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broodings from the burrow

July 5, 2022

top ten titles coming out in the latter half of 2022
posted by soe 1:23 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic asks us to share the most anticipated books coming out in the second half of 2022. Here are some of mine:

  1. Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead
  2. Booked by Kwame Alexander
  3. Deanna Raybourn’s Killers of a Certain Age
  4. A Restless Truth by Freya Marske
  5. Sonali Dev’s The Vibrant Years
  6. Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder by Valerie Burns
  7. Marple: Twelve New Mysteries (A bonus mystery is who edited this compilation of Miss Marple stories penned by modern authors, since even the publisher’s site doesn’t list that info.)
  8. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  9. A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone
  10. Dhonielle Clayton’s Whiteout

How about you? Are there books coming out before the end of the year that you’re particularly looking forward to?

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June 28, 2022

top ten books on my summer 2022 tbr list
posted by soe 1:22 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl asks us to share the top ten books we’re excited to read this season.

I love these quarterly looks ahead at what we’re planning to read, even if I’m not excellent at executing them (I’ve read two from this spring’s list and should finish two others this week). But what are lists like this for if not for an aspirational jumping off place?

So here are ten books I’m hoping to cross off my list before summer ends:

  1. Wayward Son, by Rainbow Rowell (Rudi gave me this as a Christmas present during the pandemic, and then I wanted to wait and reread Carry On before starting the sequel. I have yet to stumble across where I put it. Obviously the only answer is to take the first book out of the library, so I can get on to the second one, which is set on a summer break roadtrip, one of my favorite tropes in YA literature.)
  2. The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray features another of my favorite tropes — retellings/reimaginings of classic literature — set as a whodunit during a summer garden party.
  3. Flying Solo by Linda Holmes (Being from southern New England, I have a biased view of Maine as a summer vacation spot, which makes this feel like a prime season to read Holmes’ sophomore novel.)
  4. When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill (A speculative fiction adult novel by one of my favorite middle-grade authors would be an easy yes in any season, but I’m hoping it’s a little bit of a balm in a post-Roe world (how it physically hurts to type that!).)
  5. Ashley Poston’s The Dead Romantics is her first foray into adult romance novelwriting, and I’m excited to see her succeed!
  6. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi is definitely a more serious romance, but has been well-received by people whose taste I tend to appreciate.
  7. People We Meet on Vacation or Beach Read by Emily Henry (Honestly, I’m not particular which of Henry’s previous two works I read. They’re both set during the summer and feature readers, and I am in. Plus, it should be at least a little easier to get one of these than her most recent book.)
  8. Rebecca Serle’s One Italian Summer is another setting that seems obvious for listening to while working in the garden or sipping a strawberry daiquiri in the park.
  9. Steven Rowley’s The Guncle (short for gay uncle) looks hilarious and heartbreaking in turns.
  10. Queer Ducks (and Other Animals) by Eliot Schrefer gives a scientific answer to that stupid question from when I was growing up: “If being gay were natural, wouldn’t animals be gay?”

What books are you looking forward to reading this summer?

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June 22, 2022

into the stacks: march & april (plus one)
posted by soe 1:16 am

First off, I forgot a title when sharing my January and February reads:

Beth and Amy by Virginia Kantra
In this follow-up to Meg and Jo, we get the modernized stories of the two youngest March sisters. Beth (in this version, Beth is named after Marmee’s sister, who died young) is traveling with a country superstar who, despite her crippling anxiety, brings her on stage every night to sing the hit she wrote for him. And Amy is struggling to raise the capital to expand her bespoke handbag business and with some guilt over a night she spent in Paris a few years back. They’ve both returned home to South Carolina for Jo’s wedding and to spend a few weeks sorting out their respective lives. This is a solid modernization and reinterpretation of how Beth and Amy’s stories might have turned out. If either was your favorite in the original Little Women or if you like retellings, this duology should be on your radar.
Pages: 352. Library copy.

In March and April I finished five historical fiction titles (Fortune Favors the Dead, A Rogue of One’s Own, and A Marvellous Light in March and The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes and God of Jade and Shadow in April), recorded here.

I also finished these titles in April:

Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
A trans teen runs away from her parents’ home only to face additional abuse from the friend she sought for refuge. But when she plays her beloved violin in the park, she is discovered by one of the most successful teachers of the last century, who also happens to be one soul away from paying off a debt to the devil. Meanwhile, across town, a mother manages her family in the running of a doughnut shop by day and commands their interplanetary exploration by night. When these three women’s paths cross, none of them will ever be the same again. Highly recommended for those who enjoy alternative reality stories.
Pages: 372. Library copy.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
Lenni is 17 and dying. Margot is 83 and dealing with a heart issue. When they both find themselves in the same therapeutic art class, Lenni points out that together they’ve lived a hundred years. As they set out to document a painting from each of their years, they build a little family in their hospital community. You all know what a stickler I am for found family stories. If you are, too, I recommend checking this title out. It’s sweet and sad without being cloying, sentimental, or melodramatic.
Pages: 352. Library copy.

Shelf Respect by Annie Austen
Honestly, this tiny book is the sort of thing that you give book lovers when you don’t know what to give them. And it will make you think, well, I could have written this. But it’s cute and sometimes funny and will require next to none of your attention, making it perfect for times when you’re distracted and just want an eight-page essay or a two-page list about reading and books.
Pages: 192. Library copy.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
When a recently graduated Miami senior loses her grandmother and gets dumped by her boyfriend and then has her best friend only give her hours before leaving for Africa for a year, she has a bit of a meltdown, causing her family to send her the English countryside for the summer. There, she finds herself baking for her cousin’s b&b (her family owns a bakery that she and her sister intend on taking over) and falling for the boy down the lane, who sells tea. Cute international YA romance.
Pages: 320. Library copy.

Yours Cruelly, Elvia: Memoirs from the Mistress of the Dark by Cassandra Peterson
In this engaging memoir, Cassandra Peterson gives a self-aware recounting of her life, from her early teen years as a gogo dancer and rock star groupie in Colorado to being a 17-year-old showgirl in Vegas who meets the like of Penn and Teller, Elvis, and the Osmond family to her years with the legendary comedy troupe, The Groundlings, to being cast as the queen of horror, Elvira. She recounts her assorted romances, including a year living in a tree house, doesn’t mince words about which celebrities are crap human beings (or which ones were utter sweethearts), displays a ton of business acumen about her brand, and maintains a sense of humor throughout. I’m not a fan of the macabre, but Elvira was a tv fixture of my childhood, and it was truly entertaining to hear her read her stories.
Pages: 304. Library audio copy.

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June 14, 2022

ten books currently in rotation
posted by soe 1:15 am

I wasn’t feeling this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl and I didn’t get my act together to write a summary of recent reads, which had been my original backup plan. So, instead, I’m sharing ten books that are currently in various stages of being read:

  1. Saint Young Men by Hikaru Nakamura
  2. The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa
  3. Battle of the Linguist Mages by Scotto Moore
  4. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
  5. Great or Nothing by Joy McCullough, Caroline Tung Richmond, Tess Sharpe, and Jessica Spotswood
  6. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
  7. The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery
  8. Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
  9. Hello, Molly! by Molly Shannon
  10. An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten

What are you reading?

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June 9, 2022

unraveling wip project
posted by soe 1:06 am

Fully Charged Closeup

I mentioned last week that I’m trying to get a few projects off my needles by the end of this month so I can cast on something new for the Tour de France Knitalong on July 1st without feeling guilty. A pair of socks just need their ends woven in to be done, and this shawl, my Fully Charged from last year’s race, is blocking and awaiting a fashion show. If I’m very productive, I have three projects I’d like to wrap up in the next three weeks. That may be an ambitious goal, but I’m trying to focus on creative endeavors this month as part of my sabbatical before I have to turn my attention to job hunting.

On the reading front, I am actively listening to two books, Lyssa Kay Adams’ The Bromance Book Club and The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery. I’m only a couple chapters into the latter and just getting to know the three main characters, but I’m wondering if it’s the read for me. (On the face of it, three women creating a bookshop/cupcake bakery/giftshop on the beach should be right up my alley, but it’s feeling a little … traditional … in its scene setting at the moment. I’ll probably give it another chapter before I decide to something that feels a little more up-to-date. I have Molly Shannon’s and Jenny Lawson’s latest memoirs and Benjamin Alire Sáere’s sequel to Aristotle and Dante Conquer the World (read by Lin-Manuel Miranda) checked out already and just waiting for me to clear space enough to download them to my phone.

On the paper front, I’ve returned to Saint Young Men, the Japanese manga about Jesus and Buddha rooming together in Tokyo in the early-aughts (it’s going much faster now that I understand that while I read the text left to right, I read the text bubbles right to left), picked up and immediately started Mia Sosa’s The Wedding Crasher (set here in D.C.) at a Little Free Library in the park, and am savoring Malinda Lo’s highly lauded The Telegraph Club for Pride Month.

Check out what others are reading and crafting at As Kat Knits.

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June 7, 2022

top ten timely tbr titles
posted by soe 1:48 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl invites us to share books with units of time in their title. Here are ten from my to-be-read list:

  1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life by Donald Miller
  2. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
  3. My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock
  4. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison
  5. Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
  6. Around the World in 72 Days by Nellie Bly
  7. Ghost Month by Ed Lin
  8. Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
  9. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
  10. The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page

Have you read any of these? Do you have other timely titles to recommend?

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