Silas’s kindergarten class did a Caldecott deep dive this spring, so we’ve been buried in Caldecott books around here, at his request. I’m very familiar with both the 1988 modern classic and the 2005 Caldecott winner, but I never put together that Juster wrote both. The fact that they’re so very different certainly didn’t help!
2. How to read literature like a professor.
When I posted about the 8 uncomfortable lines I want to cut from the books I’m reading these days, a reader introduced me to the book How to Read Literature Like a Professor. The book covers about twenty different literary devices and examines how immersion into water illustrates a character’s “baptism” into a new way of thinking, how a death represents not an actual death but a character’s entry into a new stage or experience, and sex is frequently about exercising power. I’m intrigued, and am patiently waiting for my copy to arrive.
3. Amor Towles finally has a new book coming out!
I loved Rules of Civility and have been impatiently searching for news on what Towles is up to these days since I read it in 2012. He finally has a new book coming out: it’s called A Gentleman in Moscow, it’s about a man who is sentenced to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel, and it’s coming September 6. I can’t wait.
4. All about the Alex Awards.
The American Library Association and the Young Adult Library Services Association annually give Alex Awards to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults ages 12-18. A handful of current and previous winners include Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Martian by Andy Weir, and Humans Of New York: Stories.
5. Customer service is alive and well.
In some places, at least. I recently had a banking problem so I called their 1-800 number—and a real live human answered on the first ring. I thought I had the wrong number! She took care of my problem, told me to call anytime, and said that while she mostly spends her days solving customers’ issues, she occasionally just chats with her customers and their friends—when her customers ring her up in front of an audience to prove an actual human mans their bank’s customer service line.
6. The Duchess of Cambridge and I do not have the same style.
Or body. (Shocking, I know.) Kate is well-known for wearing belts with everything. Case in point: I’ve had a belted jacket for two years and until this spring I’d probably worn it three times, and been uncomfortable in it every time. A month ago I took the belt out—and I’ve been wearing it nonstop ever since.
When it comes to these two questions to refine your personal style, I am obviously not a “structure” person. (My other answer: matte.)
7. The story behind Stacy London’s grey streak.
I love a good episode of What Not to Wear (usually a partial episode, in a hotel room, on vacation) and have always admired Stacy London’s classy style. I just assumed that her distinctive grey streak was a style choice and nothing more. Nope. I learned on the HopeWriters podcast (episode 4) that the distinctive grey streak is a souvenir from a childhood illness.
And while she didn’t get that streak on purpose, she’s fiercely protective of it. In all her contracts—even the shampoo ones—it’s written in that nobody messes with the streak.
8. How to save big on my daughters’ favorite pens.
I taught a class on how to bullet journal a few weeks ago at my local library’s How To Festival. My session was so fun, and—as in all good lessons—I learned a few things myself. Like I can buy my girls’ favorite gelly roll pens at JoAnn Fabrics, right by the Trader Joe’s we frequent, with a 40% (or, if we’re lucky 50%)-off coupon.
Online prices are quite good but if we’re in a hurry (because these are our go-to birthday gift) it’s so nice to know I can get them locally for cheap.
Joining in with Emily Freeman to share what I learned in May.