Read Along,  Show Notes

Episode 132: “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, Part 2

Today on The Literary Life podcast, our hosts continue their discussion of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Angelina, Cindy and Thomas kick off the book discussion by clarifying some confusion over the definition of a picaresque novel. They share some thoughts on the how stories communicate to us in a unique way that cannot easily be expressed in any other way. Other ideas brought up in this episode are the following: the home as a refuge from the world, the centrality of food and drink, friendship with an addict, the problem of trying to use books to teach virtue, and more!

Cindy’s 2022 Morning Time for Moms Summer Discipleship group is now open for registration. The theme this year is “Laughter and Lament.” Head over to to find out more and sign up!

Thomas will be teaching a webinar on Napoleon Bonaparte later this month, as well as an introductory course on Russian Literature in July 2022. Learn more and register at

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Commonplace Quotes:

A work of art speaks a truth we can’t speak outright: the truth of the human experience. Love, joy, grief, guilt, beauty–no words can communicate these. We can only represent them in stories and pictures and songs. Art is the way we speak the meaning of our lives.

Andrew Klavan

He is led more by his ears than his understanding, taking the sound of words for their true sense…His ill-luck is not so much in being a fool, as in being put to such pains to express it to the world, for what in others is natural, in him (with much ado) is artificial.

Thomas Overbury, in “A Mere Scholar”

Granted that the average man may live for seventy years, it is a fallacy to assume that his life from sixty to seventy is more important than his life from five to fifteen. Children are not merely people: they are the only really living people that have been left to us in an over-weary world. Any normal child will instinctively to agree with your own American poet, Walt Whitman, when he said: “To me every house of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.”

In my tales about children, I have tried to show that their simple acceptance of the mood of wonderment, their readiness to welcome a perfect miracle at any hour of the day or night, is a think more precious than any of the laboured acquisition of adult mankind…

Kenneth Grahame

To Althea, from Prison

by Richard Lovelace

When Love with unconfinèd wings 
Hovers within my Gates, 
And my divine Althea brings 
To whisper at the Grates; 
When I lie tangled in her hair, 
And fettered to her eye, 
The Gods that wanton in the Air, 
Know no such Liberty. 

When flowing Cups run swiftly round 
With no allaying Thames
Our careless heads with Roses bound, 
Our hearts with Loyal Flames; 
When thirsty grief in Wine we steep, 
When Healths and draughts go free, 
Fishes that tipple in the Deep 
Know no such Liberty. 

When (like committed linnets) I 
With shriller throat shall sing 
The sweetness, Mercy, Majesty, 
And glories of my King; 
When I shall voice aloud how good 
He is, how Great should be, 
Enlargèd Winds, that curl the Flood, 
Know no such Liberty. 

Stone Walls do not a Prison make, 
Nor Iron bars a Cage; 
Minds innocent and quiet take 
That for an Hermitage. 
If I have freedom in my Love, 
And in my soul am free, 
Angels alone that soar above, 
Enjoy such Liberty.

Book List:

The Truth and Beauty by Andrew Klavan

First Whisper of “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

“On Three Ways of Writing for Children” by C. S. Lewis

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Children and Books by Mayhill Arbuthnot and Zena Sutherland

The Adventure of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

History of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

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