Showing posts with label Reading Resources. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reading Resources. Show all posts

Monday, March 24, 2014

On Reading Classics and The Well-Educated Mind

Here's another thinking-about-books post.  I have always had a soft spot in my heart for classics and wish that they would be read more for interest and less "just because it's a classic".  There are some pretty obvious exceptions (600 pages of the Greek, The Histories by Herodotus, anyone?), but there are many classics that are quite enjoyable just for themselves.

If you don't know where to start in reading classics, I highly recommend Susan Wise Bauer's book, The Well-Educated Mind.  She breaks down classics into several categories: Novels, Poetry, Plays, etc., covering one section in each chapter.  Then, in each category, she lists the most well-known classics and gives a summary, ISBN number, and her favorite edition.  She also includes a set of discussion questions for each category.  The discussion questions are in three sets: Grammar Stage (simply reading through and making notes on what the book is about), then Logic Stage (answering questions about things like structure and style), and finally Rhetoric Stage (what do I think about this book?).
My next read
I have really enjoyed reading the books that she recommends.  I am going through by historical periods, starting by reading all of the ancient writings and now working through the medieval/renaissance books.  I have read everything from Oedipus Rex to The Koran to Dante's The Divine Comedy.  I have learned so much about reading and about history through these wonderful classics.  Not everything is wonderful, but I've been surprised by some very good writing, like the time I read The Birds and laughed my head off.  I have also learned that, with very old writings, translation can make or break a book.  By using Wise Bauer's recommended editions, I've been able to better comprehend and enjoy the writings.
My most recent read
I think that The Well-Educated Mind deserves a place in every home library.  It's a fascinating read if you just want to sit down and read through the whole thing like a novel.  Or, if you have a goal of reading some great books, this book is the first step to reaching that goal.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I made these bookmarks several months ago, inspired by this post.  I absolutely love fun little sewing projects like this that take just a few minutes out of my time and leave me with something so pretty and functional.

I made about 12, but ended up giving most away as birthday/Christmas/hostess gifts, so I only have two left for myself.  I'm thinking that perhaps I need to make some more…

All you have to do is cut a piece of elastic slightly smaller around than an average book size.  Sew each edge to a piece of felt, then sew whatever decorations (buttons, ribbon, fabric, etc.) onto the top of the felt body.

The two modeled here look pretty similar, but you could do any sort of pattern.  This is a fun way to use up little scraps and get some functional bookmarks that aren't just pieces of ripped paper.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Books About Reading

Just in case you are hankering for some reading about reading, I've compiled a list of books that I have really enjoyed.  Included are more pictures of farm animals.

Kitties in a patch of sunlight.


Books I Have Read

Woe Is I by Patricia T. O'Conner- Okay, this is more a book about writing, but I howled, I tell you, howled, all the way through this book.  If you need a little brush up on grammar, or just are in need of some laughter and entertainment, I highly recommend this book.

Book Lust by Nancy Pearl-  A great book full of book lists.  I like to use this when I'm in a "I can't find anything to read mood.  It's arranged by category: sci fi, fantasy, etc.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss- Yet another grammar book; this one is hilarious, too.

How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren- This book is all about the art of reading, from speed reading to inspectional reading.  It's definitely a tome, but a well written tome and I enjoyed it.

The Novel 100 by Daniel S. Burt- An in-depth review of the greatest 100 novels.

Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt and Barbara Hampton- There is definitely a Christian undertone, but the books recommended are not really Christian.  I love the book recommendations.  Each chapter is a category like Adventure and Suspense or Mystery.

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson-I loved this book.  I checked it out of the library and devoured it.  It is much more autobiographical than any of the books listed above.

A guinea hen

On My To-Read List

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster-  Whew!  Yes, that really is the title.

Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading by Maureen Corrigan

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill

Anguished English: An Anthology of Assaults Upon Our Language by Richard Lederer and Bill Thompson- Apparently, this is another extremely funny grammar book.

Barn kitty

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Handy Website and a Pretty Pillow

I have discovered a magnificent website!  I found it via Pinterest and I have been steadily using it every time I go to the library.  There are several like it, but my favorite is called What Should I Read Next?  All you have to do is type in a book that you loved and it generates lots of titles that are similar.

So check this website out next time you're trying to decide what to read!

In other news, I just finished a beautiful pillow.  It's made from some old fabric from a box of vintage scraps and the front is a piece that I picked up at a sale.  The front was a little too boring and 80s for me, so I just added the pretty patchwork and the buttons to brighten it up.  I have discovered how much I enjoy piecing little scrappy stuff.

I think it looks lovely in the chair at my sunny desk.