Linking up with Emily Freeman to share what I learned this month, from the serious to the silly.
1. There’s an award for excellence in young adult literature.
The Michael L. Printz Award is given annually to the best book written for teens, based on literary merit alone. The committee also names up to four honor books each year. I can’t believe I didn’t know this, but am supremely grateful to my local library and the big poster showcasing Printz Award winners some kind soul posted behind the circulation desk.
The award has been given since the year 2000. Last year’s winner was I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson; the full list of winners and honors books is right here.
2. To write “Brontë” on a Mac …
Hold down option-U to get your umlaut, and then the “e.” I was a German minor in college (seriously), so this probably shouldn’t have been on my list of things I already knew. I suppose I haven’t been typing that particular special character much since graduation, but the current Brontë resurgence drove me to rediscover my old tricks.
3. The toasted coconut flavor of Bark Thins taste just like the Girl Scouts’ Samoas.
This is a delicious and dangerous discovery.
4. Mallory Ortberg of The Toast is John Ortberg’s daughter.
Ortberg writes hilarious pieces laced with f-bombs that frequently satirize religion or art history for the site, which isn’t one I’d necessarily recommend to my mother. Recent favorites include Two medieval monks invent art and Women trying to say “no” politely in Western art history. She’s also the author of Texts from Jane Eyre.
Ortberg spoke recently at a conference I attended, but my plane took off before her session. When I commented to a friend how sorry I was to miss her, she made the connection for me that Ortberg is the daughter of influential pastor John Ortberg. I’m sorry to say I was at 30,000 feet when she took the stage but when the conference recordings come out hers is the first session I’ll be listening to.
5. Your dishwasher works better if you follow the directions.
Will and I have had either very old or halfway broken dishwashers for years, ones with broken dispensers and no special rinse aid compartment. So even though we finally replaced our ancient dishwasher last fall, we continued our old habit of tossing the little detergent tablet into the bottom of the machine. And I hadn’t bought rinse aid in ten years.
But then I read that if you don’t put your detergent in that little dispenser, it all gets dissolved in the pre-wash cycle. And that rinse aid doesn’t just make the glasses look prettier—it also prevents water from clinging to them, and drying my clean dishes before putting them away is among my least-favorite morning tasks.
I bought rinse aid, and started using the little dispenser, and it makes a huge difference. I thought my owner’s manual was being unnecessarily bossy, but following the directions actually works.
6. Prince was from Minneapolis…
… which seems so staid and midwestern for the artist we knew. His real name was Prince. He wrote “Nothing Compares 2 U,” not Sinead. He was 5’2″. There was so much I didn’t know. (Linking to this old piece for his birthday instead of more recent news.)
7. My kid has no idea what dental floss is.
Silas (age 6) had a checkup at the dentist last week. The hygienist always asks the kids (not the parents) if they’re brushing and flossing. Silas told the hygienist that he used to floss, but then we ran out of flossers (these things), and since then I’d been cleaning his teeth with some kind of weird new stuff.
The hygienist looked at me and said Do you know what he’s talking about? And I realized he was describing dental floss. I felt so old.
What did you learn in April?