The Well-Educated Mind: Part II

In Part I, I blogged about what I was learning with my kids. Now I am going to put my summer reading goals out there and check up on myself to see how I did at the end.

I read something recently, and I wish I had blogged it here because it said something to the effect of how important outside reading is to our spiritual life. I believe it was in How to Read Slowly: A Christian Guide to Reading with the Mind by James W. Sire. As this is one of the things I will be reading this summer, I will post it when I find it because I am almost positive that this was the book.

First of all, let me post where my reading has brought me so far this year:


1. Light from Heaven by Jan Karon

I have closure on the series after reading the first in the series in 1997. I have such fond memories of reading about snow storms in North Carolina while sweating in Malaysia. The series ended well.

2. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (Book Babes for February)

I really loved the story and the writing. I was a bit disappointed with the ending though! I wouldn't object to reading another one of her books though. I think she is better than most contemporary authors I have read lately.


3. Marley and Me by John Grogan (Book Babes for March)

It had some delightful parts in it. I am not a big Labrador Retriever fan. If I had a dog, it would be a German Shepherd or a Shetland Sheepdog because I love calm, obedient dogs. (and they were the two kinds we had growing up, and they were fabulous dogs to own). This dog would have driven me insane, but I wouldn’t have even gotten him in the first place. All that said, I can see why they fell in love with this animal, and it was fun to read about their antics with him.


4. Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger

Strategy books are just not my cup of tea, and this was all about strategies. I didn’t like it! God is so much more creative than strategies. ‘Nough said.

5. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards (Book Babes for May)

It brought up some interesting issues, but it is always hard for me when people can’t be honest with one another. I know it made for a good story, but it still frustrates me.


6. The One Year Chronological Bible

I have put my other reading on hold and have been enjoying reading throughout the day. I was in the Old Testament during spring break, but I had some extra time. So, I read it like a novel and got to the Triumphal Entry by Friday before Good Friday. I read along with the events of Holy Week. Then, once I got to the Resurrection, I couldn’t stop.

7. The Ladybird Bible Storybook

This is our third time through this great little Bible book. This is also our last time through a Bible “storybook” as we are all reading a regular Bible now. I will miss this, but we have new fish to fry in this department.

8. The Awesome Book of Bible Facts by Silverthorne

I know they are too old for this book, but we loved it the first time. So, we went through it again this year. So great!


9. If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by Ortberg

Not just your fluffy contemporary Christian book. I really liked this, and I enjoyed discussing it chapter-by-chapter with a group of women every week for ten weeks. I am not sure that I would have picked it up to read it had it not been for that reason.

10. The House of the Seven Gables by Hawthorne (Book Dames)

It was sort of a slow story, but I think his language is so beautiful. I liked The Scarlet Letter much more, but I still liked it. I gave it a 7 at our Book Dames Book Club

11. Christianity is Jewish by Edith Schaeffer

This is another one that I read slowly over the whole year. This is the book in which my friend, Beth, read in 1975 and created a seventeen lesson Bible study to go with it called “Bird’s-Eye View of the Bible.” It was so fun to do the study, read the chapter, discuss it in small groups, and listen to my friend (who has the gift of teaching) teach on the lesson. It is all about the “Scarlet Thread of Redemption” from Genesis to Revelation. I just finished the Revelation chapter today, and I am so hopeful and at peace. This is a very uplifting book in every way.

Next year, I will rework the Bird’s Eye View Study and adapted it for my kids to do during their homeschool Bible time. I don’t know what it will look like, but I hope I can make it fun and educational at the same time.

12. Dear Sister, Letters of Hope and Encouragement by Gisela Yohannan

I loved this book. She is a wise woman whose husband heads up Gospel for Asia, one of the largest indigenous church planting mission agencies. They plant churches all over India and in many countries in Asia. These are the letters she wrote to the women in her agency over a period of years. They are PACKED with spiritual encouragement. You can read some excerpts of some of the chapters on my non-photo blog.

13. The Externally Focused Church by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson

This is for churches who want to integrate good news and good deeds into the life of the church. It is a practical book with many examples of churches that have done just that! I have always contended that a church is for the maturing and building up of the Body of Christ but that maturity comes through reaching out as a Body to the community around us. So, the focus of this book is speaking to my heartbeat. Our Women’s Ministry Director wanted me to read this and give her feedback about it because she is considering using it for the Fall Women’s Group on Wednesday nights. I am SO there!


Only four out of eleven are even fiction! I am hoping to rectify that. I love fiction, and I don't want to lose that.

Summer Goals

The books that I am looking to read this summer are:

1776 by McCullough (I like to read a patriotic book around the 4th of July!)
How to Read Slowly: A Christian Guide to Reading with the Mind by James W. Sire
Crunchy Cons by Ron Dreher (Lamp-post discussion end of June)
Passage to India by Forster (Book Dames discussion July 14 and Lamp-post July 27)
The Cloister Walk by Norris (Prep for possible workshop at Jubilee on Private Retreat)
Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnards (Just because I love this!)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (Book Babes for July)
Hound of the Baskervilles by Doyle (Book Dames for September)
Escape from Slavery by Francis Bok (Book Babes that I didn't read in April)

9 books in one summer is more than reasonable!

The Well-Educated Mind Autobiographies

I have read and analyzed and discussed: Confessions of St. Augustine and All Rivers Lead to the Sea by Weisel

I have read but have not analyzed:

The Road from Coorain

Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez

Born Again.

I hope to read when I am done with the others:

The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn

So there you have my MIND goals and category. Stay tuned for my notes from Crunchy Cons!


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