Step by Step…
It’s been nearly four years since we first started using Ambleside Online, which was also when I began to read the Original Charlotte Mason Home Education series. Up until then if I started a book, I’d generally finish it before I’d start another.
I began to notice how well my children were retaining what they’d read over a period of months so I decided to try it for myself, although the idea didn’t appeal to me at all.
So four years later I think I can say I’ve gone to the other extreme – I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’m still reading a book I started two years ago.
I’ve been enjoying the Back to the Classics Challenge that I started at the beginning of the year. The challenge is divided into categories which has helped me choose books I might not otherwise read. I’m also continuing with the Classics Club Challenge which is over five years.
These are the books I’m in the process of reading (and keeping):
Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks – nearly finished! I wrote a little about this book here and I’ll write some more when I’ve finished.
Madame Curie by Eve Curie (the two year saga) – it was interesting to read in the book above that Oliver Sacks read this book and loved it when he was ten years old. He had the pleasure of meeting the author, Madame Curie’s daughter, in her old age.
My messy Commonplace…
Knowledge of the Holy by A.W.Tozer – Tozer is direct and no nonsense. This is another of my slow reads.
The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act if worship has taken place…
Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they themselves are idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp – I didn’t think I’d like this book but by the end of the first few chapters I was sucked in. Suffering, pain, joy, gratitude…I keep getting hit with beautiful thoughts. The writing is a grammar jungle but I love the heart of what she is sharing – and I needed to hear it. Some quotes that I loved:
Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all of those who don’t numb themselves to really living.
On observing a hummingbird:
Her long bill swills back July sun transfigured into nectar.
I watch her, become her, drink the sweet right out of now.
Beauty? Beauty requires no justification, no explanation; it simply is and transcends.
The weight of God\’s Glory, not illusory or ephemeral, but daily and everywhere, punctuates earth\’s lid and heaven falls through the holes.
Do I believe in a God who rouses Himself just now and then to spill a bit of benevolence on haemorrhaging humanity?
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis – I usually find Lewis very readable but this has been hard going for me. I’m taking it paragraph by paragraph and I’m still having to re-read sections.
The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie – pure pleasure. I sat up later than normal last night to finish it.
The Formation of Character by Charlotte Mason – I’ve been reading this for about 9 months and have written about it here & here and probably in other places as well. It’s good.
Ourselves by Charlotte Mason
I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall – an Australian classic which we finished today.
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen – a re-read but it’s not my favourite Austen. I just discovered Jane Austen’s phrase which Charlotte Mason appropriated, ‘warming the imagination.’ I’d been wondering where in Jane Austen’s writing it came from and I obviously didn’t catch it when I read the book awhile back.
On the present occasion she addressed herself chiefly to Miss Crawford and Fanny, but there was no comparison in the willingness of their attention; for Miss Crawford, who had seen scores of great houses, and cared for none of them, had only the appearance of civilly listening, while Fanny, to whom everything was almost as interesting as it was new, attended with unaffected earnestness to all that Mrs. Rushworth could relate of the family in former times, its rise and grandeur, regal visits and loyal efforts, delighted to connect anything with history already known, or warm her imagination with scenes of the past.