The merry month of May is half over already. Still, for those who like to know what I’ve been up to in books, here are those I finished in April.
- The Little Duke by Charlotte Yonge. Though my children have read this book, it is one of Yonge’s books I have not read. I had no doubt the writing would be excellent, but, in her usual way, she drew me again into a story. Like all excellent historical fiction, I forgot I was reading about real people and real events, I got so caught up in the intrigue and danger besetting this beloved little Duke. His character flaws and strengths were realistically presented and it left me curious to research more about this Norman hero.
- A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. These essays and reflections gave a vivid picture of Wisconsin near the middle of the twentieth century. The commentary was priceless, especially his pleading concern for protection of our precious environment long before the modern day groups have clamored for attention. This book made me homesick for Michigan. Leopold is a skillful writer whose simple observations of nature are an inspiration for my own.
- The Yeats Reader: A Portable Compendium of the Poetry, Drama, and Prose of William Butler Yeats ed. Richard J. Finneran. I have been reading through this collection of writings since last October. I find it illuminating to read the works of one author over time, and especially his personal letters and essays about the birth of his published literature. Yeats’s fascination with Irish lore and investigation into the homes of old-timers to relate the stories of their life of fairies and fancies made me feel that all the past is not lost to us. His poetry speaks to me.
- What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. Again, living with children from a former century is instructive. Katie reminded me of some of my children, but mostly myself. Her headstrong, impetuous, and often thoughtless approach to life was dramatically redirected in this simple story of motherless children whose unappreciated aunt and hardworking father were seeking to guide. It is a story for children who love Louisa Alcott, L. M. Montgomery, and Kate Wiggins stories. No need to point the morals out to your children—they will show themselves to them loud and clear.
- Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. I read a portion of this in a literature anthology in “Western World Literature” in college. Wharton’s writing is as smooth as silk and as vivid as a movie for the imagination. I have thoroughly enjoyed her other novels and, though friends said this was a depressing one, I found it to be life giving. Charlotte Mason said nothing instructs us like novels, and this is a good teacher and great tale.
For the joy of reading,