Required Reading?

There are some books that I just assume everyone has read.  Often, these lines are somewhat generational.  For example, I just assume that everyone my age and younger has read Harry Potter.  And I had also always assumed that most older women have read Little Women.  (I definitely think it is less-read today, but IContinue reading “Required Reading?”

The joy of rereading

I don’t remember when I first read Little Women.  I do know how I discovered it.  We had a small collection of classics that had been my aunts’–they were girls in the 1930s and 1940s, so they were really beautiful editions.  Little Women was in that collection (I think with illustrations by Jessie Wilcox Smith, butContinue reading “The joy of rereading”

Work hard for a living

I never thought I’d get excited about economic history.  Or economics, in general.  But when everything crashed in 2008, I got interested.  I remember being completely transfixed while listening to This American Life’s podcast about the real estate meltdown (A Giant Pool of Money).  And dumbfounded that I was so fascinated.  I started reading theContinue reading “Work hard for a living”

Timeless

This year marked the 40th anniversary of my museum’s biggest event of the year, Candlelight.  As part of the anniversary, we created a small exhibit and I researched the history of the event.  One thing that surprised me was how quickly the key elements of the event came together: buildings decorated by community groups, performancesContinue reading “Timeless”

A New Year’s Wish

Historians, even cultural historians, don’t usually pay a lot of attention to children’s literature.  I learned this the hard way when I was working on my own (and only, so far!) article for a publication.  I searched high and low for someone else that had done something similiar–using an author’s work to see how changeContinue reading “A New Year’s Wish”

Christmas Classics

Though it’s not quite the holiday season yet, I’ve spent much of this morning reading Christmas scenes from various children’s books.  For Candlelight (the museum’s biggest event of the year), I decided to create a pre-visit lesson plan for teachers visiting in December.  And what better way to talk about how holidays have changed inContinue reading “Christmas Classics”

Ordinary things

Last week, I finished American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work by Susan Cheever.  It’s an odd little book, full of lots of literary gossip and fluff and not much substance.  But towards the end, there’s this passage: “Reading LittleContinue reading “Ordinary things”

The best presents. . .

I admit it–my favorite part of Christmas just might be presents.  And it’s not so much the receiving (though don’t get me wrong–I do love receiving), but the giving.  It’s the joy in finding just the right thing, something that is more than the sum of its parts, and seeing the reaction when it hits its mark.Continue reading “The best presents. . .”

Christmas won’t be Christmas. . .

This Christmas will be quite a bit smaller than usual.  Of course, with the economy still in the doldrums, I don’t think I’m alone in this.  But it’s not like things are quite to the point of Jo’s moan: “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents!” Looking back at kidlit history, there are plenty ofContinue reading “Christmas won’t be Christmas. . .”

Pilgrimages

This afternoon, while attempting to be domestic, I caught up with one of my favorite NPR programs, This American Life.  A few weeks ago, they aired a new episode called “The Book That Changed Your Life.”  How could I not listen?  The entire show was fantastic, but I was particularly intrigued by Act 4: LittleContinue reading “Pilgrimages”