sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 22, 2011

into the stacks: peter and max
posted by soe 2:21 am

Once upon a Time ChallengePeter and Max by Bill Willingham with illustrations by Steve Leialoha

From the jacket: “When an unspeakable tragedy befalls a family of traveling minstrels, they become stranded and left for dead. Here in the heart of The Black Forest, Peter Piper and his older brother Max encounter ominous forces that will change them both irreparably. Thus begins an epic tale of sibling rivalry, magic, music and revenge that spans medieval times to the present day when their deadly conflict surfaces in the placid calm of modern-day Fabletown.”

My take: Peter Piper and his wheelchair-bound wife, Bo Peep, live on a farm in upstate New York. Actually, they live on the outskirts of The Farm, which is an annex of Fabletown, the modern New York City neighborhood that is home to all manner of refugees from other, parallel worlds that inspire our fairy tales.

Peter (it was just one pickled pepper, not a whole peck, by the way) and Bo (she does love her sheep) get along pretty well in the modern world until one day Peter is informed that his brother, Max, has been sighted. Gathering intel from the Wolf (still huge and now married to Snow White) and the Witch (who has renounced her more wicked ways and these days is mostly just enigmatic), Peter sets out to track down Max — and to kill him.

Of course, there’s more to the story. Max is also looking to kill Peter. And he means business. Remember the Pied Piper of Hamelin? Cleared the town of rats and then took their kids, too? That was Max. He’s a charming fellow.

In case brotherly intrigue is not enough for you, there’s also a family heirloom in the form of a magic flute; a second, evil flute; a rebounded curse; and a curse on all of Fabletown. Max and Peter’s showdown might be secret, but everyone’s invested in its outcome.

The story, which alternates between Peter’s preparations to find his brother and flashbacks to his childhood and youth, is part of a larger Fabletown oeuvre by author Bill Willingham. I haven’t read the rest, most of which, I believe, are in the form of graphic novels, but this story has piqued my interest. I feel like this novel would be a good recommendation for reluctant teen readers, as it has the pacing of a comic, but in the fleshed out format of a novel. It would also be a good read for anyone who enjoys fairy tales or those who like alternate takes of classic stories.

Pages: 389

This was my fifth and final book for this spring’s Once upon a Time Challenge.

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August 20, 2011

week ending
posted by soe 2:46 am

Snippets from the week:

Finding the soap we bought in France nearly three years ago just as we run out.

The car radio (which is on its last legs) does not die while we’re stuck in traffic, which allows us to sing along with Rudi’s fantastic playlist created just for our beach trip.

A fantastic fresh flounder sandwich and red birch beer for a late lunch on the beach.



My new beach towel (my first in nearly two decades) is gigantic and absorbent, and I snuggle into it.

Farewell, Ocean!

Four flavors of fudge to take home.

Dinner for two at a roadside diner costs less than $15.

A drive to the country means two weekend days in a row with Rudi.

My new baseball book, Diamond Ruby is excellent, perhaps the best I’ve read this year.

Five of us around John’s table after a delicious dinner. Nicole gives me locally produced soy milk with my hunk of cake (my grandfather would have approved of her slice sizes), and we reminisce about jobs we had as teenagers and our first cars.

Dead a/c. At least it’s mostly sticking to highs in the 80s this week.

A cupcake with Elspeth post-work. She’s back in the area, doing important work in a field she’s excited about. I’d like to be more like her when I grow up.

Crackerjack at the ballpark. Two home runs from the Nats means a notch in the win column.

Dinner at the Argonaut post-game. My root beer hails from the south, and my fish taco does not disappoint.

The garden is not as sad as I feared it might be. The chili pepper plant is covered with buds and blossoms, and there are more flowers on the squash. We celebrate by having last week’s squash in a stir-fry.

Thunderstorms mean the music at the Yards ends just after I arrive. We snag a spot under the pavilion before the rain begins (although encroaching puddles would later force a shift), and John, Rudi, Nicole, and I have a picnic with a view of lightning. Local white peach butter on baguette is the hit of the evening. We are the last ones to leave, long after darkness falls.

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August 18, 2011

feast, drippy, and dive
posted by soe 11:17 pm

Another week come and gone. But before we move on to the weekend, it’s time to look back at three beautiful things from the past week:

1. John and Nicole host a dinner party. The food (all vegan) is scrumptious, and Nicole sends us home with a hunk of chocolate maple cake.

2. After months of practically no rain, we get three storms in less than a week. The absence has made us grateful and glad, and we stick arms out car windows, splash through puddles from under our umbrellas, and fall asleep to its lullaby.

3. When we first arrive at the beach the ocean water feels cold. Tired of inching my way in, I dive under a wave and bob along with the surf. Later the water feels warmer than the air, and I dive back in just to feel warm again.

How about you? What have you found beautiful this week?

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August 17, 2011

summer in the city … apartment
posted by soe 11:09 pm

Our a/c unit broke on Sunday. Our landlord is on it, and he and his handyman are trying to track down a new one that’s the right size.

In the meantime…

Thank goodness it broke this week and not during one of our heatwaves!

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posted by soe 1:24 am

That half hour between when the sun actually sets and when it really gets dark? That’s when it feels like it’s really baseball time — when the sky is still fading away and when the big ballpark lights turn on.

Baseball at Twilight

Yes, the sky really was that color tonight.

And, yes, the Nationals beat the Reds, 6-4.

It was a good night to be a baseball fan.

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August 15, 2011

music on monday: leave the light on
posted by soe 11:59 pm

I had a hard time picking a song for today, with only a few tracks from iTunes jumping out at me and most of those without videos.

Finally, though, I found the right song for today. From Chris Smither, “Leave the Light On,” the title track from his 2006 album:

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