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July Links Roundup
Including Birds, a Bear, and Books
Welcome to the July links roundup! Before we jump into the links, I have a reading story for you in honor of the summer reading season.
I recently bought a set of classic books for children from Costco. I’m always looking for more books to read to my kids at bedtime and I figured this abridged set of classics would give them a good baseline on the stories. Plus it is easy to just throw stuff into your cart at Costco on a whim.
I decided to let my elementary-aged kids trade off picking one out to read at bedtime and the first one they chose was Oliver Twist.
I’m not sure I ever read the book but I do remember watching the musical as a kid and liking it, although the main thing I remember is the famous “Can I have some more, please” scene. So we start reading and it turns out, Oliver Twist is pretty dark, and although these books are abridged and marketed as “children’s classics,” they are not really editing out any of the abuse, shootings, and many deaths.
It’s maybe not the best thing to read at bedtime. I’m not sure if the movie musical I’m remembering was just as dark and I blocked those parts out of my memories? Probably.
The next couple of books my kids selected didn’t get much better: Treasure Island (several murders), Call of the Wild (animal abuse), and Robinson Crusoe (in which kids can learn about a fun new word: cannibalism).
At this point, as my kids are selecting the next book a standard question becomes, “How many people die in this one?” When we get to Little Women I explain that one person is going to die but since that is a lot less than previous books they seem unconcerned.
So we read Little Women and the book ends with a happy Christmas scene and no one dies! That’s right, they abridged down to just the first half of the story (which my googling later told me was actually just the first volume originally).
I am confused about the abridgment choices in this particular collection. They couldn’t cut down on some of the violence in Oliver Twist but did cut out the death of a character in Little Women?
But I guess the moral of the story is to proceed with caution on reading the classics and throwing items into your cart at Costco.
On a different note, if you are looking for non-classic entertainment my kids have been listening to and enjoying the Spy School book series on audio this summer and it has allowed me to get some writing done, so I recommend it.
Funny stuff and other distractions:
Book: I recently finished Jena Friedman’s book Not Funny and despite its title it is funny (Isn’t it ironic?). I liked reading about her career as a comedian and humor writer.
Short humor: Humor pieces about birds frequently make me laugh, so I appreciated this one from Points in Case.
TV: I finished Season 2 of The Bear this month and really enjoyed it. I thought they did some good character development this season and liked the look into the fine-dining world. And yes, I also made a version of the omelet.
Summer recipe: I was intrigued but somewhat hesitant to try this tomato sandwich recipe from Cup of Jo, but I did try it and liked it. It feels very summery.
Humor writerhas a great Substack where she interviews humor writers. I particularly appreciated this one with writer Rachel Keller. I liked Rachel’s Stephen King piece when it came out and liked hearing its origin story.
- is an author, entrepreneur, and overall amazing book person who has tons of great resources for readers and writers. She rounded them up in this helpful post.
I was curious about how books end up on TV shows, so I found this piece interesting.
I got on the latest Twitter copycat bandwagon and joined Threads (I’m @julievickwriter there). I like it so far and it feels to me like a more viable Twitter replacement than some of the other options.
News from me:
Substack: I am a fan of the “What to Read If” Substack by, so it was fun to get to do a book recommendation for it. I have gotten some great reading recs from the newsletter and suspect you will too.
Short humor: I had a new piece of family camping humor go up at McSweeney’s this month and it held the top spot in their trending list for a bit. It also got shouted out in the Newsletter of Humorous Writing, which I always like reading for funny stuff and humor writing tips.
Humor markets list: I recently updated part II of a Humor Writing markets list I put together a few years back. Here is the friend link to it that gets you around the paywall. And you can find the first part here.
Humor class: There are still some spots in my Humor Writing 101 virtual class for Lounge Writers in September. If the timing doesn’t work for you, you can also get a recording of the class. Get more details here.
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