Interviews,  Show Notes

Episode 6: The Literary Life of Mary Jo Tate

Today on The Literary Life, your hosts Angelina Stanford and Cindy Rollins sit down for a chat with their friend and fellow reader, Mary Jo Tate. As well as being an avid reader, Mary Jo is an author, editor, teacher, book collector and single mother to 4 young men. A veteran homeschooler, Mary Jo is the author of Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, and you can learn more about her and her work at

In this interview, Angelina and Cindy talk with Mary Jo about her own background as a reader, beginning with her childhood memories of books. They discuss the influence of family, librarians and teachers on the life of a young reader. Mary Jo talks about different seasons of her reading life and gives some advice for the busy, exhausting time as a mother of young children. Another topic of discussion is how Mary Jo’s education and profession grew out of her love of literature.

Upcoming Show Schedule:

Episode 7 (May 28): Gaudy Night ch 8-15
Episode 8 (June 4): Gaudy Night, ch 16-23, complete
Episode 9 (June 11): Are Women Human? by Dorothy Sayers

Listen to The Lit Life:

Book List:

Out of the Ashes by Anthony Esolen

One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty

Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle

The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon


by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king, 
By this still hearth, among these barren crags, 
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole 
Unequal laws unto a savage race, 
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. 
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink 
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d 
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those 
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when 
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades 
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name; 
For always roaming with a hungry heart 
Much have I seen and known; cities of men 
And manners, climates, councils, governments, 
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all; 
And drunk delight of battle with my peers, 
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. 
I am a part of all that I have met; 
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’ 
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades 
For ever and forever when I move. 
How dull it is to pause, to make an end, 
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use! 
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life 
Were all too little, and of one to me 
Little remains: but every hour is saved 
From that eternal silence, something more, 
A bringer of new things; and vile it were 
For some three suns to store and hoard myself, 
And this gray spirit yearning in desire 
To follow knowledge like a sinking star, 
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. 

         This is my son, mine own Telemachus, 
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,— 
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil 
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild 
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees 
Subdue them to the useful and the good. 
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere 
Of common duties, decent not to fail 
In offices of tenderness, and pay 
Meet adoration to my household gods, 
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine. 

         There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail: 
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners, 
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me— 
That ever with a frolic welcome took 
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed 
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old; 
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil; 
Death closes all: but something ere the end, 
Some work of noble note, may yet be done, 
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods. 
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: 
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep 
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, 
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world. 
Push off, and sitting well in order smite 
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds 
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 
Of all the western stars, until I die. 
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down: 
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, 
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. 
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’ 
We are not now that strength which in old days 
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; 
One equal temper of heroic hearts, 
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will 
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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  • Candace

    Mary Jo mentioned George Grant’s list of 20 top books. Cindy mentioned it in an earlier episode, too. Is that available somewhere online? I would love to see it, but haven’t been able to find it through Googling.

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