Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Reading for Moms!

As summer settles in and swim lessons, soccer camp, and VBS are starting to gear up, I thought it may be fun to share some of my favorite adult reads. After a school year of reading children's literature and feeding our children's academic appetites, it's time to read some books that feed our own souls. To that end, here are a few books I  keep extra copies of so that I always have one to share with a friend.

I've lately been reading a couple of books that I've found wonderfully encouraging in that they celebrate bookish childhoods. Booked by Karen Swallow Prior and When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson will speak to any parent who has worked to create an atmosphere of literary inquiry in their homes. Both Robinson and Prior were voracious readers as young girls and these books speak to the role that literature played in their personal development.

Booked, subtitled Literature in the soul of me, records Prior's precocious appetite for books, often with mature and difficult subjects. Growing up in Maine, Prior's childhood was one filled with farm animals, strange characters and neighbors, and frequent trips to the library. Her book, an ode to reading for pleasure, tells how literature led her to question her childhood faith and then, eventually, to come to the understanding that "there was no essential conflict between the tenets of my faith and freedom of the mind." Each of the eleven chapters gives tribute to a specific work of literature and its role in her developing understanding of faith. Whether she's speaking of the affirmation of life in Charlotte's Web or sexual ethics in relationship to Gulliver's Travels, Prior makes powerful statements on life, faith, secular culture and, of course, literature. Her essay on censorship in relationship to John Milton's provocative Areopagitica gives one much to mull over in terms of whether or not one should limit a child's exposure to certain books. Often poignant, sometimes gritty, I have enjoyed the time I spent with this book and know I will be returning to it often. Eric Metaxas, author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, summarizes it well: "Ever wish you'd had a teacher who made you want to read the classics? Your wish has come true in this beautifully-told book. Karen Swallow Prior movingly and honestly tells a compelling story of self-discovery and coming to faith through some of the greatest books ever written."

Marilynne Robinson's When I Was a Child I Read Books is a thought-provoking collection of beautifully written essays that force the reader to slow down and contemplate each superbly crafted sentence. As one of the foremost thinkers of our time, Robinson has an uncanny ability to distill academic and cerebral thoughts into beautiful and approachable prose. If you are feeling that you need a little mind workout, this will provide you with the stimulation you're craving. Whether she's meditating on the central role of generosity in the Christian faith, or addressing the global debt crisis, Robinson pulls on the literature that has formed her soul. If you've read and enjoyed her fiction (Housekeeping, Gilead, and Home), you will undoubtedly be touched and moved by this collection of essays. And if you have not read any of Robinson's fiction, I cannot recommend it highly enough. These are books that deserve your time and attention.

Ever felt like you missed out on reading the classics when you were younger and now feel overwhelmed by the idea of tackling a "Great Books" reading list? Invitation to the Classics is one of the best resources available for anyone who is considering picking up War and Peace, The Odyssey, The Scarlet Letter or any of the books that have formed western culture. Louise Cowan, literary critic and professor, worked with Os Guinness to produce "a guide to books you've always wanted to read" and accomplished this goal beautifully. Featuring authors from Homer to Nietzsche, Chaucer to Calvin, Aristotle to Kierkegaard, this book will provide the background notes that make classic works much more accessible. This is a wonderful resource that should be in the library of every homeschooling family.

I hope you enjoy these books. If you have any favorite summer reads, fiction or non-fiction, please share below in the comments.

If you want to order any of these books from BFB, feel free to give us a call at 800.889.1978 and we'd be happy to help you.

Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages. And if you've enjoyed this, please feel free to share using the buttons below!

1 comment:

  1. Greetings!
    The book "Invitation to the Classics" sounds great to those of us who never had to read classics in high school or college. Better late than never!!! Thanks again for making my voracious reading life have a path, a goal!! More classics!