Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Follow-Up on the Spring Reading Challenge

Here is the List I set out to read:

  • Heaven by Randy Alcorn (not quite finished with this one)
  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  • The One Year Book of Poetry
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Soloist by Mark Salzman
  • Wandering Through Winter by Edwin Way Teale
  • A Naturalist Buys an Old Farm by Edwin Way Teale (The Teale books are wonderful, but I only read them when I cannot get outside for nature walks. They serve as my "nature fix", especially during winter.)
  • The Intellectual Life by A.G.Sertillanges, O.P. (A meaty book~~I'm taking it in small doses and taking notes but am not finished yet)
Others added along the way include:

  • Mornings on Horseback (David McCullough) ~fantastically detailed biography of young Teddy Roosevelt
  • You've Got to Read This Book! 55 People Tell the Story of the Book that Changed Their Life - very new-agey
  • My Name is Asher Lev ( Chaim Potok) reviewed here
  • Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology (Eric Brende)
  • When I Lay My Isaac Down (Carol Kent)
  • The Chosen (Chaim Potok) reviewed here
  • Crunchy Cons ( Rod Dreher)

My earlier Wendell Berry reading stimulated my interest in a whole new direction; I wanted to learn more about the economics 0f home, agrarian lifestyle, community, and stewardship. Which is why I picked up Crunchy Cons, where the challenge was issued, "Be a culture creator, not a culture consumer." How is culture created? Rod Dreher says, "Culture starts in the kitchen, not in the opera house." The true culture war is fought at home, where the day-to-day investment in Permanent Things and beauty creates a strong family, which in turn strengthens the church and neighborhood, which in turn strengthens the city, which in turn.....

You get the idea. It is a ""bottom up" effect rather that the trickle down changes we wait for on a national level but never see.

This is an idea that interests me very much. The syndicated columnist, John Rosemond echoed similar thoughts in his column in this evening's newspaper. Listen to his words:

"Culture is preserved by parents who pass commonly held customs along to their children. For generations, one such preserving custom was the picnic. (snip) Today's families need to relax and spend times together where there are no scores or goals or rules, which is why I am calling for a national movement to bring back the picnic. I'm calling it, appropriately enough, "Bring Back the Family Picnic"! If that means taking your kids out of organized after school sports and the like, I say do it! Go on a picnic every good-weather weekend and play Frisbee!"

Crunchy Cons led me to yet another book, Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology.
The author lived 18 months among the Amish in order to explore the question, "How much technology is enough?" His point was that we tend to embrace technology without evaluating carefully. The latest new technological toy becomes a part of life without asking the right questions. NOT "What can this device do for me?" but rather "What will this technology UNDO?"

I love my iPod, but after reading Better Off, I realized that at times I use it in the car when I could be conversing with my children. As a result of the reading, I have chosen to use it only when alone or when we can listen together.

These are just a few random thoughts that I have as I look over my list. Thank you, Janie, for hosting the reading challenge. Take a look at Janie's blog to read summaries from many other wonderful, literate women.

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