Books #22 and #23

The end of the year is coming at us like a freight train, and I have no hope of finishing 52 books by the end of 2009. I’m okay with that. I have read 23 books since April, and most of those have been works of classical literature. I have never before focused so intently on reading the classics, but I feel that since we are giving MA a classical education in which she is required to read the great books, that I must follow suit. I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed this transition. There is an beautiful world awaiting us in great literature.

Reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was fun for me. This timeless book by Barbara Robinson was written in 1972 and has been delighting young readers (and old) ever since. It is the story of a church’s Christmas pageant, a yearly ritual fir this church in which nothing ever changes. Ever. “Primary kids are always angels; intermediate kids are shepherds; big boys are wise men; Elmer Hopkins, the minister’s son, has been Joseph for as long as I can remember; and my friend Alice Wendleken is Mary because she’s so smart, so neat and clean, and, most of all, so holy-looking.” However, this year, things are shaken up when the Herdman’s arrive on the scene. The Herdman’s are the local family of bullies. There are six of them, and they are all rough and dirty. They say things that aren’t politically correct. They hit, they pull hair, they intimidate, they steal, they set fires… And they want to be in the Christmas pageant. What ensues is a hilarious, and yet poignant re-telling of the real meaning of Christmas.

My dad sent book #23 for me to read, Raising Cole by Marc Pittman. It’s the true story of the relationship between father Marc Pittman and his sons, Cole and Chase. Both superstar athletes in high school, Cole goes on to play for Mack Brown at the University of Texas. That is, until he is killed one morning on the drive back from his home in Louisiana to college. The book that Marc Pittman has written out of that experience is one in which he challenges parents to step up their relationship with their children. He gives some very valuable tools which will help parents and children to know each others better and more intimately, and build bonds that will last a lifetime and beyond.

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