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.
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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.Aristotle
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.
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
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
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