sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

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.

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

February 2, 2017

first of february yarning along
posted by soe 2:11 am

First of February Yarning Along

Work on my cowl is slow, in part because I haven’t felt like knitting a ton, what with the world ending and all… But I’ve joined a new knitting group, so at the very least, I knit there every week while we listen to chapters or stories from audiobooks.

My print reading is all yellow (which maybe makes me want to cast on something yellow to coordinate…) and widely acclaimed: Max Porter’s Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, a verse novel which embodies the titular emotion as a huge, hulking crow, and Zadie Smith’s Swing Time. My friend Sam gave me White Teeth the year it came out and it’s one of those books that haunts me, as I’ve tried reading it a couple times without success. It’s been years (as in, since before I moved to D.C.) since I picked it up, but if it’s similar to her latest novel, I have a sense of why I kept giving up on it. This novel, or at least the early part in which I currently find myself wading, is written at a distance — of both time and emotion — and doesn’t easily lend itself to my preferred immersive reading experience.

I think this month I’m going to try alternating some of my want-to reads with some of my should-reads, so the sci-fi YA novel I’ve been looking forward to for months, Gemina, will likely be next. (Also planned for this month are Isla and the Happily Ever After and The Sellout.)

P.S. Make sure you stop back tomorrow (later today) for my part in the annual Silent Poetry Reading.

Yarning along with Ginny at Small Things.

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January 30, 2017

into the stacks 2017: week 2
posted by soe 3:06 am

Okay, so I admit my plan to be more proactive in sharing my reading is not going so well this month. But let’s see what we can do to get back on track…

During the second week of January, I finished one book:

What Light, by Jay Asher

Just before Thanksgiving every year, Sierra and her family pack up their lives in Oregon, where they own a tree farm, and travel south to her mother’s hometown in California to sell Christmas trees from a lot. She and her parents have worked hard to make sure this transition is as easy as possible — they have dear friends in California with whom they share Thanksgiving; they exchange small gifts in California, but big presents in Oregon; and Sierra keeps up with schoolwork through the internet (and a weekly Skype chat this year with her French teacher) now that she’s a junior.

But this year is different: Sierra has overheard her parents discussing the finances of their retail operation, and they are seriously debating if this should be their last year personally coming to sell trees. Their sales this year will give them the definitive answer.

In part because this might be their last Christmas season together, Sierra and her best California friend decide she should be open to dating someone while she’s there. After all, how long do high school romances last, anyway?

Enter Caleb. He’s cute. He keeps showing up to buy more Christmas trees. He seems funny. But, her friend warns, there’s a lot of gossip about an incident in his past…

Ah, this book… I really wanted to love it; I mean it’s a teen Christmas romance! Right in my wheelhouse. And I like stories about people who grow up in unusual situations — and a tree-farming family that spends five or six weeks a year in a trailer in another state is pretty unusual. But this book just ends up being kind of boring. There’s never really any dramatic tension that pushes the action one way or another. Sierra drives the narrative, but like it’s a mini-van in a suburban neighborhood, never really facing any huge setbacks or challenges: “Nice Girl Living Nice Life Faces Change, but Not Serious Change, and Deals with It.” I’m not saying not to bother reading the book; it’s fine. I’m just maybe saying don’t go into it with any expectations except to pass a few hours (spread out, in my case, over a month) in a not unpleasant way.

Pages: 251. Library copy.

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