All posts by Karen Glass

Words of Wisdom from Formation of Character, Part II

Anne and I are sharing some interesting quotes from Part II of Formation of Character today. Be sure to check out her selection.

Next week, we’ll be moving on to Part III, which is the section that deserves the most attention. I’ll explain why on Monday!

Meanwhile, from pages 149-150, Charlotte Mason compares an early relationship to a heavenly:

“It is just, to compare lesser things with great, as the husband of a famous woman might listen to discussions about his wife’s works or published letters. Are they hers or are they not? Do they disclose facts of her life or fancies? Are the opinions put into the mouths of her best characters truly her own? It is most interesting to hear what the world says, but, for him, he knows where the world guesses; besides, these things are not vital; the vital thing is herself and their mutual relations. So, but infinitely more so, of our apprehension of the Highest, and our cognisance of the supreme relationship. Reveal to the eyes of youth the vision of the infinite Loveliness, lay bare the heart of youth to the drawings of the irresistible Tenderness, let the young know, of their own intimate knowledge, that,

“The thoughts of God are broader than the measures of man’s mind,
And the heart of the EternaI is most wonderfully kind,”

“and all other knowledge and relationships and facts of life will settle themselves. Thus, only, is it possible to live joyfully, purposefully, diligently. Without this—madness! or, the foolish playing of a foolish mummer’s part in the presence of the “eternal verities.” But, boys religiously brought up turn out indifferent or ill? Exactly so, when they have had the outward and visible signs without the inward part or thing signified; of all sawdust, this is the driest. No soul, once laid open to the touch of the divine tenderness, can go away and forget. Go away, a wilful soul may, but come back, it needs must. Well, it is something to see one’s work; but, how to do it? At any rate, seeing these things, a man must go softly all his days and wait for light.”

 

Read all the posts in this series.

Part II—So many things to think about!

Don’t miss Anne’s overview of part II from Monday.

I think one of the most interesting inclusions in Part II is Chapter 4,— “Die Neue Zeit Bedarf Der Neuen Schule: A Schoolmaster’s Reverie.”

This chapter can be a bit difficult to follow. It is written as if it were the private “reverie” of a teacher who has been given the position of headmaster, running a grammar school—that is, a small boarding school which typically focused on the British version of classical education.

His first thought is that it would be easiest to maintain the status quo. He muses: “What is, is best. But that is laziness, cowardice.” Charlotte Mason imagines him as a thinker who has been delving into deep thoughts and new ideas about education, so we are treated to his rambling thoughts as he envisions plans and schemes for his school, justifying the rationale of it all to himself as he goes. It can be a cumbersome vehicle for the ideas, but we have to indulge Miss Mason and dig for the treasure.

While on vacation in Germany, our schoolmaster has picked up a pamphlet about education, and his reverie is taking place on the train carrying him home. The title of the publication is the title of this chapter— “New Times Require A New School,” and the pamphlet in question is real. The author, Arnold Dodel-Port (pictured) is a real person—a botanist, a socialist, and a freethinker (which is a euphemism for someone who rejects religion). The pamphlet described in this chapter was published in German in 1889 and translated into English in 1891.

It’s possible that Miss Mason thought many of her readers would be familiar with it, or it may be that, like the schoolmaster in the story, she picked up a copy of it during her own continental travels. It’s interesting to see the way in which she presented ideas that she disagreed with. In this story, the real pamphlet becomes a foil for the fictional schoolmaster’s dissenting thought. It requires a careful reading to observe which ideas are the ones expressed by the pamphlet, and which are his (and probably her) reactions. Miss Mason sacrificed clarity for “story” in this chapter, and the stream-of-consciousness style she uses can be a bit difficult to follow.

She presents three main arguments:

    1. If the goal of education is the pursuit of truth, how much time in educational pursuits should be given to religion? (“Pilate’s world-famed question” is referenced: “What is truth?”) Dodel-Port laments that too much time is spent on religious studies in Germany. Charlotte Mason’s schoolmaster, on the other hand, laments that England has reduced religious studies so much that “we have deprived the people of the classics, the metaphysics, the ethics—as well as the religion—peculiarly their own.” I think we can safely conclude that Charlotte Mason believed the Bible had an important role in an education with truth as its object.
    2. The title of the pamphlet in English was “Moses or Darwin?” Moses equates to Genesis and the account of creation, and Darwin represents evolution. So, the question actually is not, “How can creation and evolution be reconciled?” but “which one are you going to believe?” They are presented as an either/or proposition.  Charlotte Mason’s schoolmaster—and I think we can assume he expresses her own feelings—refuses to be drawn into a dichotomy. He believes, in faith, that both may be true in their degree, and that loyalty to Christ will be a safeguard against fretting about lesser truths. Charlotte Mason makes it plain that she did not consider the apparent conflict a vital one, and believed a relationship with the Eternal was the only way to live purposefully and joyfully.

It is difficult to put into words, but, somehow, one is landed on the other side of the controversies of the day: they are of immense interest, but are not vital.

  1. How can the Bible be taught in the face of extreme criticism? Biblical criticism is not much discussed today, but the controversy was pretty warm when this was written. We can assume Dodel-Port was influenced by the German higher criticism of the Bible, and the schoolmaster attempts to sort through ways in which he might ground his pupils in God’s Word and fortify them to defend the Scripture. He didn’t consider the Bible weakened by the critics, and without hesitation declared, “The fortress is intact.”  I think Charlotte Mason made it clear that she was not willing to yield the truth of Scripture to critics.

I suspect that the words Charlotte Mason puts into the mouth of her schoolmaster in the closing pages are the convictions of her own heart.

Do I incline with lingering fondness rather to the things of the past than to the eager stir of the present, the promise of the future? Not so; I appreciate to the full the joy of living in days characterised by childlike frankness, openness to conviction, readiness to try all things and choose that which is good….

But the past offers us its accumulated treasures of wisdom and experience…

Few things could be more disastrous (as, alas, few are more imminent) than a sudden break with the traditions of the past; wherefore, let us gently knit the bonds that bind us to the generation all too rapidly dying out. Without a thought of disloyalty towards our own most earnest days, perhaps some of us feel that the cultivated men and women of the middle decades of the last century had more breadth and sweetness—any way, more delightful humour—than we perceive in our contemporaries. It is well that we gather up, with tender reverence, such fragments of their insight and experience as come in our way.

This is a most gentle warning not to take up the “latest and greatest” fads in theological or educational teaching, not to be “carried away by every wind” of trend and fashion, and most especially, not to allow education to be divided into “sacred” and “secular.” Miss Mason told us it was imminent, and she was right. Contemporary education is largely considered to be secular, and all too often “Christian” education is merely a veneer of morality or Bible-themed appendages added to that secular education. Miss Mason urges us to think as she has shown her schoolmaster thought, as well as the parents in the other stories in this section. We must think, and then we may look any educational question squarely in the face, discern truth, and act confidently upon our convictions.

Read all the posts in this series.

Taking the Fifth a little further…

Bit of housekeeping: if you want to receive blog posts as email, I’ve added a subscription box in the sidebar. You can find links to all the posts in this series here.

This week we “Take the Fifth” with a peek into Part II of Formation of Character. Anne is up first with “Education is the Maker of Character”:

Thinking This Way Could Start a Movement

After Part One, which dealt almost exclusively with matters of character, the beginning chapters of Part Two (“What a Salvage!” and “Where Shall We Go This Year?”) seem to take a shift in subject. The first conversation begins at a dinner party, in about 1890, with the confession by a father that his lack of knowledge on subjects like astronomy is embarrassing. Others agree that they don’t know enough natural history to answer their children’s questions. It is suggested that, as a remedy, families could take extended holidays and discover the counties of England, one by one; that they could research their trips a bit beforehand; and that they could really get to know and appreciate each region of their country, including geology, plants, castles, and so on.

One of the mothers, “Mrs. Henderson,” says, “All this is an inspiring glimpse of the possible; but surely, gentlemen, you do not suppose that a family party, the children, say, from fifteen downwards, can get in touch with such wide interests in the course of a six weeks’ holiday?” (Wouldn’t many employees today–or even in 1890–envy such generous vacation time? But perhaps six weeks of “holiday” was not such a treat for mothers.) “Mrs. Henderson” points out that parents might not be well-versed enough in history and nature lore to make such attempts practical. Both then and now, adults could graduate from school without knowing any more astronomy than the Big Dipper, or without recognizing any leaf beyond a maple and an oak, or any butterfly other than a monarch. Continue reading…

Words of Wisdom, from Formation of Character, Part I

Each Friday, Anne I will be posting an excerpt from the section we’ve been discussing. We just want to whet your appetite for reading this volume. As I mentioned on Wednesday, my selection is a peek at the natural desires that are shared by everyone, and which can be used—or misused—in character training. Next week, we’ll leave the discussion of habits behind. As we continue with Part II, you’ll see that there is a lot more than habits to this volume.

Our natural desires, and our duty to manage them well:

From pages 70-71:

It is worth while to look to the springs of conduct in human nature for the source of this common cause of the mismanagement of children. There must be some unsuspected reason for the fact that persons of weak and of strong nature should err in the same direction.

In every human being there are implanted, as we know, certain so-called primary or natural desires, which are among the springs or principles out of which his action or conduct flows. These desires are neither virtuous nor vicious in themselves: they are quite involuntary: they have place equally in the savage and the savant: he who makes his appeal to any one of those primary desires is certain of a hearing.

Thus, every man has an innate desire for companionship: every man wants to know, however little worthy the objects of his curiosity: we all want to stand well with our neighbours, however fatuously we lay ourselves out for esteem: we would, each of us, fain be the best at some one thing, if it be only a game of chance which excites our emulation; and we would all have rule, have authority, even if our ambition has no greater scope than the rule of a dog or a child affords.

These desires being primary or natural, the absence of any one of them in a human being makes that person, so far, unnatural. The man who hates society is a misanthrope; he who has no curiosity is a clod.

But, seeing that a man may make shipwreck of his character and his destiny by the excessive indulgence of any one of these desires, the regulating, balancing, and due ordering of these springs of action is an important part of that wise self-government which is the duty of every man. —Charlotte Mason

 

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Part I—Forming habits with older children

I hope you enjoyed Anne’s first post with a glimpse into Part I of Formation of Character!

By 1904, the Parents’ National Educational Union, with its publication, The Parents’ Review, had been operating for quite a few years. Charlotte Mason had been contributing material for over a decade. Many of the articles she wrote for the Review were collected into the volume which became Formation of Character.

There are four distinct sections in the book, each very different. As a book, it need not be read consecutively, from front to back. Each article was originally offered as a stand-alone article, so a reader today can choose any chapter which sparks interest and read it profitably, without fear of missing a context. I led a book study of this volume on the AmblesideOnline Forum in 2015, and our non-linear reading plan is available for anyone interested in reading this way.

Part I is a collection of stories that illustrate Mason’s understanding of the way that habits are formed. She addressed a variety of specific habits, not so much to give us specific suggestions for those habits as to illustrate the general principles upon which she thought parents should be working.

For the most part, the stories are arranged in a chronological way. The first stories begin with very young children, with whom parents may work on habit formation without their full knowledge and participation in the process. The stories continue with older children, teenagers, and even consider what habit formation might entail for adults. Sometimes parents who have older children come to Charlotte Mason’s methods later in their educational endeavors and assume they can address habit formation with them using the methods recommended for younger children, particularly those found in Volume I, Home Education. Reading through the stories in this section makes it clear that by age eight or so, and probably earlier, habit formation cannot be conducted in children’s lives unless they are informed and willing participants in the process. So how do we address habit formation with these older children?

In “Under a Cloud,” a concerned mother and father are trying to deal with a sulky temper in their daughter, which appears to be rooted in jealousy and perceived injury. (Her sulkiness begins because her brother gets a larger apple, or she perceives some other little injury.) The parents makes some attempts at developing a better habit, but their progress is unsatisfactory. The child’s father lays out the problem:

We must strike out a new line. In a general way, I do believe it’s best to deal with a child’s faults without making him aware that he has them….But in this case, I think we shall have to strike home and deal with the cause at least as much as with the effects, and that, chiefly because we have not the effects entirely under our control.

And so they work out a strategy. They would rather not point out to little Agnes how wrong she is to take offense at nothing, but simply trying to avoid having her get sulky in the first place hasn’t worked. They lay their plan:

I think we shall have to show her to herself in this matter, to rake up the ugly feeling, however involuntary, and let her see how hateful it is.

And so they do. More gently than any exasperated parent could imagine doing, her mother makes Agnes see how repulsive selfishness is, and how wrong it is to be offended when we don’t get our own way. As it happens, the child is so sensitive to evil, and wants to be good so ardently, that a mere look when she begins to take offense is enough to bring her up short in “gentleness and penitence.” More than just a sense of “good” or “bad” is invoked, however. Her mother reminds her that her behavior affects everyone else in the family—casts a cloud over the whole day if she is sulky—and so her desire to be better is rooted in love and concern for others. This is the prerequisite to using the will, as Miss Mason says elsewhere: will operates in the interest of someone or something outside of self. “Self” is well-supplied with appetites which drive self-interest, but will requires an object. Overcoming bad habits and developing better ones requires the effort of will, in the end, which is why creating habits without their knowledge or will can only work for very small children.

A few chapters later, in “Ability,” there is a frank discussion of the need to invoke a child’s will in the effort to overcome a fault by creating a better habit. Fred is the eldest of nine children, probably a young teen, and is so careless and forgetful that his parents are beginning to despair. His mother has a heart-to-heart talk with the family friend who is also their doctor about it. He lays out the problem this way:

Either it’s a case of chronic disease, open only to medical treatment, if to any; or it is just a case of defective education, a piece of mischief bred of allowance which his parents cannot too soon set themselves to cure.

Fred’s mother, as irked by the implication as any parent would be, is then reminded of a principle about habits and behavior that is repeated in this section several times: a weakness or fault (of mind or body), left to itself, can do nothing but grow stronger. Therefore, the remedy is to strengthen the opposite behavior or habit. In this case, Fred’s forgetfulness will have to be overcome by strengthening his habit of attention.

The doctor points out:

Fred never forgets his cricket or other pleasure engagement? No? And why not? Because his interest is excited; therefore his whole attention is fixed on the fact to be remembered.

You can increase the habit of attention in a tiny child by your own efforts. Charlotte Mason describes the quite easy and natural method of returning a child’s attention to a toy, or flower, or vista, when their short attention span has moved on—to encourage them to look just a moment longer, or notice just a little more. But what might have worked then will not work with a young person. He will have to make himself pay attention.

Fred’s mother sees the principle, but, like most of us, she wants a suggestion or two to make it practicable as well. They’ve established the idea that attention is necessary, and that we pay attention to what interests us, but there is no way to interest a young person naturally in tedious things that have to be remembered, and so the key is this: “you must put the interest into it from without.” And that advice is followed by “try one [thing], and when that is used up, turn to another.”

There is so much implied in these few short paragraphs, but this is the crux of the matter if you want to help your school-age children develop better habits and stronger character. They must engage their own wills in the process, and there must be some motivation to encourage them to do so. There is no ready-to-hand, all-purpose answer. “Try one thing, and then turn to another.” It sounds a little discouraging at first—we would all like a perfect system that simply worked when you took it out of the box and plugged it in—but if we dig a little deeper, we will see that this is actually more hopeful. Persons are not machines. Each of us has things that motivate us, and a parent is free to adapt motives and encouragement to the particular needs and characteristics of a child. If you have a sensitive child, like Agnes, who responds to a mere look, then a mere look may be used for motivation. If you have a child who would be oblivious to a look, it would be fine to make a game that appeals to the competitive spirit to tackle a new habit. Natural rewards or consequences might motivate some children. The whole realm of natural desires is at our disposal to help us engage a child’s will on behalf of a good habit (Friday’s excerpt will give a peek at those), and if one idea doesn’t work, it can be dispensed with in favor of another.

In the chapter “Consequences,” Miss Mason addresses some of the specific natural desires that we have. For example, everyone desires esteem, and Fred might respond to a small loss of esteem through gentle raillery when he forgets, along with being reminded that throughout his life, his forgetfulness will make him frustrating to his companions and associates. We all desire distinction, to be the best, and, as the doctor in the story suggested, Fred might engage in a contest with himself, to remember more often than he forgets, and to do better this week than last week. Any of the natural desires we possess may be called into service, only taking care not to allow any single desire to dominate or grow unnaturally strong.

Because it is truly for their own good, Miss Mason warns against being too lenient when forming habits:

He must endure hardness if you would make a man of him. Blame as well as praise, tears as well as smiles, are of human nature’s daily food; pungent speech is a tool of the tongue not to be altogether eschewed in the building of character.

Yes, that is Charlotte Mason telling us it’s okay (sometimes) to be a little sharp. When it comes right down to it, helping children form good habits is just ordinary parenting, with no magic formula or precise recipe to follow. However, the more alert we are to various possibilities and the better we understand the principles that govern them, the better our chances—and our children’s—of success.

 

Read all the posts in this series.

Formation of Character—here we go!

Anne is taking off with our first post in this new series:

Last fall I took an education course on instructional design. Here’s something I learned: when curriculum professionals are hired to create a course, perhaps to improve employee performance in a workplace, one of their first questions is, “Is this actually an instructional problem?” In other words, can the situation be improved by teaching, or are there other factors such as (for example) outdated equipment?

The premise of Charlotte Mason’s fifth volume is that the formation of character is indeed an instructional problem. We cannot blame chronic moral under-performance on faulty equipment, or on corrupt management. We might prefer to avoid the training required in new “best practices”:  it’s not going to be an easy course. However, the reward offered for completion is huge.

The Casebook of Charlotte Mason

The first section of Formation of Character is a catalogue of case studies and “interventions,” told from multiple points of view….Continue reading.

Blog series—Take the Fifth!

First thing on the agenda for 2019 is a new blog series! I’m excited about this one because it’s about my favorite of Charlotte Mason’s six volumes and because it’s a joint venture with my friend and colleague (at AmblesideOnline), Anne White (author of Minds More Awake and The Plutarch Project volumes).

I did an informal poll in the AmblesideOnline Facebook group last year, asking people which volumes in the six-volume Charlotte Mason series they had read. I wasn’t surprised that volume five, Formation of Character, came in dead last in that poll. It’s never going to be the first or most important book to read, but there’s really excellent material—some of it a bit surprising—in there. We want you to have a taste of it, so get ready for our “Take the Fifth” series!

The four-week series will begin Monday, January 21. We’ll be posting three times a week—Monday, Wednesday, and Friday—so it’s going to be full of good things. Anne will posting on her blog, Anne Writes; I’ll be posting here; and the Friday posts will be interesting excerpts to whet your appetite for further reading. We’ll be cross-reference everything, and I’ll add links to this post each week so you won’t miss anything. Even if you don’t have time to read Formation of Character yourself in 2019, you’ll end up with a good idea of what to expect when you do get a chance.

We’re really hoping that this glimpse between the covers of volume five will give you a desire to pick it up and read it.

Join us as we…

All posts in this series:

  1. Why we do what we do (The Formation of Character)
  2. Part I—Forming habits with older children
  3. Quote: Wisdom from Volume 5: No Shortage of Love
  4. Quote: Words of Wisdom from Formation of Character, Part I
  5. Volume 5, Part II: “Education is the Maker of Character”
  6. Part II–So many things to think about!
  7. Quote: Wisdom from Volume 5: Too Many Cooks, Not Enough Facts.
  8. Quote: Words of Wisdom from Formation of Character, part II
  9. Part III—Delight in Knowledge
  10. Volume 5, Part 3: “Young Maidens at Home”
  11. Quote: Words of Wisdom from Formation of Character, part III
  12. Quote: Wisdom from Volume 5: A Place for Home-Bred Daughters
  13. Part IV—Sowing the Seeds
  14. Volume 5 Part IV: All About Pendennis
  15. Quote: Words of Wisdom from Formation of Character, Part IV
  16. Quote: Wisdom from Part IV: A generous zeal for education.
  17. Anne’s closing post for the series
  18. Last chat about Formation of Character (with audio recording!)

Books and Reading 2018

I wrote a post like this in December of 2017, about a year ago, and lamented that I had read only 29 books that year. I have done better this year, and while I haven’t hit that target of 52 books (averaging one per week) in 2018, I am not dissatisfied.

I have read 42 books in full, and parts of several more. That’s too many to discuss in detail, but here’s the breakdown by category:

Elizabeth George

She gets a category all to herself this year. Technically, her books belong in the crime genre, and certainly there is always a crime in each book, and the main characters are police or involved with helping the police. However, George is a category unto herself. The closest comparison I could make is to Dorothy Sayers’ crime novels. Her characters have a depth that bears no resemblance to a stereotyped Hercule Poirot or Nancy Drew. They grow and change across the books, and it’s fascinating to be inside the head of one character in this book, and a different character in the next book. There is also wise commentary on the human condition with spiritual overtones. I really can’t explain it well, but they are well done—a bit gritty, but nothing gratuitous, and best read in order. All were rereads, except the most recent title as noted, and they’ve formed quite a chunk of my fiction reading (eight titles!) this year.

Payment in Blood
Well-Schooled in Murder
A Suitable Vengeance
The Punishment She Deserves (new in 2018)
Missing Joseph
Playing for the Ashes
Deception on His Mind
In the Presence of the Enemy

If I have a favorite from this list, it’s the new one—just because it’s new, and moves the story forward.

Classic or Literary Fiction

I could subtitle this category “books worth reading.” I managed to read thirteen of these, so approximately one per month. Grisham may or may not deserve to be in this category instead of the next one, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt because Sycamore Row was a sequel to A Time to Kill.

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon
An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle (reread)
War in Heaven by Charles Williams
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (reread)
Silence by Shusako Endo
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe
Sycamore Row by John Grisham
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban (reread)
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (audio book)
Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin

My favorite from this category was probably Lila. Some of these were really heavy, dark reading, and when I finished Silence, for example, or The Sorrows of Young Werther,  or War in Heaven, I was almost desperate for something lighter, not to say frothy and insubstantial.

 

 

Elbow-chair Fiction

An elbow chair is simply a chair with arms, to contrast with the straight-backed, armless, hard chairs favored by disciplined Victorian ladies. Charlotte Mason said that sometimes “the mind is in need of an elbow-chair.” The implication is that an elbow-chair is a place to relax from the discipline of sitting ramrod-straight without a place to rest your elbows. I can only imagine how she might have viewed over-stuffed recliners. These books are mostly over-stuffed recliner reading. I read ten of them. If I have a goal for 2019 in this category, it would probably be to read fewer books in this category.

These are books I read to pass the time, take a break from heavier reading, or give a new author a try. I didn’t love any of these, so there is no favorite.

Split Infinity by Piers Anthony (reread—wanted to revisit my 1980’s teen reading)
The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne
The Unexpecteds by Katharine Judson
Endure by Craig Martelle
Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
Working Fire by Emily Bleeker
Ready Player One by Earnest Cline
Vanished by Irene Hannon
Finding Lucy by Diane Finley
The Foundling by Georgette Heyer

Nonfiction

Much of my nonfiction reading is related to education. My only regret on that score is that I don’t read more of it, but the days are full and the eyes are not getting younger. All the Charlotte Mason titles are rereads. I read eleven books in this category—again, averaging one per month, although I read parts of quite a few more.

Bright Line Eating by Susan Peirce Thompson
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (or does this count as fiction? I’m not sure.)


A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason
Bandersnatch by Diana Pavlac Glyer
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

 

 

 

 

The Liberal Arts Tradition by Kevin Clark and Ravi Jain
Home Education by Charlotte Mason
Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour
Formation of Character by Charlotte Mason
Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness & Beauty (Classical Education Guide)by Stephen R. Turley
John Milton: Classical Learning and the Progress of Virtue by Grant Horner

My favorite from this category was definitely The Liberal Arts Tradition, although I also enjoyed The Great Divorce very much.

The only embarrassing thing about this list is this post. I set myself the goal of reading at least nine nonfiction books, and I posted my plans there. I read 8/9 of the fiction titles, but only 2/9 of the nonfiction ones, although I did read parts of at least three more.

We can be sure of one thing, anyway—I read for myself—to learn, to think, to grow, to enjoy, sometimes just to escape. I certainly don’t read to make myself look good in these year-end reading posts.

I write this kind of post, however,  because I really enjoy reading them. If you’ve posted about your reading in 2018 or your plans for 2019 reading, let me know. I’d love to look at your lists (and probably add a few more titles to my ever-growing to-be-read stack).

WordPress has updated. Oh, dear.

This is just a test post. There have been significant changes to WordPress, which I use for this website. I am not especially savvy about these things. I learn to do things slowly, and all the things I learned to do on this blog are now obsolete. If you don’t hear from me for a while (I hope that won’t be the case!), it’s because I’m trying to learn new things, and you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks…
This would be funny if it were someone else.

It’s a sale!

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