Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Books read in March

I forgot to keep a nice list of the books I read in March. Every year I mean to do this--keep track of what I read--and every year, I lose track along about this time. So, this is a list of some of the things I read in March.

_Girl of the Limberlost_ by Gene Stratton Porter (A reread. I haven't read Gene Stratton Porter for a few years, and I don't seem to love her as much as I used to. Rats.)

_An Acceptable Time_ by Madeleine L'Engle. (I just happened to find this book not long ago. I didn't know there were any new companion books to the "Wrinkle in Time" series.)

_A Biblical Psychology of Learning_ by Ruth Beechick (reread, only read about 1/3 of the book in March)

Ezekiel (I haven't read this in a long time. It's interesting to come back to a book of the Bible after several years, because it is all new.)

Parts of Charlotte Mason's homeschooling series--volume 3, volume 5, and a little bit from volume 6. (I'm always dipping into these--they would show up on most of my month's reading lists.)

"All About Houseplants" by no particular author and "Can't Miss Houseplants" by Gary Antosh. ( I need some green things in the house again after a year of traveling.)

_Saving Fish From Drowning_, by Amy Tan. (I've only read a few chapters so far. I like Amy Tan, but I lost the book for a while and haven't gotten back to it.)

_Mr. Darcy's Daughters_ by Elizabeth Aston. (Spin-offs from Jane Austen seem to be emerging as a new genre. My kids would call it "fan fic." I confess, I read them all. This is probably the best one I've read so far. It doesn't re-write the Pride and Prejudice story line, but it is somewhat faithful to the era it portrays. Modern authors can't seem to help introducing modern problems into their stories, and while I admit that the Victorians definitely had moral problems, they tended to treat such things far more circumspectly in their literature. Suffice it to say that when the next book comes out in Elizabeth Aston's series...I will read it. But don't read too much into that.)

_Anielka_ by Boleslaw Prus. (Only one chapter so far, but it is in Polish.)

I also read bits from _Poetic Knowledge_ by James Taylor _Quintilian on Education_, and started _The Consolation of Philosophy_ by Boethius, but didn't spent much time on them. I'm sure I read a few other things, but that's all I can remember at the moment. I'm also reading aloud from _This Country of Ours_ by H.E. Marshall, _Water Babies_, by Charles Kingsley, and _Hurry, Spring_ by Sterling North.

Maybe I'll try to keep better records for April's reading. I never plan my reading, but...I will try to finish _Saving Fish From Drowning_ in April, and get in another chapter or two of the Prus.

Oh, and I just remembered one more book..._Norms & Nobility_, by David Hicks. (Another reread, and so I only read parts of it, and now *that* book is lost. Why do books disappear around here?)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Has it been another week already???

Time is flying by on wings now that we are home in Poland. It figures. Here is glimpse of some of what we did this week:

1. Our house has the lovliest institutional-style staircase you could ever wish not to have in your home. In order to soften the stone-type steps for our feet, and the ringing echo for our ears, we shopped for stair-covers and runners for the landings. Prices were duly noted, and the whole project shelved for a future date. On the list of wants and needs, this falls somewhere in the middle--after the horrible linoleum in the kitchen gets repaced, and before we have satellite TV connected.

2. I delved deep into the storage closet (where I found more books, of course) in order to locate two books my kids desperately need for school. 12yo E. will be reading Birth of Britain, volume 1 of Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples, and 15yo J. will be reading volume 4, The Great Democracies. Why did I bury these books in the bottom of the closet?

3. We invited a couple over for coffee Saturday night. He is a believer, although his wife is not. They brought Polish "Ptasie" for the children--a type of candy that makes me think of Turkish delight--chocolate-covered Turkish delight. My ears are doing okay understanding Polish, but my tongue is tripping all over some of the words. It's frustrating, but nothing will cure it but practice.

4. I began reading one of the books I saved for myself, then lost it. Someone else found it for me, and now it's parked on my desk waiting for me to have time for it.

5. Krakovian updated my computer system, and I can hardly figure out how to work all the new "features."

6. Changed diapers, homeschooled, cooked meals, gave baths, did laundry, washed floors, and ironed clothes. Taking care of a famiy of six requires a certain minimum investment of time. Fortunately, said family chipped in and did their share. But I think I got all the diapers.

7. Mostly it's been so cold I've had no desire to get out and explore the city--one of my favorite things to do, as a general rule. However, on one warm day, E. and I walked to the nearest shop (about 10 minutes away). It has been interesting to reaquaint myself with Polish products and prices. E. looked for her favorite kind of potato chips, begged for special Polish bread, and chose a kind of Polish candy she hasn't had for a year. I found sweet potatoes for sale--they never had those here before--and didn't find the ground flax seed I wanted. That's the joy of shopping in Poland. One store never has everything you want, and I'll have to go to another store where I'm pretty sure they'll have it.

So, it's pretty obvious that life is settling into a kind of routine, with ordinary--even boring-- activities filling the bulk of our days. And I don't mind a bit.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

First things first...

It's been a little over a week since we arrived in Poland, but the time has simply flown by. Today is Sunday, and I can scarcely believe that it has been a whole week since last Sunday, which seems as if it were just a couple of days ago.

We have been astonishingly busy, which is to be expected. The house is dirty, there is clutter everywhere, and we have 14 trunks to unpack. Where am I going to put all this stuff? We moved into our house here just a few months before we went back to the States last year, and we didn't have the time or money then to organize and purchase the kind of storage we needed.

The very first things we purchased upon arrival last week were bookcases. Seven of them, as a matter of fact. When we first moved into the house, I dreamed of these bookcases, but we couldn't afford them at the time. Thanks to our generous friends, we were able to get these (quite inexpensive, actually) very necessary items. After the cases were assembled by 15yo J., we unpacked only the books we had brought back from the States. Those books filled almost three of the seven. Oh dear.

I had double-stacked and crammed books into our existing cases last year, and when I un-doubled them, we filled three more cases. Oh dear.

I found two trunks full of books I never had space to unpack when we first moved in last year. Oh dear.

And than I remembered that we MAILED FOUR BOXES OF BOOKS TO OURSELVES before we left the states. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

And our co-workers have a box of books I mailed earlier, waiting until we are more settled to give it to us.

What was I thinking?

Where am I going to put all these books? It's a certainty that they aren't all going to fit on the one remaining bookshelf of the original seven. I would happily buy another case or two...if I had a place to put them. I greatly fear that there is nothing left for me but that task dreaded by book-collectors everywhere--culling. I know that there are some books on our shelves that aren't worthy of my precious shelf space, and so I shall be ruthless, and get rid of those less-worthy books. But right now I don't have time to do that, and so...we are surrounded by books, books, and more books.

It's pretty nice, actually.

During our year in the states, I purchased many books (obviously), and most of them were for our homeschooling endeavors. But not all of them. Some of them I bought for my very own personal reading and enjoyment, and I exercised great restraint and forebearance, and did not read them immediately. I saved them to read here, where I don't have access to many books in English. (There are some sources...but I'll blog about that another time.)

Here's a sampling of what I brought back for myself. It is by no means complete, but it is exemplary of my eclectic taste in reading material:

_Mr. Darcy's Daughters_, by Elizabeth Aston

_Saving Fish From Drowning_, by Amy Tan

_The Chosen_ (and 3 other titles), by Chaim Potok

_Winter Solstice_, by Rosamund Pilcher

_84, Charing Cross Road_, by Helen Hanff

_The Gifts of the Jews_, by Thomas Cahill

_The Consolation of Philosophy_, by Boethius

_Over the Gate_, by Miss Read

_Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?_, by Harold Bloom

_Two Sides to a Teacher's Desk_, by Max S. Marshall

_The Compete Father Brown_, by G.K. Chesterton

_The Compete Book of Tatting_, by Rebecca Jones

_The Orange Girl_, by Jostein Gaarder

_Light From Heaven_, by Jan Karon

_I Never Met a Houseplant I Didn't Like_, by Jerry Baker

And that is just the first armful. I may have over-indulged. A little. But at least I shall have reading material for many months to come, if I can ever find the time to sit and read amidst all this cleaning, laundry, unpacking, renewing acquaintences, and keeping up with all the blogs I like to read.

I'm very generous with my books, though. And if you live in Poland and find yourself in need of something to read, feel free to come over and browse.