Books Read: March 2020

Dear Reader,

It’s that time again. Here are the books I read this past month:

Books Read March 2020

The Liberal Arts Tradition by Kevin Clark and Ravi Jain — I have a series of posts coming out on this book. My short take on it would be that while I don’t agree with all of it, it is the best book I have read from classical educators. 

Scottish Covenanter Stories by Dane Love — The review I had read of this book was that the style is not over-engaging but the stories speak for themselves and make it worth reading. I would say that about sums it up. Short chapters make for easy chunks of reading. What these people endured for their faith is amazing.

Tracker: The Story of Tom Brown as told to William Jon Watkins — I pre-read this book for my high school daughter’s homeschool nature lore. I quite enjoyed it. It is the true story of a boy growing up in New Jersey who learns tracking and survival skills from an older Native American man. The whole thing is interesting and well-written. It was one of those books where I can imagine myself there in the woods. There is a bit of mystical religiosity to it (as one might expect from a Native American perspective) but it wouldn’t bother me to give to an older child.  There is also one tiny adult bit that might easily go past a child unnoticed. One of the biggest dangers might be that it will inspire your own child to go spend days at a time in the woods. I am definitely adding this one to my list of nature lore books.

The Gentleman from Indiana by Booth Tarkington — I have heard that this is Tarkington’s best book and if so, I won’t need to read any others of his. It was not all bad. At times it was engaging and the action was exciting and the characters likable. But I felt that it fell flat and that there was no great message here. And to the extent that there was a message, it was that all men will be good if just given the right circumstances. I have read a couple of other books recently (Of Human Bondage and The Passage) in which the authors did not seem to be believers and ended up with different conclusions about life than I would but they seemed at least to struggle more with the issues and to be on the verge of something profound that just escaped them. That was not the case this time. The Gentleman from Indiana was not a bad book but there just wasn’t much there. 

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen — This is a book my college-age daughter had had from a class and left around the house. Since it seems to be a well-known one, I thought I should read it. It tells the true story of the author’s time in a mental hospital as a young adult in the 1960s.  It was a short, easy read and the characters were likable. There was a fair amount of crudeness and adult content (though one might argue it is integral to the plot) so that I am not keeping it around my house. My main problem with the book is that it just isn’t very deep. I am also reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (also very crude) and that at least seems to have layers of meaning and something deeper to say. In Girl Interrupted though the author writes as an adult much after her experiences, one feels she has not yet come to terms with them. It is her story but it does not go beyond that.

What have you been reading?


One response to this post.

  1. […] Wister — I seem to have gotten into reading books about particular areas of the US recently (last month was Indiana). The Virginian is another regional novel. I believe it was Montana (definitely some then barely […]


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