sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 20, 2017

unraveled in mid-april
posted by soe 2:06 am

As usual, I’ve got several books going at once:

Mid-April Reading

As noted the last time, I’m reading Kory Stamper’s Word by Word. She’s an editor for Merriam-Webster, which I now know is located only half an hour from my folks. If you love language, I’d recommend this book about how and by whom a dictionary gets made.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig is about a teen girl aboard a time-traveling (sailing) ship. She was born in Hawaii in the 1860s to a father born in New York City in the 1950s. Her mother died in childbirth, and now her father is looking to go back and save her. You’ve seen Back to the Future. How does this end?

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel was the the book I picked up at my office’s new give-a-book, take-a-book shelves. (Confession: I did not give a book, but I did reorganize the shelf area to make it more browser-friendly, so I’m not going to feel too guilty.) I’d been reading this during lunch breaks when I take them, but was feeling that horrible sinking feeling at the end of each chapter when it was time to put it down and go back to work. So I brought it home to spend larger chunks of time with it. It’s a science fiction novel written in an epistolary format with interview transcripts, news articles, and journals telling us the story. It opens with a young girl falling into a hole in the woods and landing in what turns out to be a gigantic hand. She will grow up to become a physicist investigating the hand and other body parts unearthed. Thus far the team includes the scientist, two military pilots, a teenage linguist, and a shadowy mystery man pulling the strings.

I’m tired, so I decided not to pull out the knitting I just put away just for the photo. Trust me that I’m nearly done with the cowl and with another project, which is good, since a pregnant friend will be in town at the end of next month for the final time before having her first child, so I should get on the ball with her gift.

Joining Kat for Unraveled Wednesday.

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April 5, 2017

unraveled on my grandfather’s 99th birthday
posted by soe 11:56 pm

Knitting and Reading

Today would have been my maternal grandfather’s 98th 99th birthday. (Mum has informed me that I’d made Grampa a year younger. I assured her that he would have appreciated it and would have asked me to shave off another 30 years.) He liked to play golf and pool, sleep in (after he retired from being a mechanic), eat my grandmother’s baking, mix beets and mac and cheese (so the latter turned pink), watch sports (but not basketball) on tv, and build things (including beautiful dollhouses and delicate furniture to fill them, desks, cabinets, and stools). He was opinionated (but held those opinions close to the chest when he ran his own business) and kind and curious and proud and getting deaf in his old age (Saturday lunches were loud!), and I’m surprised (but shouldn’t have been) by how much I still miss him, even after 18 years.

I’d hoped to have this cowl off the needles last weekend, but did relatively little sitting around, so it’s still on the go. I’m about to add the final set of red stripes, so potentially it’ll be done this weekend. I did finish off two books (a verse novel in honor of National Poetry Month and a gender-bending retelling of Sherlock Holmes), and while I still have several others in progress, Word by Word from Kory Stamper, is probably the next title I’ll add. She’s one of the people involved in the website and social media of Merriam-Webster. If you aren’t following this dictionary on Twitter, you’re missing out. They share trending look-ups (and what’s caused that trend) and vocabulary of the day (sometimes in direct response to what’s happening in current events) and are generally snarky and fun and smart — everything you’d look for in an online friend/entity. So, obviously I’m looking forward to spending a book’s worth of time with one of the people behind that.

Ginny has hung up her Yarn Along hat, but Kat has offered a home to those of us who like to knit and read at her blog with her weekly Unraveled Wednesday post.

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March 14, 2017

top ten tuesday: spring tbr list
posted by soe 1:43 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish asks what’s on my spring to be read list. Some of these are in my possession, some are on my holds list, a couple fall into the fantasy category for what I hope will once again be the Once Upon a Time reading challenge, and a few are still to be published:

  1. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, just came out last week and is one of this spring’s buzziest books.
  2. Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch, which I bought last year at an author event. The second book in the series has since come out and someone from my online book group was telling me how much she’d enjoyed both.
  3. Becky Albertalli’s The Upside of Unrequited comes out next month. I, along with everyone else, absolutely loved her debut, and I’ve heard good early buzz from advance readers.
  4. Kids of Appetite, by David Arnold, has a recommendation from fellow book-lover Anne to bump it up my list. Also, my parents really liked his first book, Mosquitoland.
  5. The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zig Zag Life, by Natalie Goldberg. Decades ago, my writing teacher gave me Goldberg’s most famous book, Writing Down the Bones. Recently her latest book was mentioned somewhere, and it felt like the right time to revisit her, particularly with a member sale at the bookstore last week and spring in the title of the book.
  6. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, by J.K. Rowling, is the script to the film and a birthday present from my folks. I enjoyed the script to her play, so I look forward to what I expect will be a fast read.
  7. Heidi Julavits’ The Folded Clock is a diary/memoir/personal essay series, and was a gift from Laura in last fall’s Book Ninja Swap.
  8. Labyrinth Lost, by Zoraida Córdova, is another recommendation from a book group member and was a Cybils finalist.
  9. The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, by Walter Moers, was a birthday gift from Rudi. Translated from the German, it looks like it may share a sensibility with some of James Thurber’s works (Goodreads suggests you’ll like it if you enjoyed Joan Aiken or Michael Ende).
  10. The Girl from Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig, was nominated for best debut novel in the Goodreads Choice awards last fall and deals with time travel and Hawaii and sailing.

How about you? What are you looking forward to reading this spring?

Category: books. There is/are 3 Comments.

March 9, 2017

yarning along through sickness & sock madness
posted by soe 12:35 am

Last week I thought I’d cut a stomach bug off at the pass, staying home from work one day to sleep through it and mostly feeling better for it. But yesterday, when the smell of my boss’ lunch made me nauseous, I realized it had sneaked out, brought in reinforcements, and was back to lay siege.

I’m glad to say that with yet more sleep, mostly liquid food for 24 hours, and the generous number of sick days my company offers, I think I’m feeling better. I suppose we’ll know for certain tomorrow.

But in the meantime, since Rudi left town today for his end-of-season coaching road trip, I had time to watch only the tv shows I like and to finish a couple books. Which means what I have to show you are two of the three new books I started tonight:

Sock Madness Yarn Along

Phoebe Robinson is a comedian and her memoir got a lot of buzz last year, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

The Rose and the Dagger is Renée Ahdieh’s follow-up to The Wrath and the Dawn, which I read last year and loved, and together they form a retelling of the Scheherazade story. I’ve been looking forward to reading this for months and am eager to dive in.

On my phone, after flipping through audio book possibilities from my downloads and from the library’s Overdrive account, I settled on I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson, which was a big hit two years ago. I tried to read it in paper at the time, but couldn’t concentrate on it; however, I’m already past that point, so hopefully it was just a blip in the time-space continuum, rather than a huge divide, like the one I’ve encountered with My Name Is Lucy Barton and Big Magic, books everyone but me seemed to love. (Not really confidentially to raidergirl3: Did you see AudiobookSYNC has announced this year’s books already?)

On the needles is this year’s entry round for Sock Madness, the annual sock-knitting competition I compete in. This is Twisted Madness by Gina Meyer and the yarn is Socks That Rock Lightweight in Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I’m not loving knitting the pattern (there’s a lot of twists and knitting through the back loop), but I am loving how the pattern and the yarn look together. The pattern reminds me of socks I would have worn in the 80s, all twisted and scrunched, so the yarn seems a fitting choice.

Yarning along with Ginny at Small Things.

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February 16, 2017

birthday photos and mid-february yarn along
posted by soe 1:35 am

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday was my birthday, and, as is my wont, I took the day off to do fun things. First, I slept in. On a weekday. Very luxurious. Then after a late breakfast, Rudi and I headed over the river to catch a showing of Sing, which we’ve been looking forward to since seeing a preview last summer.

Since we were already in Virginia, I suggested to Rudi that the new hat I’m going to make for myself might benefit from one of the faux fur pom poms that are very hip right now and I thought I should buy one for myself as a birthday present. It’s blue. You’ll have to wait for the hat to see how it looks, though.

Sweets with My Sweetie

We stopped by a local coffeehouse for some hot beverages and to enjoy a late-afternoon sunbeam, picked up cupcakes and doughnuts for dessert and breakfast respectively, and played some ping pong at a park we walked past on the way back to the car.

Alexandria Ping Pong

We supper with our friends John and Nicole and their baby, all of whom are moving away on Saturday, at our favorite pizzeria. We went back to their place to talk and collect some of the food goods they aren’t moving, before bidding them a tearful farewell.


We timed the bus wrong, so walked home, which let me enjoy the new purple coat my parents gave me for my birthday.

Birthday 'Cakes

We finished up the night with our cupcakes, hot tea, and some presents. All in all, a lovely way to mark turning 43!

A quick Yarn Along, since today is Wednesday:

Mid-February Yarning Along

I have put my Very Important Books on hiatus in favor of reading lighter romances this week: Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments (her first novel, which I’d put off reading until she stopped being quite so prolific), Stephanie Perkins’ Isla and the Happily Ever After (the final book in a loosely linked series of teen romances), and Gemina, the much anticipated sequel to Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s space opera, Illuminae.

The knitting du jour is the Violet Waffles hat (previously seen balled up here) and the Partridgefield Cowl, which gets knit on when I don’t want to pay attention to my project (tonight it was while we were watching Minions).

Make sure you stop back on Friday, because I have my first FO of the year to share.

February 9, 2017

february yarning along
posted by soe 1:40 am

February Yarning Along

What we have here are two things at opposite ends: Just before its beginning: the Violet Waffles hat. Just after its conclusion: the middle-grade novel Furthermore, a delightful story about a girl from a magical land who goes on a quest to help find her missing father.

Also being read and knit: Swing Time (still), Grief Is the Thing with Feathers (still), The Boy from Abaton (on audio, still), The Sellout, and the Partridgefield Cowl (still).

Yarning along with Ginny.

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