Monday, November 12, 2007

Reading Round-Up, Early November

It's been a while since I've posted a list of what I'm reading. I've been all over the map book-wise lately, so I'll just dive in.

Recently read:

End of the Spear (Steve Saint)

Saint's book was wonderful, far better than the feature film made from it a couple of years ago (though the film was good too). The book was just able to go into the story so much more deeply. And what a story. If you know anything about the five missionaries killed by the "Auca" Indians in Ecuador in 1956 (a story I grew up knowing and reading about) you really need to read this book.

Steve Saint is the now grown son of Nate Saint, one of the martyred missionaries. He was five when his father died. He and his family went back into the jungle to actually live with the tribe that did the killing, to forgive them, and to make sure that they finally had the opportunity to hear the gospel. They embraced the gospel and began to "walk God's trail." Saint grew up with the Waodoni (the real name of the tribe, their name for themselves..."Auca," it turns out, was a pejorative name given to them by others) and was even baptized in the same river his father died in. As a young adult, he left the Amazon to attend college and become a businessman in North America. "End of the Spear" is the story of how he took his wife and children, years later, back to the jungle to live with the Waodoni again -- and helped them to find a self-sustaining livelihood.

This book is one of the most stunning testaments to God's sovereignty and grace I've ever had the privilege to read. See my longer review of it here.

Also recently read, two children's books, one old and one new:

The Talented Clementine (Sara Pennypacker) Ramona for a new generation!
The Doll's House (Rumer Godden) An odd and unusual story, very poignant

Recently re-read:

Persuasion (Jane Austen)
A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle)

Currently Reading:
The Evolution of the English Churches (Doreen Rosman) This is the text I'll be using as the main text for the C of E course in the spring. A good read so far, helping me think through the big picture of English church history (and making me realize afresh that there's nothing new under the sun). Stay tuned for notes/thoughts.

For the Children's Sake (Susan Schaeffer Macaulay) A good way to get at some summaries of Charlotte Mason's thoughts on education, which I've only read in snippets.

All Aunt Hagar's Children (Edward P. Jones) Wonderful, wonderful short prose. I haven't read short stories in ages, and this is a great way to re-immerse in the genre. Jones has won a Pulitzer but this is my first encounter with him. I believe he's going to be at the Festival of Faith and Writing in Michigan in the spring. Registration for that festival is now open, by the way!

The Elizabethan World Picture (E.M.W. Tillyard) I've been meaning to read this for ages. I'm finally doing it.

Reading "at" (sporadically):

Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture (Walt Mueller)
What to Listen for in Music (Aaron Copland) A nice grown-up complement to the Story of the Orchestra book the sweet girl and I are going through together.

Books I'm Skimming and Thinking About Using for our First Grade Year (or over the summer between K and 1st):

Drawing With Children (Mona Brookes) The copy I got from the library is beat up with use, underlined and highlighted. But I can see why. It's a book that begs for practical use as it's full of drawing (and seeing) exercises for children and yes, for adults who have never felt comfortable with their drawing skills. I've been drawing again in the past year or so; a book like this just encourages me to keep on and gives me confidence and ideas/methods for more formal drawing lessons I can actually do with my daughter.

First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (Jesse Wise) I'm fairly certain I'm going to use this book to cover and/or review basic English usage with the sweet girl next year. Some of it will definitely fall into the "review" category for us, but I still think the progression of the lessons is helpful, even if I end up tweaking and supplementing a bit. I also like the helpful approaches to narration and copy work.

Books on Creativity I'm Visiting and/or Revisiting
On Being Human (Calvin Seerveld)
Walking on Water (Madeleine L'Engle)
Scribbling in the Sand (Michael Card)

Walking on Water is in a class by itself on this topic; I love it and have loved it for years. Seerveld and Card both come from a more reformed theological perspective and engage God-honoring creativity in life-giving ways that make me think
and that complements L'Engle's perspective. I like wrestling with all three of these at once. Only wish I had more time to do it!


Erin said...

End of the Spear sounds really interesting. I remember seeing a couple people on Good Morning America talking about the movie back when it came out. I think they were members of his family, though I can't quite recall... Anyway, it was a very thought-provoking discussion. Definitely sounds like a book worth reading. And those writing books sound terrific!

Beth said...

I grew up knowing the "End of the Spear" story from an entirely other perspective. Elisabeth Elliot, the widow of one of the five missionaries who was killed, wrote a book not long after it happened. She too went back to live with the tribe. Her book was very good, but of course she was much closer to the situation then. Saint's perspective is amazing because he's now been a part of this unfolding story for fifty years. Still not a huge amount of time, but enough time that he really sees "patterns" and reasons for why things happened as they happened. Made me realize anew how much deeper and profound God's view and perspective is than our puny human one -- and how often we don't see the whole picture as we work and cry and pray and try to be faithful to follow his call.

Dear Madeleine L'Engle used to say: "You have a view. I have a view. God has VIEW." I always loved that.

Am really wanting to do the Madeleine reading blog with you...if I can see my way through the rest of my course prep. for spring! Maybe we can work it out so that we can do it sometime after the new year?

Erin said...

Sounds good to me! Great way to start off 2008! :)