Sunday, June 15, 2008

July's Reading Selection

The reading selection for July is:

David McCullough's 1776. I am really looking forward to reading this--it's been sitting on my shelf since my birthday! Thanks to all of you who voted.

To avoid confusion, we are not technically starting on this until July 6th.

Right now we are working on the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, and The Federalist Papers (I'm noticing that #10 pops up a lot on various lists) and we'll be discussing them on July 5th. (Unless we want to change that date with it being so close to a holiday, I'm up for July 3rd or 7th. You know where to leave your input...)

Memorization: "Paul Revere's Ride," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (I couldn't resist!)

Alright then, read away dear friends!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reading Selection for June

June's reading selection is:

  • The Declaration of Independence

  • The Constitution of the United States (incl. The Bill of Rights)

  • The Federalist Papers, by James Madison et al.

I know that people generally read "patriotic literature" in July, but I'm of the opinion that you should read the patriotic stuff during June in order to have it freshly in your mind on Independence Day. I think it adds deeper meaning to what we are celebrating when we're familiar with the struggles and sacrifices that took place in order to found this country.

I realize that this is a bit of reading, and I am not expecting us to read through all of The Federalist Papers, but think it's good to read through as much as we can given our time limitations. The only "required" reading is The Declaration and The Constitution.

Memorization: "America for Me," by Henry Van Dyke

Happy Reading! We'll be discussing it all on July 5th!

July's Reading Selection

America for Me

By: Henry Van Dyke

'Tis fine to see the Old World, and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumbly castles and the statues of the kings,--
But now I think I've had enough of antiquated things.

So it's home again, and home again, America for me!
My heart is turning home again, and there I long to be
In the land of youth and freedom beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the air;
And Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her hair;
And it's sweet to dream in Venice, and it's great to study Rome,
But when it comes to living, there is no place like home.

I like the German fir-woods, in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing fountains filled;
But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her way!

I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something seems to lack!
The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back,
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free,--
We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.

Oh, it's home again, and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
To the blessed Land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Reading Through History Book Club Information

The aim of the book club is to read through the eras of history (via Classics, primary sources and relevant commentaries) over the course of four years. We will read works published during the time period and works written about the time period. There will also be "extra credit" assignments of memorization work.

The breakdown of history will be as follows: Ancients through Medieval (5000 BC-AD 400), Medieval through Early Renaissance (400-1600), Late Renaissance through Early Modern (1600-1850), and Modern (1850-present).

While I'm a fan of starting at the beginning and working until you reach the end, I've decided to ease us into our studies by beginning with the Late Renaissance/Early Modern period, as I think it will be a little more familiar and far less intimidating to start with.

I will post the book selection(s) one month in advance in order to allow everyone the opportunity to acquire their personal copy with time to spare.

Discussion Framework:

  • On the 5th of each month I will post my thoughts regarding the last month's book selection. In turn, each participant can either post their thoughts, or provide a link to their thoughts on their own blog, in the comments section of my post.

  • Also on the 5th of the month, I will post a poll with possible choices for the next month's reading selection. Please vote on which work(s) you would like to read.
  • On the 10th of the month, the voting will end and I will announce which work(s) we will be reading the next month; and, using some sort of random choosing gizmo, select one of the commentors to receive a prize (think gift card) from yours truly. It is the responsibility of the chosen commentor to contact me via email and provide their mailing address so I can send them their copy.

  • Around the 15th of the month, I will do an "in between" post. It will be a fun question, extra information, etc.

    If you're interested, here's some suggested reading that Mrs. Brooke (the club founder)and I found beneficial regarding reading and education through the Classics:

    • How to Read a Book, by Mortimer J. Adler

    • "Invitation to the Pain of Learning," by Mortimer J. Adler

    • The Well-Trained Mind, by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer

    • A Thomas Jefferson Education, by Oliver Van DeMille

    • A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion, by Oliver Van DeMille et al.