Friday, March 20, 2009


Some reading I've been doing lately:

  • The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living by John Zmarik. I occasionally read this guy's stuff when he's linked to Mark Shea's blog. He is hysterically funny! This is a surprisingly educational book that had me hooting loudly quite freqently. But you learn a lot about Catholicism on the way. And he and his co-author (Stephanie somebody) have great suggestions for how to celebrate feast days. I give it two thumbs up!
  • Sylvester by Georgette Heyer. For some reason this particular novel didn't grab me the way other Heyer books have. I can't even remember the plot. Of course all her plots are very similiar anyway so they tend to fuse together in my very poor memory.
  • These Old Shades by George Heyer. Okay, this one had a very improbable plot with the same ole characters and yet it worked wonderfully. I think because the dialogue was so good and I really loved the character of Leonie. Read this once, as soon as I finished I read it again and have been picking it up and reading parts of it at random. Fun and touching book.
  • To Build a Fire by Jack London. We've read a couple of short stories for our literature class. I went through a Jack London phase in my younger years. He was a great story-teller. This is a gem of story. I enjoyed revisiting it very much. Hannah couldn't get over how depressing it was, but I thought it was so well-crafted that I enjoyed it just for the sheer power of its prose.
  • A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner. Creepy story. Until I discussed it with the teens I didn't realize how removed they are from any sense of Southern Culture. How did I intuit all that stuff about Southern class culture and manners, etc, myself, growing up? Must have been from reading Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird and the like. So I had to explain the premise to them because it went right over their heads. Hannah made a connection between Miss Emily and the lady in Great Expectations who was jilted on her wedding day. I thought that was pretty astute; these fragile women, trapped and overprotected by their social status and the rigors of an artificial and highly formal way of dealing with others, become so brittle they can not break out of it once their hearts are crushed and instead resort to insanity.
  • We are just starting My Antonia which I am looking forward to.
  • I've started reading The Splendor of Home by Thomas Howard. I've only gotten a couple chapters in but it is very profound and inspirational. I need more of that lately!
  • Still chugging through Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict with my homeschooling moms book club. Need to finish reading Chapter 4 on The Sermon on the Mount.
  • Started reading Ignatius Schuster's Bible History, published by TAN books. This is a very old fashioned retelling of Bible stories with some Catholic theology thrown in. The language is rather antiquated and quaint with big, old-fashioned words and sentence structures. Sean has been writing a book with his friend Joseph and they quarrel (gently ) about writing styles. Sean is very taken with language suddenly and prefers a more poetic and vivid approach. Joseph is more modern and 'tell it like it is' in his style. So Sean is lapping up all the language. I can almost see him taking it in like a sponge just sucking up water! I think also the epic-like story telling in the Prydain Chronicles is also having an influence. Rick is up to Taran Wanderer now, the 4th book in the series of 5. Sean is thoroughly captivated by it.

No comments: