The first chapter of Charles Dickens’s classic, Great Expectations, deserves its reputation as one of the great openers in literature. The tiny orphan Pip stands at the graveside of his parents, quietly mourning his lonely estate. Suddenly, a fearsome convict, lately escaped from a nearby prison ship, accosts him from the surrounding mists and demands food on pain of death. Pip’s terror in this moment is every bit as palpable as was his grief a moment before...Read More
Fall has officially arrived here in northeast Washington. As the air adopts a chill, we are barreling towards the season of harvest parties and hay rides, hot chocolate and flushed faces, pumpkins and apple-cider. Tradition holds that this season affords us all a glowing opportunity to throw open our homes to company. Thanks to Pinterest, we have a vivid picture in our minds of the model autumnal home: decorated but not cluttered, festive but not garish, tidy but just the right amount of “lived in.” If you’re anything like me, you are already laboring under the weight of this impossible standard...Read More
We spent the June session of the Pelican Society’s Office Hours pondering teaching with Socratic discussion. Socratic discussion and teaching is relatively new to me, I’m embarrassed to admit. This probably isn’t as true as I believe, for at its most basic level, Socratic teaching is asking questions, and doesn’t everyone ask questions all the time?Read More
You guys. I just finished the latest Penderwicks book by Jeanne Birdsall. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy as soon as you can, because it was wonderful! Surrounded by tissues, red-nosed, and teary, I am remembering all of the reasons that this little family is my favorite.
February’s doldrums are upon us. The festive season is long gone, and summer break is far beyond our reach. As an antidote, I would like to recommend Mem Fox’s classic picture book Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! (Harcourt, 2000). If you are anything like me, you will relate to the protagonist in this story immediately – and her experience might help you redeem the Dog Days of winter.Read More
In award-winning author Wendell Berry’s novel, Jayber Crow, twice-orphaned Jonah searches for answers to the eternal questions: What is the nature of God? What is prayer? Is life a random series of disconnected events, or a linear, purposeful, meaningful path? These universal questions all converge upon Jonah’s more personal questions of identity: Who am I? Am I what I do? Do I, in fact, choose my profession, thus bearing the immense responsibility of making myself? Or am I born to a calling?Read More