I mentioned, in the little post in which I said I was not going to make excuses, that I was likely to fall off the rails when it came time to actually write up the blog posts. Three weeks ago, I lost the book I want to write a post about. The battery charger for my camera is fritzing out on me. We are frantically doing educational projects 14 hours a day in order to catch ourselves up, as we have fallen behind schedule. I am never ever alone. I have an undeniable compulsion to knit rather than read or do anything I ought to be doing. I am four months behind on the book-keeping (thank God for automatic on-line bill pay). And the 9 month old German Shepherd never tires of being walked, run, chased, and frisbee’d. What all these things have in common is that they make blogging less and less possible.
But here’s the lowdown. I got four books all done since the last time I wrote a post here. I have absolutely no shame at all, and am going to claim for this list every single book I finish, as long as I get to the last page with honor. (Even if it’s a kids book I read at bedtime to the babes.) And that said, I will tell you that in the past two weeks I have finished Dorothy Sayers Letters to Diminished Church, Norton Juster’s Phantom Tollbooth, Kate DeCamillo’s Tale of Desperaux, and Nina Brown’s Children of the Self Absorbed: A Grown-Up’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissitic Parents. I’ve got three books on Africa going, but they are slow and aren’t mindless enough for my old gray head to absorb while surrounded by the kind of mayhem that swirls around me currently.
But isn’t that an eclectic little foursome there? I loved Sayer’s Letters…..and I have a little review of that one going as a draft. But I’m delayed on that because my notes are tucked into the book, which I lost at a Hampton Inn in Portland, Oregon. The housekeeping staff is hopefully reading it now. It would certainly do them good. That book is one helpful piece of dogmatic theological opinion. I have to locate another copy so I can dig up the quotes I liked best and say why I think almost everybody should read almost all of it. It’s essays…..and some are way better than others. And the edition I was reading had such a pile of distracting typographical errors. Dorothy deserves a more meticulous editor.
Tollbooth and Desperaux are certainly not up to Dorothy Sayers’s standard, but they were both fun. How can it be that I have been parenting for almost 19 years and have never read either of those books until now? I have heard my marvellous husband read The Phantom Tollbooth aloud to the offspring at least twice. Nevertheless, I’m including it in my 100 because I have never read it with my own eyeballs. And I’m desperate for any morsel of literature that will take me to 100.
Which brings us to the book about children of narcissistic parents. I found that title on a list of books recommended for people who’s parents are moving in, and I couldn’t resist. Who wouldn’t want to see what lurks under that rock? One thing that book did for me was convince me that my mother is the very least narcissistic parent of her generation. It’s a collection of tales of unhappy families and work sheets and quizzes to help adult children of the self absorbed work out the issues they have inherited. The stories in this book left me so deliriously appreciative of my mother’s flexibility, humor, uncomplicated nature and sensitivity to everyone around her. Sin is misery, and it really is handed down from one generation to another. What a sweet gift that we get to take care of someone who is kind and loving and fun!
And I’ve got one more “read aloud” to include…..I am almost finished with Livy’s Early History of Rome, some of which I got to read aloud to Daniel and Helen. And that is such a great book to read to a boy. I remember reading Herodotus aloud with David ten years ago, and he was so completely captivated. And Livy had the same effect on Daniel. Daniel is listening to Herodotus on audio in the afternoons. These books are so perfect for middle school boys. Loads of battles and double crossing, death and crazy acts of courage.
So, that makes six finished books and four underway. Must finish two more before February 1. Those two will be Livy’s Early History and Moyo’s Dead Aid.
I have a week at home to finish books and begin new ones. Then some of us will head off to our third NCFCA Speech and Debate tournament for the year. At these tournaments, I don’t read as much as I knit and talk. Lots and lots of interesting people to talk to at a tournament!
But, I have to say that as I am reading these books on foreign aid to Africa, and what a disaster it has been, my opinion of our role in the world is changing. As I listen to the NCFCA kids debating the topic of whether or not countries are morally obligated to help other countries in need, it’s all I can do not to jump up and quote passages from Dead Aid and What’s wrong with Nigeria, about the miseries we have caused by pouring in monetary aid, food aid, cheap loans, all kinds of unhelpful help! But there are so many perspectives on this problem of foreign aid, entitlement, charitable kindness, a global welfare state……and what the World Bank really ought to be doing. I wonder what God is doing with us all. One day we will see all, and know.