Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday with Words: Thoughts about Reading

I have gotten sucked into google books - again.  I spent one night looking at old Latin primers and found a few that I saved years ago on my own computer - who knew??  I also rediscovered Eva March Tappan.  She had a fairly bold vision to bring a narrative history alive for young readers.  I think I might read her book aloud to my oldest next year for history.  She starts with Homer and runs up to Napoleon. She also has an American Hero books which looks at Americans that weren't political figures. I think it certainly qualifies as a "living book" - a single author who loves her subject.

She also has a deep love of English literature. Here is part of her preface to A Short History of English Literature

This book is based upon the following convictions: - 
1. That the prime object of studying literature is to develop the ability to enjoy it.
2. That in every work of literary merit there is something to enjoy..
3. That it is less important to know the list of an author's works than to feel the impulse to read one of them.
4. That it is better to know a few authors well than to learn the names of many.  
I need to catch and model this vision so that my kids will do the same.  She was actually a contemporary of Charlotte Mason and I wonder if they had heard of one another.  Her deep love of literature led to a short 12 volume series called A Friend in the Library which looks at how different authors dealt with a variety of topics.  I especially liked  Home-Life, Volume 3 (1909). The first sentence reads:

It sounds exceedingly broad-minded and liberal and independent to hear any one say, "I am a citizen of the world"; but most people have all they can do to be good citizens of even one small town, and I am not sure but it is better to be a good citizen of a home than of a town. 
This short book continues in that same vein encouraging us, through great literature, to realize what it means to be a "good citizen" of our home.  The typeface is large and it is less than 30 pages so it is well worth a quick read.  The whole series is refreshing in its tone - love and familiarity.

See what others are reading at ladydusk.

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