You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2012.

The library booksale was glorious, and if you like books at all and are in the Raleigh area, you should definitely check it out this weekend.  I browsed for over an hour and a half and didn’t see nearly everything: it seemed like there were acres of books.  I showed extreme restraint (I thought) and only bought the books I couldn’t live without because I knew everything would be cheaper later in the sale, if slightly picked-over.  I fully intend to load up on Sunday.  Might need a pickup truck…

It may be slightly foolish of me to be buying boxes of books right now, since it appears I may be moving shortly.  Our current lease is running out, and our rent is going to be going up by something like $300 per month if we stay.  Moving is such a pain, I’m not looking forward to it at all, but I don’t see how we can stay here.  I don’t own much, and that’s how I prefer it—except when it comes to books, and books are horrible to move, particularly up and down stairs.  Looking on the bright side, though, I’ll have biceps of steel by the time this is over.

As promised, here are pictures of me and Sam dressed up for the Casablanca showing.  In this shot I look so much like my grandmother when she was young.





I left off bravely soldiering through Schiller’s essays to read Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, my friend and fellow member of the Literary League.  (I still can’t get over that I’m friends with a real live published author!)  This is the third book in her trilogy, Tales of Goldstone Wood, and it is absolutely lovely.  I enjoyed the first two books, but this one is definitely my favorite so far.  I really think these three read best one after the other to fully appreciate the way AE wove everything together.  Everything that felt unsatisfying to me in the first two was beautifully explained in the third one, and I ended up staying up late (again) to finish it.

If you’re in the Durham area and want to see me in the throes of stage fright, you should come to the NC Speculative Fiction Night.  I’ll be reading my short story, “Inseparables’ War,” as part of a panel promoting the launch of the new issue of Bull Spec, a journal of speculative fiction.  Public speaking as a rule doesn’t bother me at all, but sharing my writing publicly is a whole different matter.  I wrote this story so long ago that it mostly just makes me cringe now because I know I can do better.  Still, I’m pretty excited, and I feel like a real live writer! 😛



The arts:


Lots of good books and good times with good friends lately. 🙂  We had a small Literary League meeting last weekend, in which we all shared a few of our favorite songs instead of our usual policy of sharing favorite stories and poems (see some of our music finds below).  Tonight a pack of us is going to see Casablanca at the theater in honor of the film’s 70th anniversary.  And we are absolutely dressing up in 40s clothes and hair, so expect some entertaining photos.  Next week is a massive book festival/book sale at the Raleigh fairgrounds.  I fully intend to go opening day for the good selection and again on the last day to load up on the discounted books.  This is serious business, folks; you have to strategize.

I’ll admit to being a little disheartened about spring’s arrival.  I used to love spring before I moved to NC.  Now it just heralds  5-6 months of being uncomfortable to varying degrees.  Always being too hot wears on one’s disposition after a while; I find I’m grouchier and snappier as the season progresses unless I make a conscious effort to be nice.  Still, the flowers are beautiful, and I enjoy a good thunderstorm, so I’m determined to look on the bright side and ignore the alarming clouds of yellow pollen.



Everything else
  • Gemma Correll’s Drawings of Things, courtesy of Sarah.
  • Somehow I ended up running down a Youtube rabbit trail of Thermasilk commercials.  Before you mock…check a few of these things out, they’re quite lovely.
  • Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration.  You have to admit, they did a great job getting a guy who has a profile similar to that of Thomas Jefferson.  Rock those wigs, boys.  Though, I never noticed that there isn’t an Oxford comma in the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” line.  That really bothers me, now. >_<  See, if I had a time machine, I would be tempted to use it primarily to go back in time and correct grammar and punctuation errors, and this is why I I should not be given such power to wield.
  • The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys tackle “Dueling Banjos,” make you feel like you are a failure at life by comparison.

I went a little crazy and read all three Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins in three days—the first two within the same 24-hour period.  I think I want to write a longer review of them, though, so I’ll save my thoughts on the trilogy for another day.  Suffice it to say, don’t start the series if you have anything pressing you need to accomplish; they’re like candy…very, very grim candy.

Right now I’m reading a book of essays by Friedrich Schiller, one of which (“On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry”) I read for one of my philosophy classes in school.  I was intrigued and always meant to go back and read the other essays, so I’m finally getting around to it.  Reading this while reading The Hunger Games is, I think, the definition of literary whiplash.  Excruciatingly different reading.  Schiller is so heavy, I can really only read 10 or 20 pages at a time before my mind just wanders away completely, but I really like him, and his ideas are fascinating.  I feel very erudite as I trudge along, trying to hang onto his coattails before he loses me entirely.

I attended a fabulous Marian Call house concert in a small purple house in Raleigh this weekend.  I’m sorry you’re so jealous, but it is understandable.  In several songs she played a typewriter named Lily, which was sitting on a gargantuan, exquisite dictionary.  During the mid-concert break, our extremely tolerant host broke out his first edition Fellowship of the Ring, and all of us bookish nerds clustered around and took pictures and held it reverently.  All in all, a marvelous afternoon!

My apartment is the last in complex, and there are woods relatively close by on two sides.  The schizophrenic weather lately means that I’ve had my windows wide open a lot, and late the other night I was jolted from my internet perusing by a cacophony of howls coming from the woods.  Either there’s a pack of feral dogs roaming the Apex area, or there was a pack of coyotes in the woods.  Sounded like coyotes to me, but I haven’t heard a coyote since we moved away from Indiana.  We lived in the woods there, and we used to hear them all the time.  I missed it; I’m so separated from most of the nature sounds I grew up with.  There were two trees outside my bedroom window in Indiana that rubbed together when the wind was just right, and they creaked and grumbled and squealed.  It was pretty scary when we first moved, but I grew to love the crazy sounds, and I really missed it when we left.  Screech owls used to startle me too: if you’ve never heard them before, they sound like a small child or baby animal crying piteously, especially from a distance.  I ended up loving that sound, too (though barn owls are still creepy as all get-out to me).  My life now is so civilized by comparison, it’s downright depressing.  (Though I do hear foxes at my parents’ house occasionally…there’s a sound to freeze the blood, if you don’t know what it is.)

I did, however, enjoy the brief snowfall we had a couple weeks ago.  It was the night of our party, so we had a posse of friends over, and as they were all leaving we had a slushball fight and had a glorious time getting very wet.  The whole evening was wonderful; we haven’t all managed to get together in a long time.

Last week I decided on the spur of the moment to make my own salsa, so I went to the store to hem and haw over various kinds of peppers for way too long.  I put jalapenos, pepperoncini peppers, garlic, and onion into the blender because I don’t have a food processor.  When I took the lid off of the blender, the smell just about knocked me back across the room, so I figured that was either a sign of good salsa or effective tear gas, one or the other.  The final product was delicious, but I couldn’t eat it if I planned on going anywhere for a day or so afterwards.  I’m making another batch this week. 😛




After The Winter King, I read all of The Enemy of God and went straight into Excalibur, the last book in Bernard Cornwell’s Arthurian trilogy.  It’s hard to review these novels separately; one book begins right where the other one ends, and it’s all one big story anyway.  I’ve definitely become sucked in: I stayed up until the wee hours on the aforementioned salsa night to finish Enemy of God.  I’m really enjoying the books, for the most part, in a slightly guilt-ridden way—it’s a bloody, pagan mess, which is probably perfectly accurate for the time period.  Still, the series has its redeeming qualities, and I’m not likely to become a Druid anytime soon.

Our Latin group has expanded into a reading group as well.  We’re tackling Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a book per week, after bashing our heads against Latin grammar every session.  We chickened out and are reading it in English, but every once in a while the professor brings out the original Latin, and it’s making for some fascinating discussion so far.

You seem to have stumbled upon a storytelling of ravens. Watch for falling collective nouns; you may find a wing of dragons or a charm of hummingbirds caught in your hair. Hardhats are recommended.

Follow me on Twitter

my read shelf:
Stephanie Ricker's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

A Storytelling