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broodings from the burrow

December 6, 2018


early december unraveling
posted by soe 1:30 am

Early December Unravelings

It was a hectic week, which means not much knitting got accomplished. Nothing old is done. Nothing new is started. Tomorrow I vow to do one or the other.

I’ve done better on the reading front. I read the first chapter of The Muse of Nightmares, which is dark (duh!) and kind of maybe don’t want to read it right now. I was able to renew it, so maybe I’ll put it aside and try again next week. I have plenty of other paper books to choose from, including Glad Tidings, two holiday romance novellas which have been perfectly adequate bathroom reading but seem unlikely to advance beyond that. I think I’ll finish The Wolves of Willoughby Chase next, provided I can lay hands on it quickly. Otherwise, Christmas Caramel Murder, Christmas at Eagle Pond, and Ghosts of Greenglass House are the leading contenders to read next.

I’m listening to Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which she reads, and I now feel like I have a wise girlfriend keeping me company while I wash the dishes at night. I also have Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery out on audio, which is by the same author who wrote The Bookshop on the Corner, which was fine, but nothing particularly special. I’ve listened to the first few chapters, because a lot of people seem to really think it’s sweet, but I’m not sure I’m invested enough after the first few chapters to keep going. There’s probably another half hour before we learn what the driving force of this book’s plot is going to be (there’s been almost 45 minutes of set-up so far), so I suppose I’ll give it that much. Otherwise, I’ll probably just return to hanging out with Michelle.

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 2 Comments.

December 5, 2018


top ten tuesday: cozy, wintry reads
posted by soe 1:15 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl asks about our top ten list of cozy, wintry reads. Unsurprisingly, I’m going to focus my list on Christmas reads. (Readergirl3 also narrowed her topic similarly and we have a bunch of the same books in her list.)

Here are 11 of my favorites (once I got going, I ran long…)

  1. Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales beautifully captures the nostalgia surrounding the holidays. If you can find the audio of Thomas reading it himself, it’s worth a listen. Similarly a staged reading of the text also makes for an enjoyable evening.
  2. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. Also has, as I recall, a decent 1980s made-for-tv adaptation.
  3. The Birds’ Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggins: An overly melodramatic Christmas picture book about a sick girl and her neighbors from the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
  4. The Polar Express, a picture book by Chris Van Allsburg, tells of a boy’s test of his faith. I first read this in French in high school, and it’s a beautiful read-aloud in any language.
  5. My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins, gives you a dozen YA love stories in a range of genres from some of the top authors writing for teens today. Not all 12 stories were loved, but I could appreciate even the ones I didn’t.
  6. Speaking of which, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! gives you three interrelated Christmas stories from John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson.
  7. For many years, I did not enjoy Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but for the past decade or so, I’ve finally grown into it. I’m currently waiting on an audio version read by Jim Dale from the library.
  8. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas is the source material for the original cartoon and the subsequent movies and may be one of the few times in history where the book and the adaptation are equally good.
  9. It’s been nearly a decade since I read Connie Willis’ Miracle and Other Christmas Stories, but I’d totally read the sci-fi Christmas-themed collection of stories again (or, at least, most of them).
  10. A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg gives you everything you expect from a Flagg novel — lots of laughter, Southern charm, and quirky characters. I don’t know if Southerners enjoy her writing, but this Northerner sure does.
  11. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, is a sweet YA romance set in New York City and features one of my favorite grandfather characters in recent memory. Plus, it told me that I could find copies of the OED at The Strand if I were willing to shell out for one.

How about you? What’s on your list of cozy, wintry reads?

Category: books,christmas/holiday season. There is/are 1 Comment.

November 29, 2018


final november unraveling
posted by soe 1:31 am

Final November Unraveling

I’ve been feeling a bit unbalanced and realized that might be because I haven’t done a lot of knitting or reading lately, so this evening after Rudi went to bed I did both. I pulled out the long-lingering shawl, ripped back the partial bind-off I’d done and redid it. I don’t love the way it looks, but I’ve decided that I’m unlikely to not wear it because of that, so have forged on ahead. I still have 200 ever-shortening rows to go, though, so I’m not sure I’ll get it bound off before the end of the month, but probably before next week.

Reading wise, I managed the first essay in fellow Camel Sloane Crosley’s Look Alive Out There, which was about the dysfunctional ways urban neighbors become entwined in each others’ lives, while up in Connecticut, and I’m looking forward to the rest.

I can’t seem to force myself to open The Muse of Nightmares right now, so I’ve returned to The Alcatraz Escape, which has been in the works nearly as long as my shawl. I’m also finishing the final two chapters of Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah on audio. I’m not loving it, which is disappointing, but it’s probably a good book to read right now, all about leaving one’s comfort zone and finding new adventures. Both of those seem likely to be done before the weekend, which is good, because right now things leaving my apartment is a big goal of mine.

Hopefully next week a whole slew of knitting and reading!

(Head over to As Kat Knits to see what everyone else has going on the needles and the page.)

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 2 Comments.

November 28, 2018


library holds list explosion
posted by soe 1:26 am

My holds list at the library tends to get out of control in December and January as best-of lists begin to appear, but this year stress has moved the needle to near-full earlier than usual. I haven’t hit the 25-item request limit yet, but will soon if I’m not careful, particularly because three of the items are still on order.

Here’s what I’ve requested from the library:

  • Tana French’s The Witch Elm
  • The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez
  • The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, by Jeffrey C. Stewart
  • Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk
  • The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge, by M.T. Anderson
  • A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories, edited by Bettye Collier-Thomas
  • Kate Milford’s Ghosts of Greenglass House
  • Donald Hall’s Christmas at Eagle Pond
  • All Summer Long, By Hope Larson
  • T. E. McMorrow’s The Nutcracker in Harlem
  • The Emissary, by Yōko Tawada
  • A.J. Pearce’s Dear Mrs. Bird
  • Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black
  • Allie Rowbottom’s Jell-O Girls: A Family History
  • Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing
  • An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
  • There There, by Tommy Orange
  • Becoming, by Michelle Obama (I’m also on the audio wait list, which I’d prefer, but I suspect neither will come through before the end of the year)

What have you put a hold on at the library?

Category: books. There is/are 3 Comments.

November 27, 2018


top ten platonic relationships in books
posted by soe 1:44 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic asks about our favorite non-romantic relationships in literature. I’ve opted for friendship over family in my list:

  1. Harry and Hermione (Harry Potter series)
  2. Lupin and Sirius (Harry Potter series)
  3. Harry and Ron (Harry Potter series)
  4. Anne and Diana (Anne of Green Gables series)
  5. Jo and Laurie (Little Women — is this cheating, since we all know they should have ended up together?)
  6. Mary and Colin (The Secret Garden)
  7. The Walkers and the Blacketts (The Swallows and the Amazons)
  8. Ove and Parvaneh (A Man Called Ove)
  9. Agnieszka and Kasia (Uprooted)
  10. Charlotte and Mrs. Watson (The Lady Sherlock series — to be fair, Sherlock and Watson are a fantastic duo in pretty much every iteration of the characters/stories)

How about yours? What are your favorite platonic relationships in books?

Category: books. There is/are 2 Comments.

November 13, 2018


the fun of a bookish prize
posted by soe 1:13 am

When I did Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon last month, I entered a Twitter contest that Liz (aka cosbrarian) was running in which she asked which books helped us get through our teenage years. My answer was:

#DeweysEscape When I was a teen I read and re-read the Anne of Green Gables series and Little Women. Sometimes if I were feeling particularly mopey, I’d just read Beth’s final scenes. #itgetsbetter

I was lucky enough to be chosen the winner of the contest and Liz sent me four new books last week!

November Gift Books

While I have read Becky Albertalli’s The Upside of Unrequited, it was a library copy and it’s been on my must-buy list for a while (it’s set in the D.C. area just as marriage equality is being made the law of the land and includes a scene that I was actually at). Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson is also set in D.C., and I’ve been on the holds list for it at the library, so it’s really exciting to get my own copy of that, as well. I’m less familiar with, but also looking forward to reading the other two books, The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith and Kelly Loy Gilbert’s Picture Us in the Light.

Thank you, Liz! I’m looking forward to many hours of reading ahead!

Category: books. There is/are 2 Comments.