I already posted about my most favorite new thing this week, Friday Night Lights. But here are some other things I highly, highly recommend:

Mind-Rain. It’s an anthology of essays about Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series. I finally read all four books in the series (Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras) in May and was blown away by the world-building. Characters are what grab me first and best. This series is definitely more action/adventure; Tally’s constantly jumping off things and flying around and fighting the man (or in this case woman). Since our heroine undergoes so many changes, it’s hard to feel like we really know her. I don’t think it’s surprising that my favorite book of the bunch was Pretties, where Tally’s romances and friendship with Shay are in the foreground. But I liked the series, and reading it analytically, I admired the hell out of it. Westerfeld creates an incredible sense of place and society and history in Tally’s world, not to mention a very specific slang. It’s pretty genius. Weeks later, I still find myself saying that things are "anxious-making." Anyway, my point is that Mind-Rain investigates a lot of fascinating aspects of a rich and complex series. I especially loved Robin Wasserman’s essay positing that Shay (Tally’s frenemy) is the hero and Will Shetterly’s "Naturally Unnatural," which explores notions of beauty in this series and across different cultures.

The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. I’d read tons of buzz about this YA fantasy set in an England where magicians enslave demons to harness their power. It deserved said buzz. The book is funny and suspenseful and charming, and did I mention the boys? They are hot. The book is from Nick’s pov, and he is smoldering and silent and good with a sword. I would definitely make out with Nick. But I am sort of in love with his bookish brother, Alan, who is a) redheaded b) musical c) did I mention the bookish? d) fiercely protective of his brother and e) a crack shot with a pistol. He’s like an adorable young Giles. I am also excited that the next book will be from Mae’s pov (the brothers’ love interest) because she is a kickass heroine in her own right. All of my friends should borrow this book–or better yet, perhaps buy it. Hear that, friends?

This Young House. I could read this blog all day long. We close on our new house next Fri, and I am spending an irrational amount of time looking at paint colors and decorating ideas. Speaking of paint colors: this color visualizer is way too much fun. Seriously. Try it.

Synetic Theatre’s wordless, movement and music-based adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I have now seen four of Synetic’s silent Shakespeares: Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, and now Midsummer. This is my second fave, after R&J. Usually I find the bits with the lovers sorta dull, but they knocked it out of the park with some sexy slapstick. The Players’ rehearsals were like something from the Three Stooges and featured great live music. And Puck–Puck was adorable and mischievous and stunningly athletic. Seriously, the guy was super-bendy. And they painted him blue. The play’s at the Kennedy Center, so tickets ain’t cheap, but they are totally worth it. Synetic is one of my top two favorite companies in town.

What do you recommend? 

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