Monday, January 08, 2007

Personally Classifying Books 2007

Four Distinctions Per Thomas Jefferson Education Model
(p. 73 in A Thomas Jefferson Education, by Oliver DeMille)

1. BENT: Stories portray evil as good, and good as evil. Such stories are meant to enhance the evil tendencies of the reader. (Best to avoid)

2. BROKEN: Stories portray evil as evil and good as good, but evil wins. Something is broken, not right, in need of fixing. Such books are not uplifting, but can be very inspiring. Broken stories can be very good for the reader if they motivate a person to heal them, to fix them. Example: The Communist Manifesto is a broken classic; so are the Lord of the Flies and 1984. In each of these, evil wins; but they can be very motivating if you want to help reverse their message in the real world.

3. WHOLE: Stories are where good is good and good wins. Most of the classics are in this category. This a good place to spend most of your time.

4. HEALING: Stories can be either WHOLE or BROKEN stories where the reader is profoundly moved, changed, significantly improved by his/her reading of the book.


My blog is mainly to classify the books I read and write about if I liked them or not. I choose my books from my two book groups lists and also to preview books before my kids read them. Every once in a while I just get a book I think might be good or perhaps I heard was good. I have a long list of classics I hope to read in this lifetime also. Sometimes I like to read books that have movies based on them, then I compare them to see if the movie came close to the book or improved it.

This year my goal is to read 55 books. Last year was 50 and I barely made it. I also want to work on my 5 pillar certification for TJed. I hope to be a good example to the family of balancing learning, work and play. (or just combining them). I hope to inspire not require my children to read good books. I am working on my own education and hopefully the kids will follow along.

If I could I would just live in a library and read all day and night but reality bites when there are kids and responsibilities. I don't think that means never taking time to read for pleasure or educational purposes. Finding the balance in life is the best kept secret. So I read when I breastfeed, I read at night after the kids go to sleep. I read in the morning before the day starts or I read when there is some down time. Okay I admit I also read when I am avoiding or putting off something.

Sometimes books become really popular but aren't exactly all too good in content. Like for example the Harry Potter Series. I read all of these. At first I was totally against them. Then because everyone said they were so good and my kids would probably want to read them soon I picked one up and read it. It was very good and I was hooked. BUT I wasn't blind. The books were not appropriate in my eyes for children under 10 or a child that didn't understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Some of the stuff in the Potter books are BROKEN. Witchcraft isn't exactly Godly even if it is being used to help people. So the fantasy world can get confusing between what is good and what is evil. These books are on the wait list for my children.

Another example are the Lemony Snicket series. These are very clever books and I was hooked after the 3rd one. I bought them for the family because they were on sale at a book fair and in a set of 3. I gave them to my husband and I admit, as a gift that keeps on giving. (I wanted to read them). At first they were just awful. They were BROKEN/HEALING books. They had a lot of dark plots, like murder, lying, stealing, abuse, kidnapping, and just a lot of not listening to children that need help from any sane adult. They never ended very happy. How can this be a good book for a young child reading and absorbing the world of a book? The books are very funny and have wonderful vocabulary used and usually explained right in the story line. They also are mysterious and exciting . This was a good thing and probably what most people were taken with. For me it didn't balance out or negate that most of the book was too dark. These books are on the wait till later list for my children. I on the other hand am painfully hooked on the series and must get to the end to see if it is a happy ending.

Here goes another year of reading like crazy!

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