“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored.”Anne Lamott
What I’m Currently Reading
Updated March 2021.
I generally have a pile of books I am reading through very slowly (as in, over the course of years), an audio book or two, and a shorter stack of books I’m reading at a “normal” pace.
I participate in an annual reading challenge that I helped design: The Scholé Sisters 5×5 Challenge. This challenge encourages us to dig in deeply to significant topics while also reading broad and eclectic in our reading.
I've been reading this book since 2014. It has sparked Scholé Sisters episodes, articles, and many intramural conversations about the nature of education.
Even though I'm not finished with this anthology yet, I highly recommend it.More info →
Begun in 2017 after recording a Scholé Sisters episode with Eric Hall ("Philosophy for Mommies"), where he mentioned them. It wasn't the first time I'd heard Jaeger's books mentioned, so I hit "buy" on Amazon mid-recording. Brandy ordered them shortly thereafter and we have done an intermittent recorded book club on it for the last 2 years. In two years, we've discussed 7 chapters.More info →
Begun August 2018. My life goal is to finish this before I'm 50 (in 2032).
Recommended to me by Nancy Wilson. Nancy mentioned in a talk that she loved to read "Puritans like Matthew Henry." I had seen Matthew Henry's commentary, and had no idea what time period he belonged to. Within a few months, I purchased this copy and began plugging away.More info →
Books Finished in 2021
Begun January 2021. Finished February 2021.
Hayek warns that it is not only socialism but also any central planning that will lead to the serfdom of all whom the planners attempt to control. The risks and troubles of an individualistic society are materially and morally superior to a collectivist society. Power must be distributed among a wide and free mass of individuals, not centralized among a few, for such power will always create tyrants, no matter the intentions with which the project is begun. We must guard against believing that we can create a perfect society if only everyone did things our way - no matter who sets such a program and what their goals are, the result will be oppression and the ideal, because it is utopian, will never be realized while the centralized power will be difficult to undo.
Recommended by Brandy Vencel; a Hayek work seemed like an essential to include in an economics category.More info →
Begun in February 2021.
Reading with Pam Barnhill as part of our mastermind group.More info →
Begun in January 2021. Finished February 2021. Listened via Audible.
A story of the human condition, from many angles and the intrigue of Elizabethan England from an unusual perspective: a Muslim from the court at Constantinople, to whom the glory of England is like muddy play-acting. Working in the background, mostly unwillingly, at 4 different courts, our hero comes to see that court politics and secrets are the same, the world and religion around. This book is a well-told, enjoyable story.
Recommended by Susan Wise Bauer when we were recording a Scholé Sisters episode with her. I love a good historical fiction about Elizabethan England, so I nabbed it.More info →
More theology than productivity advice, this book aptly defends the use of technology and the expansion of personal capacity that it affords us. When the topic turns to actual ploductivity, however, the only example used for how the technique works is reading and writing - a little bit every day adds up.More info →
It was really more of a book about the need for thinking than a how-to manual, but the checklist in the back was a good one and the examples in the book did highlight those principles without really drawing out particular applications. Jacobs is an excellent practitioner of writing as a craft; his words and examples were all carefully chosen to achieve his effect and reach his audience.
Even if I would have preferred he came out more boldly throughout, still it was evident that he was masterfully choosing his words. Noticing and thinking about how and why he expressed himself throughout was of more benefit to me as a writer than his actual words.More info →
2021: The idea of planning curriculum from the portrait of the graduate you want backward to where you then need to begin is wise and in alignment with ancient educators. However, fitting all subjects we want to teach today into the 7 liberal arts structure seems like shoehorning and inappropriate appropriation of terms. It seems the authors wanted to set themselves apart from other contemporary classical education books, but roots in history and philosophy are not evident, nor is the fact that in practice they are much different from those they'd like to differentiate from. Given another 10 years, I think this will be a forgettable title of the movement.
2009: "The authors promote a "trivium refers to subjects only" perspective, but not a classicist's classical education. Their emphasis was on raising activists who can speak well in order to persuade."More info →
It is a wordy book that does go on repetitively for too long, but I listened to it as a podcast replacement at 1.8 speed and it provided 15-30 minute pep talks that I needed in order to recognize how I tend to make the process of changing my own habits and making progress on my goals harder and more complicated than it needs to be. It convinced me that "too easy to ignore" is a better route to go than working toward implementing the perfect plan. It's not the greatest writing ever, but it was a helpful mindset shift and I will likely be listening to it again when I need a motivation boost to stick with baby steps.More info →
The Laid Back Guide to Intermittent Fasting: How I Lost over 80 Pounds and Kept It off Eating Whatever I Wanted
I have listened to this book twice now, and it provides a good, realistic set of reminders about the slow-and-steady, iterative process needed to lose weight.More info →
Books Finished in 2020
These are grouped by my 5×5 Challenge categories. Visit Scholé Sisters to learn more about the 5×5 Reading Challenge, get the printable reading guide, and find accountability for broad reading.
Star ratings are on a 5-star scale and awarded based on how well I thought the book achieved its intentions and lived up to its potential.