sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 31, 2017

most anticipated new releases for the rest of the year
posted by soe 1:13 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish asks about our most anticipated releases for the rest of 2017:

  1. First and foremost and most doubtful to appear in 2017 is Jasper Fforde’s Early Riser, about a society where everyone hibernates like bears. His website says it’s coming out this year, but there hasn’t been an update in a while and no one has a release date as of yet, so while I will drop everything when this book hits my hands, I will not hold my breath until its appearance.
  2. Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford will arrive in time for the holidays, just like the first book in the series did. I loved the original and hope the magic of that book will carry over to the sequel.
  3. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo combines the mythology of Diana of the Amazons with Helen of Troy.
  4. Rachel Joyce’s The Music Shop is a romance set in a record shop at the advent of the cd boom.
  5. Kwame Alexander’s Solo. Alexander’s verse novels are rapidly becoming favorites of mine. I expect nothing short of brilliance in this book that moves the main topic covered from sports to music.
  6. Things That Happened before the Earthquake by Chiara Barziniis a Y.A. novel set in L.A. in 1992, just before the riots.
  7. Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley. From the author of Circus Mirandus comes a new magical novel set in the Okeefenokee Swamp.
  8. Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee is the follow-up to the book I just wrote about, Not Your Sidekick.
  9. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera has been getting lots of great buzz in my Twitter feed, although I understand the promise of the title means I’m going to be ugly crying my way through this one.
  10. Whichwood by Tahereh Mafiis a companion novel to Furthermore, which I read earlier in February (and which I’ll review soon). It’s about a girl who washes the bodies of the dead, based, as I understand it, on a Persian fairy tale.

Bonus: Should Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White be released this year, obviously that vaults to the top of the list over everything except Jasper Fforde.

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May 30, 2017

memorial day weekending
posted by soe 1:13 am

Rudi at Mitchell Park

This weekend, while mostly overcast and rainy, was bookended with reading in the park with Rudi.

We caught up with friends over Friday night milkshakes.

We helped celebrate JFK’s 100th birthday at the Kennedy Center with an aerial dance performance by Bandaloop (which, it turned out, includes a schoolmate of Rudi’s) and a tribute to Chuck Berry by the Daryl Davis Band (Davis played keyboards for Berry, among others).



Bandaloop at the Kennedy Center

We watched some sports (baseball and car racing and cycling) on tv, as well as the first episode of Anne with an E (meh) and the uber-depressing The Big Short.

I picked peas and strawberries at the garden and planted purple basil and alpine strawberries.

We napped while it rained.

I went for a swim, since the community pool opened this weekend.

The Weekend Draws to a Close

How was your Memorial Day weekend?

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May 28, 2017

into the stacks 2017: the final books of january
posted by soe 2:31 am

At last! A full month’s worth of books done!

Here are the final three books I read in January:

Juana and Lucas, by Juana Medina
In this illustrated chapter book for early elementary school readers, Juana is a chatty young Colombian girl who enjoys having adventures with her dog, Lucas. They love playing soccer, reading, and the comic book superhero Astroman. But when her new school year begins with the announcement that Juana’s class is going to start learning English, she objects. Her life is already pretty awesome, she posits, and anything that tickles her tongue like English does is bound to take away some of its joy. She complains to Lucas, of course, but also to her neighbors, to the guys who own the local bodega, and to her abuela and abuelo, all of whom she expects to sympathize. But instead each offers their unique perspective on maybe why it’s not such a bad idea. Will any of them prove convincing?

Adorably illustrated, this first in a planned series of books intersperses Spanish into the English text, making this an excellent stepping stone for a kid who’s grown up loving Dora and other English-Spanish tv shows. Charming.

Pages: 96. Library copy. (more…)

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May 26, 2017

harvest, progress, and opa!
posted by soe 1:07 am

Three beautiful things from this past week:


1. Three strawberries and three pods of peas — so sweet, Rudi says, they make you want to eat peas — from my garden.

2. Rudi’s recovery from hip replacement has been nothing short of miraculous. Seventeen days out from surgery and he’s gone from walker to crutches to cane to being told by his physical therapist to try to walk without his cane as much as he can. The surgeon who did his original repair saw him today and thought he was six weeks out based on how well he was doing. We expect there will be some setbacks, but in the meantime we’ll take this.

3. We took some time Saturday afternoon to enjoy to our local Greek festival. We listened to a traditional band, browsed imported wares, bought some baked goods, and ate freshly baked honey doughnuts and a light lupper (for those unfamiliar with the term, it’s a portmanteau of lunch and supper, not a Greek delicacy) and then strolled the two miles home.

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

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May 24, 2017

into the stacks 2017: three books from january
posted by soe 3:08 am

I love sharing books with you! Honest! It’s just … slow …. writing about them!

I’ve only shared four (!) of the 27 books I’ve read thus far this year with you. Let’s see if we can at least cross the remainder of January’s books off the to-do list, shall we? Here are three of them, and I’ll share the other three later in the week:

Black Panther: A Nation under Our Feet, Book 1, by Ta-Nahisi Coates with artwork by Brian Stelfreeze

If you watched the last Avengers movie, you may be aware of Black Panther, a comic book character first created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby back in 1966 as the first black superhero in mainstream comics. T’Challa (Black Panther’s day-to-day identity) is a genius and the leader of the fictitious African nation, Wakanda, a country rich in the mineral vibranium, which allows its people access to advanced technology.

My forays into the Marvel universe have mostly been limited to the Avengers solo and group films, The Agents of SHIELD tv show, and the Ms. Marvel comics, so I had little exposure to this character prior to encountering him in the last Avengers film. When I heard Ta-nehisi Coates was going to write the story for the latest comics arc, I decided that I was sufficiently intrigued to follow up. What I failed to realize, though, was that because this character had 50 years of history before this arc that I should have boned up on the world into which I was walking. At the very least, I should have consulted a wiki to give me a basic understanding of the setting and characters, because this story arc is not an introduction to them. There is an assumption you have a certain amount of knowledge, which I failed to gain before reading the book, and it affected both my comprehension and enjoyment of the book.

Critics of the comic industry often point out that while there has been some effort to represent women and people of color in their work, nearly all of them have been written and drawn by white guys. Since this is both written and drawn by Black men, I do think this iteration of Black Panther is a worthy place to jump into a superhero comic. However, I’d suggest doing a little reading prior to cracking the spine.

Pages: 144. Library copy.

Tell Me Three Things, by Julie Buxbaum

A cute YA romance about a teen girl, Jessie, whose father suddenly and without her knowledge remarries and moves her from Chicago to Los Angeles, where her new step-mother enrolls her in the fancy private school her son attends. She is having an utterly crappy first day at school when she gets an anonymous email from someone at school (signed Somebody Nobody) who offers to guide her through things, so long as she’s willing to keep things anonymous.

While trying to navigate a new living situation and process the anger she has toward her father for not even telling her he was dating, let alone getting married, Jessie also continues to grieve the death of her mother, cope with the physical and emotional distance with her best friend back home, and deal with classmates who seem far more image- and income-conscious than she’s used to. Being able to share her life with Somebody Nobody becomes cathartic, and she finds herself predictably falling in love with this anonymous schoolmate, who also seems to be opening up to her, but not so far as to give away his identity.

The plot is nothing new in this YA contemporary romance, but the added storyline of a parent acting irrationally in the face of grief and causing lasting repercussions for his daughter gave it layers. Sweet. Recommended to those who like Stephanie Perkins, David Levithan, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Pages: 328. Library audiobook copy, listened to via Overdrive.

The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon

One hot summer day in New York City in the summer of their junior year, Natasha, a science-loving Jamaican immigrant trying to save her family from deportation, and Daniel, the poetic son of Korean immigrants who are counting on his becoming a successful doctor, meet. He immediately falls in love; she’s not even sure she believes in love, but certainly not at first sight. With the help of a security guard or two, karaoke, and a jerk of a brother, Daniel sets out to prove Natasha wrong. The clock is against them, but it isn’t known as a New York minute for nothing.

Highly praised when it came out late last year, the book is deserving of its praise. Told from alternating perspectives (mostly by our two protagonists, but also, occasionally, from more peripheral characters), the story explores parental letdowns, art vs. science, and race relations, as well as putting a human face on a topic of current political interest — illegal immigration. With nearly the whole story taking place in a single day, the action is taut, and short chapters and frequent narrative shifts remind at least this reader of the pace of New York. And the final five pages may be my favorite of any book.

One of my favorite books of the year (still). Highly recommended to everyone.

Pages: 348. Library copy.

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May 19, 2017

visit from afar, cooling off, and birthday party
posted by soe 2:52 am

Splash Fountain at City Center

If it’s Thursday, it’s time to look back on three beautiful things from my past week:

1. We Skyped with John, Nicole, and Juliet for the first time since they moved out west. John and Nicole look good, and Juliet has blossomed in these months since her first birthday, adding recognizable words, basic sign language, walking, and carrying things to her repertoire since we last saw her.

2. It’s been in the 90s the past two days, so yesterday at lunchtime I walked over to the park area with the splash fountain and stood in it and read for a bit.

3. A small group of friends gathered to celebrate Rudi’s birthday. We ate cold pizza (it’s a long story, but Turkish thugs prevented me from bringing it home quickly) and cupcakes and sang maybe the most atonal version of “Happy Birthday” I’ve ever heard. We really appreciated that they were able to come over to ring in his 44th with us.

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

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