The Art of Loving and On Friendship Read-Along

On Friendship How to Be a Friend Cicero

As I mentioned in my Books of Autumn post, after my C.S. The Four Loves read-along I’ve been interested in reading more books on the same subject with two in mind: The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm and On Friendship by Marcus Tullius Cicero. So with a little prodding (you know who you are, lol!) I’ve decided to host a read-along for both of them during the month of October.  It’s a little bit of short notice, I know, but The Art of Loving is a mere 120-ish pages and On Friendship is an essay, so please join in any time you can; if you can’t start on the 1st, it will be easy to catch up.

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The Four Loves Read-Along Week 4, Part 2, Charity

The Four Loves

 

As we reach the end of our The Four Loves Read-along, we have so far investigated Affection, Friendship and Romantic Love (the natural loves) but none of these loves are sufficient in and of themselves without another Love to support the feelings and keep them sweet.  Lewis now investigates Charity, or Agape (ἀγάπη).

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The Four Loves Read-Along ~ What is Love?

What are your ideas about love?  Is love an overwhelming romantic feeling?  Can it be a decision or a duty?  Can you fall out of love?  Have you wished for a better understanding of the love of God?  Can friends love each other?  What about families and our love for them?  In English, we use the same word for all these feelings … love …. but the Greeks have different words for these feelings of love and each has its different distinctions.  Do you want to learn more?  Then please join me in my read-along of C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves for the month of June!

The Four Loves

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The Bible: Genesis Chapters 12 – 25 ~ The Abraham Cycle

While we have a genealogical continuity between Noah and Abram, Abram’s family did not worship God and were in fact polytheistic, residing in the city of Ur.  God appeared to Abram and commanded him to leave his country for a new land.  God’s encounter with Abram was unexpected and now signifies a personal relationship with man. Initially, He instructs Abram and offers him blessings for his obedience, and a convenant between the two is later established.

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The Bible : Genesis Chapters 1 – 11 ~ Primeval History

Initially I was going to use either my New King James or ESV translation for this read-along, but I recently acquired an Orthodox study bible so I thought it might be interesting to read it.  There are extra books included in the Old Testament accepted by the Orthodox church that I’ve always wanted to read and what better time than this read-along?  So here we go ……..

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The Bible As Literature Read-Along

At the beginning of this year Adam at Roof Beam Reader hosted a Bible as Literature event that I wanted to participate in so badly.  But knowing my overloaded schedule as late and knowing I probably wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace, I unhappily decided to pass.  Yet how excited I was to see O’s recently announced the Bible As Literature read-along which will take just over two years.  It may seem long, but the pace is perfect for me and having other readers to push me along will be just what I need.  I can’t wait to start!

The schedule will be as follows:
The Pentateuch, or the Five Books of Moses


Genesis: 1st October – 22nd October 2018.
1st October 2018: 1–11. Primeval History.
8th October 2018: 12–25. The Abraham Cycle.
15th October 2018: 26-36. The Jacob-Esau Cycle.
22nd October 2018: 37–50. The Joseph Story.
Exodus: 29th October – 5th November 2018.

29th October 2018: 1–18. History of Egypt, the Exodus from Egypt, 
and the Journey to Mount Sinai.
5th November 2018: 19–40. The Covenant and Laws.
Leviticus: 12th November 2018 – 17th December 2018.

12th November 2018: 1:1 7:38. Laws on sacrifice.
19th November 2018: 8:1–10:20. Institution of the priesthood.
26th November 2018: 11:1–15:33. Uncleanliness and its treatment.
3rd December 2018: 16. Day of Atonement.
10th December 2018: 17–26. The Holiness Code.
17th December 2018: 27. Redemption of votive gifts.
Numbers: 7th January – 21st January 2019.

7th January 2019: 1:1–10:10. At Sinai.
14th January 2019: 10:11– 20:29. At Kadesh-Barnea.
21st January 2019: 21–36. The Wilderness, to Moab, and on the Plains of Moab.
Deuteronomy: 28th January – 18th February 2019.
28th January 2019: 1:1-4:43. Sermon I of Moses.
4th February 2019: 4:44-11:32. Sermon II of Moses.
11th February 2019: 11:32-33:29. Sermon III of Moses.
18th February 2019: 31–34. The Song of Moses, the Blessing of Moses, the Death of Moses.
The Historical Books
Joshua: 25th February – 4th March 2019.

25th February 2019: 1:1–12:24. The transfer from Moses Leadership to Joshua, 
and the entrance into and conquest of Canaan.
4th March 2019: 13:1–22:34. Division of the land among the tribes.
4th March 2019: 23:1–24:33. Covenant at Shechem and the deaths of Joshua and Eleazar.
Judges: 11th March – 18th March 2019.

11th March 2019: 1–3. Prologue; 3:9–11. Othniel and Chushan-Rishathaim; 3:11–29. Ehud and Eglon of Moab; 4–5. Deborah and Barak, and Jabin of Hazor and Sisera; 6–8. Gideon, Midian, Amalek, and the Children of the East; 9–10. Abimelech and all the Israelites in opposition.
18th March 2019: 11–12:7. Jephthah and the Ammonites; 13–16. Samson and the Philistines; 17–18. Micah’s Idol; 19–21. Battle of Gibeah.
Ruth: 25th March 2019.

1:1–22. Prologue and Problem; 2:1–23. Ruth Meets Boaz;
3:1–18. Naomi Sends Ruth to Boaz; 4:1–22. Resolution and Epilogue.
1 Samuel: 1st – 8th April 2019.

1st April 2019: 1–15. Samuel and Saul.
8th April 2019: 16–31. Saul and David.
2 Samuel: 15th – 29th April 2019.

15th April 2019: 1–8. David’s rise to power.
22nd April 2019: 9–20. David’s reign.
29th April 2019: 21–24. Narratives, psalms, and lists.
1 Kings: 6th May – 20th May 2019.

6th May 2019: 1:1–2:46. The Davidic Succession; 3:1–11:43. Solomon.
13th May 2019: 12:1–13:34. The political and religious schism;
14:1–16:34. The two kingdoms until Elijah.
20th May 2019: 17:1–2 Kings 1:18. The Elijah cycle.

2 Kings: 27th May 2019 – 10th June 2019.

27th May 2019: 2:1–13:25. The Elisha cycle.
3rd June 2019: 14:1–17:41. The two kingdoms to the fall of Samaria.
10th June 2019: 18:1–25:30. The last years of the kingdom of Judah.

1 Chronicles: 17th June – 24th June 2019.

17th June 2019: 1–9:34. Genealogies from Adam.
24th June 2019: 10–29. The reign of David.

2 Chronicles: 1st July 2019 – 8th July 2019.

1st July 2019: 1–9. The reign of Solomon.
8th July 2019: 10–36. The kingdom of Judah, its destruction by the Babylonians,
and its restoration under Cyrus the Persian.

Ezra: 15th July 2019.

1–6. The return of the Jews to Jerusalem (c. 539 B.C.);
7–10. The return of Ezra and a group of Jews to Judah.

Nehemiah: 22nd July – 29th July 2019.
22nd July 2019: 1–6. The return of Nehemiah to Jerusalem.
29th July 2019: 7–10. The Feast of Tabernacles and the events after;
11–13. Repopulating Jerusalem and Nehemiah’s return to Susa.
Esther: 5th August 2019.

1–2. Exposition: Life in the Persian Palace; Esther becomes Queen;
3–8:14. Haman’s plot to kill Mordecai and the Jews; 8:15–10. The resolution and the results: the Jewish victory.

The Wisdom Books
Job: 12th August 2019 – 2nd September 2019.

12th August 2019: 1–2. Prologue on Earth and Heaven; 3. Job’s prologue.
19th August 2019: 4–27. The three cycles of dialogues between Job and his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.
26th August 2019: 28. A Poem to Wisdom; 29–31. Job’s closing monologue; 32–37. Elihu’s speeches.
2nd September 2019: 38–42:7–8. Two speeches by God and Job’s response; 42:9–17. Job’s restoration.

Psalms: 9th September – 7th October 2019.

9th September 2019: 1–41. Book I.
16th September 2019: 42–72. Book II.
23rd September 2019: 73–89. Book III.
30th September 2019: 90–106. Book IV.
7th October 2019: 107–150. Book V.

Proverbs: 14th October 2019 – 4th November 2019.

14th October 2019:1–9. Proverbs of Solomon, Son of David, King of Israel.
21st October 2019: 10–22:16. More Proverbs of Solomon.
28th October 2019: 22:17–24:22. The Sayings of the Wise; 24:23–34. More Sayings of the Wise; 25–29. Other Proverbs of Solomon.
4th November 2019: 30. The Words of Agur; 31:1–9. The Words of King Lemuel of Massa; 31:10–31. The Woman of Substance.

Ecclesiastes: 11th November 2019 – 18th November 2019.

11th November 2019: 1:1–1:2–11. Title and Initial poem; 1:12–6:9. Kohelet’s investigation of life; 6:10–11:6.Kohelet’s conclusions.
18th November 2019: 11:7–12:8. Concluding poem; 12:9–14. Epilogue.

Song of Solomon: 25th November 2019.

1:1–6. Introduction; 1:7–2:7. Dialogue between the lovers; 2:8–17. The woman recalls a visit from her lover; 3:1–5. The woman addresses the daughters of Zion; 3:6–11. Sighting a royal wedding procession; 4:1–5:1. The man describes his lover’s beauty; 5:2–6:4. The woman addresses the daughters of Jerusalem; 6:5–12. The man describes his lover, who visits him; 6:13–8:4. Observers describe the woman’s beauty; 8:5–14. Conclusion.

The Major Prophets
Isaiah: 6th January 2020 – 27th January 2020.

6th January – 13th January 2020: 1–39. Proto-Isaiah, containing the words of the original Isaiah.
20th January 2020: 40–55. Deutero-Isaiah, the work of an anonymous Exilic author.
27th January 2020: 56–66. Trito-Isaiah, an anthology of about twelve passages.

Jeremiah: 3rd February 2020 – 9th March 2020.

3rd – 10th February 2020: 1–25. The earliest and main core of Jeremiah’s message.
17th February 2020: 26–29. Biographic material and interaction with other prophets.
24th February 2020: 30–33. God’s promise of restoration including Jeremiah’s new covenant.
2nd March 2020: 34–45. Zedekiah and the fall of Jerusalem.
9th March 2020: 46–51. Divine punishment to the nations surrounding Israel; 52. Retelling of 2 Kings 24.18–25.30.

Lamentations: 16th March 2020.

1. Jeremiah mourns for Jerusalem and Judea; 2. The anger of the Lord;
3. Jeremiah’s suffering; 4–5. The Justice of God.

Ezekiel: 23rd March – 13th April 2020.

23rd March – 30th March 2020: 1–29. Prophecies against Judah and Jerusalem.
6th April 2020: 25–32. Prophecies against the foreign nations.
13th April 2020: 33–48. Prophecies of hope and salvation.

Daniel: 20th April 2020.

20th April 2020: 1. Daniel and friends at the tale of the king; 2. Daniel interprets the king’s dream.
3. The fiery furnace; 4. Nebuchadnezzar’s madness 5. The handwriting on the wall.
6. The lion’s den; 7. The vision of the son of man; 8. The vision of the ram and the he-goat.
9. Daniel’s prayer and the seventy years of the devastation of Jerusalem; 10. The final vision and promise of resurrection.

The Twelve Minor Prophets
Hosea: 27th April 2020.

1–2. Hosea’s marriage with Gomer (biographical).
3. Hosea’s marriage (autobiographical).
4–14:10. Oracle judging Israel.

Joel: 27th April 2020.

1:1–2:17. Lament over drought and plague of locusts.
2:18–32. Promise of future blessings.
3:1–21. The coming judgement.

Amos: 4th May 2020.

1.3–2.6. Oracles against the nations.
4.1–8.8. Addresses to groups in Israel.
7.10–9:8. Five symbolic visions of God’s judgement.
9:8–15. Epilogue.

Obadiah: 11th May 2020.

The vision of the fall of Edom.

Jonah: 11th May 2020.

1–2. Jonah flees his mission.
3–4. Jonah fulfils his mission.

Micah: 11th May 2020.

1–3. Judgement.
4–5. Restoration of Zion.
6–7. God’s judgement against Israel.

Nahum: 18th May 2020.

1. The majesty of God.
2–3. The fall of Nineveh.

Habakkuk: 18th May 2020.

1. A discussion between God and Habakkuk.
2. An Oracle of Woe.
3. A Psalm.

Zephaniah: 18th May 2020.

1:1. Superscription.
1:2–13. The Coming Judgement on Judah.
1:14–18. The Great Day of the Lord.
2:1–15. Judgement on Israel’s Enemies.
3:1–7. The Wickedness of Jerusalem.
3:8–13. Punishment and Conversion of the Nations.
3:14–20. Song of Joy.

Haggai: 25th May 2020.

1:1–15. The first prophecy.
2:1–23. The second, third, and fourth prophecy.

Zechariah: 25th May 2020.

1–8. The teachings of Zechariah.
9–10. The first and second oracle.

Malachi: 25th May 2020.

1–2:9. Israel preferred to Edom.
2:10–17. The Covenant Profaned by Judah.
3:1–7. The Coming Messenger.
3:8–15. Do Not Rob God.
4:1–5. The Great Day of the Lord.

The Gospels

Matthew: 1st June 2020 – 15th June 2020.

1st June 2020: 1:1–2:23. Birth and Childhood of Jesus; 3–4. Baptism and early ministry.
5–7. Sermon on the Mount; 8–9. Healing and miracles; 10:1–11:1. Mission Discourse / Little Commission.
8th June 2020: 11:2–13:52. Responses to Jesus; 13:53–17. Conflicts, rejections, and conferences with disciples; 18. Life in the Christian community; 19–20. Journey to Jerusalem.
15th June 2020: 21–22. Jerusalem; 23. Woes of the Pharisees; 24–25. Judgement day;
26–28. Death and Resurrection.

Mark: 22nd June 2020.

1–9. Galilean ministry; 10. Journey to Jerusalem; 11–16. Events in Jerusalem.

Luke: 29th June – 6th July 2020.

29th June 2020: 1:1–4. Introduction to Theophilus; 1:5–4. Jesus’ birth and boyhood;
3:1–4:13. Jesus’ baptism and temptation; 4:14–9:50. Jesus’ ministry in Galilee.
6th July 2020: 9:51– 19:27. Jesus’ teaching on the journey to Jerusalem;
19:28–24. Jesus’ Jerusalem conflicts, crucifixion, and resurrection.

John: 13th July – 20th July 2020.

13th July 2020: 1:10-18. Introduction; 1:19-12:50. The Book of Signs.
20th July 2020: 13:1-20:31. The Book of Glory; 21. Epilogue

Acts

Acts of the Apostles: 27th July 2020 – 3rd August 2020.

27th July 2020:1. Preface to Theophilus; 2:1–12:25. From Jerusalem to Antioch (Petrine Christianity).
3rd August 2020: 13:1–28:21. From Antioch to Rome (Pauline Christianity).

Epistles

Romans: 10th August 2020.

1:1–15. Prologue; 1:16 –8:39. Salvation in the Christ;
12 –15:13. Transformation of believers; 15:1 –16:23. Epilogue .

1 Corinthians: 17th August 2020.

1:1–3. Salutation.
1:4–9. Thanksgiving.
1:10–4:21. Division in Corinth.
5:1–6:20. Immorality in Corinth.
7:1–14:40. Difficulties in Corinth.
15:1–58. Doctrine of Resurrection.
16:1–24. Closing.

2 Corinthians: 24th August 2020.

1:1–11: Greeting.
1:12–7:16. Paul defends his actions and apostleship.
8:1–9:15. Instructions for the collection for the poor in the Jerusalem church.
10:1 – 13:10. A polemic defence of his apostleship.
13:11–13. Closing greetings.

Galatians: 31st August 2020.

1–2. Paul’s testimony on the gospels; 3–5:12. On faith and the commandments;
5:13–6. Fruits of the Spirit, the Law of Christ, and final warning.

Ephesians: 31st August 2020.

1:1–2. The greeting; 1:3–2:10. On the blessings that the gospel reveals;
2:11–3:21. On the Gentiles; 4:1–16. On unity;
4:17–6:9. Instructions about ordinary life and different relationships;
6:10–24. On imagery of spiritual warfare.

Philippians: 7th September 2020.

1:1–11. Preface; 1:12–26. Paul describes his present life; 1:27–2:30. Practical Instructions in Sanctification; 3:1–4:1. Polemical Doctrinal Issues; 4:2–23. Epilogue.

Colossians: 7th September 2020.

1:1–14. Introduction; 1:15–23. The Supremacy of Christ.
1:24–2:7. Paul’s work for the church; 2:8–23. Freedom from Human Regulations through Life with Christ; 3:1–4:6. Rules for Holy Living; 4:7–18. Final Greetings.

1 Thessalonians: 14th September 2020.

1:1–10. Greeting; 2:1–20. Past interactions with the church;
3:1–13. On Timothy’s visit; 4:1–5:25. Specific issues;
4:1–12. Relationships among Christians; 4:13–18. Mourning those who have died;
5:1–11. Preparing for God’s arrival; 5:12–25. On proper Christian behaviour;
5:26–28. Final greetings.

2 Thessalonians: 14th September 2020.

1. On the return of Jesus and the persecution of the Thessalonians;
2–3. On the Holy Spirit and the Antichrist.

1 Timothy: 21st September 2020.

1:1–2. Greeting; 1:3–20. Negative Instructions: Stop the False Teachers;
2:1–6:10. Positive Instructions; 6:11–21. Personal Instructions.

2 Timothy: 21st September 2020.

1–2. Paul in prison; 3–4. Paul urges Timothy to be faithful and asks for some personal effects.

Titus: 28th September 2020.

1. On choosing church leaders; 2–3. On Christian living.

Philemon: 28th September 2020.

1–3. Introduction; 4–7. Thanksgiving and intercession;
8–20. Paul’s plea for Onesimus; 21–25. Conclusion.

Hebrews: 28th September 2020.

1–10:18. The sovereignty of Jesus over the angels and on the New Covenant.
10:19–13. On faith and the Old Covenant.

James: 5th October 2020.

1. Putting faith into action; 2–3. On faith and deeds;
4–5. Instruction and the importance of prayer.

1 Peter: 5th October 2020.

1:1–2. Greeting; 1:3–12. Praise to God; 1:13–2:10. God’s Holy People.
2:11–4:11. Life in Exile; 4:12–5:11. Steadfast in Faith; 5:12–14. Final Greeting.

2 Peter: 5th October 2020.

1–2. Guidance to churches; 3. Day of Judgement.

1 John: 12th October 2020.

1–2. Reassuring believers; 3–4. On the love of God;
5. The importance of faith.

2 John: 12th October 2020.

1. On love.

3 John: 12th October 2020.

1. On truth.

Jude: 12th October 2020.

1. Warning against false teachers.

Apocalypse

Revelation: 19th October 2020 – 2nd November 2020.

19th October 2020: 1–3. Seven letters warning against deception and lawlessness; 
4–7. Seven seals on a heavenly scroll opened by the Lamb.
26th October 2020: 8–14. Seven trumpets of warning.
2nd November 2020: 15–22. Seven bowls of God’s final wrath.

If you’re intrigued, please feel free to join us.  Head over to O’s post for all the details!

The Pickwick Papers or The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club by Charles Dickens

“The first ray of light which illumines the gloom, and converts into a dazzling brillancy that obscurity in which the earlier history of the public career of the immortal Pickwick would appear to be involved, is derived from the perusal of the following entry in the Transactions of the Pickwick Club, which the editor of these papers feels the highest pleasure in laying before his readers, as a proof of the careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination, with which his search among the multifarious documents confided to him has been conducted.”

It’s hardly believable but O’s 2 year read-along of the Pickwick Papers has finally come to a close and I have her to thank for finally being able to finish this 800-page marvel.  We read it in installments mirroring its original release which was an enlightening experience in itself. Looking back, I enjoyed reading only 2 to 3 chapters at a time, but the space between them, for me, was too long.  It’s not that I necessarily forgot what had happened, but I found that when I picked it up again, I was somewhat disengaged with the characters.  It was almost like starting a book over and over again and never really getting traction.  If I was to do it over, I’d read a chapter per week instead of three at once and that way hopefully remain more present in the story.

Mr. Pickwick slides on the ice
source Wikimedia Commons

And the book itself ….. ?  I quite enjoyed Mr. Pickwick and his marvellous, and at times unbelievable, adventures.  At the beginning of the book, Mr. Pickwick, founder and president of the Pickwick Club, decides that he and fellow members, Nathaniel Winkle, Augustus Snodgrass, and Tracy Tupman, will leave London and travel the countryside to discover the wonderful qualities of life, each reporting to the others what they find. Their adventures lead them to saving ladies in distress, getting embroiled in circumstances they only want to avoid, courting offers of marriage, unwanted offers of marriage, interaction with criminals, jail and even love itself. Dickens imbues this novel with his own brand of humour by having an old confirmed bachelor find himself in all sorts of uncomfortable circumstances.  From finding himself unexpectedly sleeping in a lady’s bed, to being sued for breach of promise of marriage, poor Pickwick finds his dignified sensibilities tried by unexpected challenges yet he always manages to respond in a measured and honourable manner that increased our respect for this lovable character.

Mr. Pickwick’s first interview
with Sergeant Snubbin
source Wikimedia Commons

In Chapter XVI, Pickwick attempts to catch a swindler, Jingle, who is slipperier than an eel.  Jingle plans to run away with an heires and by hiding in the bushes outside the girls’ boarding school, Pickwick attempts to subvert the scheme and expose the criminal.  But through various misadventures and bumbles, he manages to find himself locked in a cupboard by the headmistress and the ladies of the establishment. Rescued by Sam Weller, his valet, and his friend, Mr. Wardle, Pickwick rains imprecations upon the head of the absent Jingle.

Even more amusing, was the incident of the mistaken beds.  Late at night at an inn, Pickwick returns downstairs to retrieve his watch and upon returning, enters the wrong room!  He is just settled into bed when a lady enters and begins her own toilette. Horrified, Pickwick reveals his presence and attempts to assure her of his mistake and innocence, but the woman is frightened senseless, and Pickwick makes a quick exit. Not wanting another repeat of the disturbing and undignified experience, Pickwick plans to sleep in the hall, but is once again rescued by Sam.  The novel has so many amusing anecdotes, that is has to be read to enjoy them all.  And I finally managed it!

Mr. Pickwick, picnics
source Wikimedia Commons

At the time of the writing of this first novel, Dickens was working as a roving journalist and a reporter of Parlimentary news.  After his successful Sketches by Boz, Dickens was called in to write copy for certain illustrated sporting plates created by illustrator Robert Seymour.  Dickens soon began to write the instalments before the plates were produced, therefore changing the illustrative focus of the project to storytelling and he never looked back.  We all know of his illustrious writing career following The Pickwick Papers and I still have to read quite a few Dickens’ novels yet, as I’ve only completed The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, A Tale of Two Cities, Dombey and Son, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, and, a long time ago, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  So many great novels of his still to go.  Perhaps a project for 2018 ……???

 

 

Classic Children’s Literature Event

Amanda @ Simpler Pastimes is hosting the 5th Annual Classic Children’s Literature Event and I am all in!  I love this event and will have participated in four of the five years. It has encouraged me to read such books as Emil and the Detectives, The Forgotten Daughter (an unbelievably good story), The Cabin Faced West, The Adventures of Pinocchio, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Wizard of Oz.

Event Basics

  • During the month of April, read as many Children’s Classics as you wish and post about them on your blog and/or leave a comment on the event page on this blog. I will have a link page starting the first of April to gather posts so that we may share as we go.
  • The optional RAL title: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. (Optional: also read Through the Looking-Glass. I’m guessing I won’t get through both.) I plan on discussion the weekend of April 21-23.
  • I’m not going to be the “children’s classics” police. Use your own judgement for what fits the category but if you want some guidelines, these are what I’m going by:
  • I think many of us have read more recent children’s books that we may already deem “classics” (for example, many people feel that way about the Harry Potter books), but for this event, I’d prefer if we read books that were written prior to 1967. This will still allow a lot of options, and will hopefully avoid the “but what is a classic” dilemma! (And yes, 1967 is rather arbitrary. Rebel if you wish, but 50 years old seems a good age).
  • Defining “children’s,” especially prior to 1900 or so can be a challenge as some books we think of as “children’s” today may not have been intended that way at the time. Personally, I’d say books appropriate for approximately an elementary-school aged child or preteen (to read or to have read to them) should be fine. I’d personally also count the various fairy tales, even though some of the earliest versions were not exactly family friendly.
  • Feel free to include books from any country, in translation or not. I have limited exposure to non-American children’s lit, so I’d love to learn about books from other countries myself.
  • Feel free to double up with other events or challenges if you wish.
  • And if you need ideas I posted
  • A suggestion list in 2013
  • Some more ideas in 2014
  •  There is no deadline for joining or participating (other than, of course, the end of April).

Most important: Have fun!


This year’s read-along will be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one of my favourites. As for other books I might choose, I’m still mulling over the possibilities.  Some titles might include:

  • My Father’s Dragon – Ruth Stiles Gannett
  • Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Jansson
  • A Triumph for Flavius – Caroline Dale Snedeker
  • Red Sails to Capri – Ann Weil
  • Roman Ransom – Henry Winterfeld
  • The Princess and Curdie – George MacDonald

Please join us for the month of April if you feel so inclined!

Jane Eyre ~ Chapters XXXV, XXXVI, XXXVII & XXXVIII

Chapter XXXV

St John makes Jane pay for her unpopular decision to reject his marriage offer with a cold aloofness and a determined effort to display his displeasure.  Jane declares he does not act maliciously, but this reader must disagree with her assessment of his actions.  His sisters are at first pleased that he has offered for Jane, then appalled at his lack of emotion with regard to the attachment, and his efforts to take her to India where they are certain she’ll die.  St John attempts once again to change her mind and she is firm, yet after his reading from Revelation one night and his entreaties after, she finds her will bending to his until she hears a voice calling her:  “Jane, Jane, Jane.”  She is as certain of it being the voice of Mr. Rochester, as she is certain of her actions the next day and, brushing off St John, retires to her room to await the morning.

The Proposal (1825)
Thomas Clater
source ArtUK

Chapter XXXVI

St John has left for Cambridge for a fortnight when Jane awakens the next morning but has left her a note almost demanding her reconsideration.  Jane gives it little thought, taking leave of Diana and Mary and setting out in a coach for Thornfield.  She stays at the Rochester Arms, and the next morning walks to the great hall with an impatient anticipation.  However, upon setting eyes on Thornfield she is given a great shock; the house is burned to the ground and with a heavy heart she returns to the inn to ask the cause of the blaze.  It was set one night by a lunatic who was kept in the house.  She escaped from her keeper, Mrs. Poole, who liked to tipple, and Rochester, distraught after the disappearance of the governess he loved and longed to marry, was at Thornfield alone.  He tried to save the lunatic, his wife, but she threw herself from the battlements.  While trying to save the other occupants of the house, the staircase he was on collapsed, and the result was that he is now stone blind.  He lives at Ferndean manor house presently and Jane immediately hires a conveyance to take her there.

Manor House, Ilkley
John F. Greenwood
source ArtUK

Chapter XXXVII

Jane arrives at Ferndean just before dark.  Buried deep in a wood, the building is modest and unpretentious.  As she approaches the desolate spot, she spies a figure on the step and knows at once that it is her own Rochester.  His movements are heartbreaking as he struggles to find his blind way to the grass plot in front.  John, the servant, draws near, offering him his arm, which he ungraciously refuses.  After he re-enters the house, Jane knocks and reveals herself to an astonished Mary, then after requesting accommodation, goes into the sitting room to face Rochester.  Carrying in a tray, she offers him a glass of water while an excited Pilot dances around her. Immediately Rochester senses all is not right; he questions her identity while claiming that he is under a delusion.  While he explores her with his hands, he rambles on like a man in a dream.  Is this really his love come back to him again?  When he finally acknowledges that it is she, he questions her rapidly, finding out that she is rich, who she has been with, and that she has had a marriage proposal.  At first he is irritated and self-deprecating, but finally he rises from his funk and asks for her to be his wife, to which she readily agrees.  Eventually, Rochester speaks of a night of longing for her, where he prayed to God and called her name.  Jane discovers it is the same night that she’d heard his voice but doesn’t reveal the fact, deciding he has already enough burden and does not need that of the supernatural.

First Born (1881)
Josephus Laurentius Dyckmans
source ArtUK

Chapter XXXVIII

“Reader, I married him.”

And thus ends this wonderful novel.  The wedding was a quiet one with only the parson and clerk present with the couple.  John and Mary are informed; St John is written to but does not respond until six months later; Diana and Mary approve and wish to visit; Adèle is brought home then sent to school again.  Two years later Rochester partially recovers his sight enough to see his first-born son put into his arms.  Diana and Mary both marry and St John becomes an indefatigable and zealous missionary in India.  The last letter Jane receives indicates that he is dying and she feels compassion for this stern but dedicated man whose passion for Christ is unwavering.

A Wooded Walk (1650)
Jan Lievens
source ArtUK

I simply cannot have the same admiration that Jane has for St John’s Christian zeal. Regardless of his dedication, the lack of understanding and harsh condemnation he shows towards her for her decision must naturally carry into his dealings with others and the representation of his faith is injurious instead of edifying.

I’m still somewhat puzzled as to why Jane did not want to tell Rochester about her premonition.  Given that they later become inseparable and tell each other everything, why would she withhold this information from him?  The supernatural occurrence brought her to him and it’s revelation should be uplifting.  Why such reticence?

I also found the ending to the novel curious.  Why end with an observation on St John? His character was interesting as a contrast, but on its own was rather one-dimensional. Was it an indication that his forceful character still had even a tenuous hold over her?  A commentary to stress the importance of his perseverance for spreading the gospel?  I’m not sure …..

What I am sure of is that this read-along has come to an end, and a thoroughly enjoyable read-along it was!  Thanks to Hamlette for another meander through a classic favourite.  I’m already looking forward to the next one!

Jane Eyre ~ Chapters XXXII, XXXIII, XXXIV

Chapter XXXII

Although Jane assiduously performs her tasks as schoolteacher at the poor school, she still dreams (literally) of Rochester and spending her life by his side.  Rosamond Oliver visits the school and Jane observes the emotionally charged exchanges between her and St John, but the latter’s heart is guarded by his determination and ambition.  She is commission to sketch Miss Rosamond, and one evening when St John sees the portrait by accident, Jane takes the initiative to question him with a startlingly frank audacity.  He admits that while he loves Rosamond, he is convinced that she is not the partner for him and that they would make each other unhappy.  She is not set to be a missionary’s wife, and he refuses Jane’s offer to paint him a copy of the lovely girl.  As he moves to draw a blank sheet of paper over the portrait, he tears a tiny section from it and slips it into this glove.  Jane is puzzled by his actions but soon dismisses and forgets them.

A Young Woman in a Blue Dress Sketching (19th C.)
British (English) School
source ArtUK

Chapter XXXIII

In the midst of days of snowstorms, St John visits Jane at her cottage while she reads his gift to her, Marmion, a recently published poem by Walter Scott.  At first, he behaves with an unusual, almost secretive demeanour, but soon Jane learns his errand.  The paper he ripped from her page previously, was a section where she had doodled her real name, Jane Eyre.  From this, he began inquiries and has now not only learned her story, but aspects of it of which Jane herself was not aware.  Jane, however, is only concerned of his inquiries of Thornfield and asks for news of Mr. Rochester.  Nothing is forthcoming though, and St John informs her that now that her uncle is dead, she has inherited all of his property and is now a rich woman.  Jane is suspicious of his means of discovery and when she presses further, finds out that her uncle was also the uncle of St John, Diana and Mary, and that they are all cousins.  With this in mind, she refuses the large fortune and instead intends to split it equally between the four of them.  She states her intention to remain at the school until a new mistress can be found, and soon the inheritance is divided between them.

Arts, Wealth, Pleasure and Philosophy (1800)
Pierre-Paul Prud’hon
source Wikiart

Chapter XXXIV

As the Christmas season comes, Jane closes Morton school and expresses her desire to clean and do some Christmas baking, for which she earns displeasure from St John and an entreaty not to become slothful.  His dour disapproval of anything easy and entertaining begins to show her his faults and unsuitability as a husband.  Diana and Mary arrive and their gay festive spirit further oppresses St John.  News is given that Rosamond is about to be wed and St John congratulates himself over the conquering of his emotions.  He convinces Jane to learn Hindustani, as a help to him as he prepares for his missionary work and proves himself a stern and unyielding taskmaster.  Jane’s will to please him, begins to hold her in thrall to his desires, but she has not forgotten Rochester, yet her letters to Mrs. Fairfax to inquire about his well-being remain unanswered.

To Jane’s surprise, six weeks before his departure, St John asks her to accompany him as his wife and although Jane agrees to go as a sister, he is implacable in his demands. She begins to see his many, many flaws and thus, is able to deal with him easier as he is brought to her level.  St John continues to punish her with his disapproving silence and even when they try to reconcile, nothing but her complete obedience to his wishes and will would satisfy him:

“As I walked by his side homeward, I read well in his iron silence all he felt towards me: the disappointment of an austere and expected submission — the disapprobation of a cool, inflexible judgement, which has detected in another feelings and views in which it has no power to sympathize: in short, as a man, he would have wished to coerce me into obedience: it was only as a sincere Christian he bore so patiently with my perversity, and allowed so long a space for reflection and repentance ……..


…. He was deeply displeased by what had occurred that day; cordiality would not warm, nor tears move him.  No happy reconciliation was to be had with him — no cheering smile or generous word: but still the Christian was patient and placid; and when I asked him if he forgave me, he answered that he was not in the habit of cherishing the remembrance of vexation; that he had nothing to forgive, not having been offended.
 


And with that answer he left me.  I would much rather he had knocked me down.”


The Christmas Tree
John Henry Twachtman
source Wikiart

Jane reveals more and more of her character.  I’ve discovered that what she says about herself is much more important than her outward actions.

She acts with firm resolution in drawing people out of themselves, a unique trait for a woman of her time.

“For me, I felt at home in this sort of discourse.  I could never rest in communication with strong, discreet, and refined minds, whether male or female, till I had passed the outworks of conventional reserve, and crossed the threshold of confidence, and won a place by their heart’s very hearth-stone.”

Her “gift” is instrumental in helping the person to know himself better and this quality of hers is invaluable to those around her.

The character of St John is well-crafted.  I had always thought that his Christianity was the catalyst for his dour character and stringent and unyielding expectations, but Jane often alludes to these characteristics as being outside of his faith and, in fact, it’s his faith that holds them in check.  It’s not because of his faith that he is this way, rather he uses his faith simply as a vehicle to act out his convictions.  Very interesting.