sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 25, 2010

hallows (part one), new baby, and crowd-free
posted by soe 11:47 pm

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this fourth Thursday of November, I want to precede my weekly list of beauty with a note of thanks. I am extraordinarily lucky in my life. I have a family and friends who love me, good health, a comfortable place to live in a dynamic city, delicious food to eat, a job that lets me sleep at night, cats to cuddle, and hobbies I enjoy. I am so grateful for all of that and for so much more.

And I am also grateful for a place to record things that strike as beautiful. Here are three of them:

1. The new Harry Potter movie may be my favorite yet of the series. Seeing it opening night at the Uptown, D.C.’s old, one-screen cinema gem, with an enthusiastic, sell-out crowd was fantastic and just what it should have been.

2. Phillip texts a photo of his and Susan’s new wee son, Holden. Adorable!

3. Our drive to Connecticut last night was absolutely traffic-free. We even avoided the back-up at the Delaware toll with a quick hop off the highway that also gave us the opportunity to stop at Dunkin’ for hot beverages.

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

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November 23, 2010

mondays suck
posted by soe 2:27 am

On to Tuesday…

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November 18, 2010

dessert, velocipedes, and the moon
posted by soe 11:46 pm

Wow! There’s only a week until Thanksgiving. Thirty-seven days until Christmas. Huh.

But before panic creeps in, let’s look back at three beautiful things from my week past:

1. The day I forgot my lunch and walked down to Pret for a sandwich, a new bakery was handing out free mini cupcakes.

2. The Tweed Ride was on Sunday. Rudi and I joined roughly 500 other cyclists sporting our fall finest to ride across the city. Costumes were colorful and dapper and elegant and it’s always so cool to see the penny-farthings and Pedersen bicycles that get brought out for these fancy-dress events.

3. Several weeks ago, Grey Kitten wrote on one of my TBT posts that the moon was beautiful and he wanted to share it with me. Last Friday it arrived in the post in the form of a breathtakingly beautiful book of photography and French poetry.

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

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into the stacks: fat vampire
posted by soe 1:17 am

Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

From the jacket: “Doug Lee is undead quite by accident — attacked by a desperate vampire, he finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night. But it’s just not the same. Then he meets the new Indian exchange student and falls for her — hard. Yeah, he wants to bite her, but he also wants to prove himself to her. But like the laws of life, love, and high school, the laws of vampire existence are complicated — it’s not as easy as studying Dracula. Especially when the star of Vampire Hunters is hot on your trail in an attempt to boost ratings….”

My take: I do not, as a rule, read vampire novels. I am not drawn to the Transylvanian bloodsuckers nor to their sparkly, modern counterparts. That said, when I saw two reviews of this book describing it as hilarious and laugh-out-loud funny, I thought I’d give it a chance.

The premise of the book and the character set up is great. A pudgy, self-doubting Comic Con attendee is accidentally turned into a vampire one summer evening. He and his computer programming best friend, Jay, set out to figure out what of the vampire traits he suffers from besides a desire for blood and a sensitivity to light. When he goes back to school in the fall, he meets and falls for the new exchange student from India, a girl who is hiding from her new schoolmates that she suffers from the Google (a mysterious disease that includes an addiction to the internet, an obsession with updating your online profiles, and the eventual dehumanizing of all those with whom you have contact).

Unfortunately, it seemed to me that the author got confused about where he was taking the story. The last chapter so confused me that I read it a second time the next morning, convinced I must have missed the real ending to the novel. Maybe the vampire thing is symbolic of something else, I thought. It’d be a reasonable guess since that’s often the case. But then I don’t know what to do with the reality tv show host, desperate to keep Vampire Hunters on the air, who is hunting Doug down

Even now, more than a week after finishing the book, I find myself sputtering with frustration about the way this story ends. I usually put down and return to the library books that I’m clearly not going to enjoy. Life is too short, after all, to fit in all the good books I want to read, let alone the ones I don’t. But, then, what to do with the novel that you realize you’re not going to like the ending two pages from the conclusion?

I liked the premise and the set-up, but just couldn’t stomach the eventual execution. Too bad!

Pages: 324

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November 17, 2010

ten on tuesday: movies
posted by soe 1:19 am

Carole‘s choice for this week’s Ten on Tuesday:

10 Movies You’d Like to See in the Theater
(with a focus on movies showing in D.C. in the next six weeks)

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part one (The Uptown on Friday, baby!)

2. Tangled (the new animated Rapunzel flick)

3. The King’s Speech (starring Colin Firth as King George)

4. The Tempest (with Helen Mirren in the lead role and a roster of additional stars supporting her)

5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (another episode in a favorite children’s series)

6. How Do You Know (a rom-com filmed here in D.C.)

7. The Illusionist (animated by the same guy who did The Triplets of Belleville)

8. The Wizard of Oz (it’s got a midnight showing downtown one weekend next month)

9. It’s a Wonderful Life (it’s playing at several cinemas locally in Decemeber)

10. Kings of Pastry (a documentary about French pastry chefs)

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November 15, 2010

into the stacks: love, rosie
posted by soe 2:36 am

How exciting! I finish a book and decide to share my thoughts with you within less than a week! Shocking!

Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern

From the jacket: [Okay, I’m revising the book blurb because otherwise it gives away the whole novel] “… Best friends since childhood, [Rosie and Alex] separate as teenagers when Alex and his family relocate from Dublin to Boston. … Rosie and Alex stay friends, and though years pass and weddings, funerals, and baptisms take place, the two remain firmly attached via e-mails and letters…”

My take: Steph sent me this novel last December as part of the 2009 Book Bloggers Holiday Swap. I started it right away and immediately was pulled into the story. An epistolary novel, Love, Rosie gives us a glimpse into the relationship of Rosie and Alex, who met as children and stayed best friends through their whole lives, despite a trans-Atlantic move for Alex as a teenager. Their correspondence (with each other and with relatives, other friends, and significant acquaintances) matures from misspelled notes to letters, emails, and IMs sharing their biggest challenges and deepest thoughts.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Each of them has a secret they’re keeping from the other.

And it’s the combination of those secrets and the eavesdropping intimacy of Rosie and Alex’s correspondence that made me put this book down in fuming frustration precisely halfway through last winter.

When I was telling Grey Kitten about this novel over the weekend, I shared that the friends who know me in real life would find it hilarious that I put it down because I couldn’t stand one more minute of the main characters’ inability to enact positive changes on their own lives, that their choosing to remain stuck in their ruts had just driven me crazy. Sound familiar much?

I’m so glad I picked it back up last week, though. Both Rosie and Alex are characters that you care about, a sense heightened by knowing them only through their letters. You want them both to be happy and you appreciate that theirs is a long-term friendship that has weathered many storms, albeit sometimes just barely. Reading their notes reminded me of those I’ve shared with Karen and Grey Kitten over the years and our own ups and downs. It made me appreciate all the good times we’ve had and how they’re both always there for me, regardless of the stupid mistakes I make (sometimes repeatedly). Our friendships can now be discussed in multiples of decades and, like Rosie’s and Alex’s, make life so much richer.

So, if you have a friendship like that, I’d recommend reading Love, Rosie. You’ll be glad that you did.

Pages: 447

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