Sixteen years of Treehouse talk

Sixteen years of Treehouse talk

Saturday, December 12, 2020

I changed my reading list: a 2021 Challenge

Charlotte Mason labels eleven catagories of books as Some Instructors of Conscience. Here's the list:

1. Poetry, preferably spending time with one poet

2. Shakespeare’s plays

3. Novels, with characters who “become our mentors or our warnings”

4. Ever-delightful essayists

5. History, including ancient history

6. Philosophy, to allow reason to work upon knowledge

7. Theology, including the Bible

8. The things of nature

9. Science, so that “we no longer conduct ourselves in this world of wonders like a gaping rustic at a fair” (p. 101)

10. Art, approached “with the modest intention to pay a debt…”

11. Sociology and Self-Knowledge


Here's my 2021 list:

1. Poetry, preferably spending time with one poet

Making Your Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry, by Kenneth Koch (includes a mini-anthology of poetry)

Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996, by Seamus Heaney

The Making of Poetry: Coleridge, the Wordsworths and Their Year of Marvels, by Adam Nicolson

 Polishing the Petoskey Stone: Selected Poems, by Luci Shaw

2. Shakespeare’s plays

Northrop Frye on Shakespeare, edited by Robert Sandler

Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream (two of the plays discussed in Frye's book)

3. Novels, with characters who “become our mentors or our warnings”

Okay. Since I have no intuition about where to go with this one, I'll take Alan Jacobs' recommendations:

"Let me mention two (relatively recent) novels that I think are so wonderful that we should have parades for their authors. The first is Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day, a heartbreakingly beautiful about memory, loss, and the love of family...It’s generaly acknowledged, I think, that War and Peace is the greatest historical novel ever written. Well, then, the second greatest is George Garrett’s The Succession. And I totally mean that."

I haven't actually read War and Peace, either, so if I wanted to make my list a whole lot of pages longer,  that might be it.

4. Ever-delightful essayists

Would these count? 

Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader's Guide to a More Tranquil Mind, by Alan Jacobs. From the publisher's website: "In Breaking Bread with the Dead, a gifted scholar draws us into close and sympathetic engagement with texts from across the ages, including the work of Anita Desai, Henrik Ibsen, Jean Rhys, Simone Weil, Edith Wharton, Amitav Ghosh, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Italo Calvino, and many more."

Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture, by Makoto Fujimura

Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life, by Madeleine L'Engle

.Heaven in Ordinary, by Malcolm Guite (this is a book of his essays)

The Givenness of Things, by Marilynne Robinson

5. History, including ancient history

The Frayed Atlantic Edge: A Historian’s Journey from Shetland to the Channel, by David Gange

6. Philosophy, to allow reason to work upon knowledge

Maybe this counts? Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life, by Jordan B. Peterson

Or this? On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life, by Paul Froese

Introducing Plato, by Dave Robinson and Judy Groves

7. Theology, including the Bible

The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God, by Dallas Willard

Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians: Finding Authentic Faith in a Forgotten Age with C. S. Lewis, by Chris R. Armstrong

8. The things of nature

A Sweet, Wild Note: What We Hear when the Birds Sing, by Richard Smyth

Winter Weed Finder: A Guide to Dry Plants in Winter, by Dorcas S. Miller

Weeds: the Story of Outlaw Plants, by Richard Mabey

9. Science, so that “we no longer conduct ourselves in this world of wonders like a gaping rustic at a fair” (p. 101)

If math counts, how about All Things Being Equal: Why Math Is the Key to a Better World, by John Mighton

10. Art, approached “with the modest intention to pay a debt…”

The Principles of Art, by R.G. Colllingwood

11. Sociology and Self-Knowledge

Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, by Nir Eyal

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, by Daniel J. Levitin

Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet, by Howard Gardner

Miscellaneous:

Angels, Barbarians, and Nincompoops, by Anthony Esolen,  "a fun yet educational romp through 98 of your soon to be favorite words."

Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise, by Katherine Rundell

Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C.S. Lewis, by Terry Lindvall

Words Overflown by Stars: Creative Writing Instruction and Insight from the Vermont College Mfa Program, by David Jauss

Tree and Leaf; Smith of Wootton Major; The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace, by Gordon MacKenzie

I'm happy with that.

1 comment:

kathwick said...

That's an impressive list! I would love to go through the Making of Poetry with you and maybe others as it's on my to read list.