sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

January 31, 2019

2019 tbr pile reading challenge
posted by soe 1:05 am

Last year, 100 books left our apartment, but you would never know that by how many remain. And of those that do, so many are unread. I might love them. I might not. But right now they’re sort of Schrödinger’s Reads, and my apartment is not big enough for that kind of book collection. There are too many new books I want to buy and too many trips to the library!

Thanks to my BFF, Karen, who is working through her own selection of longtime shelf dwellers, and to Judith at Reader in the Wilderness, who pointed me toward the 2019 TBR Pile Challenge at Roof Beam Reader, I’ve decided to tackle a dozen of the books currently residing on our shelves.

The rules of the challenge are that you have to post your 12 books at the start of the year and then get through them, with two substitutions allowed, also pre-mandated. This is not the sort of challenge I do well at, so no one will be shocked at the end of the year if I’ve read every book in my collection except for these 14 titles, but let’s give it a shot anyway, shall we?

TBR Pile Challenge

My 12 official contenders are:

  1. Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli
  2. The Bookshop on the Quay by Patricia Lynch
  3. In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Laurie King and Leslie Klinger
  4. Selected Fables by Jean de La Fontaine
  5. Starglass by Phoebe North
  6. On Writing by Stephen King
  7. Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye
  8. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  9. Woman Rebel by Peter Bagge
  10. How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric
  11. A Tyranny of Petticoats, edited by Jessica Spotswood
  12. Eggshells by Caitriona Lally

My two alternates:

  1. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  2. The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett

Middle grade, ya, adult, fiction, and nonfiction. Seems like a reasonable mix.

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January 30, 2019

final january unraveling
posted by soe 1:50 am

Final January Unraveling

Don’t you just want to judge these books by their covers?

I finished The Assassination of Brangwain Surge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin earlier tonight. If you like fantasy novels and Brian Selnick’s latest tomes, which alternate prose and illustration, I think you should give this middle grade book a shot.

The others are what I’m on to next: Martina Benjamin’s Insomnia, which has a sparkly purple cover, like the night sky — that my photo does not do justice to, is a collections of musings on not sleeping in the middle of the night. Circe by Madeline Miller takes on the goddess of magic. And A Winter’s Promise about a young woman who travels via ark until she is promised in marriage to a man from a floating sky island.

I’m still listening to The Woman Who Smashed Codes, but it expires very soon, so I need to power through it. We’re currently in the inter-war years in D.C. and Elizebeth Friedman has just quit working for the War Department, but knowing the course of her cryptology work, I suspect not for long.

I’m nearly to the heel of my sock; I gave it a day at this length to decide if I wanted to stop here, but I think I’ll do another repetition of the colors before moving on. Stripes have the two-fold benefit of making it easy to compare length and keeping progress moving forward. I’ll just knit until the next time it turns blue, you think, and an hour later you’re saying the same thing. Just one more color change! Just one more chapter!

Exactly. Keep telling yourself that, self!

Check out other posts about books and crafting at As Kat Knits.

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January 29, 2019

ten most recent additions to my tbr list
posted by soe 1:10 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl asks for the ten most recent additions to my to-read list.

    Today’s youth media awards from the American Library Association (they’re the folks who give out the Caldecott and Newbery and other prizes) added several books to my list including:

  1. Sam Graham-Felsen’s Green
  2. Courtney Summers’ Sadie
  3. The Fox on a Swing by Evelina Daciūtė
  4. Last week I partook of the #AskaLibrarian chat on Twitter and sought recommendations for books that would make me laugh. Raidergirl3 and others offered suggestions, including:

  5. Stories from the Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean
  6. Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll
  7. A sequel to a book I read last week:

  8. The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill
  9. A recommendation from the Bout of Books:

  10. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
  11. The next novels from three favorite authors:

  12. A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn
  13. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  14. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

What have you recently added to your TBR list?

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January 28, 2019

final january weekending
posted by soe 1:15 am

As you can probably see, I didn’t write either longer blog post I hoped to finish, but that doesn’t mean I accomplished nothing on this mild winter weekend.

Sunrise in Dupont

I saw the sunrise on Saturday when I went to buy bagels. Corey and I then went back to bed, which is the only reasonable reaction to seeing the sun rise.

Sunrise over Dupont Circle

I went to Georgetown to the library, where I used their printer and picked up my hold and checked out the progress of the bulbs on Book Hill.


I then moseyed down to Baked & Wired for a cup of hot chocolate. The key during busy times is to forego cupcakes and other major sweets in favor of drinks (and, if you want, quick breads), because there’s rarely a line for the latter but almost always a line for the former on nice days.

Saturday Afternoon Fun

Rudi and I made homemade pizza before he had to turn in for the night.

Today, I visited the farmers market for some vegetables and worked on getting my ukulele in tune. (I think I need new strings, because these are ancient and do not want to remain taut. Luckily, there’s a music shop a couple metro stops away, so there’s a task for later in the week.) Late in the afternoon, I headed to a local coffeehouse where I sat out on their patio for a while, listening to my audiobook and working on my sock. As I was walking home, I spotted some forsythia, a mid-winter staple in the area. (It was in focus in real life.)


Rudi and I concluded the weekend by watching the live-ish performance of Rent on tv — quite enjoyable.

Sunset in Dupont

I hope you also had a nice final January weekend!

January Sunset

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January 27, 2019

a sign of things to come
posted by soe 1:04 am


Snowdrops by the bus stop to Georgetown.

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January 26, 2019

plans for the final weekend of january
posted by soe 1:21 am

This is the final weekend of January. Here’s how I’m thinking I’ll spend it:

  • Spend time with Rudi. I think this the last weekend he’s around for a while with the ski race season peaking in February and all-weekend coaching duties calling, so that tops on my list. However, he’ll be gone during the day both days, so I also hope to…
  • Hang up fairy lights around the perimeter of the room. We didn’t get them up before our December party, and then there was a tree preventing us from getting them all the way around the room. Since it’s now sitting on the curb awaiting composting and since we have many more months of darkness ahead (although way less each day than a month ago), I think this is an appropriate way to welcome February.
  • Wash laundry. Now that I no longer have a tree taking up so much of my living room, we can once again use our larger laundry rack in its usual spot, rather than having to do the drying on the small rack in the bathtub (which we are grateful was an option).
  • Buy bread. The bakery we like so much at the summer downtown farmers market will be doing a pop-up tomorrow just a mile away. I just need to get there before 12:30.
  • Go to Georgetown. To the library in particular, since I have a hold that came in there that I forgot about that expires on Sunday.
  • Eat pizza. There’s no real reason for this except pizza.
  • Cuddle Corey. Both he and I need more snuggles right now.
  • Play my ukulele. (That was the only thing from last weekend’s to-do list I didn’t get to.)
  • Finish a book. I have several of the Cybils finalists out right now and would love to be able to have finished a whole category before the winners are announced on Valentine’s Day. I’d also like to get partway caught up with Middlemarch, which the library in the next town over is doing a group read of.
  • Write a couple of longer blog posts, including the one where I figure out the best books I read last year.
  • Enjoy the outside. There’s a rain storm and a cold day or two due mid-week, so I’d rather take advantage of nicer weather to be outdoors.

How about you? What are you hoping to do this weekend?

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