How would a society composed exclusively of women function? This is the question Charlotte Perkins Gilman takes up in Herland (1915), a tale about three male adventurers who go exploring (and are held captive) in this unique, highly civilized, well-protected country. I chose this title for the Decades Challenge because “The Yellow Wallpaper” is one of the

Washington: The Indispensable Man

This isn’t how I’m accustomed to visualizing George Washington. Charles Willson Peale’s 1772 painting captures him young and gallant, with a twinkle in his eye, in his French and Indian War uniform. But thanks to Washington: The Indispensable Man, I got to know him a little bit, and follow him through his long and influential

Eat This, Not That

I picked up this book because it seemed consistent with my goal to make more real food and less processed stuff. I haven’t been disappointed. Apparently not the first of the series, Eat This, Not That! is designed to offer a few priorities for healthy eating, a review of some alarming statistics, and a catalogue


This week I read the story of Abraham and Isaac and was confronted with its difficulty again. Sometimes poetry finds a dwelling place in the midst of a tangle, so I’ve looked around for an Abraham and Isaac poem. I liked this poem from Abraham’s perspective, by Fr. Kilian McDonnell, though it violates the limits


At last, I finished it. What impulse compelled me to pick up this book from the Walmart shelf and purchase it? The bargain price of $5.97? The fact that I graduated from high school in 1984? Its classic status and my guilt over never having read it? The fact that I once had a teacher

Before the Throne

Lately I’ve been struggling with discouragement as a mother. My girls are wonderful, such gifted and beautiful little girls. They (like my husband) challenge me to come out of myself and engage more than I ever would have done on my own. But some days — like yesterday — I feel totally inadequate. These days

Declaration of Independence and Other Documents

A new president is about to take office, and these are momentous days in the nation and in the world. My reading year concludes with this little gem, The Declaration of Independence and Other Great Documents of American History 1775-1865. It’s a slim volume, only 95 pages long, but it was a challenge to read

Amos Fortune: Free Man

I picked up this Newbery winner by Elizabeth Yates at the big book sale in our area a month or so ago. I recognized the title because I’d wanted to read it for the Decades Challenge this year, but I couldn’t get my hands on a copy and ended up reading something else instead. I

Christmas Memory

The classical (or neo-classical) approach to homeschooling stresses the importance of memory work during the first stage, the “grammar stage,” of education. Fill those absorbent young minds with lots of good stuff, then teach them to evaluate and write about it in later stages. But during this Christmas season, I’ve been struck by how much