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broodings from the burrow

June 28, 2013

sunrise, moonrise, and firsts
posted by soe 1:54 am

Three beautiful things from the past week:

1. I made it down to the Lincoln Memorial in time for sunrise on the first day of summer. Here’s what I saw:

Summer Arrives in D.C.

Fox Hunting Squirrel

Cresting the Trees


Heron on the Solstice

2. The Supermoon was truly super and superb. The first shot is from 2 a.m. or so Sunday morning. The others are from moonrise Sunday evening:

Supermoon 2013

Supermoon Rises over Dupont Circle Building

Supermoonrise 2013

3. The first peas and tomatoes from the garden.

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

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June 26, 2013

once upon a time vii: the grimm legacy
posted by soe 12:51 am

The Once upon a Time VII reading challenge concluded last week and I’m pleased to say I exceeded my goals of five books. Here’s the first of the reviews:

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

From the jacket: “Lonely at her new school, Elizabeth takes a job at the New-York Circulating Material Repository, hoping to make new friends as well as some cash. The repository is no ordinary library. It lends out objects rather than books — everything from tea sets and hockey sticks to Marie Antoinette’s everyday wig. It’s also home to the Grimm Collection, a secret room in the basement. That’s where powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales are locked away: seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White’s stepmother’s sinister mirror that talks in riddles and has a will of its own. When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth and her new friends embark on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before they’re accused of the crime themselves — or the thief captures them.”

My take: Elizabeth is lonely. Her mother has been dead for several years. Her father has remarried and has little time to spend with Elizabeth, since he’s working hard to pay for home renovations for her new step-mother and college tuition for her two step-sisters. She’s had to transfer to a new school, where defending an outcast gets her blacklisted, and she’s been forced to drop her beloved dance lessons. So when her history teacher recommends her for a job as a library page, she moves quickly to secure the position — only to find out this isn’t your standard book-lending facility. Instead, it’s a repository of items, where people can borrow items as random as fondue pots or doublets.

Joining the staff of pages (who include Anjali, Aaron, and fellow schoolmate Marc) retrieving objects from the stacks, Elizabeth soon learns that the library also includes a collection of objects that inspired the Grimm fairy tales. And that a giant bird may or may not be stalking those with access.

When Elizabeth encounters suspicious behavior, she will have to decide where her allegiances lie and whether she can be the hero of her own story.

Aside from the irksomely placed hyphen in the repository’s name and some glossing over of inconvenient details in the conclusion, this was a cute middle grade read. The concept of an object lending library (even one without fantastical holdings) is something this city-dweller can get behind wholeheartedly. In addition to the Grimm Collection, the repository is also home to the Wells Bequest, the Gibson Chrestomathy, the Lovecraft Corpus, and the Garden of Seasons, offering plenty of inspiration for additional novels. (The second one is now out and its plot summary suggests they’re companion stories, rather than a straightforward series.) But unlike some initial books, this one will stand alone nicely if you don’t feel like continuing on. The characters aren’t drawn especially deep (although I admit I’d like to know more about Elizabeth’s teacher, Mr. Mauskopf, and his giant dog), but it’s not hugely bothersome. I’d recommend checking this out of the library if you enjoy fairy tales and retellings.

Pages: 325

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June 21, 2013

anomaly, illicit, and evenings out
posted by soe 12:31 am

This has to be quick. My alarm is set for 4 hours from now in the hopes I’ll get up in time to witness the first sunrise of summer. (I’d bet against me, too, if we were wagering, but I figured the worst that happens is that I ignore the alarm.)

So, with no additional fuss, the final three beautiful things of the spring:

1. We see an albino squirrel at a local park:

Albino Squirrel

2. Foraging for mulberries in the trees along national park property (technically illegal) at night on our walk home. In the dark, we use the flashlight app on my phone to find ripe berries and to avoid picking the bugs that were nearly as plentiful.

3. We’ve witnessed three sunsets this week: from a picnic with Sarah at the Yards on Friday, from the Georgetown Waterfront park on Saturday, and from the ballpark tonight. The skies were lovely (particularly this evening’s), and the weather all you could hope for in the final week of spring.

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

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June 19, 2013

top ten tuesday: summer reads
posted by soe 3:18 am

Today’s Broke and Bookish Top Ten Tuesday topic arrives a few days before the solstice:

Top Ten Books at the Top of My Summer TBR List:

A handful from my 2013 reading list:

  1. Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior
  2. Jacqueline Winspear’s Messenger of Truth (the 4th Maisie Dobbs novel)
  3. Laurie King’s A Monstrous Regiment of Women (the 2nd Mary Russell book)

A few from the home TBR pile:

  1. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
  2. Dr. Radway’s Sarsaparilla Resolvent by Beth Kephart

A couple library loans:

  1. Rosencrans Baldwin’s Paris I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down
  2. Kathy Reichs’ Virals (because my dad has told me repeatedly that I’d like this series)

An old favorite:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

And a pair yet to be published:

  1. The Rathbones by Janice Clark (I have an ARC; publication date is early August)
  2. Elizabeth Wein’s new book, Rose under Fire (already out in the U.K, but due in early September here in the U.S.)

How about you? Is summer your time for light reads or when you catch up on those big books you don’t have time for the rest of the year?

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June 17, 2013

music on monday: ill submarine
posted by soe 3:21 pm

I enjoy a good mash-up, and this is just one of a whole album that melds The Beatles with The Beastie Boys, courtesy of Atlanta’s DJ BC:

You can find more information on The Beastles project here and stream the songs here.

What are you listening to today?

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June 14, 2013

chase, bandaid, and merriweather post
posted by soe 2:00 am

Today was gloomy, but the storm clouds started to clear near dusk, offering up a glowing skyline to enjoy. Here are three more beautiful things from my past week:

1. Fireflies showed up this week. I passed a woman who was trying to catch one last night. (She was no more successful than I was over the weekend.)

2. I did something outstandingly stupid and hurt myself. After the tears and the not fainting and the cursing of why we only have ointments Rudi likes, I applied a Muppets-themed bandage and immediately felt less awful.

3. For his birthday last month, I gave Rudi concert tickets to see Of Monsters and Men and he kindly took me along with him to the show this week. Our grilled cheeses (hooray for a venue that offers veg-friendly options) were melted, they’ve added milkshakes since last summer, and the seats I’d procured were sheltered and on the aisle (which meant we didn’t have to sit in the mud from the previous day’s deluge and that I didn’t have a panic attack about personal space infringements). The opening acts were decent, and our Icelandic headliners — and the crowd — were full of positive energy. It was a good evening.

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

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