Scattershot Thoughts on a Frantic Monday

Though it was written in 1963, years before I was born, one of my favorite Beverly Cleary novels has always been Sister of the Bride. I related to it very much, as the youngest of three sisters. And now I’m making frantic phone calls and arranging menus, and trying to get my sister to speak English, I realize that only twenty or so years later, I’m living my favorite Cleary novel… the arguments, the drama, the sneaking thoughts that my sister would be better off single… Two more weeks. Yes. This is going to be fun. Let’s all say it together: FUN!

More fun — real fun, this time — to be found at Book Divas. From Sept 27 to October 11, you can leave any question you want for e. lockhart, and she’ll actually answer! How rad is that!? Check out the dates for other YA authors with whom you might want to chat. What a neat and fun opportunity! Also via e. lockhart’s blog I’ve just found out that there’s a NEW JACLYN MORIARTY NOVEL due out October 1st. If you’ve never read Feeling Sorry for Celia or The Year of Secret Assignments, now is the time to check those out. Though the new novel is a stand-alone, it takes place at the same school. I am hoping this newest novel involves letters as well! And speaking of great Aussie writers, Nick Earls, with whom you may not be familiar, is highlighted in an interview. If you haven’t read any of his books, you’ll find them funny and heartening; stories about flawed young men and their truly good hearts, despite their truly odd behavior.

I don’t usually write about the non-fiction I read, but since my undergrad degree is in 19th century British and American literature… I had to give a shout-out to old William Blake. A sort of crazy, maybe sane, possibly delusional poet and visionary, Blake‘s life and poetry is highlighted in a nonfiction book for Young Adults that actually sounds like it’d be great reading for adults, too. Beyond “Tiger, tiger, burning bright,” there was a bit more to the man. Check it out.

And, to my mind, this is both exciting and worrisome: There’s a new Tolkien book in town. CNN reports that Tolkien’s son has finished a book his father began and abandoned in 1918, and it will come out next Spring through Houghton Mifflin.

Wouldn’t you hate for someone to be digging through your computer files for all of the story fragments you’ve begun and abandoned, to be published posthumously? What kind of critical reading could anyone give these works? Will readers be mostly reading Tolkien senior, whose work we know and love, or Tolkien Junior, trying to guess what his father intended, and to imitate that voice? And one wonders if, like in the case of C.S. Lewis, specific injunctions against certain usages, and making the estate and the private writings of this author were given, and are being ignored. … I cringe when I recall that Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson destroyed many of their letters and early manuscripts, firmly, decisively wanting no one to take that part of their private lives and make them public. We have lost a lot with their decisions… but maybe what is gone was never ours to lose.

Happy International Literacy Day!

About the author

tanita s. davis is a writer and avid reader who prefers books to most things in the world, including people. That's ...pretty much it, she's very boring and she can't even tell jokes. She is, however, the author of eight books, including Serena Says, Peas & Carrots, and the Coretta Scott King honored Mare's War. Look for the new MG, Partly Cloudy in 9/2021 from Katherine Tegen Books.


  1. Truly: we’ve lost what was never ours. “But we just want to love them,” you say? Umm … don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re dead. You can’t love them any more … at least, not so’s they’d notice. But you can HONOR their memory by respecting their wishes.

    Keep in mind that the disgusting son of JRR already went and published something which was never intended for public consumption: The Silmarilion. I have strong words for the little parasite, I tell you. And for Frank Herbert’s son & his attempts at fiction. Bleh.

  2. It does kind of seem like they’re trying to cash in on a legacy. I have mixed feelings about that. Finishing something your father started, then selling it? Whose genuis are we paying to see? His or Papa’s? A lot of the stories I never finished? Were for a good reason. A VERY good reason.

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