• Books

    Fiction reads…

    A fiction stack this week, with comfort reads thrown in for good measure…things have felt too heavy to really engage with non-fiction, so I gave myself permission to take a break.

    I *did not* like Arms of Deliverance (Tricia Goyer). I own some of her other books, so when I saw this in the used book bin for pennies I figured, ‘why not?’. I kept reading waiting for it to improve, but it never did. Poorly plotted, rushed, and disjointed, verging on devolving to stereotype. It felt like it could have really sung if the characters had had time to breathe.

    I had lent Fair is the Rose (Liz Curtis Higgs)- second in a series- to a friend a long time ago and it never came back home, so I was delighted to find it in a used bin. Which then led to reading the third in the series, Whence Came a Prince. I loved this series when it came out nearly two decades ago now and I still love it (and now own all of them again). Higgs takes the story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel from Scripture and deftly weaves a Scottish tale echoing their story. If you like the Outlander series but get annoyed with all the constant spicy scenes, you’ll really enjoy these books. (And dare I say, better written than the Outlander series, which is starting to feel positively Dickensian in length and plot twists.)

    Picked up Whereabouts (Jhumpa Lahiri) and Our Woman in Moscow (Beatriz Williams) at the library yesterday. Whereabouts was first written in Italian and now translated. Her books always fascinate me, so I am excited to dive in. Our Woman in Moscow is more spy and intrigue. I haven’t read that in awhile (though I secretly savored Tom Clancy novels there for a space), but I started reading the first chapter standing in the stacks and was immediately hooked.

  • Books

    The current stack…

    My current stack of reads. I used to swallow books whole in one or two sittings (I still do that for fiction sometimes), but now I find myself reading much slower, savoring, thinking, scribbling things down. The running thread through these, I think, is the question of culture care- how do I care for my neighbors, here, across the street, around the world? How do I engage with the world now as a disabled person with a chronic illness?

    What have you been reading lately?

  • Books

    Restored hope…

    “…I hope that simple love and truth will be strong in the end. I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.”

    -David Copperfield

    I have been reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens of late, as much as out of a desire to return to more meaty fare as to correct a defect of my education as an English major. I avoided him; I hated both A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist with almost equal measure. It really is a pity that those are put forth as his best, as the more I’ve read of him the more I feel that those two are actually his worst. I also read Little Dorrit earlier in the summer. I want to read Bleak House next, as my fellow friends have told me it is by far and away their favorite. David has been good for me though. His comments upon his life, his upbringing, his early adult years- they have all given me ‘thoughts to Think” as Pooh says. I find that David’s words (as performed by none other than the highly talented Richard Armitage on the audio book when I am in the car) have slowly given me back my humanity, which I’m afraid was becoming sorely out of shape and twisted lately. Restored my hope in people, I guess you could say, in spite of, or because of, their failings. Dickens is so gentle and yet truthful with characters of all stripes. He reminds me of Austen in that way.


  • Books

    Summer reads…


    If you can’t tell already, I have taken full advantage of the quiet summer months, reading like I was running out of air. I feel like my adult brain is finally firing back on all cylinders. Interestingly enough, I’ve been a serial, monogamous reader for as long as I can remember- one book at time. Start to finish. This summer though, I’ve been reading and thinking my way through all of these books in a very non-serial way. I’ve tended to pick up the one that most closely matches my mood and thought processes at the moment. I guess it helps that two of them are essay collections, so they lend themselves well to non-monogamous reading. I wonder if it’s a trend that’ll hold? That being said, I haven’t finished any of these in total, but what I’ve read of each has been just what I needed at the time. So, so good.

    1./ Art of the Commonplace
    2./ Food, Faith, and Fasting
    3./ Following A Sacred Path
    4./ Roots & Sky
    5./When I Was A Child I Read Books


  • Books,  the learning arts,  wonder and inquiry

    Fill er’ up…


    A few homeschooling reads I re-visited this summer. Teaching from Rest should be one of those that you re-read anytime you start to feel the walls closing in, not just once a year in the summer!

    1./ Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path

    This came out early last summer, and it was so inspiring. Re-reading this year, I’ve been reminded again to look at the overall picture of our schooling days and years. I’m so excited about Heather and Ben’s collaboration, Home Grown Education.

    2./A Mother’s Rule of Life

    It’s good on all levels, but I was specifically re-visiting this one for scheduling considerations as we move into the new year. Our rhythm has really changed over the last year and needed tweaking. Jen Mackintosh’s planning posts are also super helpful!

    3./Teaching from Rest

    If you read no other “homeschooling” book, make it this one. Worth its weight in gold. Revisit as often as needed, whenever needed. (Circe Institute’s Restful Teaching seminar is a close second!)

    4./The Well-Trained Mind

    I hadn’t picked this up in a long while (and it’s obviously an older edition) but since we use so much of Susan’s curriculum for history, it was nice to check back in. I think everyone should read an edition of this, regardless of whatever eclectic homeschooling style you may choose to go with- it’s just a really good, solid reference to refer to when needed.

    5./Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home (out of print)

    Elizabeth wrote this many, many moons ago. I thought I had lost my copy, actually! But it was a good re-read. If you aren’t familiar with Montessori type approaches for young ones, it’s a great place to start. She blends a lot of Charlotte Mason in too. It holds up to the test of time. Good luck finding a copy!

    Part of the continuing series, Wonder and Inquiry.