sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 20, 2018

bout of books 23 #1
posted by soe 12:20 am

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01 a.m. Monday, August 20, and runs through Sunday, August 26, in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 23 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team.


My goals for the week are to:

  • Take part in at least two challenges and at least one of the Twitter chats.
  • Visit at least one other Bout of Books participant’s blog a day.
  • Read a little each day.
  • Post some reviews.

Day 1 Challenge: Introduce Yourself #insixwords

How about: Reading all day. Reading all night.

Rudi suggests I go with “Books make me do weird things.”

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August 16, 2018

mid-august unraveling
posted by soe 1:47 am

Mid-August Unraveling

I started reading Spinning Silver this week. It’s a reimagining of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, set in Russia and featuring a young Jewish money lender, Miryem; her hired girl, Wanda; and deadly, otherworldly beings, who set her the impossible task of turning silver into gold. I loved author Naomi Novik’s earlier novel, Uprooted, and am finding the start to this novel has the same feeling as the beginning of that one. I’m hoping for good things.

On my phone I’m listening to a middle grade contemporary novel, See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng, and Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon for White America by local professor and minister Michael Eric Dyson. The latter is shaped as a church service and deals with being Black in contemporary America and what white people repeatedly fail to understand about that experience and need to learn.

The former is about a rocket-crazy young boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, who are recording sounds of the world on a Golden iPod in preparation for launching it into space to travel on the heels of Voyager’s Golden Record, put together by human astronomer Carl Sagan in 1977. In the process, he’ll learn what it means and takes to pursue the truth, both personal and universal.

I am still working on my shawl (I had a two-hour conference call to knit through today), but progress is slow and the color changes are slower and I’m impatient for it to be done. So of course, I put it down and picked up my Posey socks. As I was picking up a stitch that had dropped off the edge of the needle while stored in the bag, I noticed some loose stitches earlier in the toe. Since the toe is not one of those places where you can just let that go, I ripped back most of the way to where I’d started the grey yarn and will finish the toe in the morning. Self-striping sock yarn changes colors much more quickly than two gradient shawl balls, so I hope that keeps me moving forward much more quickly.

Should I finish my Posey socks, I’ll have to look at my other sock UFOs from Sock Madness to see which pair is furthest along and/or will take the least effort to finish. This year’s pair, Fee Dragée, may be a contender, since that’s halfway done. Or Slip Stripe Spiral, the pair I went out on two years ago, is already into the leg of the second sock, although I think I messed it up someplace and it’s waiting for me to figure out how to fix it. Or Rainbow Pipes, which was a Sock Madness pair from 4(!) years ago, which are complete except for i-cord that needs to be created for the cuffs and buttons that have to be (found and) sewn on. My oldest unfinished pair of socks is from nine years ago and is color work. One sock is completely done, but I’m betting my tension will be different than it was nearly a decade ago and that a needle adjustment will be necessary.

If you’d like to see what other folks are knitting and reading, head over to As Kat Knits for the weekly roundup.

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August 11, 2018

book bingo progress, aug. 1
posted by soe 1:06 am

2018 Book Bingo August 1

July was a good reading month, but not a good month for checking books off my book bingo card. The latest additions are in red.

I’m working through several books that qualify as we speak, so hopefully I’ll finish the month strong and with at least one bingo. But if not, we’ll chalk it up to my contrary nature and still consider a summer’s worth of reading a success.

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August 9, 2018

heatwave unraveling
posted by soe 12:15 am

I took my shawl with me to knit during the concert last night, but after volleyball tonight I dug out the two pairs of socks I’d like to finish this month and carried the Into the Wild Wood pair with me to the coffeehouse for some late evening outdoor time. (Because, you know, a volleyball game in the park isn’t enough…)

Heatwave Unraveling

After my adventure with Joe Biden and Barack Obama, I’m back hanging out with plucky orphan Audacity Jones in 1910 D.C. She’s about to embark upon the mission she was brought here for, but it’s not what she’s been told. Luckily, she has a local boy and his grandfather and her stowaway cat to help her out of any scrapes…

I’m still listening to Murder Games. We’ve finally met Julian, whom I was worried would turn out to be a concoction of the tv show. He has lost his beard for Hollywood, and I’m not convinced certain characters on paper are going to hook up like they have on the small screen, but we’ll see… Either way, it’s been entertaining and I’d listen to another one.

You can see more reading/crafting combos at As Kat Knits.

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August 8, 2018

ten books further down my currently reading pile
posted by soe 1:48 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic didn’t particularly interest me, so I decided to come up with my own.

Here are ten of the books I have listed as currently reading in Goodreads that aren’t the books I’m actually dipping into this week:

  1. Meet Cute, edited by Jennifer Amentrout (short stories; spreading them out)
  2. There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, by Morgan Parker (poetry; ditto)
  3. A Dash of Trouble, by Anna Meriano (not sure why)
  4. Kidnapped! Abductions in Time, Space, and Fantasy, by Danny Atwood et al (more short stories; stuck at one I don’t want to read)
  5. Down and Across, by Arvin Ahmadi (annoyed me with a local description I felt was inaccurate (but which maybe isn’t technically wrong))
  6. A Conspiracy in Belgravia, by Sherry Thomas (Overdrive expired; on wait list to continue)
  7. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (essays; spreading them out)
  8. The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear, by Walter Moers (reads like short stories; spreading them out)
  9. The Room, by Jonas Karlsson (main character is a jerk; waiting to decide if I’ll bother continuing to see if he grows out of it)
  10. A Tyranny of Petticoats, edited by Jessica Spotswood (short stories; spacing them out)

As you can see, things that aren’t novels — poetry/essay/short story collections — tend to get put aside in favor for books that are, although those also aren’t immune from being put down temporarily for one reason or another. (Occasionally it seems like bad things are about to happen in a novel and I don’t want them to, so I put the book down — sometimes forever.)

How about you? Do put down books mid-read and come back to them later?

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August 5, 2018

into the stacks 2018: april
posted by soe 12:39 am

We’re getting closer to being caught up on book reviews. In April I read four books:

#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women, by Lisa Charleyboy

This collection of poetry, artwork, quotes, and short prose comes from women of some of the Native American tribes of Canada and the United States. It offers a broad perspective on what it means to live at the intersection of female and indigenous at this moment in time and includes pieces from students, tribal leaders, scholars, artists, and professionals, demonstrating that no single voice can speak for everyone’s lived experiences.

Pages: 109. Library copy.

Obsidio, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I can’t tell you how sad I am that The Illuminae Files trilogy is done. This was the first series in a while that I’ve found so compelling, with its innovative use of text and graphics in its doorstopper-size volumes. Set in space in the future, the first book is told as a dossier assembled for a corporate executive whose company invaded a distant planet that was running an illegal mining operation and the steps they took to cover their tracks. The second and third books continue to share information through ephemera, but instead of a single file, it’s presented as evidence in a court case, sharing the back story of why the company is on trial. Obsidio builds on the two earlier books, bringing us back to the teen protagonists we’ve all come to love — teen computer genius Kady, flight commander Ezra, strategist Hanna, criminal Nik, and hacker Ella — and introducing us to new ones — nurse Asha and soldier Rhys. And AIDAN, the copy of the copy of the once murderous AI who has saved everyone time and time again, is back, too, but with new, troubling analysis of the situation on the space ship. How long will Kady be able to keep him focused on their survival? And will Beitech, the company that sparked this intergalactic escapade, ever be brought to justice?

You’ll come for the space adventure, but stay for the kissing.

Pages: 615. Library copy.

Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor

Lazlo Strange is an unusual orphan turned (briefly) monk turned librarian turned (eventually) adventurer, joining an assemblage of people from across the land to reclaim a city (it used to have a name that was stolen from everyone’s memories and thenceforth became known as Weep). The town has been made to suffer since gods parked their monstrous home (a ginormous floating rock with a palace on top of it) overhead, and the residents are looking to move it by any means necessary. Unfortunately, they weren’t aware the palace was still occupied by a handful of teen demigods, one of whom in particular, who vividly remembers and is scarred by an event that happened in their childhood, is NOT excited by the prospect of being evicted. Will Lazlo be able to build a bridge between the two communities?

The first of duology, this book was a weird reading experience for me. I didn’t find it particularly compelling when I was in the process of reading it, but when I wasn’t reading it, I routinely found my thoughts straying to would happen next and how the characters were doing. I’m guessing this means I didn’t love Taylor’s writing style (I didn’t particularly like Daughter of Smoke & Bone back when I read it either), but that I did love her characterization. Despite that, I look forward to seeing how the story is resolved this fall.

Pages: 544. Library copy.

Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward

Jojo, who turns 13 in the first chapter of this book, and his little sister live with their maternal grandparents and, sometimes, their mother, Leonie, who has a drug problem. Jojo is trying to learn how to be a black man, emulating his beloved grandfather, while his white father is in jail — the same jail (Mississippi’s State Penitentiary, Parchman) where his grandfather was wrongfully imprisoned when he himself was a teenager. When they learn his father is about to be released, Leonie packs the two kids and a friend into the car and drives to pick him up, but they also pick up a ghost that’s been lingering around the prison grounds and takes him back to her parents’ house, as well.

The book starts off violently — they’re slaughtering a farm animal for food — and violence is never far away from the story, which seems to be a theme across Ward’s books. Whether it’s the tempestuous relationship between Leonie and Jojo’s father, the uncontrolled rage of a drug dealer’s son, the senseless death of Leonie’s brother back when they were young, the all-too-familiar reaction of a white police officer to a black family, his paternal grandfather’s racist reaction to their visit, or the untold ending to his maternal grandfather’s prison tenure, violence surrounds Jojo and his family. It is as inescapable as and intertwined with the ghosts that haunt them.

I wanted to like the book, which won the National Book Award last year and that seemed to draw some inspiration from Toni Morrison’s Beloved, more than I did. I hadn’t been thrilled with it all along, but the final pages felt rushed and like Ward took the let down of an easy way out that should have been better developed throughout a complex, layered novel.

Pages: 285. Library copy.

Total Pages: 1553

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