We have a lot of cool toy that we can thank the 1960s for. Many of these you may still have in your house now! Check it out!
So many GREAT toys! So much FUN! Which do you have? Which did you enjoy when you were a kid?
And, just for a fun bonus, check out this TV ad for Chatty Cathy (and keep your eyes open for Marcia Brady):
My mom loves liver and onions. I know this because she cooked them for us more than a few times when I was a kid, making our house smell like a dirty penny.
I, obviously, do not love liver and onions. I know this because I ate them when my mom cooked them. Sometimes the flavor made me cry because I found it so abhorrent.
See above comment about dirty pennies.
At one point in my life, I questioned my mom’s soundness of mind. How is it possible for someone to actually love liver and onions? Had her tastebuds been damaged by some freak hot coffee accident?
I believed with the whole of my existence that something was dreadfully wrong with her to make her adore such a vile meal.
Now, though, I’m not so sure that it’s a black and white as that.
Don’t get me wrong. I still think liver is one of the most horrific food items. It’s up there with cow tongue and bologna. But this is an opinion, not a fact.
A fact is something that is true and can be proven. An opinion is how I think of, feel about, or perceive something. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, but a matter of preference.
It’s a matter of taste.
De gustibus non est disputandum. There’s no accounting for taste.
In other words, matters of preference are not debatable.
The other day I finished listening to an audiobook that I didn’t care for. The writing was good, the imagery vivid, the literary elements spot on. But I just couldn’t manage to care about a single character.
It wasn’t my flavor.
But, I noticed on Goodreads that several of my friends LOVED it. They gave that book rave reviews.
It obviously WAS their flavor.
For a minute I wondered if I’d missed something. If maybe I was wrong in my opinion. But then I remembered that there’s no accounting for taste.
See, authors can’t write books that everybody will like. That’s just not possible. So we focus on a specific type of reader. And, in writing for those people, we offer the very best book that we can.
We refine the flavor of what we serve, happy when it’s to the liking of our readers.
And just like I let my mom have all the liver and onions she wants, filling my plate instead with the white meat of a turkey (which she’s not altogether fond of), I leave my reader friends to books they love while I enjoy stories I can adore.
In doing so, we all get what fits our needs most.
So, when it came time to research for All Manner of Things I just HAD to know what books my characters might read. I found that some of my favorite books were published in the 1960s.
What follows is just a sampling of what released from 1960-1969, all of which I’ve read. I hope you find a few great books to add to your to-read pile!
What have I missed? What are some of your favorite books to come out of the 1960s? I’d love to add to my book list!
I’ll admit it. I’m late to the game.
For years, friends have been talking about audiobooks, recommending that I give them a try. But stubborn old me refused. I said that they weren’t for me. I shrugged them off.
Then I got a new car.
And that car has a bluetooth thingamabobber that allows me to stream from my phone.
“Maybe I’ll try one audiobook,” I thought, installing the CloudLibrary app from my local library.
Once I started, I got hooked. I can listen to books while I drive, clean the house, exercise. It’s this nerd girl’s dream come true!
But then, after listening to my 9th audiobook this year, I realized something amazing.
Listening to audiobooks is making me a better writer.
Wanna know how?
I’m glad that I (finally) took my friends’ advice and added audiobooks to my day. It’s a great use of my time.
Oh! And this is a massively shameless plug, but…
Did you know that the Pearl Spence books are now available for audiobook readers? A Cup of Dust and A Trail of Crumbs released recently and A Song of Home releases on March 12.
If you are an Audible member you can download them from Amazon. If you prefer a disc check them out on the Oasis site. Or you can request that your local public library make them available. In fact, that’s more helpful than you’ll ever know.
So, what audiobooks have you enjoyed? Which should I add to my list?
Yesterday we learned the sad news that Peter Tork of The Monkees passed away at the age of 77. In honor of my personal favorite Monkee I’m devoting this post to some fun facts about this goofy band from the 1960s (and 70s).
Their first four albums (The Monkees, More of the Monkees, Headquarters, and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones Ltd) were released between October, 1966 and November, 1967. Each hit #1 on the charts.
While the theme song for their hit television show is recognizable around the world, it never managed to get in the top 5.
Peter Tork was the only one of the band who actually played an instrument on the first two Monkees records. Even then, he only played guitar for one of the songs. Instead, a studio band covered the instrumentals.
Davy Jones was on The Ed Sullivan Show the same night at The Beatles’ first appearance. Davy performed a number from Olive Twist.
Jimi Hendrix Experience opened for The Monkees for seven shows before he left the tour. Maybe wasn’t the very best fit…
David Jones changed his last name to Bowie so as not to be confused with Davy Jones.
The fellas even had a series of comic books based on them!
According to Rollingstone, Daydream Believer is the fan favorite Monkee song. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite Monkee song? Did you watch the show when you were a kid or read the comic book? Who is your favorite Monkee?
Last week I had the following conversation with one of my 10 year old boys.
Him: Hey, Mom. I think I’m going to write about an author who wrote a Dust Bowl novel for my Oklahoma state report.
Me: Oh, buddy! You’re going to write about A Cup of Dust?
Him: Well, no. I’m going to write about Steinbeck.
Me: But…I’m your mother!
Him: Steinbeck’s more famous.
Me: Yowch! Betrayed! By my own child!
Him: Sorry. He’s just a bigger name for my report.
Now, for my kids, having a mom who writes books is normal. It’s no more exciting than having a mom who teaches or manages an office or is a nurse. In fact, they (rightfully) think moms who have those jobs are amazing!
Having a mom who writes?
It’s just regular for them.
You know what? I’m cool with that. It doesn’t bother me. In fact, I’m glad that they see my job as — well — just a job.
Besides, my boy is right. Steinbeck is more famous. He’s a bigger name. He won all kinds of awards and pretty much owned the bestseller lists in his day. He made bank from royalties and translations and movie deals.
I’m not as famous as Steinbeck.
And that’s all right by me.
Because I’m who I was created to be doing the work I’ve been given to do. I’m not John Steinbeck. I’m Susie Finkbeiner.
I’m a wife. A mom. A novelist. In that order.
But more than that, I’m a child of God.
I know. I KNOW! I’m late to Valentine’s Day. But isn’t everyday a good day for some gushy, smooshy love songs?
Sure it is!
And the 1960s had a whole super ton of them. So, let’s have ourselves a little listening party here with a few of my favorites. I’m limiting myself to 5 because I could make this the longest post EVER.
Which songs am I missing? What would you add to our listening party?
I could add so many more. In fact, I should probably make this a series. There are just SO many great love songs from the sixties. What would you add?
It can sometimes be a temptation to gravitate toward books authored by writers who look like us or who we perceive to have had a similar life experience. It’s easy, comfortable, safe.
But when we do that we stunt ourselves emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. This is why over the past few years I’ve been striving to reach for books by authors of different ethnicities, origins, and backgrounds from mine.
I’d love to encourage you to do the same!
To help celebrate Black History Month, I’m going to feature some books by black authors that I recommend and which are on my to-read list.
Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan is one of the most important books I’ve read. It’s also one of the most emotionally and spiritually difficult. Eye opening and heartbreaking, this collection of short stories accurately portrays the state of many living in modern day Africa. Each story is compelling and written with dignity. It’s a book that I plan to read again and again.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is one of the most inventive, creative, out of the box books I’ve read. In it, Whitehead imagines the famed Underground Railroad as more than just a code for the path to freedom, but an actual railroad. It’s a read well deserving of the awards it won.
Zora & Nicky is one of the first Christian novels I read. Claudia took a lot of risks in writing this story. Written with vulnerability, grace, and beautiful prose, it’s a great option for lovers of Christian fiction.
One of the many great American novels, Their Eyes Were Watching God is among the first novels published with a strong black female protagonist. In fact, it’s for this reason that it fell out of print for decades before being rereleased in the late 1970s.
All the Colors We Will See by Patrice Gopo is a collection of essays about community, marriage, society, mercy, and faith. It’s beautifully written and conceived with the greatest of love for the reader. Gopo has a profound way of seeing the world and I’m grateful for it.
Jesmyn Ward’s style brings to mind the best of Southern writing. Sing, Unburied, Sing a difficult story, a heartbreaking one. But it was written with accuracy, lyric narrative, and hope.
I’ve heard many good things about An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.
Recommended highly by my daughter, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly is high up on the to-read list.
The Hate U Give is soon to be released as a movie. I hope to read it before then!
Have I missed any of your favorites? Please post titles in the comments. I’m always happy to receive a good recommendation!
We Americans love our Westerns. There’s just something about the battle between good and evil fought by two gunslingers on the dusty road outside the saloon with Miss Kitty (because there’s always a Miss Kitty) rooting for the good guy (for whom she secretly holds a flame).
The good guy wins. The bad guy dies in the dirt like a dog. And everybody gets their own horse.
Yeah. Here in the old U.S. of A. we sure enjoy our Westerns. In fact, the 1960s saw a huge flux of Western movies and TV shows. The demand for this genre was so huge that film makers in other countries took up the mantel and made their own! One of the most popular such film maker was Sergio Leone of Italy.
Yup. That’s right. Italy. And Italian made Westerns were given an interesting name: Spaghetti Westerns.
At first, these Italian made movies were received by American critics with much criticism. They were made with lower budgets than their American counterparts with dubbed over English (most of the movies were filmed in Italian). They “borrowed” story lines from other, already released movies (oopsy) and some just felt like their genre was being infringed upon.
But a few of them have stood the test of time and are now considered classics. Films like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Django are still well loved by film lovers.
In fact, the style of Spaghetti Westerns can be seen to have influenced Quentin Tarantino in films such as Kill Bill, Django Unchained, and Inglorious Basterds
(Note: All of these Tarantino flicks are rated R and contain all kinds of rated R language, violence, etc. Now you know)
But what I love most about Spaghetti Westerns was how much my Grandma Pearl enjoyed them. She’d get all wrapped up in the drama, the drastic camera angles, the intense close-ups of a young Clint Eastwood’s face.
They’re just one more pop culture treasure that we can thank the 1960s for.
If you enjoy reading about all things 1960s, consider following my blog. Each Friday I feature something fun and unique from the era. Also, check out All Manner of Things releasing this June. Preorder available now!
February is Black History Month and while I encourage readers to add diversity to their reading list all year long, this is a good month to start!
This week I’d like to high light books by black authors that my kids and I have greatly enjoyed and a few that I’m planning to read aloud to them in the coming months.
Please note: These books may be classified as children’s literature, but every single one is great for adult readers too.
Jesus Power by Tonja Lynae-Gofoe Moyer and illustrated by Piper Adonya is a beautifully realized picture book about about the abilities we have through the Holy Spirit. Uplifting, hopeful, and artistic, this book makes for a great gift.
I have three words for lovers of middle grade fiction. Christopher. Paul. Curtis. Easily one of my favorite living authors, Curtis gives us some of the most vividly written characters in kids’ lit. Readers don’t even know that they’re getting a history lesson as they read the stories. CPC writes true, tender, and tenacious. My favorite? All of them. You cannot go wrong with Curtis.
You may have read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry when you were in school. Let me encourage you to give it another read as an adult. You’ll catch so much that you missed the first time. You’ll remember images that you’d forgotten when you were younger. I plan to introduce this classic to my kids this year. And I know that it will break my heart all over again.
Two summers ago the kids and I read One Crazy Summer. This sister story made us laugh, tear up, and really look into the history of the Civil Rights era. We hope to read the rest of the series this year some time.
I have two boys who are major sports fans so I know that Kwame Alexander’s Crossover Series is a good bet for them. And get this. They’re novels written in poetry. So…I can get my boys into POETRY! I feel like this is a major win. This series is on our list for Spring and Summer.
Recommended by a friend, Piecing Me Together is the kind of book I’m chomping at the bit to read with my kids. It’s about a girl who overcomes, which is a value I like in just about anything I read.
I love a story about how creativity can change the world for the better, and that’s the kind of true story William Kamkwamba shares in his memoir The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Great for kids who prefer nonfiction, stories about other cultures, and for families to share. This book will make hope spring in your heart.
Have you read any of these books? Would you add any to my list? I’m always happy to take a good recommendation!
Keep your eyes open for a list of adult books to add to your list next week.