This week on The Literary Life podcast, we are bringing you our year end review of our own reading lives. Angelina kicks off the conversation by asking Thomas and Cindy how they would describe their reading lives this year. They talk about their favorites and highlights in books this year, as well as a few books that fell flat for them in 2020. They share about some authors they had not read before that they enjoyed this year. Finally, they tell us how they did with their own 20 for 2020 Reading Challenge lists.
Don’t forget to check out the upcoming reading challenge for next year, the Literary Life 19 Books for 2021 challenge! If you missed it, you will want to go back and listen to the previous episode full of ideas for each challenge category. Also, there is still time to order Literary Life Commonplace Books before the new year and begin recording your plans, progress, and favorite quotations!
Listen to The Literary Life:
Our fathers find their graves in our short memories and sadly tell us how we may be buried in our survivors.Thomas Browne
“But, my, my! We don’t learn easy!” he chuckled mournfully. “Not to learn how to live till we’re about ready to die, it certainly seems to me dang tough!”. . . “But, papa,” she said, to console him, “don’t you think maybe there isn’t such a thing as a ‘finish’, after all! You say perhaps we don’t learn to live till we die, but maybe that’s how it is after we die, too–just learning some more, the way we do here, and maybe through trouble again, even after that.”Booth Tarkington
Charlotte Mason says that books are one way that we grow, not for ourselves, but beyond ourselves. Where does she suggest we start? Here’s her list of suitable “Instructors of Conscience”:Anne White
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
Our aim is not to become know-it-alls, but rather to gain a sense of the Ought in all this, why we owe it to God and to the world to become people who observe carefully and think clearly, “with gentle, large, and humble thoughts.” And the ultimate result is not graduation, but gratitude, to the One who created “the beauty, glory, and fitness above our heads and about our feet and surrounding us on every side!”
Ring Out, Wild Bells
by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Urn Burial by Thomas Browne
Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington
Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliott Chaze
Cover Her Face by P. D. James
Towards Zero by Agatha Christie
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Range by David Epstein
The Company They Keep by Diana Pavlac Glyer
Poet’s Corner ed. by John Lithgow
The Year of Our Lord 1943 by Alan Jacobs
The Narnian by Alan Jacobs
Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogol
The Stricken Deer by Lord David Cecil
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Stephen Fry’s Greek Myths series
The Centre of Hilarity by Michael Mason
The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
Tenebrae by Geoffrey Hill
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Circe by Madeline Miller
William Morris by Alfred Noyes
The Devil Takes a Holiday by Alfred Noyes
The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amos
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima
Saving the Appearances by Owen Barfield
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Four Quartets by T. S. Elliot
Good Things Out of Nazareth by Flannery O’Connor
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
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