sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

June 30, 2017

true love, robin wright films, and evening
posted by soe 12:56 am

first summer capreses

Three beautiful things from this first full week of summer (besides our first Sunday of summer supper — corn on the cob and caprese sandwiches):

1. Rudi’s friends, Eric and Idit, invited us to their wedding last weekend. Held in a backyard in part of Rock Creek Park, the ceremony was sweet and quick, the brunch was delicious, and the blue skies glorious. The couple seemed extremely happy, and the small group of friends they’d assembled were ecstatic for them.

2. We watched The Princess Bride on Friday at one of the outdoor movie screenings around town and then caught a second showing of Wonder Woman at our favorite single-screen cinema. (Incidentally, did you hear that Wonder Woman is now the most successful DC Comics film adapted by Warner Brothers? Suck it, haters! Ahem, I meant, bring on more female-fronted superhero movies!)

3. I had a work conference to attend the past two days, which required getting in early (for me) and, therefore, getting to leave early, too. I had a volleyball game on Tuesday, but yesterday I spent the extra time lounging on a bench in the park and reading.

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

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June 27, 2017

best books and summer tbr
posted by soe 6:59 pm

I don’t usually do a mid-year ranking, but in the interest of sharing (particularly since Top Ten Tuesday is going on maternity leave), let me tell you the three books I’ve given 5-star ratings to on Goodreads so far this year:

  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Let’s just say this story of star-crossed NYC teens falling in love has the best final chapter I’ve read in a long time. I read this so long ago, I actually wrote a review for it, which you can read here (Scroll down; it’s the last review of the three).

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This was perhaps the most talked about book in YA this spring, and for good reason. A Black teen witnesses her childhood best friend being shot by a white cop in Everytown, USA. The reverberations touch every aspect of her life: school, friends, community, and family. There are no easy answers here, except that one person taking that scary first step can lead to others taking their own, which can lead — eventually, to change. I don’t care if you don’t normally read YA; read this book.
  • Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper. Admittedly, a five-star nonfiction review is different from one given to fiction. In fiction, it means I should probably buy it and will most certainly be reading it again. In non-fiction, it more means that I was fascinated by the subject as written and even read the foot-/endnotes. I don’t know that I’d re-read this book on the various aspects that go into making a dictionary again, but I wouldn’t rule it out. A truly interesting topic, tackled with knowledge and humor by one of the Merriam Webster folks.

I’ve read a bunch of four-star books, but am not sure it’s worth ranking them at this point.

Also, I wanted to share 10 of the books I’m hoping to tackle this summer, since we’re now officially into the season:

  1. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albartelli: Yes, this was on my spring list, but the library only got print copies last week. It’s set in D.C.
  2. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher: I’ve been on the wait list for her books since her death, and listening to her Star Wars journals/commentary seem like a summery thing to do.
  3. Eggshells by Catriona Lally: My BFF, Karen, gave me this book back in the spring as a belated birthday gift, and I’m looking forward to starting it finally. A quirky woman places an ad seeking a friend named Penelope.
  4. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Indian-American YA rom-com. Need I say more?
  5. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti: I started this title from a woman I went to college with in the spring, but only got as far as the first chapter before my other books and the due date got in the way.
  6. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo: Due out in August, this title combines the mythology of Diana of the Amazons with Helen of Troy.
  7. All Grown Up by Jami Attenburg: Short. And one of those popular authors I never seem to get
  8. The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser: The cover is really pretty. And it reminds me of Thursday Next.
  9. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterley: My coworker lent me her copy of the book back at the start of the year and it’s time to give it back.
  10. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: Because I’ve had that the same amount of time and the library wants it back.

How about you? What have been your favorite reads of the first half of the year? And what are you looking forward to reading this summer?

Category: books. There is/are 4 Comments.

June 23, 2017

getting literary, this bike’s the (yarn) bomb, and awesome (plus, unraveling!)
posted by soe 1:15 am

Before we get going on today’s topic, I wanted to share my unraveled photo for yesterday, because book and project coordinate so well today:

Blue Unravelings

The knitting is the baby blanket, which is noticeably longer than last week (although still a substantial ways from being large enough to cover a baby). The book is Julie Murphy’s Ramona Blue, which I’m just a couple chapters into. I’m also a little ways into The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher’s final book, on audio. So far, so funny.

Three beautiful things from my past week:

Solstice Sunset

1. The library hosted Roxane Gay for a sold-out, rock-star event of an evening. I’d procured two tickets, so Julia was able to go with me. Because I wasn’t attending alone, I’d made sure to get moving early, which was crucial, since they’d overbooked the venue and later line-goers were turned away. Roxane was as thoughtful, brutal, and funny as her work would lead you to expect.

2. Knitters especially will want to click over to Flickr to look at the original-sized photo of this bike, which does not, in fact, have an ombré-colored frame, but a ombré-covered frame, in one of the most impressive DIY bike fancifying I’ve ever seen.

Yarn-Bombed Bike

3. I had to work last Sunday at Awesome Con, a fan-going convention in the tradition of Comic Con. We had a very specific dress code, which ruled out costumes, but I really enjoyed the work and unabashed enthusiasm that others put into theirs. We had a photo booth area set up and two ’40s-inspired cosplayers stopped by. “He’s Captain America, so does that make you Agent Carter?” “In the flesh, ma’am.” We bantered for a bit, before she broke character to thank me for recognizing her. “I’d worked out a whole back story and then no one asked, so thanks for letting me use it.” Later on, a boy of eight or so gently put his costumed hand on my arm to ask about our (family-friendly) props of “f” words: “What does ‘foxy’ mean?” I paused to come up with an age-appropriate answer: “It means cute.” “Oh.”

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

June 21, 2017

top ten series i’ve been meaning to start
posted by soe 2:10 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish asks us about the Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start but Haven’t:

  1. Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood (You know her for her Miss Fisher books, but she also has this series about baker Corinna Chapman, which my dad highly recommends.)
  2. The Magicians by Lev Grossman (I started the first one once, but put it down. I own the third book and really should just start the series once more.)
  3. Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff (A YA verse series my dad recommended to me seven years ago.)
  4. Kopp Sisters by Amy Stewart (Another book I picked up and then had to return to the library before finishing. The third book in the series is due out this September.)
  5. Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams (This graphic novel series just released Vol. 2 last month.)
  6. Kick Keswick by Marne Davis Kellogg (I think I have to go join the Alexandria library to get a copy of this one.)
  7. The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg (I’ve read adult retellings and YA retellings; now it’s time for one for the middle grades.)
  8. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (My Twitter feed has been very excited about this new series.)
  9. Inspector Morse by Colin Dexter (Because I’ve loved the Inspector Lewis series.)
  10. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (I actually have the first book of this series in hand right now!)

How about you? What series do you enjoy? Which do you mean to pick up?

Category: books. There is/are 6 Comments.

June 17, 2017

weekend to-do list
posted by soe 12:52 pm

Things got a little wonky with our plans last night when the other person with whom we were supposed to picnic got sick and then failed to let us know he wouldn’t be joining us. With the concert on the other side of town and Rudi not loving the music, he and I decided to abandon that and to head up to the outdoor movie happening on our side of town — except that, it turns out, that the movie we’d wanted to see had been shown last weekend and the inclement weather had moved the event inside. So, we recalibrated once more and opted for pizza with the possibility of watching a film later, either at home or at the theater a couple miles up the road from us. We ate the pizza, which was delicious, if haphazardly served (we’re thinking that location is in danger of closing), and then walked home, whereupon we decided we were too sticky and tired to even think about a movie anywhere.

This morning we slept in and now are facing the remainder of the weekend — how shall we spend it?

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Work on some job stuff (I have to work an event tomorrow afternoon, and there are some other things that need to get done before Monday)
  • Refill the tea canisters
  • Do laundry (and deal with my clothing piles)
  • Knit on the baby blanket
  • Paint my toenails
  • Make something that uses the berries in my fridge (maybe blueberry muffins?)
  • Post my February reviews (if I want to be caught up by the end of the month, I really need to get cracking)
  • Watch a film (I have Moonlight out of the library and Wonder Woman might require a second watching)
  • Talk to my dad (and my mom)
  • Visit the garden (I really need to spend a chunk of time there digging up my strawberry/violet bed and replanting, but I’m thinking this weekend isn’t going to offer me that quantity of time)
  • Picnic at the park (did you know tomorrow is National Picnic Day?)
  • Eat ice cream (because shouldn’t every summer weekend include this item?)

How about you? What’s on your weekend to-do list?

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 2 Comments.

June 16, 2017

kindness, new reader, and whole, not holes
posted by soe 12:43 am

Summer at City Center

In addition to not having to hear the details of a murder, three more beautiful things from my week past:

1. A guy heads into a shop carrying a pile of boxes. He gets the door open himself and swings it wide, and a woman walking past doesn’t even break stride to grab it so it doesn’t slam into him before he’s fully inside.

2. A friend brought his five-year-old daughter to the baseball park with him, telling us that reading had suddenly clicked with her in the past few weeks. She had a backpack full of books, but she also kept turning her attention to the scoreboard to read all the words to be found there, too.

3. The contents of my underwear drawer had reached a shameful state, so when Target recently had a sale, I stocked up. Last week I wore new undies every day.

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

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 10 Comments.