Book Review: Special Topics in Calamity Physics

sptopicsFour things about Marisha Pessl’s debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics:

1. I enjoyed the audio version more than the book itself (though I alternated between the two for the six weeks it took me to finish the book.) The reader makes the precocious narrator, Blue Van Meer, sound adorable instead of irritating – overblown metaphors and all.

2. Despite a message to the readers (disguised as a diatribe from one of the main characters) about how lazy it is to expect resolution and a known outcome at the end of a book or movie, I still don’t think it’s okay to write a 600 page novel where you don’t resolve all the subplots, throw out red herrings but never explain why they were there, and generally leave certain characters unresolved. Continue reading

Liebster Award!

One of my favorite book bloggers, A Book and A Quilt, nominated me for a Liebster award! What this means is that I get to answer a series of really  lovely writing prompts.


1. What is the first book you remember reading?

I Can Do It Myself. It’s all about the things that Ernie (of Sesame Street fame) can do by himself. The dramatic ending is: I can read this book! I can do it myself! I still love a good ending. Continue reading

When Leaning In ends in Dropping Out

14009391698_3ef93cf1ac_mThis summer, I tried something new: I joined a training group through my local running store.

I’m not new to running: I’ve been doing it off-and-on since I was seventeen, and consistently for the past six years.  I run for enjoyment, and I run for my mind: for strength and energy, and as an anti-depressant.

I consistently run 5K in 28 minutes. This spring, I did my first 10K and ran at almost the same pace. So it got me thinking: maybe I’m able to run faster, and my current pace is  just a habit.

When my local store offered a 6-week summer program, I signed up. It’ll be fun! I told myself. It’ll be like summer camp! Meet new people, try new things. Plus, I told myself that if I could run a faster 5K, I could train faster, get more out of my running, and perhaps even get closer to my goal of running a half marathon. For an engineer like me, efficiency is the ultimate temptation. Continue reading

Library Loot: Quick Caption Edition


Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by The Captive Reader and Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries






I was #88 on the hold list and now I’m #1!!


I’ll take anything I can get on digital player…


Hey, I know some of the authors on the cover.


Most consistent series ever. Can she keep it up?


Because my book club made me.

What did you pick up this week?

Reading the Backlist

lionhunterElizabeth Wein. You know, the author of Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, two amazing WWII-era historicals featuring strong teenage girls as heroines?

Well, she also wrote a series of books connected to the Arthurian legend (haven’t read those yet) and two more loosely connected books about a half-Ethiopian, half-British boy with an amputated arm.

In her series The Mark of Solomon, which includes The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom, I especially enjoyed the unusual setting: Aksum, Ethiopia in the sixth century A.D. Ms. Wein has the same voice and the same courage in unique plot lines that made Code Name Verity so great. And even though it’s fantasy, The Mark of Solomon maintains a strong connection to actual history.

If you’re interested in these two books, I only have two cautions. First, The Lion Hunter refers incessantly to the previous book, The Sunbird, which features the same main character. I didn’t have any trouble following The Lion Hunter as a result, but if you’re a read-everything-in-its-proper-order type of person, I think it would bother you. Second, the series has less action and more political intrigue than Code Name Verity, almost reminding me of a Tudor era book. Depending on your tastes, you might find these two books a little slower.

Other than that, enjoy your trip through Wein’s backlist. I plan to continue mine…


On Finishing

100_0588I’ve recently been on a ‘finishing’ binge. I’ve finished some long-term crochet projects: the beaded scarf that would not die, as well as two 5 1/2 hour afghans for gifts.  (I don’t know who crocheted them in 5 1/2 hours, but that’s something I would like to see!)

I’ve also found myself cleaning closets, donating things I don’t need, and generally tying up loose ends.

After moving five times in five years, am I really programmed to hit the reset button after a year in a given  house? I’ve been in my current place for 15 months and am staying for a while, so far as I know. It’s either that, or I’m making room for something new in my life.

The scarf below is my version of the Ice-Cold Summer Scarf by Janet Brani, part of 101 Crochet One-Skein Wonders – pretty much my all time favorite crochet pattern book.

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