Monday, April 14, 2008

Buy Good Books and Read Them

For the past few weeks Ron and I have been enjoying Charlottesville's annual Gordon Avenue Library book sale . It is something we look forward to every year and is definitely one of our favorite things about Charlottesville. This week is 75% off week which means that patrons of the sale can buy good used books for ridiculous prices. By ridiculous prices I mean they are actually selling books you would want to read for 12 cents. It is quite absurd. Absurdly awesome!

Anyway with all of the books we have been buying lately I want to recommend a couple of jewels that have blessed me in one way or another.

I didn't buy this book at the book sale, but I did read every word of it. Yes, I am proud to say I read all 976 pages. Granted I started in December of 2006 and just finished this week, but nonetheless I read it all. What is more is I thoroughly enjoyed it. It starts in 1580 and finishes in in the late nineties. I heartily recommend it to anyone who loves history or America or both. You do not have to be a hard core history buff, however, to enjoy it. It reads more like a story book than a text book. I think that is how I managed to finish it!

I haven't read this book in its entirety yet and I don't always agree with everything Miss Manners has to say, so this is not a full on recommendation. I am just saying so far I have really enjoyed this book. One thing I like about Miss Manners is that she makes me want to live a fine and beautiful life. That is not the same thing as an expensive life. She inspires me to thoughtful, considerate, tasteful living, which I think is a good thing. I purchased her Guide To Excruciatingly Correct Behavior at the book sale two years ago and found it delightfully entertaining. When I saw her child rearing book at the sale this year I had to get it! So far I like it even better than the first one. Not only is it entertaining, it also seems to contain actual wisdom and insight that I think we will help me as a mother. Consider what she says here:

Miss Manners' dear mother, a teacher, often heard the parental lamentation of "But we give him everything" from those whose children confided in their teacher, separately, how much they cheerfully hated their parents. The parental complaint was followed by a list itemizing valuable goods given.
"I could never find a correlation between the parents' generosity and the child's feeling about them," noted Miss Manners' mother. "Then I began to notice a connection between the child's feelings and the parents' facial expressions when they came to pick him up at school, or even when they just talked about him. The parent who beamed at the child had a loving child, and the one who didn't, didn't. After that, it didn't seem to matter what else the parents did or didn't do."
Miss Manners is happy to present such unmaterialistic news, although she does not deny that many people's fondest childhood memories have to do with toys or other presents. Yet the parent who gives whatever is asked, when it is asked, seems to get no return except increased expectation. The generally sensible parent, who restricts giving to fixed occasions and choice of presents to items that are educational, useful, or apt to be of lasting, rather than fleeting enjoyment, will give enormous pleasure by a rare wild deviation from this policy.

I don't know about you, but I feel wiser for the reading of that.

I read this book when I was engaged and I thought it would really help me as a new wife. I am sure it did, though not nearly as much as it is helping me now on my second reading of it. By helping I really mean giving me a much needed kick to the behind. It was one thing to read it with stars in my eyes and my wedding day and honeymoon ahead of me. It is quite another reading it again with those things, as well as three and half years of marriage and one and two thirds children, already under by belt. True, it is not the inspired word of God, but it does seem to be pretty adept at cutting through to the true thoughts and intents of my heart. Very convicting, but very, very inspring and instructive. I ardently recommend to any woman who has a husband.

1 comment:

Judy Kay said...

I've just finished re-reading The Care and Feeding book and it's even better than I remembered. An awesome reminder every once in a while of how we should care for our dragon-slayers! Thanks for reminding me about it.