I thought since we are bumping up against November that I should submit my final installment of my summer reading progress. I have two books to report on.
From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth Century America by Beth L. Bailey--An intriguing read that brought many issues into focus and clarity for me. Bailey explains how we got from courting in Grandpa and Grandma's day to the sexual revolution. She explains the changes that the Great Depression and World War II brought to the dating scene and how young people coped with them. I'd love to see an update of this book that includes current practices such as hooking up and the "friends with benefits" phenomenon, though I'm sure I'd find it depressing.
The Twilight of American Culture by Morris Berman--Wow, what a book! Berman encourages his readers to take the monastic option, his term for opting out of the mainstream pop culture and developing in its place a culture focused on the true, the good, and the beautiful. (Aside~~though I don't recall Berman using the "true, good, and beautiful" in his book, that's my shorthand for his desire for people to live with an emphasis on the Things That Last, Eternal Things, the Things That Really Matter). Berman doesn't see this happening on a large scale, but he believes that individuals and families can make this happen for themselves on a small scale. In fact, he believes that once this monastic option becomes an organized movement, it ceases to be the monastic option at all. Though too short, the happiest note of the book is his inclusion of homeschooling at a monastic way of life. The most distressing note is his continual insistence that the Enlightenment be the objective standard of reference for all serious thought. That's a serious shortcoming, but there is nevertheless much good in this book. One of the reasons I liked it so much is that he describes in many particulars the way my husband and I have chosen to shape our family culture over the years. Everyone likes affirmation. :-) For one thing, we at least know that we aren't completely nuts and that there are others who have many of the same ideas we do. In the monastic option, it's difficult for the monks to find each other precisely because we aren't an organized movement. No forum exists to bring us together; we have no conventions, headquarters, or periodicals. It's truly exciting when we stumble upon each other.
Read Carol's review of the book also. She gives many insights.
So, the final tally for my summer reading is as follows:
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Through the Kitchen Window by Susan Hill
Morning Tide by Neil Gunn
Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal by T. David Gordon**
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
The Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck
Richistan: A Journey through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the Rich by Robert Frank
Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay
The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by Peter Hitchens
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
The Moffats by Eleanor Estes
Front Front Porch to Back Seat by Beth L. Bailey
The Twilight of American Culture by Morris Berman**