Here is my regular report of the books I finished reading last month. I usually have six to ten going at a time and divide them into specific days, much as we do our children’s dozen to two dozen books for school lessons. Every day I read the Bible, poetry, and Charlotte Mason, then two other kinds of reading. The first is usually philosophy, science, biography, a children’s novel, or history. The other daily book is my current novel, saved for evenings when I am unwinding from days, which of late, are far too full for my comfort.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I have read this novel before for a lit class in my senior year of high school. I have felt all my life that I did not give it the attention it deserved, probably rushing through assigned passages and confused by names and plot sequences. This time I gave my full attention and was thrilled to realize that I actually had remembered quite a bit of it, but this time through, after over 40 years perspective, it was much more meaningful. This novel is a powerful story on many levels—considering sin and redemption for one, the power of love, and also the influences of society, education, our conscience, and reason.
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. I don’t read lots of current literature, but enjoyed this novel very much. The author is a strong storyteller, uses beautiful images in his writing, and the historic details are fascinating. It is a World War II love story of characters from all levels of society. War and its chaos blurs the separating dividing lines. This story wevaes the lives of socially privileged girls, working class and ordinary people, and the treatment of blacks in that era. The romance is believable, the danger and fear of war on the home front and the battle front bring suspense and a fresh look at the thoughts and hearts of those who fought in both settings. Worth reading for adults and mature high schoolers.
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron. If your kids have run out of science fiction or fantasy reading, this first in a series is perfect for most first to eighth graders. I wasn’t prepared to enjoy it as much as I did since fantasy is not my first choice. Cameron wrote this book at the request of her own son (who stars as the main character) back in the 1950’s, when we were all obsessed with space travel. It is both fun and informative, the perfect ingredients to hold a child’s attention.
Parnassus on Wheels by Andrew Morley. Nancy Kelly had mentioned this fun book and it was just the ticket when I was stressed. Naturally I loved the idea of peddling books around the country to get books into the hands of people who wouldn’t otherwise read, and this was the mission of the man who sold his traveling book rig to a restless farm woman. That was when her adventures began and I laughed through them all. I also discovered some quote sources I first received from a George Grant lecture on reading.
Parents and Children by Charlotte Mason. This book, with Home education (volume I) should be the incessant source of nourishment for all Charlotte Mason educators at home. I just keep digging out more riches and suggest that any time you moms are discouraged about homeschooling, you turn to chapter 25 and read it again.
The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera. This book was full of surprises. There is nothing unusual about a single woman in a novel seeking a job as a private librarian for a wealthy family. It is full of village life, teas, and conversations. That is about where the similarity with hundreds of other novels ends. Miss Prim is a thoroughly modern woman who unwittingly steps into another world where secularism and modernity have been challenged and found wanting. As Miss Prim is drawn into their beautiful way of life, she has to come to grips with all her presuppositions about education, marriage, economy, and just about everything else she has taken for granted as normal. Teatime chats and growing friendships shake up her perspective and, though there is romance, there are other intriguing ideas to draw in the reader. This is a good book for high school girls and their mothers.
For the joy of reading,