Don't let your obsession stop with the stage: Our Book Nerd's book-by-book guide to indulging your Hamilton obsession will keep you busy until ticket prices go down. (They have to go down eventually, right?)
This one’s a bit of a spin, but with all the Hamilton fans out there, we thought it would be fun to round up some read-this-next books for people who just can’t get enough Ham.
YOUR NEXT PICTURE BOOk
Don Brown always does a brilliant job distilling complex information for younger readers (have you read his Hurricane Katrina book yet?), and Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History, a dual history of two of Hamilton’s key figures, is no exception.
YOUR NEXT MIDDLE GRADES CHAPTER BOOK
Think Hamilton-adjacent and dive into the life of the most famous traitor in Revolutionary history with The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery. Arnold is as fascinating a character as Hamilton.
YOUR NEXT READALOUD
Dig into a biography of Alexander Hamilton’s life that actually includes some of the best parts of the musical (including a reference to Angelica Schuyler who doesn’t show up in other Hamilton children’s lit). Jean Fritz’s Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider is the Ron Chernow equivalent for the elementary school set.
YOUR NEXT TEEN READ
Fever 1793 tells the story of one girl’s experiences during Philadelphia’s yellow fever epidemic, which also affected Hamilton and his wife. This is gripping historical fiction based on real events.
YOUR NEXT GROWN-UP BOOK
Happy May, everyone! And special thanks to Amy for letting me take over Stuff We Like this week! I’m busy getting ready for the summer Hamilton History class (register today!) so I’ll do my best to limit the number of Hamilton-related links, but I can’t help starting off with one (or two or three…)
Around the Web
Awesome Hamilton Broadway Crossover Pt. 1: For when you’ve memorized the cast recording and start wondering how other great Broadway shows would sound Hamilton-ized, here’s the cast doing their version of “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” (Demon barber Sweeney Todd/I am the demon barber Sweeney Todd…)
Awesome Hamilton Broadway Crossover Pt. 2: A conversation between my favorite Alexander Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and my favorite John Adams, aka the actor William Daniels, from the other great Broadway musical about American history (and my favorite July 4th movie-watching tradition), 1776
Speaking of politics, it’s time for my election-year rewatch of The West Wing (I’m also enjoying Joshua Malina’s new podcast The West Wing Weekly) and I was thrilled to see C.J. Cregg herself taking the podium at a recent White House press briefing (and was reminded of these two adorable West Wing PSAs from a few years back—walk and talk, anyone?)
And now that I seem to have established a theme, here’s #Ham4Ham in the West Wing with Cabinet Battle #1 (makes me wonder why I even bring the thunder…)
at home | school | life
in the classroom: Speaking of Hamilton, registration is now open for our summer classes
in the store: Also open: registration for our awesome Homeschool 101 workshop
on the blog: I think we can all identify with the messiness of homeschooling
on instagram: Any excuse to quote Umberto Eco
in the archives: What to read next if you loved Lemony Snicket
My non-fiction reading at the moment is all Hamilton-related—my favorite so far has been Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life (in which I learned that during his second term George Washington himself was challenged “to point out ONE SINGLE ACT which unequivocally proves you a FRIEND to the INDEPENDENCE of AMERICA,” proving that partisan political speech in this country has always been nasty and bone-headed, a fact I find strangely reassuring at this time of year). I’m midway through Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis, a much shorter book which focuses on several specific events of interest to Hamilton fans (the duel, the Jefferson-Hamilton-Madison dinner, etc.) in which Ellis memorably describes the secretary of the Treasury’s “dashing Hamilton-to-the-rescue demeanor.” (Now I want a Hamilton-to-the-rescue t-shirt.)
For lighter, non-Hamilton-related reading, I’ve been working my way through Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher mysteries (the racier inspiration for the also-very-enjoyable and exceptionally-pretty-to-look-at television series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) from Cocaine Blues to the latest installment, Murder and Mendelssohn, and am hoping that Greenwood will give us some more, now that I’ve become very fond of the indomitable Phryne and her household of devoted minions.
Current read-aloud: the final book of Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland series, The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home, which I confess to reading more slowly than usual, as I’m not ready to say goodbye to this world.
Is it weird that I pre-ordered Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter so that I would get it the day it came out, but haven’t actually read it yet? I like looking at it on my shelf, anticipating how much fun it will be to read, and taking it out every once in a while to admire its encyclopedia-like loveliness and maybe give it a little hug. That’s super-weird, isn’t it?
Superheroes, Pt. 1 (Marvel edition): We’ve already got our tickets for Captain America: Civil War (opening this weekend!) and family relationships are starting to break down along Team Iron Man vs. Team Captain America lines. (For the record, it’s Steve Rogers all the way.)
There’s a new Mapp and Lucia on PBS! My well-read copy of E. F. Benson’s Make Way for Lucia is dog-eared and falling apart and I’m a huge fan of the 1980’s adaptation (starring Prunella Scales, Geraldine McEwan, and Nigel Hawthorne), so I’m very excited to return to the 1930’s and the seaside town of Tilling.
International Tabletop Day was last Saturday (mark your calendars for next year) and this year we tried out Cash N Guns and Last Night On Earth at a local game store. (Apparently we were feeling a bit violent. We’ll have to play a couple of rounds of Pandemic to save the world and make up for it.)
Coming up in May: We’ll soon be celebrating my eldest’s 18th birthday AND his high school graduation! I couldn’t be happier to reach such major milestones. I also may be having a small nervous breakdown. Clearly, it’s time to pour a glass of wine and listen to Hamilton.
Have a great week!
We will be making matzo balls all afternoon so that we have matzo ball soup all weekend long. I hope your weekend plans are equally delicious! (A little housekeeping note: Apparently, not everybody's RSS feed is working since we updated the site, so you may have to resubscribe to keep getting updates. I'm sorry about that!)
around the web
More reasons to make time for art in your homeschool: What children’s drawings can teach us about history
I am late to the party, but if you haven’t seen Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emma Watson sort the cast of Hamilton into their proper Hogwarts houses, you should.
Obviously this ranking of every meal in Jane Eyre in order of severity is the perfect accompaniment to our Charlotte Bronte reading list in the spring issue
You don’t have to read everything by an author—and maybe sometimes you shouldn’t
at home | school | life
on the blog: Have you been following the updates on our online classes? I want to take them all!
in the archives: These planning tips are definitely inspiring me as I freak out about homeschooling high school. (We start 9th grade this fall!)
on instagram: Love this quote!
With high school planning at the top of my to-do list, I unearthed my old copy of An Incomplete Education, which I used as the basis for a year-long independent study for myself in 10th grade. Reading it again, I’m kind of amazed by how much it shaped my post-high school intellectual pursuits.
What is up with Malorie Blackman’s books not getting U.S. releases? I had to order my copy of Chasing the Stars from Book Depository, but for a gender-swapped version of Othello set in space and written by the author of the Naughts and Crosses series, I will wait. Impatiently.
So I finally read Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s letter to his son about, essentially, the experience of being a black man in the United States today. It is as good as everyone says it is. It is also uncomfortable—uncomfortable to read, uncomfortable to talk about, uncomfortable to write about. (I’ve been adding it to and taking it off this list for weeks now.) I think you should probably read it, too.
We’re having a pretty chill Passover this year, but I’m pretty excited to make these matzo fritters.
Time for the annual spring kitchen dishcloth update! I use this Mason Dixon pattern and whatever random leftover cotton yarn I have lying around.
We made a batch of these candied citrus rinds to use up some leftover grapefruit, and now I just want MORE MORE MORE.
I love this time of year! New beginnings and new resolutions—plus all the Best-Of booklists come out, so I can restock my to-read list. In the spirit of celebrating last year and looking forward to some seriously good reading in 2016, I thought I’d share some of my favorites of 2015.
Favorite Young Adult
Favorite First Book of a Post-Apocalyptic Trilogy Where I Didn’t Love Books Two and Three but Book One is So Good That I Can’t Help Recommending It and You Should Probably Read the Others And Make Up Your Own Mind :: Pure by Julianna Baggott
Favorite First Book of a Contemporary Fantasy Series With Clairvoyants and Ley Lines and Cute Boys Which I Stopped Reading After the First Book Because the Fourth and Final Book is Coming Out in March 2016 and I Want to Read Them All in One Glorious Binge :: The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
Favorite Fantasy Heist Novel Which I Didn’t Even Know Was a Thing But Which As a Big Ocean’s Eleven Fan I Was Thrilled to Discover and Even More Thrilled to Learn That It’s the First of an On-Going Series (NOTE: Maybe Don’t Get Too Attached to All of the Characters in the Heist Crew) :: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Favorite Reading Inspired by My Obsession with the Broadway Musical Hamilton
(Because we’re all obsessed with Hamilton, right? Even those of us who live nowhere near New York and couldn’t afford tickets even if we did and so are forced to make do with listening to the cast album over and over again and singing along while our children mock our hip-hop skills? If you are not yet obsessed with Hamilton , you have my permission to stop reading briefly to immediately check out the album. As a bonus, it totally counts as a homeschool history lesson.)
Favorite Biography That Inspired it All and At 800-Some Pages is Maybe Not a Quick Read but Still a Great Book About Our Ten-Dollar Founding Father Who Just Like His Country Was Young, Scrappy, and Hungry ::Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Favorite Upper-Elementary/YA Historical Fiction That I Had Been Meaning to Read For Years And Finally Got Around to Because It’s About the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia That Also Sickened Alexander Hamilton :: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Favorite New Sarah Vowell Book About America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman and Alexander Hamilton’s Best Bud the Marquis de Lafayette Which Has, Disappointingly, Not All That Much Hamilton But Which is Wildly Entertaining Nonetheless As Are All of Sarah Vowell’s Books of History :: Lafayette in The Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell
Favorite Series That I’m On My Fourth and Probably Last Time Through Reading Aloud Until I Have Grandchildren Many MANY Years From Now :: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Favorite Series That Just Keeps Getting Better and Is Giving Narnia a Run For Its Money As My Favorite Kids’ Fantasy Series of ALL TIME Where We’re Currently Reading Book Four (The Boy Who Lost Fairyland) While Anticipating the Release of the Fifth and Final (Sniff) Book (The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home) in March 2016 ::the Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente
Favorite Series by My Favorite Kids/YA Fantasy Author Diana Wynne Jones Where We’re Currently Reading The Magicians of Caprona Which is Turning Out to Be One of My Daughter’s Favorites Because It Has Magical Italian Cats :: the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones
Favorite Memoir That Examines the Author’s Life in Terms of Her Favorite Literary Heroines (Including Elizabeth Bennett, Anne Shirley, and Jane Eyre) Which Also Has the Best Title of Any Book I’ve Read This Year :: How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis