Links I love and what’s on my nightstand.

Links I love and what’s on my nightstand.

My favorite finds from around the web:

What would my mom do? Drink Tab and lock us outside. The Tab clinches it: that’s my childhood, right there.

Joanne Harris condemns Clean Reader app for replacing swear words in novels. “This – from an author’s point of view – is an obscenity: algorithmic censorship of ebooks.”

The illusion of free. “However we share, we’re exposing ourselves to a wide audience. We have so much more to worry about than future employers seeing photos of us when we’ve had too much to drink.”

What 17 adults learned from re-reading their favorite childhood books. “I think the mark of a truly great book for kids is that it seems, in retrospect, so rich or subtle or smart that it must have been wasted on your tiny child brain.”

What I’m reading this week:

The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright. Just arrived at my house; hitting bookshelves May 19.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. The description on this one never grabbed me—despite the great reviews—but I’m so glad I picked it up.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Finally! 

On the blog:

40 great book club novels. “Many of these books tackle big—even uncomfortable—issues. Many are polarizing. All are “discussable”—you’ll have enough material to last all night long.”

Raising kids who are grounded, generous, and smart about money. “When it comes to kids and money, won’t requires more conviction than can’t.”

Book Club 101. “I get bookish questions in my inbox all the time, and a frequent one is this: I want to form a book club but I have no idea where to start.”

Have a great weekend!

44 comments | Comment


  1. Karen says:

    I still think about Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, and what a little gem of a book it was! I wish she would write another.

  2. Erica M. says:

    I’m torn about the Clean Reader App. On the one hand, I get the criticisms: swearing happens, and trying to ignore that it happens is a bit foolish, plus authors usually have good reason to use swearing. On the other hand, it could be some people want to have their story without having to hear the language they hear all day. I think people are overreacting by calling it censorship and “destroying free speech” and all that. (Also, if someone’s using it for their children, then any book that contains much swearing will have mature concepts that they should really talk over with them anyways.)

    • Sara K. says:

      I agree with you. I can understand why an author wouldn’t like this app if they view it as censorship, but as a reader sometimes language will turn me off of a book. I am ok with a scattering of words when necessary for the situation, but the overuse of 4-letter words just makes me uncomfortable.

      I simply choose not to read books that are too heavy with the bad language. Unfortunately, that also prevents me from reading some otherwise very good stories 🙁

  3. Julie says:

    I, too, loved Major Pettigrew! And equally delightful, though not related, was Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

  4. Sara K. says:

    It’s interesting that you posted an article about re-reading childhood classics. I am in the midst of reading children’s classics right now. Some I have read before (Anne of Green Gables series, The Secret Garden) and some I’m actually reading for the first time (Peter Pan, A Little Princess).

    I think so many children’s books are overlooked by adults because they are classified as “juvenile”. Many of these books are multi-layered, deep and thought provoking! I am thoroughly enjoying myself 🙂

  5. Hannah says:

    I was very disturbed by the ‘Illusion of Free’ article you linked to. This topic always gets to me. I hate the idea of being spied on but I’m not sure what to do about it. I deleted my FB account a long while ago, and I had a gmail acct. I got rid of. But what else can we do? And is deleting accounts even helping out, or is it–again–an illusion of privacy? Is all our previous data stored anyway, so that it doesn’t matter if we “delete” it or not? Ugh.

  6. Amanda says:

    I saw that article “What would my mom do?” circulating his week and it was hilarious! However, I often say many of us are overprotective in this age because if we do something that many in society think is not enough for our kids, we risk the chance of someone unjustly calling Children’s Services on us. I hear so many stories in the news these days of kids doing things we did as a kid, to a much lesser degree, and the parents have someone call Children’s services on them and then all of a sudden there is a whole legal battle on their hands. I would love to give my kids more freedom…i just don’t trust that others will agree. 🙁

    • Maryalene says:

      I was going to post the exact same comment. I love Jen Hatmaker’s article but doing what our moms did could be a surefire way to get a knock on the door from CPS. Beyond that, there are precious few other kids outside ready to play nowadays. 🙁

  7. The Secret Garden is the second to last book I just read, and now I’m wondering where it’s been all my life! 🙂 I think my favorite part was Mary and Colin’s transformation into better children. It also took so many classic gothic elements and cast them in a new light by making it a children’s story. However, I’ve heard some people don’t like the style of the book, so I’m curious to hear what you think.

    Also, have you read A Little Princess? I’m planning on reading it later this year, but no one I’ve talked to so far has read them both. It’d be nice to hear how they compare.

    • Anne says:

      I haven’t read A Little Princess yet but it’s only a matter of time because I bought that gorgeous Puffin in Bloom edition back in the fall and it’s calling my name from the shelves. 🙂

    • Courtney says:

      Read them both (more than once) and love them both! Personally, I love ‘A Little Princess’ more because I prefer the characters and story. I found I could relate to it more as well, though you’ll notice there are definitely similarities between the two. However, the gap between which one is “first favorite” and which one is “second favorite” is pretty small considering they’re both favorites. 🙂

  8. Corby says:

    I loved reading Mary Poppins. Next up is A Wrinkle in Time and some Nancy Drew. I work at the library and always love shelving books in the juvenile section and see so many classics I want to read.

  9. Janet says:

    Had to add another comment, I just read What Would my Mother do and I loved it, laughed till I cried. Parents today aren’t doing their kids any favors making them think they’re the center of the universe.

  10. Debbie says:

    Here’s my story of the Secret Garden. In fourth grade, our language arts book had a lesson on writing a book report. The sample book was the Secret Garden with illustration. To this day I can see that page in my mind. Our school did not have a library. I have always wanted to read that book. Now in high school I asked my English teacher for some recommendations for pleasure reading. I think I brought up that long ago LA lesson. He directed me to the Secret Garden, I had forgotten the title. I read it and let loved it and have reread it so many times since. Love, love, love it.
    Frances Hodgson Burnett is British but did most of her writing in the United States. The Secret Garden is based on a garden that was briefly in her life. Frances supported her family for many years by writing books, articles, and any writing she for which she could earn money. Secret Garden is her most loved book.
    I have read the other two, but like Secret Garden the best. My sister likes Little Princess best.
    As for her writing style, just remember the time period she lived and wrote in. That was a popular style back then. It doesn’t always translate to current readers.
    I just love this book, one of my all time favorites.
    Another children’s classic I haven’t seen mentioned is Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

    • Sara K. says:

      Oh I have been wanting to read The Wind in the Willows! I remember watching a clay-mation movie as a kid and loving the story! I have this book sitting on my shelf. It should be the next one I read! 🙂

      • Debbie says:

        No I haven’t. Are they children’s books? I’m a children’s librarian (retired) and use to read mostly children’s books for 32 years.

        • liz n. says:

          They’re very charming “memoirs,” inspired by Grahame’s childhood. Although older children would enjoy them, they aren’t really children’s books.

    • SoCalLynn says:

      I read The Wind in the Willows to my daughter about 5 years ago and I still think about it. Wonderful!

  11. Debbie says:

    On children’s literature, I once heard the author Bruce Brooks speak shortly after winning the Newberry for The Moves Make the Man. He did not write it for children specifically. He wrote the book and sent it to publishers and was rejected by them all. Reason, the book did not go A, B, C. It jumped around a little and was to complicated for the average adult reader. I forgot how, but a children’s publisher picked it up and liked it. Why, it did NOT go A, B, C and jumped around. It is a very good book for upper elementary which is now middle school.
    The Newberry and children’s literature goes to eighth grade

  12. Dana says:

    Love the “what would my mom do?” Here’s what we/mom did in the summer. We ate breakfast, made our beds and cleaned our rooms ( per mom) and then unless it was lightning outside mom expected us to be out until lunch time. What we did was our business: in the woods behind our backyard we were building tree forts, damming up the creek, falling in said creek, catching lizards and salamanders, swinging and eating from the muscadine vines, playing in the street ( Red Rover, hopscotch, kickball, jumping rope, riding our bikes with no hands, skateboarding and so on.) Mom would whistle for us and whatever kids were with us to come lunch in the backyard for peanut butter sandwiches and lime Koolaid and we were off again until dinner time. After dinner we went out again until the street lights came on. We were dirty, wet and gloriously tired and happy and we willingly took baths and were in bed reading or sleeping by 9 . Once a week she took us to the library to load up on books. If it rained we read or played board games or created art projects all on our own from materials in our rooms. She did not entertain us at all. It was glorious and I have lots of happy memories of childhood. She did send us to Bible School and to day camp for 2 weeks at the end of the summer to get us “out of her hair “. At camp we learned to shoot bb guns and bows and arrows and to swim and play wild games of Capture the Flag and battle ball all with kids much bigger than we were. Loved it all. What I remember is that summer lasted forever back then.

    Favorite childhood books that stand the test of time:
    The Little Princess
    Secret Garden
    The Little House Books
    Anne of Green Gables
    Betsy-Tacy Books
    A Wrinkle in Time
    Charlotte’s Web
    James and The Giant Peach
    Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary
    All-of-A-Kind Family

  13. SoCalLynn says:

    I keep putting Major Pettigrew back on the shelf at the book store. I think I will take a chance and get it.

  14. Beth Anne says:

    Ohhhh Major Pettigrew. I picked it up in Key West at the most wonderful little independent bookstore. I rode there on bike. But when vacation ended, life got busy, and it was a full year later before I picked the book up again – this time at Thanksgiving in a cabin in Virginia. It was wonderful. I love how certain books remind me of certain places. I love stories where people are capable of meaningful change.

  15. I love rereading my childhood favorites; especially with my daughter. I have been known to get emotional when I’m talking with her about a particular favorite. So far, that hasn’t bothered her too much.

  16. Terri says:

    So you’re reading Major Pettigrew. I absolute adore that book. It’s a favorite in my modern novels genre! Have you ever read The GuernseyLiterary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer? And this one, I picked up at random in a bookstore, A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas. It is a memoir and is on a subject not talked about too much, dementia. It’s about her life at the last stages of her husband’s life and how she creates a life without him. Poignant and powerful.

    So glad you’re reading The Secret Garden. I started reading it as a child and continue re-reading throughout my life. In fact, I think it’s time to read it again. My children adore this book also. One more from that era, Understood Betsy, by Dorothy Canfiel Fisher. My grandparents gave it to me when I was around 10. I didn’t read it until my late teens. I adore it and so does my middle daughter. Hmm, might be time to read that again!

  17. Bethany says:

    If you haven’t heard of them, the ladies at THE MIDNIGHT GARDEN do a monthly classics readalong, and I think they’re on THE SECRET GARDEN!

  18. Jeannie says:

    When I came to Canada from overseas in 1965 my grade four teacher read us “The Secret World of Og” by Pierre Burton. It was magical and I have never forgotten it and was so happy to read it to my children many years later.

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