Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon

I just finished reading T.L. Hines "The Unseen". He is a writer of 'noir bizarre' stories and this story was quite bizarre. Really made you think and I'll have to give it some time to sink in before I write a review. I also finished "Smoke In Mirrors" by Jayne Ann Krentz this week. I'm caught up with all my reviews and resolved for the new year to write a review after finishing a book and before I start a new one. After all, I was telling my husband and son last night "finish one thing, before you start another."That way I won't get backlogged. However, I really don't feel like I did the review on Smoke in Mirrors justice because my mind was on other things this week.

I've been reviewing homeschool curriculum looking to make some changes. Which is another post for another time. But while perusing 'Well Trained Mind' ( which is a guide to classical education at home) it brought to mind Susan Wise Bauer's other book 'Well Educated Mind'. Of course, that lead to thinking about all the books I've been reading, the book challenges I'm involved in and challenging myself to read better books.

Which served to remind me of my original intention to follow the book lists in The Well Educated Mind. Yes, my mind goes in convuluted circles sometimes.

Susan wrote the book as a guide to the Classical Education you never had. I purchased the book back in 2005 and read it cover to cover. She outlines how to read a book from the standpoint of the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages. Read, think and formulate your opinion of what the story means to you. She recommends keeping a journal and outlining the story as you read.

Included in the book are her suggestions of great books to read from 5 genres: Fiction, Autobiography, History/Politics, Drama and Poetry. The books are listed chronilogically and she suggests reading them in order. The genres are broken down into 5 chapters with an detail explanation how to read them and a synposis is included on each title with the best edition to read.

For example the first 5 books in Fiction are:

Don Quixote
Pilgrims Progress
Gulliver's Travels
Price and Prejudice
Oliver Twist

The first 5 books in Autobiography are:

Augustine 'The Confessions'
Margery Kemp - "The book of Margery Kemp"
Michael De Montaigne - 'Essays'
Teresa of Avila - 'Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself'
Rene Descartes - 'Meditations'

The first five books in History:

Herodotus: 'The Histories'
Thucydides: 'The Peloponnesian War'
Plate:'The Republic'
Plutarch: 'Lives'
Augustine: 'The City of God'

The first five books in Drama:

Aeschylus: 'Agamemmon'
Sophocles: 'Oedipus the King'
Euripides: 'Medea'
Aristophanes: 'The Birds'
Aristotle: 'Poetics'

The First Five books in Poetry

The Epic of Gilgamesh
Homer 'The Iliad and the Odyssey'
'Greek Lyrics'
Horace 'Odes'

The examples give you a good idea of the books and the chronology. I went over the lists yesterday and found I had read a few of the fiction books and currently have a few on my TBR list. And it made me realize why I had bought 'Confessions' and 'The Life of Saint Teresa'. We have the Iliad and Beowulf in the bookshelves... somewhere.

I had originally started by reading the first fiction book Don Quixote and it took me a while to read it using her method of 30 minutes a day and journaling as you go. I decided that wasn't going to work for me and read it like I would any normal book. Found I read the classics a bit more slowly than regular fiction, because of the way they are written and it takes a bit more brain time to absorb and understand. Exercising the brain, which is a good thing. Which brings me back to my original point that the book challenges reminded me of my original decision to work my way through the lists.

I decided to set a personal, perpetual challenge to read at least one book from each genre each year. Whether I read them in chronological order or not, is another story. I may add or subtract to Susan's list of books that I am interested in reading. Even she admits in the book that the list is biased and reflect her interests. The lists don't include all the greatest books in each genre but are meant to introduce you to each area of thought (pg 51)

I'll put a list of books completed in each category in the sidebar and update it as time goes on. I currently have on my TBR pile from the Fiction list: Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Tolstoys's Anna Karenina and Wharton's The House of Mirth. I'll have to decide what going to read from the other genre's. Poetry and Drama will be the hardest for me, but we have an overabundance of Shakespeare books which we inherited from Father's mom. All the books will cross over into the other challenges I'm involved in, so I'm not really adding all that much.

Changing the page, I made up a list of all the books read for the year. Found that I did read over 100 books after all. I started inputting and importing the lists from Amazon over to LibraryThing. I don't know why I didn't start using LibraryThing a long time ago.

Well, I've procrastinated long enough... It's time to do a major oven cleaning. Then I have to work up lessons for next week and go grocery shopping.


  1. Welcome to the Sunday Salon!

  2. Hi! I read classics much more slowly, too - in fact, it took me two tries to get through Anna Karenina, but it was so worth it.

    I always start looking at curriculum issues at the New Year, too - even though we follow the typical school year, and I won't change anything until our next school year starts in August. My oldest will be entering 7th grade - junior high - so some changes for her.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  3. LibraryThing is awesome for keeping track of things like that. Welcome to The Sunday Salon! I think it's fun and I hope you will too.

  4. Some rather dry reading there Rebecca!
    Well done on reaching 100 books for the year.
    All the best for 2009

  5. Okay... you've convinced me that I need this book! Thanks for telling me more about it. I had not read a detailed review of it. I must have it now!


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