Best of Series,  Education,  Interviews,  Show Notes

Episode 183: The “Best of” Series – The Literary Life of Caitlin Beauchamp, Ep. 30

On today’s “Best of The Literary Life” episode, Angelina and Cindy interview Caitlin Bruce Beauchamp. In addition to being an AmblesideOnline homeschool graduate and a lover of the humanities, Caitlin is a busy wife and a mother of young children. In their conversation, Angelina, Cindy and Caitlin dive into the deep end from the start, discussing the purpose of beauty. They talk about Caitlin’s early reading life and how she came to love books. She shares how she had to learn some humility in her reading life as an adult.

Angelina asks Caitlin how she finds the time to keep up her reading life amidst the responsibilities of mothering. Cindy and Caitlin talk about the importance of feeding your mind with other people’s ideas instead of taking the road to self-pity. The ladies discuss the timing of reading certain books to children and the great joy of watching children blossom as they listen to the right kinds of stories. Caitlin shares some of the books she reads to get out of a slump, as well as some other favorites and current reads.

Listen to The Literary Life:

Commonplace Quotes:

In his memoir Suprised by Joy Lewis described his ideal daily routine to be reading and writing from nine until one and again from five until seven, with breaks for meals, walking, or tea-time. Apart from those six hours of study every day, he also enjoyed light reading over meals or in the evening hours. All in all, Lewis’ preferred schedule seemed to include seven or eight hours of reading per day!

David C. Downing and Michael G. Maudlin, in the preface to The Reading Life

To be seeking always after the useful does not become free and exalted souls.


The years to come – this is a promise –

will grant you ample time

to try the difficult steps in the empire of thought

where you seek for the shining proofs you think you must have.

But nothing you ever understand will be sweeter, or more binding,

than this deepest affinity between your eyes and the world.

The flock thickens

over the roiling, salt brightness. Listen,

maybe such devotion, in which one holds the world

in the clasp of attention, isn’t the perfect prayer,

but it must be close, for the sorrow, whose name is doubt,

is thus subdued, and not through the weaponry of reason,

but of pure submission. Tell me, what else

could beauty be for? And now the tide

is at its very crown,

the white birds sprinkle down,

gathering up the loose silver, rising

as if weightless. It isn’t instruction, or a parable.

It isn’t for any vanity or ambition

except for the one aloud, to stay alive.

It’s only a nimble frolic

over the waves. And you find, for hours,

you cannot even remember the questions

that weigh so in your mind.

Mary Oliver, selection from “Terns”

In the Bleak Midwinter

by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Book List:

The Reading Life by C. S. Lewis

Poetics by Aristotle

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

An Experiment in Criticism by C. S. Lewis

A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

Stories from The Faerie Queen by Jeanie Lang

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Silence by Shusako Endo

Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Middlemarch by George Eliot (the Audible version read by Juliet Stevenson)

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers

Light in August by William Faulkner

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane

Landmarks by Robert MacFarlane

Elizabeth Goudge

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

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