sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 31, 2018

posted by soe 12:59 am

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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March 30, 2018

students, in the room where it happens, & adulting
posted by soe 12:59 am

Earth Hour

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Brave and determined teenagers insistent on not allowing others to limit or define them, but who instead move to make the world a better place.

2. Rudi was up and caught a news item alerting him to the impending sale of local Hamilton tickets, which means we’ll be spending a delightful Friday evening at the Kennedy Center in June.

3. A double-booked evening resolved itself without any intervention on my part, which allowed me to sup on pizza and doughnuts before a talk on creativity. My inner eight-year-old knew being an adult would be awesome.

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

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March 29, 2018

into the stacks 2018: january, part 2
posted by soe 1:22 am

I thought we’d follow up Monday’s book reviews with the second of three posts about my January reads, this time with two YA novels:

Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green

In John Green’s latest, recommended to me by my dad, Aza and her best friend, Daisy, in order to collect the reward money associated with a useful tip, try to figure out the disappearance of a fugitive billionaire from their Midwestern city, who also happens to be the father of a boy, Davis, she used to be friends with. First step, get reacquainted with Davis. Second step, stop worrying about all the bacteria desperately trying to kill her, causing her to obsessively spiral into dangerous thoughts and behaviors. But when Aza gets sucked into Davis’ surreal life (his father’s will specifies their pet reptile will inherit his fortune, rather than his two sons, for instance), she’ll find it’s a lot harder to escape her thoughts than it used to be and that she’s teetering on a precipice. Green, who suffers from mental health issues himself, portrays Aza’s with sensitivity and thoughtfulness, giving his readers an insight into how tricky the brain can be. Recommended. (Also, if you like this book, you might consider Tamara Ireland Stone’s Every Last Word, which touches on similar issues.)

Pages: 288. Library copy.

Daughter of the Pirate King, by Tricia Levenseller

Alosa, the titular offspring of the pirate king and herself the captain of a mostly female pirate ship, allows herself to be captured by her father’s enemy, only to find out that he’s been killed and replaced by his two sons. But that doesn’t change her mission — to find and retrieve a map crucial to her father. She’ll start out trying to find the map with stealth and skill, but the first mate holding her captive is not wholly taken in by her demure act and proves an impediment (if only he’d stop distracting her with his good looks and kind manner), so she may have to resort to other tricks she has up her sleeve. But there are other pieces in play, and Alosa may not be up to the task after all. This was a fun romp and I look forward to reading the sequel (the title of which contains a spoiler for this book) sometime soon. Recommended for those who love their YA stories slightly historical, slightly fantastical, and more than slightly feminist.

Pages: 320. Library audio copy.

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March 28, 2018

late march unraveling
posted by soe 1:01 am

Late March Unraveling

It is starting to feel like I may never finish A Gentleman in Moscow, which is too bad because I actually am enjoying it (and because it’s overdue to the library). It just refuses to be rushed, a characteristic it shares with very few other novels I’ve encountered. I really would like to get to some other novels, like Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, which I also have out from the library right now (and which will be due back imminently). My current audiobooks are Crocodile on the Sandbank and Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner (although so far I’ve only listened to her preface in which she talks about the ideal places to read a book). Oh, and I did start Meet Cute, a collection of YA romantic short stories.

My Cherry Blossom hat is in the round now and onto its main color. I still need to figure out where the skein of brown yarn is that I’m thinking of for the branches and procure some beads. (I have some, but I think they’re more red than pink, which is what I’d prefer.)

Head over to As Kat Knits to hear what other folks are knitting and reading.

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March 27, 2018

into the stacks 2018: january, part 1
posted by soe 1:25 am

Here are a couple of the books, both sophomore entries in caper mystery series, as it turns out, that I read back at the start of the year:

Teetotaled, by Maia Chance
In this sequel to Come Hell or Highball, Lola Woodby, the chocolate and dime-store detective novel-loving Prohibition Era widow who lost her philandering, debt-ridden husband and her status all in the same week, is back with her Swedish cook-cum-detecting partner Berta in another caper. This time they’re after a diary and have been required to check into her brother-in-law’s fat farm health spa in order to retrieve it. But as so often happens, they’re not the only ones who aren’t what they seem to be and before they’re able to complete their mission, a senator’s wife is dead and the owner of the diary is on the lam. This is a series of books just begging for a filmed version, à la Miss Fisher, with a similar sense of humor and joie de vive in its storytelling and an equally distinctive cast of characters. Lola is far less confident than Phryne, but is determined not to lose the apartment where she and Berta have holed up (her late husband’s secret tryst location) and be forced to return home to her overbearing mother. A really fun series for those who enjoy historical mysteries.
Pages: 320. Library copy.

The Unbreakable Code, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
This sequel to The Book Scavenger picks up soon after we leave Emily and James in their previous adventure. At the launch party for the manuscript they found, their teacher drops a coded message, which Emily saw him pick out of a purse. Unable to leave a puzzle alone, they set to work solving it, which puts them on a collision course with their teacher, a Gold Rush Era myth, and an arsonist out for revenge. Add to that concerns about money for Emily and her family, worries about eccentric publisher Mr. Griswold (who is suffering PTSD from his attack in the first book), and anxieties about helping to plan their school’s President’s Day dance, and Emily really has her hands full. It’s not as good as the original book, but still enjoyable. I’ll definitely read the upcoming third book in the series and recommend it to puzzle-loving middle graders.
Pages: 368. Library copy.

I have a bunch more books to update you on, but figure if I just share a couple at a time, it’s less overwhelming for me to write and far shorter for you to read.

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March 26, 2018

music for monday: ‘the times they are a-changin’
posted by soe 1:37 am

Jennifer Hudson sings the Bob Dylan classic, “The Times They Are a-Changin'” with a choir from here in D.C. (Everyone keeps listing it as the D.C. Choir, but I can’t find any such thing on the internet.) to conclude yesterday’s March for Our Lives.

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