RBOC

  • Nice Kitty is really into pointing out anything that changes to us.  Since DH has moved into her bedroom, she keeps dragging us in there to point out that there’s a new screen (she’s in favor of it) and the chair is different and the 3D printer has moved and so on.  These are useful skills!
  • DC2 is really into juvenile fantasy.  Today zie noted that boys who save the world tend to make stupid decisions a lot of the time, but girls who save the world tend to make more sensible choices.  I wonder if that’s a gendered trope or if it is more a time thing (since girls who save the world books tend to be more modern).
  • The kids are doing a lot of baking this summer even though DH is not.
  • Bananas have been getting ripe very quickly these days so the baking DH does has been mostly things to get rid of super ripe bananas.  Turns out you can just throw them into sourdough to slightly sweeten it, or use them with leftover applesauce for a cranberry nut bread with slight banana flavor.  I don’t want to say we were getting tired of regular banana bread, but DH certainly was.
  • We did have an amazing pizza from Williams Sonoma that used bananas.  It’s literally just pizza dough, then ricotta cheese, then sliced bananas.  If you eat ham you can put ham on top.  Then bake!  That’s it!  It’s surprisingly delicious.  Even if your bananas were super ripe.  (Also: if you haven’t made a pizza with blue cheese and walnuts yet and you like those items, you are missing out!)
  • DC1 doesn’t like the way that hir current C++ teacher won’t let them use things that they haven’t “learned” yet.  Zie says hir previous Java teacher would say, “I won’t be using this as an example because it uses a concept you guys don’t know yet, but we will be learning X in the future” but the C++ teacher is like, “Don’t do that.”  Zie would be fine if the “Don’t do that” was upfront when the problem is assigned, but it’s difficult when you have a large knowledge base and can’t quite remember what has been taught in this class.  I had this problem in Number Theory, but the thing about Number Theory is that you’re not allowed to use, say, multiplication until you’ve defined/invented it, so the limitations make more sense (it is frustrating but really gets you to appreciate how little kids can understand the concept of counting).  Not being able to use an array or a loop seems less sensible.
  • When I teach Stata I’m very much, “there are a million ways to do the same thing, use what works for you” and I’ll talk about the pros and cons of different ways of putting in fixed effects, for example.  My junior colleague who thinks I’m not very bright doesn’t like the way that I often will officially teach them the most idiot-proof way of doing something even though it’s not the most up-to-date.  She doesn’t know that’s why I do things that way though– just thinks I’m out of touch.  I also spend a lot of time getting them to figure out how to find out how to do things using Stata help and the internet.  I’ve gotten pushback from students on that in the past because they think I should stand in front of the class and just write code. (The other professor does that, whereas I have in-class exercises instead.)
  • I made the mistake of wondering what was going on with John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love (I’m on December of their last year of podcasts so only half a year left before I have to decide what to listen to on my commute instead unless they start up again.)  The amount of people attacking Sherry on the internet for not putting more of her life out there but simultaneously putting too much of her life out there… it was sickening.  Nobody attacks John.  Nobody ever attacks the guy.  Lots of speculation about her personal life too– did she have an eating disorder, did she have an affair with their contractor (extremely unlikely given she spends 24/7 with John so he’d have to be incredibly oblivious), does she have a mental illness, etc. etc. etc.  And how her son not having a closet in his bedroom is somehow child abuse (it’s not!).  I had forgotten how vicious the internet can be to women who try to make money from it.  Anyhow, my bottom line is that John and Sherry seem like nice people and their personal life that they haven’t shared is none of our business even if they’ve shared personal life things in the past.  And if you don’t like the ads on instagram stories there’s a simple solution for that– don’t go to instagram stories!  (Easy for me to say since not giving facebook my personal information means I can’t even see instagram stories.)  And OMG, mommy forums are cesspools!  Like, literally worse than GOMI (which also has a page).
  • I recently deleted a comment criticizing us for not putting more personal information out there.  I think there’s this belief that if a woman isn’t wearing a burka inside women’s quarters– if she ever ventures out, then somehow she’s completely available for public consumption.  Men, of course, get allowed privacy no matter what they put out there.  Nobody even polices their facial expressions.  And in reality, the women trapped inside aren’t safe either (obviously) because it really isn’t about what you wear or where you go.  It’s 100% about policing and keeping women down.  Stupid patriarchy.
  • Someone at the library has very similar book tastes to mine and extremely heavy perfume.  I had to let the new Farah Heron, Accidentally Engaged, air out on the air filter for about a week (with me fanning out the pages whenever I walked past) before I could read it without my nose dripping.  (Literally dripping.)

49 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    Do you think the person deliberately sprayed perfume on the book to get the musty book smell out of it? I can’t think of how the book would smell that strongly otherwise. That’s very rude.

    I wish I were more structured with my kids’ summer activities. I am feeling major burnout. The older one is working 3 days a week but not sure what to do with young son as he doesn’t want to do camps anymore but is too young to work. We do have some summer weekend getaways planned but the day to day stuff is lacking.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Nope! This is mostly a problem with brand new books that we were both on the waitlist for when they were ordered.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh and the obvious answer for kid two is more chores. DC1 is becoming quite good at cooking and both seemed to enjoy their week of menu planning+ordering groceries. Are there other life skills your kids need before going off to college like laundry or vacuuming?

      • First Gen American Says:

        We are a heavy chore family already. They are responsible for all but my mom’s laundry, dishes, mowing, trash, their rooms including bedsheets. They were filling nail holes in our new room yesterday. They drill pressed and installed the pegs in our wide plank floor, despite the daily acitvities, there is still a lot of gaming time. I debate back and forth about how much is too much. My younger one is also super efficient, which I don’t want to penalize with more chores. THey need to read more.

        PS. Looking forward to the Friday travel post. I have lots to say but I’ll save it for Friday.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Looking forward to your comments on Friday!

        Your kids sound great! Maybe they deserve all that gaming time. :)

        That said, we’ve had to limit gaming time because if we don’t our kids just “forget” to do things, so gametime is now only on weekends (and only 2 hours/day for DC1) unless it’s social (minecraft with friends) or family (DH is also playing) time. DC1 has been spending most of hir free time recently composing songs (I really wish I could link to hir sound-cloud because I’m so impressed! But there’s waaaaay too much identifying information on it) and DC2 reads books, does crafts, writes, and does imaginative but messy stuff in hir room.

        I do not have suggestions on how to get kids to read more, though my mom did get a book back when we were younger because my little sister wasn’t as much of a reader as I was and it encouraged comics (which before my mom would *never* buy) and other “junk” reading (so my sister got a subscription to Seventeen magazine which is probably why she can do makeup and I can’t… though also I probably would have gone on a feminist rant about body image after my first issue). Basically the idea is that any reading is good reading so just fill your house with whatever they like to read even if it’s Calvin and Hobbes.

        DC1 is currently rereading all hir Randall Munroe (the XKCD guy)’s books. DC2 gets around 30 books a week give or take, mostly either humor (Jim Benton is HUGE) or a kid or animal saving the world. There are a LOT of books where a kid or animal saves the world. We hit up the library about 2x/week this summer.

        You could also make sure that they have some text-heavy games. Things like Undertale are really stories themselves.

        Maybe I did have some suggestions!

        Maybe I’ll do a How to get kids to read more post one of these days. Because there’s also some really interesting research on intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation on the topic–it’s more complicated than people usually think.

      • First Gen American Says:

        Look forward to your reading post. My older one was a big reader but now it’s all D+D and Anime (which I am good with as it does require a lot of creative thinking and planning). The younger one’s never really liked to read. (he does like comics)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Subs count as reading!

  2. traveling parent query Says:

    I have a query triggered by the mommy forum comments. I have a preschooler, my husband has a stable government job he loves, and we just bought a house in our current city. I have a potential (who knows…academia is a dumpster fire) opportunity which is a short plane ride away. It’s an amazing post in my niche but not a city I’d want to uproot my family to given the lack of comparable job opps for my husband + our love of our current city. It is a very exciting job and might allow me to make a lateral move back eventually. I think given the changes in remote work, I’d need to be in 3 days a week during the semester, and maybe 1 week a month during the summer. Am I bananas for thinking this is totally doable given our financial situation, my husband’s overall competence, etc? I mentioned it on a mom site I read and people thought it would destroy my family, but like, my husband is an equally involved and competent parent, his job is very normal hours, my kid is easy going? Management consultants have kids and I could make up for term time travel with flexibility during the long (not in the US, shorter semesters) summers?

    I thought in your careers, you might have met someone who has done something similar? Did they end up miserable?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I live in a location where it is difficult to solve the two body problem so I know a lot of people who spent 2-3 days/week on campus and the rest working from home. As far as I know their family lives are fine, even those with children. Even those racking up frequent flyer miles. I am unaware of any divorces or delinquent children.

      Mommy forums are pits of toxicity where there is nothing a mother can do that will satisfy.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Oh, and the two in my building that rack up frequent flyer miles say that it is a good idea to get into the habit of using the airport and plane time to get work done. (Which is not something I do! I used to do referee reports then, but more recently I mostly just read novels… maybe now that the pandemic is over I can get back into the habit of reading articles on the plane.)

      • Alice Says:

        Traveling parent query–

        I’m not an academic, but can speak to the travel for work side of things a bit. Early in my career, I worked for a company whose business model involved heavy travel, and when I was pregnant/when our child was younger, my husband’s job required a lot of travel.

        When I was the one traveling, I didn’t have a relationship or a child. Most of the people at the company were single or in relationships but only a scant handful had younger children. The travel was fly onsite early Monday/fly home on Friday afternoon, and videochat wasn’t the thing that it is now. I know one man whose wife and daughter moved to the onsite city with him even though it was a 1-year job because his toddler would forget him while he was away. She’d be shy and hesitant at first on Saturdays and then engaged and joyful on Sundays… and then he’d fly out on Monday morning and it would start all over again. He said the pattern was too heartbreaking for him to continue it. So that’s a negative potential with a very little kid.

        However. When I was pregnant and until my daughter was about 3.5, my husband’s job had him away every other week or every third week, depending on what was going on with his work situation. His travel was usually Sunday-Thursday. We didn’t have the problem of our daughter forgetting him. We did do some videochatting, but not much. I made it a priority to make sure that he and I were communicating, generally via text, every day. And I made sure to send him a lot of photos, particularly while I was home on maternity leave. The travel was hard for him emotionally– he got tired of it and felt like he was missing R&R time that he would’ve had if he was home. But it didn’t wreck our marriage or our family.

        From a family relationships and kid emotional development standpoint, what you’re outlining could be fine for all of you. In my opinion, it could even be good from a gender roles standpoint. For us, my husband’s travel really cemented the Mom Does Everything pattern. With you being the traveler, it might do the opposite. To me, that seems like a good thing. If your husband is already responsible for family logistics or if he’s willing to take them on, this could give your family a level of balance that mine doesn’t have.

        I can’t speak to the financial side of things, but would advise being really thoughtful about your flight timings and keeping a sharp eye on weather forecasts if you get the job. Never book the last possible flight you’d need to catch in order to make it to your first commitment, and if the weather is predicting something big in your home city (blizzard, hurricane, etc.), consider getting to or staying in your work city before it hits. For my husband and myself, the companies had planned and paid for the travel, so if flights were cancelled or if there was a delay, missed time at work was accepted, even if something important was missed. If you’re doing a more DIY traveling for work setup, travel-related flight/weather complications may not be okay in the same way.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Interestingly, the person I know who did this with a preschooler is a woman. The men generally have older kids or no kids. Ironically, he’d just gotten a job in a city near ours when the pandemic hit so she spent 0 time in the department this yer despite being a drive away instead of a flight.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Let me move around some posts– I think I can get this one put up for this Friday’s Ask the Grumpies. (The next 3 Fridays’ posts are really interesting questions, I think! But they’re not time sensitive, hopefully.)

    • CG Says:

      Spouse of a management consultant here. This is doable but in my opinion not desirable. But only you know yourself, your spouse, and your kid! I will just tell you about my experience. DH has been home since the pandemic started and, despite being in the middle of, you know, a global pandemic, I have shed a layer of stress I didn’t know I had. For more than a decade, I could not stay late at work or do any additional work activities outside normal hours, I could not have hobbies that I did outside the home, I was always stressed about how I was going to get one kid here or there while dealing with the other two (or two of them to different places at the same time). We could never be sure spouse would be there for any important event (concerts, birthdays, etc.) even if planned far in advance. If something came up with the client, he had to go. We relied on a patchwork of family and babysitters until they were all in school, but even then we needed some after school care and sometimes things would happen and I’d have to scramble. I was just a little on edge all the time because of the logistics and I was tired all the time because I would come home from work and have to be 100% on with dinner and cleanup and bedtime by myself. I was stressed at work and crankier with the kids than I wanted to be.

      Our situation is different from yours in some obvious ways (and probably in other ways I don’t know). We have three kids, not one, and they’re older now and do lots of activities. They were never in full-time daycare because I didn’t want them to be (NOT judging anyone whose kids are in full time daycare–it was just not the right fit for our particular kids and us). I know other people in my position hired more help than I was willing to do, including in the evenings, and maybe I should have done that differently, but honestly I didn’t want to interact with anyone else in my space at the end of the day. It sounds like your travel would be a lot less in the summer, which would give everyone a significant break that we didn’t have. I was also on the tenure track for a big chunk of this time, which has its own set of major stressors, and your spouse would not be in that situation.

      But. Now that DH has been home for the last year, I can just say that our family runs better with two adults around the majority of the time. At some point he’ll have to travel again, but I’m hoping that since the kids are a full year and half older than they were the last time he had to travel a lot, it will be easier. For example, even the youngest can now be left alone for a while so if I have to take one of them somewhere I don’t have to schlep them all along or hire a babysitter to watch the others.

      I realize this is an earful and very specific to my experience. I would just say to be sure to keep checking in with your spouse and be alert to the possibility that even if they are managing everything (which I did, beautifully, for years) it can come at a cost. Again, your experience may be completely different and lots of people make situations like this work. Just sharing how the whole thing went for us. Good luck to you in making the decision.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        The nice thing about academia is that the days are generally predictable. You can say, request Thursday and Friday as teaching days if occasional faculty meetings are on fridays.

      • CG Says:

        Yes, that would be another key difference between the OP’s situation and ours.

  3. Steph Says:

    I’m curious about the person who chided you for not putting more personal info out there. This has become a generational thing on tumblr and twitter, where it’s expected that you provide a bunch of personal info, triggers, do-not-interact lists, etc. There seem to be a lot of weird reasons for this. Partially because teens & early 20-somethings have this idea that you can never speak about an issue unless you’re a member of the relevant less privileged group, partially because they seem to think that anyone not providing these things is an adult trying to prey on minors, partially it’s a “posting is activism” mentality. It’s bananas to all of us who grew up in the era of never sharing personal info on the internet.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oddly, they did not provide any personal information in return! Though if I had written it down I could tell you their geographic location (since WordPress provides IP addresses).

      • K Says:

        Was it me asking why peeps couldn’t just name the college they attended?
        Probably not…weird if it was.
        I’ve been reading this blog for years and appreciate it! I don’t comment anymore because hate the world.

    • Nanani Says:

      I’m sure the fact that the kids grew up with intrusive admongers like facebook and google “helpfully” linking real names to everything had a role to play as well.
      People can grow up and out of “in group members ONLY” thinking but the normalization of corporations knowing everything is a lot more insidious, I think :/

  4. traveling parent query Says:

    Alice, N&M, that is really helpful! And Alice, the notes on logistics (avoiding the last possible flight, etc) are super smart. I felt a bit silly butting in with my random question, but needed some outside perspective and thought I might find it here. My husband is totally on board with the idea. Things are pretty equal from a house/kid perspective, we have a small house and a weekly cleaner so beyond cooking meals, there isn’t much to do during the week, so I don’t really feel like I’d be lumping him with a total unfair share. He’s the one who drives so he does school dropoffs and pick ups anyways.

  5. nanani Says:

    Oh DC1 and the C++ teacher – I had vaguely hoped such teachers were extinct by now!
    I always hated the kind of teacher who insisted you not use words/techniques/skills not specifically taught by that teacher in that class. So wasteful, and the mind habit -really- trips up a lot of people when they get to post-secondary (if not sooner) and suddenly find that you are not only expected, but required, to use what you learned in calculus for your physics work.

    School is not a video game level that takes away your power ups, and a teacher’s fragile ego about a student knowing more than them is not a good reason to pretend ignorance. Sympathy from an internet stranger!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      In fairness, he was going to teach them loops and arrays, just not yet.

    • Debbie M Says:

      What’s even worse is when the teacher doesn’t really understand the topic, teaches the only method they know, and says all other methods are wrong. This seems especially common in elementary school math. I’ve actually heard teachers say that you can’t subtract a larger number from a smaller number, as if they somehow got through college without ever seeing a negative number. But maybe some of them do.

  6. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    I remember a rando commenter giving me grief over not sharing the sex of my child. My reply: prove you need that information.
    Jerks.

    Thinking about commenters and traveling for work: I only traveled for PF related stuff for a bit and JB and PiC were absolutely fine. I did for him what he does for me when he’s away: prepped some easy meals. They even traveled together to come meet me once. They traveled together for family stuff I didn’t want or couldn’t go to. JB is still only 6 so all this happened with an under 5 kid. People who think somehow only moms can solo parent can go kick rocks.

  7. Bee Says:

    It seems like there’s more pressure for female characters to be good role models. I pretty regularly see posts in the Tumblr writing community that I assume are pushback against that pressure, with people insisting that female characters should be able to make mistakes or do silly things or be mean to others or not have sympathetic reasons for villainous actions, etc, just like male characters.

  8. Leah Says:

    I follow Young House Love on instagram and watch all their stories. I’ve been an avid follower since before their eldest kid was born, so I’ve seen a lot. Sherry has shared on Insta that they are purposely putting up more boundaries. They no longer make the majority of their income from YHL (in fact, I think they mostly now just want to make a little so they don’t have costs in keeping the site up). They are full time freelancers. She is sharing a whole lot less, but I think some weird stuff has happened over the years. For example, people would see her kids out (without the parents) and approach the kids. That’s why they stopped showing their faces and any details. And, even now, people use their kids’ names in comments even tho J&S haven’t used their names for years. Weird stuff like that. There’s a whole big to-do about their current house too, as they’re not sharing floorplans anymore. They previously had shared — I haven’t gone looking to see if they took down all the old stuff. Apparently, people shared their address for the new house (in Florida) online before they even closed on the house. Recently, she showed a hallway people didn’t recognize, and there was so much flipping out in the comments about it — like, how dare there be a part of your house you haven’t shown us.

    I totally understand their need for boundaries. I’m sad, because I really enjoy following along with them. But entitled people have made it hard for them.

    Also, re: the closet . . . he does have a closet in his room. They weren’t using it for him when they first moved in, but they do now. There’s a whole post about how they arranged his closet. Man, internet people are weird.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Internet people are AWFUL. Leave John and Sherry (and especially their kids!) alone!

      • CG Says:

        I’m not on instagram so I don’t really see them anymore, but I did read their blog for years and even emailed them a couple of times about stuff (and both times got very nice personal emails back from Sherry). Agree with all @Leah’s points. Also it seems very common for people to post less about their kids as the kids get older. I don’t blog, but I put much less about my kids on facebook than I used to and I post about one picture of them per year and even question whether or not I should do that. I like Cup of Jo, but wonder if she’s going to want to change how much she shares about details of their family life as her kids get older. Or if they’ll want her to change. Anyway, I wish John and Sherry nothing but the best–they stayed sweet and unpretentious even as they got very successful and they even taught me to lay tile!

  9. Leah Says:

    re: podcasts, I love Every Little Thing. It’s fairly short too and entertaining. I prefer podcasts in the 15-30 minute range (or even shorter), which are hard to find. I don’t have a commute, so I just listen when folding laundry or doing other chores.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      YHL hit a nice spot where I didn’t care if I stopped listening and missed parts. It was just nice and soothing. I shouldn’t be using past tense because I’m still in February and have a few months left before it ends. (I stopped right after Sherry said she was trying to convince John to sell the Pink house and the Richmond house and move to a cottage in Florida! It sounded like a joke at the time but I guess it wasn’t, eh?)

  10. A Says:

    I share DC2’s impression on the gender-competency link for YA fantasy protagonists; and I think it remains true if we restrict to rather modern works. It doesn’t just seem to be “making better choices” specifically, but female protagonists seem to be smarter, have a lot more emotional control and are much less whiny. The trend seems to go beyond YA fantasy, too.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I mean, that seems to reflect reality with most kids (cough), especially the emotional control and whining. Can you imagine Princess Leia being able to do anything if she acted like Luke or had the intelligence of Han?

      I don’t know that’s a good thing to reinforce… maybe Junie B Jones and dear dumb diary are feminist?

      • A Says:

        I agree! Not sure about the impact on girls, but it can’t be good for boys if the fictional role models consist of “loser, but some woman will love him anyway”, “loser, but he is the chosen one” and “superhuman”. “Regular dude who can cope with basic daily life and that is not a big deal” is realy lacking…

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        For women– it would be nice to show that maybe you can achieve even if you occasionally make mistakes or don’t always make the optimal decision based on the information you have.

  11. kt Says:

    Your discussion on privacy & women just reminded me of Sleater-Kinney’s “Was it a Lie?”

    Was she your TV show
    Was she your video
    A woman’s pain never private, always seen
    I want to close my eyes
    I want to cut the wires
    I want a day not made for you to see
    When you play it back to me, it feels more like a parody
    And that’s all I will ever be, it’s all I will ever be

    And that’s from way back in the year 2000!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      So true!

      We should stick to getting our drama from soap operas and bollywood, not real life. But… as one of my libertarian colleagues likes to say ad infinitum, Bread and Circuses. Except women’s pain is a lot of the circus these days (and we’re not really giving bread).

  12. Debbie M Says:

    I enjoyed your Nice Kitty story.

    My favorite way to use overripe bananas is in banana chocolate chip pancakes. My recipe is here: Now I use full-fat yogurt; the original recipe used sour cream. The original recipe also said to whip the egg whites first before gently folding them in. Let’s just say, it’s a very forgiving and delicious recipe. I always double it (4-5 bananas).

    I also like banana nut oatmeal cookies . They use only one banana, though.

    The perfumy fellow reader makes me sad, but also, I wonder if you can now sniff your way to good books.

  13. Turia Says:

    I would love to know what juvenile fantasy DC2 is really liking as my E. (10) is exactly the same. He prefers full world-building rather than ‘our world with a twist’ and he’s burned through so much that I’m finding myself wondering at what stage it would be ok to move on to what I see as entry-level ‘adult’ fantasy (Dragonlance, Shannara, David Eddings). Or if there are good YA fantasy recommendations I’d take those too (although I find sometimes the YA stuff is darker than some adult books).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I cannot recommend those entry-level adult fantasy books as the misogynist suck fairy visited most of them (I know, I know, for a while as a child I wanted to name a daughter Damsen Rhee, though in my defense Eddings was *always* creepy about women)… There’s SO much better stuff out there now! Terry Pratchett and Robert Aspirin (which plays with the misogynist tropes rather than giving into them in his Another Fine Myth series– not thieves world) are much better entry-level adult fantasy options, I think (at least both my kids love them– DC2 keeps sneaking into my room to take more Myth books). Disclaimer: Never read Dragonlance, it may or may not be fine (probably depends on the author and I am so afraid to reread my other Weis and Hickman series in case they also got visited by the suck fairy).

      I’ll gear up an ask the grumpies about this but early on the stuff from Rick Riordin presents (this is him highlighting books written by POC about their mythologies) is a great place to start. Right now DC2 is cranking through (looks at library books checked out) Brandon Mull Five Kingdoms, Erin Hunter Warrior (there are approximately one million of these), Mark Siegel’s 5 worlds series, various Cornelia Funke series (but not all of them), various Jen Calonita series, everything Jim Benton has ever written, various Kathryn Lasky series, the Okay witch, various Katherine Langrish series.

      I can’t really predict what DC2 will like, so what I’ve been doing in the absence of letting hir loose at the library is going to the library webpage and searching “juvenile fiction” and then just getting the first in series and standalones. Then if DC2 likes it, zie tells me and we get more books in that series/by that author.

      • Turia Says:

        E. has read a lot of the Rick Riordan Presents (although it’s hit or miss as to whether he likes them) and all of the Warriors. He loved How to Train Your Dragon, Wings of Fire, Eragon (badgering me to read this last one even though I know I will HATE them which is why I refused to read them back when they were first published) – he likes dragons. He’s one of those kids who really hates having anything recommended to him and sometimes it takes me several rounds of checking out a first book in a series from a library and leaving it in his room for him to discover it (he’s currently on Gregor the Overlander and the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, both of which he loves but refused to read on previous occasions). A bunch on your list are new to me, so I will check them out – thank you!

        E’s read problematic stuff before (Little House on the Prairie as an example) and we talk about what the problems with the book were and unpack why the book was written the way it was. Given E. knows more about residential schools than I do (hurrah for improvements in public education), we spent a lot of time discussing why the Indigenous people were presented in a particular way. I still have an entire shelf of Terry Brooks on my bookcases, so I’m sure he’ll pick them up eventually. I haven’t read Eddings or Dragonlance in decades, but I really really really loved them as a kid/teen. I suspect rereading them as an adult would just make me sad.

        I would love an Ask the Grumpies on this. I get most book recommendations from lurking on a Facebook group for parents of gifted children (the only posts I read are book-related). But he goes through books so quickly I always feel I’m scrambling to keep up.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I already wrote one up! Including a snapshot of what DC2 had checked out from the library at that point in time. :)

        DC2 also loved Keeper of the Lost Cities. Zie just finished the Eragon series, though zie liked the first book much better than the rest of the series. DC2 is also into dragons (but not all books about dragons! some went back unread after the first chapter or read but no thank you I don’t need any more by this author/in this series).

        The problem with Terry Brooks, I think, isn’t so much about overt -isms, but tropes one isn’t even aware of. It might be fun to pair with Diana Wynne Jones’ Tough Guide to Fantasyland because Brooks is nothing if not recycled tropes. (She even has the naked green lady bathing must marry you trope. Which Aspirin plays with with Tanada, though perhaps calling female Trolls Trollups is not the best…)


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