Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 Reading Challenge~~Books #43 and #44

I'm caught up! I had fallen a little behind during September, but as of now I'm back to an average of a book a week. Now if I can only maintain it through the end of the year . . .

Finishing The House at Pooh Corner was like saying good-bye to an old friend, one you don't want to part with but know you must. Maybe that feeling is so strong because of the way A.A. Milne brings the stories to an end with the departure of Christopher Robin, who is growing up and out of his old friends, Pooh & Co. It's a poignant ending and one I've known to bring tears to the eyes of at least one tough ol' codger. But before that last chapter, there are many laughs and much insight into life. Reading these stories makes me realize how impoverished modern childhood can be if parents are not careful. There is too much noise and distraction coming from ubiquitous electronic gadgets, including the television, and from endless activities, organized by adults for children, to allow them to engage in the long hours of doing "Nothing," as Christopher Robin puts it. What is Nothing? "It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering," says Christopher Robin. I could go on for a long time along this vein, but I'll spare you that. I'm sure I will continue to make forays into the 100 Acre Wood from time to time. Not returning for brief visits is a prospect that I cannot countenance.

Little House on the Prairie continues the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood growing up in a frontier family. As I'm sure you are aware, in this book her family moves from the Big Woods of Wisconsin to Indian Terrority forty miles west of Independence, Missouri. I'm always amused that Pa decides to move because the Big Woods are getting too crowded. What's his definition of too crowded? Seeing one wagon passing their house a day. So they move to where the only neighbors are American Indians and couple other settlers a few miles away. I'm always impressed with the Ingalls' grit and resourcefulness. Through the literal sweat of their collective brow they produce practically everthing they need, and what can't they can't make or procure themselves they get through barter. Their life is not easy, but they are happy. They are without almost every material good that we in the 21st century think essential, but they feel blessed. Spending time with the Ingalls family reminds me to pursue contentment and to be thankful for the advantages of modern life. I'm also reminded to weigh carefully the hidden costs of those advantages. The hardships the Ingalls faced ~ though I doubt they would have considered most of them hardships ~ also knitted them together with a common goal and unity that most modern families are lacking. I first read the Little House books so long ago that I can't remember a time when they weren't part of my consciousness. Even after so long a time I still find it satisfying to re-establish my old friendship with Pa and Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie, and Grace.

I think it's time for me to return once again to the grown-up world of literature and books. I had considered continuing the Little House series and re-reading Beatrix Potter, but my vacation in children's literature has come to an end for now. I'm sure I'll return sometime, though. :-)


  1. Sorry to comment on an totally unrelated post! I just wondered if you plan to do any posts about Advent/Christmas/Epiphany. If so, I'm going to be running a "Nativity Carnival" each week Advent - Epiphany (actually starting now) Here's the first post:

    You don't have to post every week, of course! I hope you'll join me!

  2. I'm sure I will, Kerry. I'll check it out! Thanks!

  3. I may have started the Pooh books at one time, but I know I never finished them. Thanks for reminding me of them.


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