Links I love, blogs YOU like, and a new podcast.

apple orchard

and suddenly, it’s fall. 

Links I love:

• This is forty: the thick, hot heart of life’s grand pageantbusy and rich and exhausting, overflowing with demands, responsibilities, and love.

• Royal Baby #2 is on the way. Congrats Will and Kate!

• Why boys love Jane Austen.

• 11 lessons that Jane Eyre can teach every 21st century woman about how to live well.

What age segregation” does to America.

how they blog

A new podcast:

I’m talking with Kat of How They Blog about juggling work, homeschool, and blogging. We chat about decision making, priorities, Myers-Briggs geekiness, and our favorite Pride and Prejudice adaptations.

Listen to the podcast here.

Blogs YOU like:

Several of you suggested/asked/pleaded that I share more of the blogs that MMD readers read regularly, based on the survey results. Therefore, five more:

  1. Chatting at the Sky
  2. SortaCrunchy
  3. Jen Hatmaker
  4. Conversion Diary
  5. A Cup of Jo

Most popular from the blog:

The best of the best summer reading from 2014. The stats on the most popular books on the blog this summer.

The thirty-year rule. Terrific comments here.

If September is the new January, these are the books for you.

Have a great weekend!

The answers to all the survey questions.

the answers to all the survey questions

As promised, here are the answers to the nitty-gritty questions that came up in the recent reader survey.

How can I browse the archives? 

There’s now a simple archive tool on the sidebar, but you can also check the fancy new card catalog page. I opted for Dewey Decimal over Library of Congress.

I lost my link to the summer reading guide. Where can I find it?

Here’s your direct link to the 2014 summer reading guide. This page will remain live on the blog, probably forever, even though summer reading season is over. (Sniff.)

Additionally, here’s the link for the 2013 summer reading guide, and here’s the link to the 2012 summer reading guide. (Previous years are in PDF format.) These links are also on the card catalog page.

I can’t find you on Goodreads. Help!

I’m right here.

Why is there not a podcast? Seriously.

I was surprised at how often this question came up. The short answer: it’s time-consuming and I don’t know how to do it. But find me places to guest, and I will.

Can we do a book club?

I was shocked how many people asked this question in the survey! I’ve never seen an online book club format I really loved, so I’m not wildly enthusiastic about starting one. If you’ve participated in a kicking online book club, please tell me all about it.

I can’t always tell when you’ve read the books you’ve recommended. How can I know?

If I am actually recommending a book, I’ve read it unless I say otherwise. But many times I share lists of books I want to read, or covers I’m swooning over, or concepts that intrigue me. I haven’t read those. I’ve read every book that appears in the summer reading guide.

I can never find the current Kindle deals page. Where is it?

It’s right here! I also added it to the top navigation for you, and there’s a link in the sidebar.

When will it be my turn with literary matchmaking?

I’m tackling submissions from the original post more or less in order.

Will you reopen submissions for literary matchmaking?

Not unless/until I can figure out a way to do it without making it my full-time job until 2019 or so. If you’ve got ideas, I’m listening.

I can’t find one thing (I think) I’ve read here. It was about how being a good relationship makes you more active and productive, and being in a bad relationship makes you stagnant—I think it was based on something Madeleine L’Engle had said? Anyways, I haven’t been able to find it back and it’s driven me crazy because I’ve thought about it a lot.

Oh, help. I thought this sounded familiar but I’ve checked every Madeleine L’Engle reference on the blog and none of them fit the bill. I thought it might possibly be this one about creative habits and daily rituals vs. day jobs and family life, or perhaps the work that makes more of you. Tell me more about it; we’ll find it!

 

Survey says.

survey saysThanks so much for sharing your thoughts in the recent reader survey. It was the first survey in a year, and as always, I had so much fun reviewing the (1222) responses. I felt like I had a pretty good idea of who reads this blog, mostly because of the lively comments section, but you all surprised me (again) with some of your answers.

I promised I’d share the responses with you. This is part 1; tomorrow I’ll dive a little deeper and answer some specific questions brought up in the survey responses.

First, some basic demographics.

survey-says-7

69% of readers are between 26 and 44.

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85% of readers are married. I’m surprised the percentage is that high, but probably shouldn’t be—it’s identical to that of last year’s survey.

survey-says-5

survey-says-4

70% of you have children living at home; 24% of you don’t have kids.

A little about how you use this blog:

survey-says-2 The majority of you found this blog because another blogger linked to it. (Thanks, bloggers!)

survey-says-3

This category is the most changed since last year, when 53% of you named reading posts as your favorites. However, much like last year, numerous comments said either that you had a hard time choosing, or that it’s the variety of topics discussed here that keeps you coming back.

survey-says-1

I’ve read that 99% of readers don’t comment on blogs, which made these answers very interesting. (Thanks for making this one of the best comments sections on the internet!)

The fun stuff.

I asked, “What other blogs do you read regularly?” I really enjoyed browsing through your answers, which contained so many blogs I love and so many terrific-sounding blogs that were new to me. These were the most mentioned:

  1. Art of Simple
  2. Young House Love
  3. Pioneer Woman
  4. A Holy Experience
  5. Jen Hatmaker
  6. Everyday Reading
  7. Money Saving Mom
  8. The Nesting Place
  9. Camp Patton
  10. Rage Against the Minivan

I asked, “What one adjective best describes your experience on this site?” These responses were sooo interesting. The top 13 most cited were:

  1. Fun
  2. Inspiring
  3. Pleasant
  4. Introspective
  5. Refreshing
  6. Enlightening
  7. Fulfilling
  8. Interesting (“not just mindless fluff!)
  9. Enjoyable
  10. Thought-provoking
  11. Positive
  12. Informative
  13. Tranquil/relaxing/rejuvenating

This list doesn’t include ones I loved but didn’t get mentioned multiple times, like “nerdy in the best possible way,” “addictive,” and “bliss.” It also doesn’t include the less-flattering ones, like “uneven” and “adequate.”

Not as fun, but really useful. To me, at least.

I asked, “What’s the most frustrating thing about this site?” Thanks so much for your honest feedback in this area. I feel like a broken record, but I’ll say it again: the site is getting a major overhaul this fall and I so appreciate your input on what would make MMD easier for you to use.

The most frequently cited source of frustration, hands down, was not being able to easily browse the archives. You all said over and over again that you want easy ways to find old posts, browse by category.

The rest was a mixed bag: the posts are too long, the posts are too short. There are too many posts, there aren’t enough posts. The site looks awesome on mobile, the site is a beast on mobile. I’m not sure what I can do about the first two, but mobile-friendlier is on the list for October.

My favorite most frustrating things: “That we’re not neighbors.” “That we aren’t in a real book club together. Like, in my living room.” “Hard to binge read on older posts.” “That you don’t post several times a day.” “That you don’t have a podcast.”

Thanks again for participating in the survey! If there’s anything you want to tell me that you didn’t tell me there, feel free to leave it in comments.

What my kids are into

I’ve been sharing what I’m into for almost two years now. This is the first time I’m sharing what my kids are into. They’ve been nerding out on some very specific things lately that I thought would be fun to share:

Harry Potter

I brought the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone audiobook along for our Florida road trip, hoping we could enjoy it together. That was wishful thinking: Silas and Lucy started complaining about it immediately. We only made it through one chapter.

But Sarah was hooked, and has been listening to it ever since. She always invited me to listen to it with her, and that offer is hard to resist. (Jim Dale is such a great narrator.)

I just picked up Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the library yesterday and she’s already two discs in. She’s nine, so pretty soon we’ll confront the how-far-do-we-go-with-this question, because she might not be ready for book 4 and she’s definitely not ready for books 5-7. But right now she’s just loving it.

Matt Christopher

Jack and Sarah have been plowing through Matt Christopher’s sports novels ever since  I noticed Play Ball! from his Little League series while bookstore browsing early this summer. Based on the cover—which was really quite nice—I assumed these were low-quality, mass-market paperbacks designed to appeal to baseball-obsessed kids. It turns out Christopher was a prolific writer who published nearly 100 books in 75 years, mostly about sports. (For the past 15 years, books continue to be published posthumously under his name, but the quality, thankfully, has remained high.)

He’s written books about almost every sport you can think of, but for now, my kids just want to read the baseball books. Worth a look if you have a sports-obsessed kid in your life from about age 7 to 12 or so.

What my kids are into | Modern Mrs Darcy

Roominate

While everyone else is playing legos, Sarah’s building and re-building her Roominate kit (while listening to Harry Potter, of course). It’s an open-ended building toy that’s designed to encourage STEM play for girls. (Much like Goldieblox, which Sarah and I weren’t crazy about.) Much like legos, the Roominate pieces are taking over my office. (See Silas above.)

What my kids are into | Modern Mrs Darcy

Lego

We’ve been into legos for a long time, but our obsession has reached a whole new level since we saw The Lego Movie. Jack is into realism these days: bowling alleys, gyms, jetliners. Silas builds spaceships. Lucy has been working on a gigantic park for weeks. Every day she tweaks it a bit. Yesterday she added a coffee shop to it, just for me. Sweet girl.

Also discovered: these Michael Hickox stop-motion LEGO videos. They are great.

What my kids are into | Modern Mrs Darcy

The boys are still Star Wars obsessed. A reader (bless you, Samantha!) sent us a great package of Jedi Academy books, a comic, postcards, and those terrific bookmarks (may the books be with you; read: it is your destiny) to fuel the fire. (My girls claim to be uninterested, but I did catch Sarah reading Jedi Academy this week.)

That’s it for us. I’d love to hear what the young people in your life are into these days.