sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 4, 2021

top ten most recent recommended reads
posted by soe 1:06 am

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I originally thought I was going to get caught up on my 2021 reviews (And I still might! Stay tuned for tomorrow!), since I’ve only finished 10 books to date. But since that would call for more words than I want to write, I’m taking a page from Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl and simply giving you my last ten 4+-star reads:

  1. Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas: I will always recommend the Lady Sherlock series.
  2. An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn: Another solid Victorian-era mystery series.
  3. Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez: An enjoyable middle-grade novel about a boy who (sometimes accidentally and sometimes not) creates rifts in the multiverse and his new friend who doesn’t think he’s crazy for it.
  4. Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev: The second novel in which this author takes inspiration from Jane Austen’s novels and applies it to a contemporary extended Indian-American family living in California. Warning: Don’t read while you’re hungry.
  5. Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore: A suffragette tries to find a way to bring a member of the House of Lords around to her cause.
  6. Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob: A memoir inspired by her son’s concern about growing up Brown in America.
  7. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune: It topped my best reads of 2020, and I continue to adore it.
  8. Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why by Alexandra Petri: A book of Washington Post satire columns that could only have been published during the last administration.
  9. How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason: I don’t know what to tell you: While this is the second book on this list with a similar title, it is not remotely like the other. Great if you always wondered what the Star Wars trilogy would have been like if told from Leia’s POV.
  10. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert: A young, disabled Black British woman makes a bucket list (with the hopes of jumpstarting her life, rather than to do before it ends) and enlists the super of her new apartment complex to help her.

How about you? What have you read recently that you’d recommend fairly universally?

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April 29, 2021

final april unraveling
posted by soe 1:43 am

Final April Unraveling

Just last night I wrapped up Murder on Cold Street, the latest Lady Sherlock novel by Sherry Thomas, and I’m still feeling a bit of a reading hangover from my favorite series, not quite willing to let go of my thoughts about Charlotte and Livia and Mrs. Watson and Ash. So I’m not quite sure yet where I’ll land yet on a print read, but it might be the comic collection of Check, Please!: Sticks and Scones by Ngozi Ukazu, about a hockey team at a small New England liberal arts college. I also wrapped up an audiobook this week, but I’ve moved on to A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette, the first in a new cozy mystery series set at an ice cream parlor in the Cleveland suburbs. I’m finding the reader’s style distracting and, for the first time, have sped up the speed in an attempt to see if that makes her less off putting. If it doesn’t, I may need to switch to paper on that one.

With my rainbow socks at the heel, I’m also feeling a little disconnected from my knitting. But I’ve started carrying around the bag that contains the Lightning Shawl, my oldest semi-active UFO, so I’m inclined to think that wants to come out of hibernation again. When I pulled it out of the bag to photograph, I discovered the needle and project had become detached, so some actual unraveling was necessitated to get the two reconnected once again. I think this had gone into timeout in its final strip because I’m working with scraps at this point and there was a weird blending that happened at the very midpoint of the shawl that looked unpleasantly obvious, so I don’t think that will end up having been even a minor setback. But wouldn’t it be great if 2021 were the year this finally became a wearable item, eight years after I started it?

Head over to As Kat Knits for the weekly roundup.

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April 27, 2021

top ten favorite animals in books
posted by soe 1:09 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is favorite animals (real or imaginary) in literature:

  1. Paddington, from the eponymous series by Michael Bond
  2. Pickwick, Thursday’s pet dodo from Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series
  3. Dog Monday from Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
  4. Charlotte, she of the web by E.B. White (let’s be honest; while Wilbur was fine, she was some spider!)
  5. Mrs. Frisby, who led the rats of NIMH in Robert C. O’Brien’s novel
  6. Lowly Worm from Richard Scarry’s various picture books
  7. Empress of Blandings, Lord Emsworth’s pet sow in the P.G. Wodehouse novels
  8. Glerk, the poetry-composing swamp monster from Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon
  9. Winn-Dixie in Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie (actually, she has tons of great animal characters; I could give her ten just herself)
  10. Ivan the kitten from The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Plus a shout out to the animal ensembles who abide in the Hundred Acre Woods and the Harry Potter universe. I couldn’t pick one, so I applaud them in toto.

How about you? Who are some of your favorite literary animals? (You can once again tell me in the comments, because we figured out the fix. Apologies to anyone who tried to leave me a comment in the past two weeks.)

Category: books. There is/are 5 Comments.

April 25, 2021

movie watching
posted by soe 1:56 am

Because I spent so long at the garden this afternoon, I didn’t make it to a bookstore today. But, keeping in mind it was Indie Bookstore Day, I pulled up The Bookshop on Kanopy. What a mistake that was!

First up, let me say that the setting and the acting was phenomenal. However, what a bleak movie!

Which brings me to a larger, long-time musing of mine: Why do people want to watch movies (or read books) with depressing stories and demoralizing endings? I can see slogging through a gloomy movie if the ending brings a turn of fortune, a payoff galore for a character who’d persevered through wretched circumstances. But I cannot understand why you’d want that character to just … come to terms with being downtrodden. I mean, who wants to watch It’s a Wonderful Life if George Bailey goes to jail?

I know there’s the argument that it helps you come to terms with real life. What a crappy reason! Why would I want to come to terms with the idea that life is just going to keep sucking as much as it does at my lowest? Or that, hey, my life isn’t so bad, because it could be so much worse!

I watch movies and read books because I want to believe life can be better. That people can be kinder. That situations can be overcome. That circumstances can improve. If it’s just going to be all bleakness and “at least I’m not them!” I might as well just go to sleep instead of giving myself over to the story. At least that would get me some rest in my escapism.

Do you like unhappy movies or books? Can you shed some light on this?

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April 22, 2021

earth week unraveling
posted by soe 1:30 am

Earth Week Unraveling

This week’s knitting and reading is just a continuation of what was begun last week. I continue to love my new socks, and Sherry Thomas has yet to disappoint me with her Lady Sherlock series.

I’m past the halfway point in the latest Fox and O’Hare audiobook. Evanovich’s latest co-author, Steve Hamilton, is himself a well-regarded author, and this story is a more solid caper than the last one in the series, which was written with her son. However, I’m starting to realize that secondary characters must belong to co-authors, because this is now the second book in a row to forego bringing in Nick Fox’s Irregulars. I enjoyed the wackiness of that group and this book, while a perfectly fine addition to the heist oeuvre, is a much more Serious Story with moments of levity provided by circumstance (Kate ends up in the drink twice in a single day) than by characters.

Head over to As Kat Knits if you’re interested in what others are reading and crafting.

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April 15, 2021

not-tax day unraveling
posted by soe 1:27 am

Not-Tax Day Unraveling

New things are afoot on both the page and the needles. I have a new stripey sock started, and I’m sure you can see why I’m excited by it. I’ll give you details about the yarn next week; the tag is in one bag, but the yarn was in another, and I don’t feel like hunting right this moment.

I finished Veronica Speedwell and could move on to Charlotte Holmes. This is the most recent in Sherry Thomas’ excellent series, but there’ll be a new installment in the fall. It’s nice when favorite authors publish works in time for birthday and Christmas gifts.

I also wrapped up the audiobook I’d been listening tonight while I was knitting. Tomorrow I’ll be starting up The Bounty, the latest in the Fox and O’Hare heist series by Janet Evanovich and friends (this time Steve Hamilton). I haven’t liked the series as much since she stopped collaborating with Lee Goldberg, but Hamilton is pretty well-respected in his own right, so maybe this will be an improvement on the last book, which she wrote with her son.

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