sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 31, 2020

top ten signs i’m a book lover
posted by soe 12:47 am


Today’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl invites us to share the top ten signs you’re a book lover.

Here are some ways folks may know I love books:

  1. There are very few surfaces in my apartment that do not contain books. This does not keep me from stopping at every bookshop and Little Free Library that I pass.
  2. I belong to three library systems — in three states — and the Library of Congress.
  3. My insurmountable TBR list predates Goodreads. It used to be written on brightly colored index cards in tiny writing. Periodically one still resurfaces. Occasionally, I’ve read one title of the 75+ contained on it.
  4. I can — and do — read (print books) and walk. Mostly I put my finger in the book when crossing streets.
  5. I have 60 audiobooks on my phone.
  6. Every time I have moved, the first box that gets unpacked contains Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. (My college roommate said she knew immediately that we’d be friends.)
  7. We own copies of Harry Potter titles in a variety of languages, including a couple we don’t read.
  8. My Halloween costumes are often based on bookish characters.
  9. Every year, I tamp down my crowd anxiety to brave thousands of people at the National Book Festival.
  10. I literally have the tshirt. (And the tote bag. And the socks. And the Christmas pjs. And … )

How about you? Are there obvious signs that you’re a book lover, too?

Category: books. There is/are 4 Comments.

March 26, 2020

sheltered unraveling
posted by soe 1:51 am

Sheltered Unraveling

In this week’s episode of knitting and books from piles around my living room, we have my Wohin socks, now halfway into the first of three repeats of the heel flap pattern. Also, you can clearly see my yarn has shifted into golden from its original yellow. Yes, it does kind of look like a pineapple, or maybe an infected giraffe. But still, they are colorful and mostly cheerful.

Also, on a side note, while looking for a project bag to put this sock in, I opened one and found last year’s Sock Madness socks in there. I’d started the second sock already, which is very exciting!

On the reading front, I raced through and enjoyed Jen Wang’s latest graphic novel, Stargazing, although not as much as I loved The Prince and the Dressmaker.

I continue apace with the latest Veronica Speedwell mystery, The Murderous Relation. I’m making it last, since I can’t return it to the library right now anyway. (They locked all their book returns until the library reopens.

I’m sort of stuck on my audiobook, Helen Hoang’s The Bride Test, because one of the two main characters is about to do something cringeworthy, and if I don’t listen, she can’t do it. To be fair, she also can’t get through it and to her happy ending, so I will have to resume soon.

Finally, I just started Homerooms and Hall Passes by Tom O’Donnell. Haven’t heard of it? It’s the latest role playing game that will take you from the mendacity of your usual plundering and quest solving and plunk you down in a suburban middle school. Life will never be the same for this elf, barbarian, magician, and knight.

Head over to As Kat Knits to see how everyone else is sheltering in place.

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

March 24, 2020

top ten tuesday: cookbooks
posted by soe 1:13 am

So, here’s the thing: I don’t actually do a lot of cooking. And even my baking is way less than I think it should be. But … I love buying cookbooks. I am a sucker for them! It’s gotten bad enough that I now force myself to take them out of the library and won’t let myself buy a copy unless we’ve made a recipe out of them.

But, at the moment, no one’s libraries are still open. (That’s true, right? Chicago finally closed theirs, right?) And we’re all stress baking. So, if you need a new cookbook, let me give you some recommendations (and a link to one of my local bookstores, which will ship them to you for free through the end of the month).

So, here are ten of my favorite cookbooks, with thanks to That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesdays:

  1. Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book — Hands down, my absolutely most-used baking book.
  2. Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden & Martha Holmberg — A great option if you eat seasonally and lots of veg.
  3. Teeny’s Tour of Pies by Teeny Lamothe — Teeny is a local baker who wrote a cookbook where you can make mini pies in cupcake tins
  4. The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu Jaber — Actually more of a foodie memoir, but with Middle Eastern-American recipes at the end of each chapter, including my favorite hummus recipe.
  5. Electric Bread by Suzan Nightingale — My favorite cookbook for my breadmaker.
  6. Any Moosewood cookbook — Honestly, I buy these any time I see them at a used bookstore, which isn’t as often as you’d think, in part because their recipes are straightforward, vegetarian, and well loved and, therefore, home cooks don’t often part with their copies.
  7. Laura Werlin’s Great Grilled Cheese — Okay, so this is less great cookbook and more just inspiration in a book when I’m wanting melty cheese in a different way (brie with apricot jam, for instance).
  8. Perfect Pops by Charity Ferreira — Popsicles are very comforting and can be made while you sleep.
  9. The Joy of Cooking — Because sometimes you just need an all-purpose, no nonsense cookbook to give you the bare basics.
  10. My grandmother’s collection of recipes — Sorry. You won’t find this in the bookshop, but it is one of my most treasured possessions.

I have not cooked from either of these cookbooks, but they would be next on my list to buy: José Andres’ and Matt Gouldings’ Vegetables Unleashed (it’s only a matter of time before he adds Nobel Peace Prize winner to his resume) and The Hot Bread Kitchen by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez (all bread products originated by the women who have trained/work at this NYC immigrant-friendly bakery). I have read all the recipes in the latter and would absolutely bake my way front to back.

How about you? What are your favorite cookbooks/baking books?

Category: books. There is/are 8 Comments.

March 19, 2020

mid-march unraveling
posted by soe 1:00 am


I haven’t knit on my sock in a couple of days, but I take it up to the park with me each evening, along with my book, which I have been working on. I’d thought I’d leave A Murderous Relation until later, because it looks distinctly possible that what was once a two-week slog could go on for months. But this week has been more painful than I expected, and time with Veronica and Stoker is comforting, which seems like an odd things to say about a book set in London with main characters pursuing Jack the Ripper.

I should resume listening to The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, but it hasn’t quite captured my interest the way I’d hoped it would. I have downloaded Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman for Rudi and me to listen to together. And I also just added the next Inspector Gamache novel, Cruelest Month, to aptly take me into April.

Unraveling along with As Kat Knits.

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 3 Comments.

March 17, 2020

top ten books on my spring tbr list
posted by soe 2:04 am

(No, my computer isn’t fixed yet, but washing the dishes gave my old tablet enough time to charge.)

My top ten titles on my spring tbr list:

  1. Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev
  2. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  3. Shuri: A Black Panther Novel by Nic Stone
  4. Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  5. Check, Please!, Book 2: Sticks and Scones by Ngozi Ukazu
  6. The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead
  7. The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
  8. Mulan by Grace Lin
  9. Orphan Eleven by Gennifer Choldenko
  10. By the Book by Amanda Sellet

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

Category: books. There is/are 5 Comments.

March 15, 2020

my library checkout list
posted by soe 11:52 pm

D.C.’s public library gave us the advantage of a couple days’ notice that they were going to close for the rest of the month, which meant that I had the opportunity to add a few things — mostly cookbooks and dvds — to the burgeoning collection of materials I already had checked out.


  • The Big Year (I’m not a huge fan of Steve Martin, Jack Black, or the Wilson brothers singly, let alone in combination, but I’m hopeful.)
  • Rush Hour (I never saw the original movie, but I enjoyed the tv remake that came out a couple years back, which friends assure me was sometimes based line for line on its source material.)
  • Spy (I like Melissa McCarthy and am hopeful this will fall on the silly side of funny, rather than stupid.)
  • Spider-Man, into the Spider-Verse (I have seen it. And loved it. And wanted to see it again.)
  • Charlie’s Angels (We missed it when it was in the theaters last fall, probably due to my volleyball schedule. I know it got terrible reviews. Probably I would have watched it anyway.)
  • Veronica Mars: Season 1 (This is the new tv show. No, we didn’t watch the original tv show and the series is old enough that our library system has all the seasons broken up into multiple dvds, so you can’t really request them and instead have to wander around the various branches searching out the discs you need. We understand the overall concept, if not all the nuance.)
  • Frankie Drake Mysteries. The complete second season
  • The Goldfinch (Honestly, even the preview for this movie made me anxious, but I still wanted to watch it. I just might not have picked it up right now if it hadn’t already been on hold for me.)
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 5


  • Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless by Raquel Pelzel
  • Great British Bake Off — Bake It Better. No. 8: Pastry & Patisserie by Joanna Farrow
  • Red Truck Bakery Cookbook by Brian Noyes (All three of these were picked up yesterday, when the urge to start stress baking on a daily basis started rearing its head.)
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean (Yes, I’ve had this out for like six months. Apparently it’ll be mine for at least one more.)
  • Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer (This has also been checked out to me for a while, but I haven’t started it. Guess I have time now…)
  • The First Dinosaur: How Science Solved the Greatest Mystery on Earth by Ian Lendler (Ian was my childhood neighbor and is the first person who introduced me to Tolkein.)

Adult Fiction

  • A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn
  • The Travelers by Regina Porter
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
  • Red Letter Days by Sarah Jane Stratford

YA Fiction

  • Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell (I need to find and reread Carry On, and now, apparently, I have time to figure out where my copy is.)
  • I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones (Seems about right for our current situation, although it’s actually about race relations.)
  • Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
  • The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
  • The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi

Middle-Grade Fiction

  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
  • The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
  • Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
  • Homerooms & Hall Passes by Tom O’Donnell
  • Crush by Svetlana Chmakova
  • Roll with It by Jamie Sumner
  • Stargazing by Jen Wang
  • Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya
  • Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

Do you have materials out from the library to help you through your hours at home?

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