Books Read in April 2022

Middle Grade

A Song Called Home
Sara Zarr

If Lou’s mother’s life was a book, it would be a romance novel, and if that were the case, this book would pick up just as Lou’s mom got her Happily Ever After. Lou’s mom has a new husband and Lou has a new stepfather, a new school, and a new house. She’s been shaped by the years her alcoholic father was around and she’s being shaped by the fact that he’s not around anymore.

More so with most books, I felt every bit of Lou’s feelings. Where they came from, where they lived in her, how long they lingered. This is a long book for a middle grade novel, and it is one I think adults shouldn’t pass by.

Sort of Super
Eric Gapster
Read for Librarian Book Group

There’s a lot to like in this middle grade graphic novel about a kid just getting used to his superpowers. He’s got a smart younger sister who is fun too.

Young Adult

August and Everything After
Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

A summer at the beach—the version where the main character is escaping something. I loved the way this book captured getting wrapped up in making music in a way that solves the problem. There was also a great plot about loving a person whose life circumstances provide roadblocks to the relationship. This felt like a very honest book, and I like that.

All My Rage
Sabaa Tahir
Read for Librarian Book Group

Perfect. Worth the long wait.

Ain’t Burned All the Bright
Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffith
Read for Librarian Book Group

A poem that is richly illustrated. This book reminds me of the book of one drawing for every page in Moby Dick.

From a book reading perspective, this book is heavy enough that it was hard to hold, even for the brief read.

With You All the Way
Cynthia Hand

A middle child of three sisters story. One of my favorite things. Also a favorite: the quest to lose one’s virginity. Plus, it’s set in Hawaii.

My Contrary Mary
Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

The usual fun setup of historical figures, fantasy elements, and sprawling romance. Characters from an earlier book make an appearance, which is always enjoyable.

Kiss and Tell
Adib Khorram

Hunter is part of a boy band and the only gay member. When his ex-boyfriend posts information about their sex life, Hunter’s life gets more complicated.

Told from Hunter’s point of view, and through a collection of online articles, scripts from videos, and emails between the band’s handlers, this is an excellent meditation about the pressure we put people who are young and also famous.

One of the things I’m hoping that will come out of this period of social media culture are realistic expectations of famous people. This book is a step in that direction.

Grownup Fiction

We Ride Upon Sticks
Quan Barry

This starts out strong, what with the collective narration by a girls field hockey team, the evocative 1989 setting, and the strong narration. (Not to mention that one girl’s claw—the curled big bags that were popular at the time—is a regular contributor to the story)

But it lost steam around the midpoint. Perhaps a deep dive into 11 different players made it sloggy, or perhaps the evocative 1989 setting turned into one too many references. By the time when we got to the in-the-future wrap-up chapter, I was thoroughly annoyed that every single one of the team was either very successful (as in rich) and/or famous.

Still, such a strong start! Perhaps you will like it more than me.

Grownup Nonfiction

The War of Art
Steven Pressfield

Pressfield offers a way to think about creativity. He outlines the resistance and charts a path to get yourself through.

SKS Postcard: San Diego Fireworks

Sara writes that she is sending this card from Arcata, not from the town in which it was purchased.

She enjoyed her time in San Diego, the weather (sunny and warm), and seeing friends. Alas, some work issues spilled over and that wasn’t fun, but there you have it.

The stamp on the back is one of the coral fish series. We both like those better than what have replaced it: the barns. I’m looking forward to the end of the barns.

Shifting Amounts of Time

I’ve featured this little house on this blog before. It’s tiny and I’ve observed many projects that the homeowners have completed over the years.

Of late, the raised beds haven’t been used to their full capacity, as was the case in the years after they were first installed.

I’m guessing that stroller is the reason. I suspect a child has come into this household. And we know how that shifts the amount of time available for projects.

Random Song: “The Last Worthless Evening” Don Henley

Don Henley’s album The End of the Innocence is one that takes me right back to high school, which is interesting, since it was released on June 27, 1989 and I was more than a year away from being in high school. I think it’s because when I was in high school I heard a cover of “The End of the Innocence” (the song) at the Western Idaho State Fair and it struck a chord.

Regardless, this was a successful enough album that at least three songs, “Innocence,” “The Heart of the Matter” and “The Last Worthless Evening” were in fairly heavy rotation for years. They seem to have fallen out of rotation in the last decade or so, at least where I access songs.

So it was nice to hear this on KINK Sunday Brunch.

YouTube isn’t coughing up an official video, so here’s this one:

Kiriki Press Sampler: Valentine

This was a fun one. My satin stitch continues to improve. And it was the easiest thing in the lineup, so I think that’s a win.

Here’s a closeup of my work

And one from the other side. As per usual with Kirkiki Press, I did some ripping out. The middle heart is single strand, but that wasn’t the way I stitched it the first time.

You can also see that I didn’t quite have the spacing correct for the Herringbone Ladder on this side and things got crowded.

Herringbone Ladder was the most challenging thing. I found it hard to wrap my mind around where the loops should start. I eventually got it, though.

The bonus pattern was this cute anatomical heart. It was very quick to stitch up and I didn’t have much trouble with it.

Here’s the full layout, including the coupon code. I greatly admire this company’s business acumen, as well as the artistic merit.

Gilmore Girls: Actors in Bit Parts Before They Were Famous in Other Roles

My feelings about Gilmore Girls are complex and ever evolving, but it’s very fun when I get to say, “Hey! Look at that!” In the case of season four, episode 4, it’s (depending on your reference point) Sherriff Leo from Veronica Mars, or Schmidt from New Girl.

Here he plays a guy named Luke who is at Dean’s bachelor party. The guy in the sailor suit standing next to him is Chauncey Leopardi, who played Alan White on Freaks and Geeks (among other things). He has a couple of very funny scenes in Gilmore Girls.

I also saw Rami Malek in an episode of Season 3.

First In-Office Day. Cheesy Bread Was Necessary

Reinforcing how much I like working from home, my first day back in the office wasn’t great. It rained on me both ways, so I was soaking wet. My coworker gave me an earful about how people ask too many questions when I was looking for conformation that I had the right desk, the mouse I brought didn’t work, my computer randomly shutdown midday and took about 15 minutes of work with it, and plus the general awkwardness of a first day, compounded by the fact that I have been working for the company for more than a year.

I stopped by Little Caesar’s on the way home.

A nice thing about my company is that they don’t require me to work in the office. I will try out a once weekly visit for six months and reevaluate.