These Three Things

☆ August 16, 2016

little Sid

Little Sid, my sunny honey.


Book rec: Girl At War by Sara Nović.

Some books (arguably, the best books) pluck you out of your life and put you right into someone else’s experience, someone else’s place and time and life, and through it, you are able to feel and understand something you never had before. This is one of those books.

I started the audio version on my last day of driving home from California; I had reached Wyoming but still had hours ahead of me and my truck was acting up and I was tired and didn’t want to drive anymore but I really didn’t want to stop. I got a giant Coke for energy (with each sip, I felt tiny hand cranks steadily rolling up my eyelids and tiny syringes stabbing life-force into my heart, Pulp Fiction style; I rarely drink pop so it has this effect on me) and turned on this book and everything changed. I was transfixed. At one point, sobbing hysterically (it being Wyoming, I was the only person on the highway and could safely sob while driving). And I actually – impossibly! – felt a little bummed out when I reached home because I didn’t want to stop listening to this book.

I don’t want to share the plot (two hints: the Croatian genocide + really good technique of moving though time); I’m sure many a summary may be found online. Or just read the book!

Girl At War by Sara Nović.


And here’s a video of a coyote in San Francisco – playing with a toy just like Charlie!

A video posted by @rallyp_157 on

{ click here if the embed doesn’t work for you }


18 Responses to “These Three Things”

  1. Amy
    August 16th, 2016 @ 7:52 am

    A GREAT book that I’m users you reading is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Reminds me of your description – the immediacy of the lives of fictional characters has been so engrossing. I highly recommend it.

  2. shreve
    August 16th, 2016 @ 7:55 am

    A ~ that’s on my list!

  3. Hailey
    August 16th, 2016 @ 8:04 am

    I LOVED that book! I read it earlier this year, it is definitely a tear jerker.

  4. B
    August 16th, 2016 @ 8:05 am

    Oooh, book rec! (As if I don’t already have shelves of unread stuff… Still! :D)

    That coyote is adorable (and gorgeous)…I love seeing how foxes, dogs, wolves all look the same when playing. (Even more interestingly, I’ve noticed baby horses playing very much like my rabbits do. Other species, too of course… I imagine there’s some ancient common ancestors who played much the same way.)

    (BTW, sorry to be a pest, but any update forthcoming on the shipping of the last kickstarter rewards?)

  5. Moni
    August 16th, 2016 @ 8:26 am

    Must be a great book, but it is not for me. I am Hungarian, and my brother was stationed at the border of Yugoslavia when the war was on. My mother especially, and the whole family was terrified although he did not see any combat (just watched it unfolding from afar), but as a parachutist could have been deployed any time…. Probably would upset me a lot.

    But I am reading a book about how to be a perfect farm wife, more cheerful and full of handy advice for me, a townie who will never ever have the chance to live on a farm :-)

  6. shreve
    August 16th, 2016 @ 9:29 am

    B ~ Everything has shipped *except* two painted skulls, yours being one of them! But I do believe it will be in flight to you this week. Hooray! I’ll email you when it leaves my hands.

    M ~ <3

  7. CeeBee
    August 16th, 2016 @ 9:31 am

    Thanks for the book recommendation. As a retired librarian, I’m always eager to find new titles. I just finished Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. I loved his first two. Be sure to add all three to your reading list.

  8. Sheri Nugent
    August 16th, 2016 @ 9:43 am

    I also LOVED Homegoing…. I recommend it to everyone looking for a great book. I ordered Girl at War this morning. Thanks for that, Shreve. I love sharing book recs.

  9. Marg
    August 16th, 2016 @ 10:01 am

    One of the joys in my life is to see animals and especially wild animals playing and entertaining themselves. Thanks for taking the video and sharing with us.

  10. Karen
    August 16th, 2016 @ 10:03 am

    I’m always looking for interesting books, as your other readers. Coyote in the ci-tay!!!! I always look around for a trickster when I’m on a run.

  11. Theresa Szpila
    August 16th, 2016 @ 2:57 pm

    Seeing this SFO coyote playing did my heart a world of good. Such sheer enjoyment, such perfect living-in-the-moment.

    Hope your little red wagon did herself proud.

    Thanks for the book rec – I’ll order it.

    Welcome home! And hugs to all.

  12. B
    August 16th, 2016 @ 4:01 pm

    (Thank you! I was hoping it might come before I go on vacation next month; it’s not the sort of thing I want sitting on my porch until my neighbor can get it… Should be here in plenty of time, tho. And now I can get excited about having it! :D)

  13. hello haha narf
    August 17th, 2016 @ 2:37 pm

    that coyote bunny hop make me giggle. i needed the laugh. thank you!

  14. Jenny C
    August 17th, 2016 @ 2:55 pm

    Thanks for the pic of beautiful Sid. He’s gorgeous.

    Loved your video of the coyote entertaining himself. A reminder to me of the importance of play. Did you film the coyote from highway 101? One of my fave drives of all is 101 south of San Francisco. Kinda rough “highway,” washed-out spots, not a building in sight, cattle grazing on prime beachfront property, ocean pretty enough to make you cry. Then… in just moments, you’re in the city.

    I live on the edge of a small city in northern Colorado – homes one one side, farms, cattle, fields, and silos on the other. A year or so ago, less than a mile from my home, I saw a grinning coyote loping along in a field adjacent to a giant WalMart, of all things. Piqued my interest, so I stopped to watch. Field was chock-full of nattering prairie dogs popping their heads out of their little dens, and this coyote had the very best time trotting over to harass the little dogs. They’d screech and squeak their warnings to each other and pop their heads underground, and the coyote – I swear – chuckled. He’d run off like he was on to other things, then turn around and run toward them again. Oh, how they alerted, delved down into their dens, then popped up to see if he’d gone. This went on for quite some time, and I was impressed by two things:
    1) this coyote was having a blast, and his delight was written all over his face and in his entire body, and
    2) several cars passed me, oblivious to the best drama of the day, and they missed it. I could’ve watched it all day.

  15. mlaiuppa
    August 17th, 2016 @ 7:08 pm

    So, the deliveries are done and you are home now? Good. I have a package to mail and I was waiting.

    I love watching animals play. This video was totally charming.

    I think there is a coyote in the L.A. area that steals dog’s toys from their yards. They have seen him but haven’t been able to catch him. They did, however, find his stash.

    I think it’s darling a coyote would steal a dog toy. What use is is? They can’t eat it. It provides no shelter (like if they stole a blanket or a dog bed.) It is purely for play.

    I do wonder if they have observed dogs playing with these toys and that is why they take them. They are imitating the play they have seen. Or perhaps, all canines have that sort of play deep in them, waiting for opportunity.

    My tastes run quite different.

    I just finished Ungifted by Gordon Korman. It’s really a tween book but I happen to like the genre as I feel a good engaging book for this age group is much more difficult to write. I also enjoyed I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President.

    I liked Nick Trout’s last two fiction books and Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie mysteries.

    The last book that made me cry was The Art of Racing in the Rain. It was excellent but I read for pleasure and I’d rather not read books that jerk my emotional chain.

    The last really adult book I read was Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown. Pirates and Foodies. And it works. Loved it.

  16. Sharon
    August 18th, 2016 @ 9:42 am

    Have you read heaven is for real?

  17. mlaiuppa
    August 18th, 2016 @ 3:04 pm

    Just read the Daisy tweet. She is one smart cow. I just love Daisy.

  18. Karen
    August 22nd, 2016 @ 6:17 pm

    Daisy for president!!!

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