The Mini and the Silly | #SoRatherBeYoung

#SoRatherBeYoung Header

Rediscovering old books is by far one of my favorite things EVER, and I’ve been so glad to do so this year with #SoRatherBeYoung. At the same time, I’ve loved learning more about my friend, Hannah, and what books made her a reader when she was an adorable kid. This round of picks have been interesting. I loved all of Louis Sachar’s books when I was a bookworm in elementary school and I was praying, praying that this title would stand the test of time. On the other hand, Hannah’s pick for me was something I had never, ever heard of so it was nice to read a new, old book. (Hey, does this count as a classic?)

Without further day, here we go…

Wayside School Gets a Stranger Summary Tweet - #SoRatherBeYoung

Joint pick: Wayside Schools Gets a Little Stranger by Louis Sachar | first published in 1995

More Than You Know: The author had a degree in Economics and started the Wayside School series after graduation. How interesting is that?!

Memories Are Made of This: I haven’t picked up this series since elementary school but it’s funny how muscle memory works. I started to remember little projects we did with each silly chapter of this book. This title continues to be fun, and I can only hope kids are still reading it in school.

Second Time Around: I’m basically going to repeat myself here. This book can be downright ridiculous but I can also see how the book teaches about language, misunderstanding, and how it’s so important not to take yourself seriously all the time. A fun ride.

You Can Take My Word for It, Baby: Like I said above, I hope kids, parents, teachers, and cool babysitters are still reading this book. It’s just a blast. (Plus there is a Santa chapter, and I just realized this is the grown-up version of Miss Nelson is Missing — am I right?)

The Borrowers Summary Tweet - #SoRatherBeYoung

Hannah’s pick for me: The Borrowers by Mary Norton | First published in 1952

Do You Know Why? “I wish I had an exciting reason for choosing The Borrowers for Estelle, but I don’t! When I asked her what she was in the mood for, she mentioned wanting something fun. A lot of what I read as a kid was on the more serious side (maybe because it was a ton of historical fiction), so this book was one of the first that came to mind! I remember almost nothing about the plot, but I know I was obsessed with the idea of tiny people secretly living in my home.” — Hannah

Can’t You Just See Yourself: I love that this was one of those picks that I had never, ever heard of. I know Hannah still hasn’t read this one in awhile, so I’m curious for her to revisit it soon too. When she first told me about it, I thought the borrowers were mice, not humans!

I Give You My Word: This is a story that would benefit from beautiful illustrations. If you are able to find that version, I could see myself reading it with younger kids. I do think I’d prefer to read Stuart Little or something similar first though.

Before the Music Ends: I wonder if I had some nostalgic pull toward this one I’d feel differently. The ending felt a little confusing (which made me feel so silly) and again, I don’t think the version I borrowed from the library gave me the best experience. It’s a cute story, but wasn’t a total winner for me.


Thanks for checking out #SoRatherBeYoung today! I hope when you are hanging around
during the holidays and awaiting a new year, you’ll be inspired to pick up your old standbys
from “the good old days”.

Happy almost Christmas! (And almost 2016 — if you can believe it!)

And be sure to stop by Hannah’s to hear her talk about my reading assignment for her. (ONE OF MY FAVORITES).

Of Spies and Stars | #SoRatherBeYoung

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In mid-December, Hannah and I rolled out a laidback, sporadic reading project called “You Make Me Feel So Young” — where we joint read a book from our childhood and pick a title for the other to check out. This post includes the very scientific results to our first challenge.

Biggest realization: I thought I read fast but Hannah is a gold medalist.

Second realization: These are quite fun to read outloud. Since my husband is currently obsessed with this video game called Destiny, I made it feel like storytime by reading Harriet the Spy outloud. For the record, the name Ole Golly is repeated so much… (and I understand why for this age group) …that it started to sound like gibberish to me.

Third realization: Gosh, this is tons of fun.

Let’s get started, shall we?

♥  ♥  ♥

Harriet the Spy Summary in a Tweet

Joint pick: HARRIET THE SPY by Louise Fitzhugh | First published in 1964

More Than You Know:  Did you know that a companion book (Harriet Spies Again) was published in 2002 by Helen Ericson? She was granted permission by the Louise Fitzhugh estate to continue the series. (Fitzhugh died in 1974 from a brain aneurysm.)

Memories Are Made of This: I have a confession to make. I’m not even sure if I finished this book when I was a kid. Yes, I have a pretty beat up copy but…I barely remembered a thing and I’ve been known to have a great memory! Honestly, I probably know more about the Rosie O’Donnell film than the actual book.

Second Time Around: The reason I don’t think I read this one the whole way through is because I was floored by what a creep Harriet could be. She is just… not a nice kid. Sure, she gets very little attention from her parents and the amount of freedom she has in NYC as an 11-year old is astonishing. But, again, different world. I admired her for being so committed to her writing and for her loyalty toward Ole Golly. Most of the time I felt like she got the short end of the sick so while I don’t approve of her acting out… it made sense. (I hope she has a good therapist.)

You Can Take My Word for It, Baby: I’m not sold on this book being at the top of my reading list for my future child. (James agreed with me.) A book I might have them read when they are older but not when they are aligned to Harriet’s age. The reading experience needs to be more of a “ha ha wow” kind of thing, I think. (And even then, it’s a tad disturbing!)

Number the Stars Summary in a Tweet

Hannah’s pick for me: NUMBER THE STARS by Lois Lowry | First published in 1989

Do You Know Why? I knew I wanted to choose historical fiction for Estelle’s first read because it’s been my favorite genre ever since childhood. But what book to pick? As soon as I realized she hadn’t read Number the Stars, I knew it was the one! It’s a lifelong favorite for me – combining Lois Lowry’s lovely writing, a memorable heroine and an emotional story. I was hoping that this book would bring history alive for Estelle in the same way it once did for me! – from Hannah

Can’t You Just See Yourself: I cannot figure out why I did not read this one in elementary school or even early middle school. What a brave female character though and a brilliant romance in such a compact little book. I was tremendously moved by Annemarie’s story and the sacrifices and actions of her family as the Nazi’s turn their lives upside down. It also hits some subtle marks about dealing with grief within a family at a young age.

I Give You My Word: Unlike with Harriet, I wouldn’t think twice about having a copy of this book in my collection for a future child or sharing it with others who are building up a great bookcase. It’s an important book yes because it deals with overcoming adversity but it’s nice to see a young girl finding bravery she doesn’t even know she possesses and a devoted friendship.

Before the Music Ends: I wholeheartedly believe you should pick this one up… whether it’s to read it for the first time or to revisit. (I bought my copy on the Nook and it was so inexpensive.) In a world of very long, intense books, Lois Lowry’s writing is a reminder of how much can be conveyed in small packages.

 Have you read either of these lately? Do you remember the first time you did?

Thanks so much for taking part in #SoRatherBeYoung! Tweet & chat with us! We’re nice.

Stay tuned for our joint read Island of Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell in April… and some social media fun!

December Madness | An Estelle “Shelve It”

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Greetings! How are you? Have you been trampled by crowds of shoppers this weekend, perhaps spending time with family, or maybe making some delicious desserts? Well… we have been busy with last minute shopping and lots of crafting (glue everywhere!). Oh the joy of December. This also means: great mail! I’ve been so fortunate to receive some goodies lately so I thought I would share. Tons to look forward to in my reading future; that is for sure.

Enjoy! I hope you like how I dressed up for you! 😉


From Hannah | So Obsessed With:

Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer
Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes
Last Letter from My Lover by Jojo Moyes
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

From Alex | Little Wing Books + @spiritbeauty_

Mosquitoland by David Arnold (March 2015)
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (February 2015)
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (March 2015)
I Was Here by Gayle Forman (January 2015)

From Rachel | Hello, Chelly

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen
Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry

From Brittany | The Book Addict’s Guide

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

From NOVL/Poppy:

Love, Lucy by April Linder (January 2015)
Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding (April 2015)

From St. Martin’s Press:

The Secret of Midwives by Sally Hepworth (February 2015)
In Some Other World, Maybe
by Shari Goldhagen (January 2015)

thank you so much!

what’s new around here:

*** We have two international giveaways ending in two days so be sure to stop in and enter. Free books! Did ya hear? Free books! Win an anniversary copy of Harriet the Spy for #SoRatherBeYoung kick off or two options for #DiversityDive challenge! ***

Also a huge, huge congrats to our friend Ginger & Elena, who both graduated from college this weekend! xoxo

have a great, great evening & thanks for stopping in!


So Rather Be Young | 2015 Feature & Giveaway

You Make Me Feel So Young Header

When I try to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with books, I am flooded with memories of my elementary school where we were always encouraged to read everything and write just as much. Our principal had an Author’s Chair in her office where we could go in and read her our own work, each of our classrooms were stocked with a teacher’s private library in addition to the one we visited every week, and then there was the teacher who slipped us books that were a little bit above our age group to keep our brains nimble.

So when I saw Hannah from So Obsessed With Blog adding so many of my favorite childhood books to her Goodreads a few months ago, it felt like the perfect opportunity to team up and work on a blog feature together. Today, we are so happy to announce:

You Make Me Feel So Young

I hope you have the ice skating scene from Elf stuck in your head right now because that totally inspired the name.

Hannah and I are taking this casually. Each quarter, we are going to read one book together, and recommend a title to each other. Then we’ll put together a post overflowing with childhood memories, reflections on the book, and more. Since we aren’t posting on our blogs every month, we’ll also be utilizing other social media so be sure to follow our hashtag — #SoRatherBeYoung — to follow along as we share some lovely photos and the occasional book to movie viewing.

Harriet the Spy by Louise FitzhughTo celebrate, Hannah and I are each giving away a copy of our first joint read: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.

Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?

This giveaway is open to all U.S. & international readers. Be sure to check the Terms for more detail.

Good luck & we can’t wait to hear all about your childhood reading experiences throughout 2015! This is going to be SO MUCH fun. Be sure to stop in and read Hannah’s introduction post too! xoxo

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Big Kids Table: I MAY Be Late But… Book Bloggers Rock

big kids' table - adult fiction feature on rather be reading

It’s June. Yep. But it’s been a busy May and last week was absolutely crazy. So fun because people were in town but I literally didn’t open up my laptop for 5 days. If you know me, that’s something that never happens in my life. But perhaps the unplugging was exactly what I needed. It’s nice to take a break now & then. But here I am, back with May’s Big Kids’ Table.

For the record, I did come up with the subject of this BKT a few weeks ago. So that must count for something, right? 🙂

If you are reading this post and visiting RBR today, it’s fair to say you probably get a lot of your book recommendations from bloggers. I know that I definitely do. Whether its something as simple as a tweet or a full-blown review on a blog, I am always curious about what bloggers are fawning over these days.

Today is your lucky day because I’m sharing some of the latest titles I’ve discovered through other bloggers with YOU. I know you are as pumped as I am!


First up: Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom from Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby

No joke after reading this review, Rachel & I were in a bookstore searching for this title that same evening and they didn’t have it. SIGH. A five-star review cannot be missed from an imprint a blogger trusts.

Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom

There’s this: “Steal the North is beautiful. It’s heartbreaking. It’s emotional, raw, real. The story is set in the late ’90s and, in the easiest way to get to my heart, features numerous points of view.”

And also: “Steal the North was filled to the brim with emotion: heavy subjects like loss and race were handled with grace and the love coursing through these pages hit home.”

If this title might not float your boat, be sure to check out Leah’s blog. She’s been dishing out high ratings to so many of her reads lately and contributing to my crazy to-be-read list. (Add it to Goodreads!)

Next: Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore from Hannah @ So Obsessed With

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Hannah is another blogger who spotlights both YA and adult (yay!) and her recent review of Bittersweet caught my eye because of the structure of the post (straight to the point) and also? It sounds like a big kids’ version of We Were Liars. (You know, the E. Lockhart book taking the world by storm!) Since that book didn’t totally work for me, I’m curious to check out!

“…the sense of foreboding creates a darker tone from the very beginning of the book. And yet I still really enjoyed reading this story! As unenjoyable as aspects were, Bittersweet was written in a way that had me riveted.”

(Add it to Goodreads!)

And, last but certainly not least: More Like Her by Liza Palmer @ Clear Eyes Full Shelves

More Like Her by Liza Palmer

I’ll be honest… this title isn’t so NEW to me but it just so happens I bought a copy of it on the bargain table at B&N. I adored Liza’s Nowhere But Home and I have two of Liza’s older books waiting for me at home. But I think this post reminds me of how important and amazing a backlist can be. Discover an author after his/her debut and there are a lot of other surprises left for you to uncover. (This is one of my favorite “tactics” for diversifying my book lists.)

“Like most of Liza’s books, there’s a dog (the dog stuff just kills me, because, man, dogs can change your life if you let that love into your heart) and like all of her books, there’s a good guy too. 

And even though much of this story centers around a terrible thing being the catalyst for all of the characters to make changes, to dare to move forward, it’s the little moments that shine.”

(Add to Goodreads!)


Now it’s your turn to spill the beans. Who do you turn to for your big kid lit recommendations?
Have you added to titles to your TBR recently because of a blogger?

The Big Kids’ Table: So Obsessed With Adult Books

big kids' table - adult fiction feature on rather be reading

Hi friends! How are you doing on this lovely August Friday? Truth be told, I’ve been struggling with how to make Big Kids’ Table exciting and refreshing for you. I have been really conquering the adult reads this year (much like I wanted to last year) and I’m still not sure what makes you tick, what will make you take a break from a young adult and explore the library for something new. So for the rest of the year, Big Kids’ Table is going to continue to experiment with content. As always, I would love your feedback and your thoughts. Feel free to email me too! I’d love to chat. Anytime, anywhere.

Now to the good stuff. I was really inspired by a random tweet from Hannah at So Obsessed With a few weeks ago when she said she went into a bookstore and bought two adult books on a whim so I sent her an email and I’m like: how do you decide what adult books to buy? So in response the awesome Hannah wrote this:

Before blogging, I almost exclusively read adult fiction and non-fiction. I had no idea that adult books were more expensive until I started blogging. Suddenly, I was picking up YA books right and left… and marveling at the lower price tag. Despite the price, I still can’t stop buying adult books. Here’s how I decide what books to buy and how I discovered a few of my recent purchases:

1. Find What I Want.

Most of the blogs I read primarily review YA books, but I’ve discovered a number of bloggers who highlight awesome adult books that often get added to my TBR. I also keep an eye out for features like this one to help me find adult books that bloggers I already trust recommend!

To find new releases, I stalk Literary Inklings’ Notable New Releases posts every Tuesday. I also make sure to check out the “Movers & Shakers” list on Goodreads each month to see if anything catches my eye.

Finally, I keep an eye out for book recommendations in magazines (like Entertainment Weekly), on the Goodreads Recommendations tab, at the book section in Target and by getting sucked into the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” black hole on Amazon.

And, you know, there’s always old-fashioned bookstore browsing!

2. Read A Sample.

Because adult books are more expensive, I’m less likely to just buy one on impulse. I usually try to read a sample – whether on my e-reader, at the bookstore or by trying to get it from the library.

I almost always check the Goodreads rating, too. If a book has a rating lower than 3.5, I typically try to get it from the library. The only exception is if it’s an author I’ve previously read and loved. I don’t always agree with the Goodreads masses, but I do find that it gives me a pretty good indication of whether or not I ought to buy the book. I’ll also check to see if any of my friends or fellow bloggers have already read and reviewed it! 

3. Take The Plunge!

From there, it’s time to take those books to the counter and checkout! The main reason I don’t have a hard time paying for an adult book is that they typically take me longer to read. I can read most YA books in a day, including longer ones if I have the whole afternoon free. Since adult books often have more pages and a smaller font, it’s not hard for me to justify paying more for it. I’ll likely spend more time in its pages, so I’m prepared to spend a little more money on it.

Here are three adult books I bought recently – how I discovered them and why I wanted to bring them home:

The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig: I haven’t read anything by Willig before, but this cover caught my eye on Amazon one day. I put it on my wishlist so I wouldn’t forget it, and I’ve been keeping an eye out for it in stores ever since. From a pretty cover to being my favorite genre, this one definitely seemed like a “me” book. I finally found it, sat down to read a few pages and didn’t want to stop!

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway: I was approved to read this one on NetGalley, but I wasn’t able to get to it in time. A blogger I trust gave it a high rating and hearty recommendation, so I checked it out from the library last month and read 50 pages before returning it so I could buy a copy instead. Yes, sometimes I’ll buy a book I could read for free.

 One Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams: I spotted this book for the first time in Estelle’s Big Kids’ Table post for June. Once it was on my watch list, I couldn’t stop spotting it everywhere! On display at the bookstore, highlighted as a great summer read in a few magazines… I felt like it was everywhere I looked! So, I finally caved and purchased this while on vacation.


Big hugs to Hannah for taking the time to pen this awesome post! I’m so excited about her suggestions. Be sure to check out her blog + her amazing new Consider the Classics feature! So now you tell me, how do you decide to buy adult books and what have you been reading from the “big kid” realm lately? We are all anxious for your suggestions!

Thanks again for stopping in!