Oh my God, girls! Did you grow up on Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy?
It is the 50th anniversary of Harriet –1964: The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and Harriet the Spy!–and you can now buy an anniversary edition of this children’s classic, which “includes tributes by Judy Blume, Meg Cabot, Lois Lowry, Rebecca Stead, and many more, as well as a map of Harriet’s New York City neighborhood and spy route…”
Harriet was my favorite heroine. As many of you know, she is a writer. She takes her notebook with her everywhere and writes down exactly what she thinks about friends and enemies.
She writes of Pinky Whitehead, a pale, thin weak boy who annoys her:
MY MOTHER IS ALWAYS SAYING THAT PINKY WHITEHEAD’S WHOLE PROBLEM IS HIS MOTHER. I BETTER ASK HER WHAT THAT MEANS OR I’LL NEVER FIND OUT. DOES HIS MOTHER HATE HIM? IF I HAD HIM I’D HATE HIM.
And of her friend Janie, who wants to blow up the world:
JANIE GETS STRANGER EVERY YEAR. I THINK SHE MIGHT BLOW UP THE WORLD.
When her classmates get ahold of her notebook at recess, they read it aloud and shun her. How can she win them back? She only said what she thought…
As you can see, my edition is rather tatty, but it is still readable. This is one of my favorite children’s books, though I hadn’t thought of it in years. I won’t buy the anniversary copy, but I liked it so much as a child that I insisted on wearing boys’ sneakers like Harriet.
AND FOUR LINKS.
1. At the Barnes and Noble Review, Heller McAlpin writes about Eugenie Grandet, “Does anyone read Balzac for pleasure?” Well, yes, we do. Here is the link to what I wrote about Eugenie Grandet last year.
2. At The Huffington Post, Claire Fallon writes, “These ‘Nice Guy’ Book Characters Aren’t Really That Nice.” My problem with this article: Two of her 10 examples are from Jane Austen, and two more from Shakespeare. Doesn’t she read any other books?
What do you think? Are these characters nice or not? (I think some of them really are.)
3. Locus, a science fiction magazine, announces Karen Joy Fowler has been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award for her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Fowler, best known for The Jane Austen Book Club, is widely known for her science fiction. Thumbs up to PEN/Faulkner for nominating this.
4. And, finally, here are favorite paintings of women reading at The Sleepless Reader.