Stuff We Like :: 3.23.17

The weather right now is like that last person at a party who won’t stop talking to you even though you have already starting clearing the glasses. Go away, winter, it was nice while it lasted, but I’m done!



Suzanne may need a short story intervention, but I appreciate her reading all the crummy collections for Library Chicken so I don’t have to.

We put together a little reading list of YA westerns you might be interested in.

I actually get asked variations on this question a lot: How do you help an unschooler write a high school transcript for a college with a traditional bent?

Our riddled of the week is one of my favorites: The Wild Robot, a middle grades novel that’s part survival story, part meditation on the meaning of being alive.



Colin Kaepernick has (rightly) gotten a lot of press for his political activism, but he is definitely not the first Black athlete to use his position to take a political stand. This is an interesting look at another act of protest in 1969 — and the response to it, which will sound a little too familiar.

Oh, man, how am I just finding out about this exhibit? I would have loved to see it in person, but the pictures are pretty fabulous. 

I think I will be buying all the books on the short list for this year’s Cook Prize, starting with The Hidden Life of a Toad.

This was hard to read (we loved A Series of Unfortunate Events), but it asks a really good question: Where is the #metoo fighting back against racism?

There’s a lot of great writing about Black Panther out there, but this piece is one of my favorites. (Spoilers, though, so go see it before you read it.)



Even though A Wrinkle in Time did not hit my sweet spot, I have continued my L’Engle readathon quite happily. You will be glad to know that I did finally make it to An Acceptable Time, the last book in the Time quintet, which stars Meg’s daughter Polly and Zachary Gray, whom Polly meets in A House Like a Lotus and Vicky meets in The Moon by Night. (That Zachary gets around.) I moved on to The Small Rain (one of my favorites), about the pianist Katherine Forrester, who is moody and unlikable but to whom I relate maybe a little much) and to A Severed Wasp, which brings back Dave from The Young Unicorns and Katherine (now in her 70s and on the verge of retirement). After that, I travel back in time to Ilsa, which I scored a copy of at a library sale many years ago before the internet was a Thing. I don’t love Ilsa, which is darker and grittier than much of L’Engle’s other work, but I can’t skip a book, and I have to read Ilsa before I can jump ahead to A Winter’s Love because its main character is married to a descendant of Ilsa’s Henry Porcher. (Mimi, from A Severed Wasp, shows up here as a boarding school friend of the main character’s daughter — she’s also related to the Reniers, who show up in some of the Polly stories.)

I’m also planning classes for fall, and since we’re diving into the Enlightenment, that means I get to reread Gulliver’s Travels (I am reading this one with my son, and he’s finding it hilarious) and Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. 

Did you know Case Histories is a series? I feel like Suzanne told me this, but I must have gone off and immediately forgotten because I discovered it on Amazon and am thoroughly enjoying it. I loved the book — it remains my best-ever spontaneous airport bookshop purchase — and the series is a nice adaptation. (Plus it stars Jason Isaacs, which is pretty much always going to be Very Okay with me.)



My daughter’s doing a current events class, and it’s making me realize that we haven’t spent much time on modern geography. (We can map Mesopotamia and every part of Odysseus’s journey, but the modern world — not so much.) I picked up a copy of Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics, thinking it would help. I don’t know if it’s actually helped us make sense of the map as thoroughly as I might have hoped, but it has definitely got us thinking about how geography influences everything — and maybe that’s ultimately as important as being able to find the capital of Vietnam.