Eight Childrens Libraries that make you wish you were a kid again



Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough

Bittersweet is the story of two sets of twins who are half sisters (different mothers).  In order to escape their suffocating mother/step-mother, all four enroll in the local hospital nursing program in the late 1920′s in Australia.  We follow them over seven years, each one having a very different personality and approach to life.  There are ups and downs (hence the Bittersweet of the title), including the Great Depression. By the finish of the book, each is settled on their life pathway.

I looked forward to reading this book but was sadly disappointed.  It’s a slow read and I kept putting it down and then picking it back up later.  At times, I contemplated not finishing it at all.  The problem is that we don’t really get to know the four women and McCullough tells us rather than letting us into each character’s thoughts.  There is also way too much time spent on the local head of the hospital with political ambitions.  It really almost becomes his book because of the time spent on his story.  Additionally, there is a ton of time spent on the medical and political situation in Australia at this time.

I loved The Thorn Birds and The Ladies of Missalonghi but, in my opinion, Bittersweet is not McCullough’s best book.  I give it two stars out of five.



Childhood favorites

I read on a blog post elsewhere that Nancy Drew turns 84(!) this year.  Like many, I read all of these books when I was a child and loved them.  Nancy was a role model:  she had her own car and was really smart.  She was even smarter than her father, “world famous criminal defense attorney Carson Drew.”  It was Nancy and the Hardy Boys who started my love of mysteries.  To this day, I read more mysteries than any other type of book.  It’s fun to figure out “whodunnit.”

Other childhood favorites are Anne of Green Gables, Betsy Ray of the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace and Sue Barton.  When I reflect on these characters, I see that they all have something in common: they are bright and want careers other than being a housewife. Most of them lived in times when women were not encouraged to work out of the home so they were unusual.  In the Betsy-Tacy series, Betsy’s parents encourage her to become a writer and she even spends a year travelling in Europe.  Her sister becomes an international opera singer.  This in the time period between 1910-1920.  Almost unheard of!

As a child of the fifties and a teen in the sixties, it’s probably not surprising that these were my favorites.  It was such a time of change for women and they all would have fit right in!


5 Amazing Libraries You Must Visit

Check these out in this article from the Huffington Post:



Your Library Your Voice

This is the name of the campaign for the new Christchurch New Zealand central library.  Every person was able to give their input on important issues such as What’s Most Important? and How Would You Use the Library?  There were also several short surveys that could be filled out.  Here’s the link to the website where you can read what people had to say:  yourvoice.ccc.govt.nz/your-library-your-voice

This is just one example of how you can gain input from your community.