sock if I picked it up on days that didn’t start with “w.” I am through the cuff now and am ready to begin the leg.

New books started this week: Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Siren Queen, the second in a duology about a female pirate & her crew, and Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi, about two friends who meet the day the girl starts college.

Head over to As Kat Knits for other book/craft combos.

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 1 Comment.

June 4, 2019

top ten tuesday: mystery series favorites
posted by soe 1:34 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic at That Artsy Reader Girl invites us to recommend ten books from our favorite genre. I’ve got ten mystery series I like to share with you (I’ve only included series where I’ve read more than one title, which lets out several great series I’d otherwise also recommend) where I can only attest to the debut book):

  1. The Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas (1st book: A Study in Scarlet Women)
  2. The Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (1st book: The Cuckoo’s Calling)
  3. Miss Fisher Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood (1st book: Cocaine Blues)
  4. The Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn (1st book: A Curious Beginning)
  5. The Discreet Retrieval Agency series by Maia Chance (1st book: Come Hell or Highball)
  6. The Book Scavenger series by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (1st book: Book Scavenger)
  7. Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries by Donna Leon (1st book: Death at La Fenice)
  8. Being a Jane Austen Mystery series by Stephanie Barrow (1st book: Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor)
  9. The Lizzy and Diesel series by Janet Evanovich (1st book: Wicked Appetite)
  10. The Evan Evans series by Rhys Bowen (1st book: Evans Above)

How about you? What are books you recommend in your favorite genre?

Category: books. There is/are 5 Comments.

June 2, 2019

a night
posted by soe 3:05 am

A Night — there lay the Days between —
The Day that was Before —
And Day that was Behind — were one —
And now — ’twas Night — was here —

Slow — Night — that must be watched away —
As Grains upon a shore —
Too imperceptible to note —
Till it be night — no more —

     ~Emily Dickinson

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