Girl Scouts Founder’s Day: Books for Mom & Daughter

October 31 is full of celebration! It's Halloween. It's Reformation Day. And for the Girl Scouts of the USA, it's Founder's Day, the day we celebrate Juliette Gordon Low's birthday. My mom and I were both Girl Scouts, and now C is continuing the tradition. Today I thought I'd highlight two recently-purchased books that we've been enjoying.   For Mom Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts by Stacy A. Cordery (Penguin Books, 2012) Reading Here Come the Girl Scouts! to C actually prompted me to look for a Juliette Gordon Low biography for myself. I'm so glad I chose Stacy Cordery's book! I'm finding this to be thorough and very engaging, not at all dry, as some reviews…

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Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

Gracefully Grayson is a compelling, heartrending piece of middle grade fiction that kept me reading, pretty much straight through, into the wee hours of the night. I thoroughly enjoyed Polonsky's writing style and her realistic characters, and I was completely impressed the way she dealt with difficult topics in an age-appropriate manner. I don't normally do this, but I read some of the book's reviews on Goodreads prior to writing this. A number of readers commented that they felt as if the explanation for Grayson's feelings was too focused on wearing skirts and not much else. I disagree: There were plenty of other clues beyond wearing skirts and dresses, but these clues were more subtly expressed. Choosing to use glitter…

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Man V. Nature by Diane Cook

I've been sitting on this review until the very last moment because I haven't known where to begin. My head is spinning. Every time I think I know what I want to say about this collection of short stories, I come up with a ton of other ideas, too much to include in one review. Each story in Man vs. Nature centers around a personification of "nature," which manifests itself as an aspect of the natural world, an aspect of human nature, or often, a blend of the two. Our hopes and fears, our virtues and failings, our natural lives and deaths, the balance we strive for, the societies we've created: All of these things are confronted, pled with, fought, accepted. It…

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Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

1. Maine My parents are originally from Maine, and all of my extended family lives there. Even though I grew up as a Navy brat, I lived in this beautiful state off and on throughout my childhood. My spouse hates the cold, so I probably won't get a chance to move back. Books like Little Island by Katharine Britton and The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline give me my Maine fix, though they also make me want to look up travel prices! 2. Denver, Colorado Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber makes me want to go to Denver. Not to ski, but to go to church! 3. Monroeville, Alabama To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a recent read for…

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Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner

I have a working knowledge of Italian, enough that I can read and write it, and I do fairly well when listening, too. But speaking? That's where I have an enormous deficit. It makes me sad that my Italian is so passive now, compared to when I was a kid and actually using it everyday. I'm missing out on most of the fun of knowing another language! When I noticed Gabriel Wyner's Fluent Forever on the Blogging for Books website, I couldn't resist requesting it. Wyner's approach is based on a spaced repetition learning system, or SRS. My first reaction when I realized this was dread: Doesn't SRS mean boring flashcards? But Wyner makes it sound like it could be fun. This…

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