sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

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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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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January 19, 2017

pre-inaugural yarning along
posted by soe 2:14 am


I started my new Partridgefield Cowl this week in preparation for joining a new knitting/bookish group. I haven’t gotten very far, but the yarn, Valley Yarns Peru, is soft, being 84% baby alpaca. As one of my fellow knitters mentioned to me, I have a lot of stitch markers in there right now — every 20 stitches — but since I needed 300 stitches, I thought that prudent. I’ll likely pull at least some of those out as I progress.

Not Your Sidekick, which I started this fall, went back into my bag this week. It’s dystopian fantasy YA, focusing on Jess Tran, the daughter of two superheroes in the area of the North American Collective that used to be Nevada. Finding she doesn’t seem to have superpowers of her own, she takes an internship at a tech company, where, it turns out, her parents’ arch-nemeses, who are missing, have been employed. I’m enjoying it so far, even if it’s started a bit slower than I’d have liked.

Next, I should be reading Zadie Smith’s Swing Time or Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, which are now both overdue, but instead I want to read Gemina, the sequel to 2015’s Illuminae, which I loved. We’ll see how responsible I’m feeling this weekend…

Yarning along with Ginny at Small Things.

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January 18, 2017

read harder in 2017
posted by soe 1:44 am

Two years ago, I said I was going to do Book Riot’sRead Harderchallenge, which is designed to make you read more broadly. I failed. Last year, I looked at the list, saw a lot of things I didn’t feel like reading, and declared I wasn’t going to bother. This year, though, I’m feeling optimistic — well, at least about completing a large reading challenge.

It helps that a book can count for multiple categories.

Here goes:

  1. Read a book about sports.
  2. Read a debut novel.
  3. Read a book about books.
  4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
  5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative. DONE! The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon focuses on a young woman trying to avoid deportation.
  6. Read an all-ages comic.
  7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
  8. Read a travel memoir.
  9. Read a book you’ve read before.
  10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location. DONE! A Seaside Christmas is set along the banks of the Chesapeake. The town is fictitious, but the area is nearby.
  11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.
  12. Read a fantasy novel. DONE! The Girl Who Drank the Moon was a delightful middle-grade fantasy story.
  13. Read a nonfiction book about technology. (If anyone has any suggestions for this one, I’d appreciate it.)
  14. Read a book about war.
  15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
  16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
  17. Read a classic by an author of color.
  18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead.
  19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey
  20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel
  21. Read a book published by a micropress.
  22. Read a collection of stories by a woman.
  23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.
  24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. DONE! Black Panther, Vol. 1: A Nation under Our Feet is set in a fictional African nation, and all the characters are Black.

If you have any books you’ve loved that fit into these categories, I’m open to tracking them down at the library!

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