sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

January 15, 2016

snow, fresh eyes, and luxurious
posted by soe 12:48 pm

I dozed off last night without hitting publish and awoke partway through the night recognizing I’d done so. I thought about getting up then and posting this then, but common sense prevailed and I closed my eyes and drifted back to dreamland.

Three beautiful things, posted slightly late, from my previous week.

1. The first dusting of snow for the winter finally arrived in the District. It quickly blew/melted away, which made it even more welcome.

D.C.'s First Snowfall of 2016

2. Putting in a pair of new contact lenses.

3. A decadent, if overpriced, cup of thick hot chocolate, the memory of which lingered on the lips like a first kiss long after it was gone.


How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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January 13, 2016

top ten tuesday: books to read from 2015
posted by soe 3:39 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten 2015 Releases We Meant to Get to but Didn’t:

  1. Ta-Nehesi Coates’ Between the World and Me: I must have taken the most talked about book of the year out of the library at least five times. You’d think I’d have managed to finish it, but no. This year.
  2. Brian Selznick’s The Marvels appeared on my to-read list for last week’s #TBRTakedown, but I didn’t get to it because I didn’t want to rush through it. It’s on my list for this weekend, though, since my dad picked it up, too.
  3. Kitchens of the Midwest, by J. Ryan Stradal, appeared on several lists of books that leave you with a smile at their end. That’s what I’m reading right now.
  4. Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda appeared on a bunch of best-of lists (winning the Morris Award for best debut for teens) and also was cited as life-affirming. Also, Oreo-affirming, so I have a bag set aside to eat while reading. It’s written by a Wesleyan alum, so I have an especial interest.
  5. Challenger Deep, by Neal Shusterman, won the 2015 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
  6. Steve Sheinkin’s 2013 book, The Port Chicago 50, outraged me and was the book I talked about to everyone I encountered while reading it, including people who don’t seem to like books. His latest, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War, promises to be equally outrageous and has been named both a Cybils finalist in non-fiction and the winner of the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. DCPL was a little slow to buy this one, but they’ve got it in stock now.
  7. Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby, won the Printz Award yesterday and is a finalist for the Cybils in the YA speculative fiction category.
  8. Carry On, Rainbow Rowell’s latest. I didn’t buy it in case someone wanted to give it to me for Christmas. All those someones probably expected I’d already read/bought it, so now it’s fair game for use with the credits I amassed at my local bookshops doing my Christmas shopping.
  9. A Conn alum, Tracy O’Neill was listed as one of last year’s 5 under 35 winners by the National Book Foundation. Her novel, The Hopeful, came out last year.
  10. Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Echo was named a Newbery Honor Book yesterday.

Those are just a few of the books I missed out on last year. I have another ten out from the library that I’m hoping to tackle in the upcoming weeks.

How about you? What books from 2015 did you just not get around to? Or that you’ve only just heard about from some of the best-of lists or award lists?

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January 8, 2016

justin bieber, pine, and home
posted by soe 1:51 am

Here are three beautiful things from the first week of the new year:

1. Technically, this happened the week of Christmas, but I only heard about it this week (thanks for the heads-up, DOD!), so I’m including it today. Anyway, as people from the UK and anyone who’s watched Love Actually know, the British charts have a competition relating to the #1 song on the charts the week of Christmas. This year, the organizers behind a charity single mashup of “Bridge over Troubled Water” and “Fix You” benefiting small healthcare organizations and recorded by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir announced they were going to make a run at being Christmas Number One. Justin Bieber, who was heavily favored to take home the prize, asked his supporters to forgo buying his single that week and instead to buy “A Bridge over You,” vaulting them to victory. It was just really a class move, you know?

2. As of my walk home tonight, there are five Christmas trees piled at the other end of my block awaiting collection by the city for recycling purposes. Because their owners got them out so early, they smell especially pine-fresh whenever one walks past them.

3. Rudi, who spent an extra week in New England after the holidays coaching his ski team at a camp in Vermont, arrived back in D.C. Monday night. The cats and I missed him.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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January 7, 2016

yarning along and reading challenge progress
posted by soe 4:06 am

One Big Book, One Wee Shoe

That there is a shoe for a newborn, a gift for friends expecting a wee girl in the next few weeks. Also there is my current read, the 600+-page tome, Illuminae. It’s my fiery book for #TBRTakedown. It turns out that the book I decided to finish on Monday, Come Hell or Highball, is the first in a planned series, so Illuminae is off the hook for counting in that category. I’m also slowly taking in Honest Engine as my poetry read.

I’m about 270 pages in for the week. Slower than I’d hoped, but I’ve been tired the last few days.

Bout of Books

In addition to counting for all these reading challenges, this post is also part of Ginny’s Yarning Along roundup.

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January 4, 2016

#tbrtakedown 3.0 and bout of books 15
posted by soe 1:05 am

This coming week includes two semi-annual reading challenges I plan to take part in: #TBRTakedown, hosted by Shannon of Leaning Lights, and Bout of Books.

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th 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 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Bout of Books has daily blog challenges, so you’ll probably see more about that in the upcoming days.

While #TBRTakedown’s priorities also lie with just generally reading, you can also opt to take part in the challenges:

  1. Book from your most recent book haul.
  2. Book on your TBR Shelf over a year (or longest).
  3. Book outside your comfort zone! (Genre, content, etc).
  4. First book in a series.
  5. Complete a series/Read a sequel in a series.
  6. Read a FIRE color book (Fire colours such as shades of red, pink, purple, lilac, burgundy.) Lucky Colors for 2016.
  7. Read a non-novel item: poem, verse, novella, short story, etc.

#TBRTakedown Candidates

Here you can see some of the books I’m considering to fit the challenges. Illuminae is both red and the first book in a planned series. The Marvels arrived under the Christmas tree. Those are the two chunksters, but I expect them both to move quickly. Selznick books read fast, since they’re half illustrations, and Illuminae is filled with ephemera, I understand. I picked up the graphic novel The Adventures of Superhero Girl the August before last when I discovered the Union Station comic book shop, Fantom Comics, had relocated to my neighborhood. It’s by Faith Erin Hicks, who is collaborating on an upcoming comic book/graphic novel with Rainbow Rowell. I’m not sure if graphic novels cover that final item (novel is in the title, after all), so I’ve got a collection of poems, Honest Engine, from a local writer to fill that category. Forgiveness is a Harlequin romance book, decidedly outside my comfort zone, but part of a reading/knitting prize I won many years ago from the author. Winter Holiday is the part of the Arthur Ransome series, Swallows and Amazons, a charming British kidlit series from the early 20th century.

That said, after I took that picture, I put all those books away, with the intention of finishing the mystery novel I was reading earlier in the week. Next to the couch I also have three other novels, none of which I photographed (although at least two of them would fulfill categories). We’ll see how it goes.

What are you reading these days? Did you get any exciting/long desired books from Santa?

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