SAHM the Libby
I thought it might be illuminating to learn a bit about the world Cervantes lived in. Here are a couple sites about the time of Don Quixote and once I can find the toilet paper among all the boxes I'll write a bit more.
Spain 1600
This Painting by Caravaggio was finished near the same time Don Quixote was published. Caravaggio is one of the last great Renaissance artists, after him they would move into the period known as Baroque.
SAHM the Libby
Well that was about the worst thing ever. My poor sister and husband had to do almost all of the grunt work because the baby, most likely upset by everything, would scream the second I put her down. And the cats peed on themselves during the drive to Washington. So the poor things had to sit in thier own urine, because all the towels were packed, and when we finally arrived at our hotel in Yakima Washington at about midnight, exhausted, we got to give the cats a bath.
We were unable to come up here to look for a new apartment so moving in was the first we've seen of it and well...its a roof I guess. We can't live here because of all our stuff. Sigh. There is still a lot of work to do and I have a midterm this week. Wah wah wah.
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SAHM the Libby
I'm just going to post the word of the week a little early. Usually I'll post that on Monday, a good start for an autodidact's week, but the big move starts tomorrow and even though the internet is scheduled for Monday you never know what will happen. I found this word on this great site though I already know quite a few of the words it may be informative for some.

abstruse adj. Dealing with matters difficult to be understood.

So fill out some post its and put them on the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, the car stereo, the baby's forehead, the remote control, any where you'll see it often and I'll be back next week with more on Don Quixote
SAHM the Libby
From one of my newest treasure A Book of Days for the Literary Year which I learned from about from Mental Multivitamin: on October 20th (yesterday I know) in 1955 Jean Cocteau is initiated into the Academie Francaise, declaring "Since it's now fashionable to laugh at the conservative French Academy, I have remained a rebel by joining it."

Exactly. I had an art instructor who was a real dolt, he declared that even if he had wanted a white pickup truck for years if he suddenly started seeing a lot a white trucks he'd get the opposite. The relentless pursuit of being 'different' being 'unique' is itself not an original idea. Why not try just being.
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SAHM the Libby
Reading Don Quixote it is easy to draw comparisons to so many things even in modern culture. Though this book is considered the first novel and was written in 1605 it has the grain of truth of human experience that keeps it relevant. When Don Quixote begins bragging "Before anyone shears me I will pluck the beards off the chins of all those who even contemplate touching a single hair of mine!" I think of my brother as a teenager and his dopey friends half seriously knocking each other about. I read about how Don Quixote has so enamored himself of his knight errant books and wasted his life in the reading of them that he has lost grip with reality and I think of a World of Warcraft player thirty years old and living at home, he delivers pizzas for a living comes home and spends all of the rest of his time online. In my minds eye I see his fat hairy belly hanging over the elastic band of his grey sweatpants, a neon orange Cheetos trail down the front of his t shirt his only company the glow of his computer screen and his only sense of purpose, accomplishment and self-esteem his current level. A modern day Don Quixote.
I also thought of young women who watch those Hills reality shows, I'm sorry I don't really know the name but you know the ones I mean. The made up drama, the feeling that these people are their friends and that they know those reality show actors can entertain and dull the minds of silly girls who can then search that same kind of vapid interaction in their own relationships. I thought of women who read harlequin romances ad naseaum until they are no longer happy with their own real relationships (though sometimes its the other way around, their dissatisfaction with their husbands make them look to those books) and then I realized I was not the only person to think of that.
Gustav Flaubert's Madame Bovary is on our list and I know that that is the story, a woman who, bored of marriage reads to many romances and tries to find that same kind of passion in reality. I can guess the ending. It's one of those books I've been meaning to read and now I have a new vain to analyze it in: Cervantes influence on Flaubert.
Which brings to mind what Ms. Bauer said about reading the books from oldest to newest to retain the historical flow. I mindlessly agreed and now I realize just how wise that is.

Don't forget to link through my page to get these books and help me keep this blog going. Its a big list.
SAHM the Libby
The Seasons

Then sleep the seasons, full of might;
While slowly swells the pod,
And rounds the peach, and in the night
The mushroom bursts the sod.

The winter comes: the frozen rut
Is bound with silver bars;
The white drift heaps against the hut;
And night is pierced with stars.

Coventry Patmore
From A Victorian Posy
SAHM the Libby
We all procrastinate but some of us are chronic. From an article by Steven Kotler in Psychology Today:

"Procrastination reflects our brain's hunger to feel good now rather than reap future rewards. But at the end of the day, it's really about choice: You have to decide exactly who it is that you intend to be."

"Expectancy of success is essentially a measure of confidence. The more confident you are, the less likely you are to put off a task. Task value is a combination of two factors: how much fun this particular job is and what it means to you and your life. The more fun, the more meaning, the less procrastination.

The need for instant gratification looks at both how much time will pass before you are rewarded for doing the job and how badly you need a reward for its completion. You're more likely to finish a report due next week if it results in immediate promotion. But if that promotion must wait until a year-end review that is still six months away, the urge to tarry increases. Finally, impulsiveness measures how easily distracted you are. The more readily you succumb to distraction, the greater the chance you'll procrastinate."

How much does it help to know why you procrastinate? There are some interesting ideas in the article but I like the bottom line message, it's about choice.

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SAHM the Libby

A couple of great finds I thought I'd share with you. A Victorian Posy
is full of gorgeous pictures, lovely poetry and prose, and it smells amazing.
I Also noticed that most of my visitors are coming from The Well-Trained Mind site so I can only assume most of you are homeschoolers so I thought you might like this, Isaac Asimov's The Rocky Planet, very cool even though it's a bit out of date.
SAHM the Libby
Dog Blog
SAHM the Libby
Preamble: pree-am-buhl–noun
1. an introductory statement; preface; introduction.
2. the introductory part of a statute, deed, or the like, stating the reasons and intent of what follows.
3. a preliminary or introductory fact or circumstance: His childhood in the slums was a preamble to a life of crime.
4. (initial capital letter) the introductory statement of the U.S. Constitution, setting forth the general principles of American government and beginning with the words, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union. …”
I am moving this week from Oregon to Washington, which will probably mean I won't be able to post very often. The husband also packed my dictionary along with some other books even though I pointed to the stack next to the couch and told him that I was using those. I guess he didn't believe me. We're newlyweds, he'll learn. So I copied and posted this from here.
SAHM the Libby
My set daily puzzle time is getting better. Its amazing how much better my time is when my husband isn't over my shoulder.
"What about that one?"
"I already got that one."
"What about that, that and that?"
"No those two are both green."
SAHM the Libby
Y? Care? About? Grammar?

Did any of that alarm you? Did the 'y' irritate you? Then you are no grammar curmudgeon.

I didn't care about grammar until recently (note I didn't say 'used to' I have learned it's a no no). I have always wanted to be a writer but for various reasons I won't get into here I have only recently sat down with serious intent. After a month of hacking away I found that my former devil mare care attitude had left me in such a state that I did not know how to use the tools of the trade. Visiting sites like Mental Multivitamin, the Underground Grammarian, and The Mudge left me cold and a bit shame faced. But after a moment I realized I didn't need to be embarrassed about my ignorance. I know I am not the only person who's education has failed them and who from lack of exercise has lost the bit of grammar muscle we had and are now weak, uh is there a comma here or, I'll just leave it. After all the supplier you're sending that email to won't know either. But is that okay? I don't think it is and I've been trying to come up with the explanation for that idea. Here's what I've come up with: it's like driving without traffic rules. I know, it's something Mrs. Bosselman would have come up with (Second Grade-shiver). Never the less it's true. Would you want to drive somewhere where there are few rules and no one to enforce the rules?
My husband is from the Philippines and it took him a long time to get comfortable driving here. He'd grip the wheel sucking air in between his teeth, when someone tried to pass him I thought he was going to have a heart attack. In Manila there are few rules and fewer police to hand out tickets. He told me that people will fly up the shoulder of the road and cut you off...from the right! Yikes. Here we have a lot of traffic rules which he had to get used to and he had to learn that he didn't need to worry about what everyone else was doing.
English is a living language and so it will change. The true grammarians can fuss and complain about all the little rules and pull out their little glasses and sniff at our errors. I want only a working knowledge. That's why I am posting quick little references. After a bit there should be a good library of tips, some will hopefully stick in your mind. If not, then next time you find yourself staring at an email wondering if the comma is in the right spot, rather than hoping the other guy won't know any better then you, glance over here.
That is the point of this blog, as I learn I want to share it with you.
SAHM the Libby
A few months ago I took an online class. An English class, into to literature or something like that. One of the stories I was asked to read was John Cheever's The Swimmer. I read it and didn't like it, didn't understand it, put it away and went to sleep. The next morning I picked it up and read it again because I was going to have to post some comments about it and comment on other peoples comments that day so I needed to be clear why I didn't like it and see if I couldn't make better sense of it. After reading it again I understood what was happening so I posted and started a conversation with another student about it. It still wasn't my favorite of the four stories I'd been assigned but that student noticed some things I hadn't and I told her some things I saw. Pretty soon we had a good discussion going and I was referring back to the story to see what she was saying and vice versa. Another student see's our conversation and says she doesn't know why we're so excited about she thought the story quote 'sucked'. I told her go read it again. She posts back, 'you were right' and she joins in, there are so many layers to this story. By the end of it The Swimmer had become one of my favorite short stories ever and I knew John Cheever was a genius.

I know most people won't want to read this entire list but as I go I hope some will join in a few of the books. I hope some people will read this blog and be encouraged to pick up some of the classics. I hope some people will see this blog and be inspired to look a bit closer while reading. But my real goal is to open up a dialogue about what we're reading. I hope people will email me and I will post it. I'm interested in what people will say about these books. You can email me at
SAHM the Libby
There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
SAHM the Libby
From The Well-Educated Mind:
"Sustained, Serious Reading is at the center of the self-education project. (...) Reading is the most important method of self-improvement. Observation limits our learning to our immediate surroundings; conversation and lectures are valuable, but limit us to the views of a few nearby persons. Reading alone allows us to reach out beyond the restrictions of time and space,...."

And this, "Even before the advent of television, reading that required concentration was a difficult and neglected activity." As Don Quixote can attest to. A lot of blame has been placed on television for the dumbing down of America, there is always someone saying that things are going to hell in a handbasket.

Ms. Bauer's book is teaching how to use a classical education as an approach to reading. She is suggesting reading a book three times. The first time is the grammar stage reading where you get a sense of the information and story. The second is the logic stage where you begin analyzing the material, is it true, etc. She recognizes that most of will not have the time to read each book (and in fact she doesn't say that you need read all of the books) this is where the reading notebook comes in. If you have been underlining important passages (or using post it flags), writing questions down, and keeping a record of facts in your note book you can go over that for the logic stage. The rhetoric stage is the hardest. This is when you'll develop your arguments about the book. (I'll go into this later.) She writes, "You don't have to progress all the way through grammar-stage reading, logic-stage inquiry, and rhetoric-stage discussion for every book. If a book enthralls you, linger over it. If you barely make it through the first reading and close it with relief, there's no reason to feel that you must go on to the next stage of inquiry."

After I posted the list of novels where I whined about Moby Dick I picked up TWEM. "But if you simply cannot wade through a book after a good solid try, put it down and go on to the next book on the list. Don't jettison the whole project because you can't stand Paradise Lost. Even literary scholars have books that they have never managed to get all the way through. My bete noire is Moby-Dick; I know it's one of the great works of American literature, but I have made at least eight runs at it during my adult life and have never managed to get past midpoint."
HA! Very nice to know you have company. I've only tried half as many times but I think its plenty. It's such a shame too because it starts out so well.

I have also excluded Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, she writes that it is on the list because it started a war but for me it isn't somewhere I want to go. So Moby-Dick is gone and Adolf but other than that I am up to the challenge.

Have you ordered Don Quixote yet?

SAHM the Libby
Hey she looked. I got a nice little email from Mental Multivitamin and it made my day.
I Just saw this author on the Daily Show and I'm intrigued. I already have a huge list to read but I think this will be added to my extra credit wish list on Amazon.
Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
Jon Stewart asked her whether it wasn't okay for people to believe thought could make them richer and healthier wasn't harmless like hey Jesus makes you stop drinking well that's fine. She responded, 'No I don't think self delusion is ever okay."
SAHM the Libby
From On the Uses of a Liberal Education by Mark Edmundson.
Is it a surprise, then, that this generation of students -- steeped in consumer culture before going off to school, treated as potent customers by the university well before their date of arrival, then pandered to from day one until the morning of the final kiss-off from Kermit or one of his kin -- are inclined to see the books they read as a string of entertainments to be placidly enjoyed or languidly cast down? Given the way universities are now administered (which is more and more to say, given the way that they are currently marketed), is it a shock that the kids don't come to school hot to learn, unable to beat their own ignorance? For some measure of self-dislike, or self-discontent -- which is much different than simple depression -- seems to me to be a prerequisite for getting an education that matters. My students, alas, usually lack the confidence to acknowledge what would be their most precious asset for learning: their ignorance.

Ah how comforting because I have no problem declaring my ignorance and my eagerness to learn. I came by this essay from Mental Multivitamin my favorite blog. I avoided blogs before because I am somewhat of a technophobe but M-mv is the exception. In fact it is my inspiration. I have done these kinds of projects before, I tore out a page from the back of a Penguin Classic listing other books and slowly read my way through them, (I would have to say that this is the largest one) and that is why I ordered Susan Wise Bauer's book The Well-Educated Mind. On their website they have a list of blogs but most were awful mommy blogs. I was hoping to find a blog of a homeschooling mother talking about how she uses the trivium to teach her children not writing about nonsense. On the list though was Mental Multivitamin. I am slowly reading through the back postings and am finishing up 04. She really inspired me, Ms. Bauer's book and M-mv coincided and here I am.
M-mv is the cool adult blog and I am a little bit like a little kid jumping up and down, "Hey look at me! Look look, watch me. Are you watching?...Hey you weren't watching!" Just desperately trying to get noticed. Oh well, education is it's own reward.
SAHM the Libby
Duane Hanson, this artist amazes me. Yes those are statues. Check this one out too.
SAHM the Libby
An independent clause can be separated from a subordinate clause with a subordinate conjunction and/or a comma.
Translation: An independent clause is a complete thought or sentence, a subordinate clause adds to the independent clause with more information, a subordinate conjunction is a word that connects the two clauses.
Subordinate conjunctions: while, because, although, though, since, when, where, if, whether, before, until, than, as, as if, in order that, so that, whenever, and wherever.
False subordinate conjunctions: however, consequently, therefore, moreover, also, and furthermore.
Examples: Jack needs to do the dishes before his mother has a fit. Before his mother has a fit, Jack needs to do the dishes.
His mother has a fit. This is not a complete sentence but Jack needs to do the dishes is.

How to avoid the dreaded comma splice: make sure you have an independent clause or whole sentence that can stand on its own, use an appropriate subordinate conjunction, do not try to connect two complete sentences with a comma (that is what semicolon's are for).
SAHM the Libby
Aggrandize \ə-ˈgran-ˌdīz 1. To make greater, more powerful, richer, etc.: often used reflexively 2. To make seem greater or more exalted. Aggrandizement, aggrandizer

I don't think Obama needed any aggrandizement from the Nobel prize committee, but that is what he got.

How 'bout that, a little topical example with our weekly word.
SAHM the Libby
I'm not going to dig up all of these from Amazon as I did for the novels but please click through for any upcoming book purchases and help me buy all these books. Think of it as good karma, helping me save my marriage hehe.

Memoirs and Autobiography
The Confessions, Augustine
The Book of Margery Kempe, Margery Kempe
Essay, Michel de Montaigne
The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself, Teresa of Avila
Meditations, Rene Descartes
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, John Bunyan
The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration, Mary Rowlandson
Confessions, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written By Herself, Harriet Jacobs
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass
Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington
Ecce Homo, Friedrich Nietzsche
An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Mohandas Gandhi
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein (eshk, Moby Dick)
The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton
Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, C.S. Lewis
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X
Journal of a Solitude, May Sarton (ooh I like that)
The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
Born Again, Charles W. Colson
Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez, Richard Rodriguez
The Road from Coorain, Jill Ker Conway
All Rivers Run to the Sea: Memoirs, Elie Wiesel

The Histories, Herodotus
The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
The Republic, Plato
Lives, Plutarch
The City of God, Augustine
The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Bede
The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
Utopia, Sir Thomas More
The True End of Civil Government, John Locke
The History Of England, Volume V, David Hume
The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Common Sense, Thomas Paine
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville
The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, Jacob Burckhardt
The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B Du Bois
The Protestant ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber
Queen Victoria, Lytton Strachey
The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell
The New England Mind, Perry Miller
The Great Crash 1929, John Kenneth Galbraith
The Longest Day, Cornelius Ryan
The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made, Eugene D. Genovese
A Distant Mirror: The Clamitious Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman
All the President's Men, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James M. McPherson
A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on her Dairy, 1785-1812, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama

Agamemnon, Aeschylus
Oedipus the King, Sophocles
Medea, Euripides
The Birds, Aristophanes
Poetics, Aristotle
Everyman, Aristotle
Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlow
Richard III, A Midsummer's Dream, Hamlet, Shakespeare
Tartuffe, Moliere
The Way of the World, William Congreve
She Stoops to Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith
The School for Scandal, Richard Brinsley Sheridan
A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen
The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde
The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov
Saint Joan, George Bernard Shaw
Murder in the Cathedral, T.S. Eliot
Our Town, Thornton Wilder
Long Day's Journey Into Night, Eugene O'Neill
No Exit, Jean Paul Sartre
A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams
Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett
A Man For All Seasons, Robert Bolt
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard
Equus, Peter Shaffer

The Epic of Gilgamesh
The Iliad, The Odyssey, Homer
Greek Lyricists
Odes, Horace
Inferno, Dante Alighieri
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
Sonnets, Shakespeare
John Donne
Psalms, King James Bible
Paradise Lost, John Milton
Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Blake
William Wordsworth
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
John Keats
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Walt Whitman
Emily Dickinson
Christina Rossetti
Gerard Manley Hopkins
William Butler Yeats
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Robert Frost
Carl Sandburg
William Carlos Williams
Ezra Pound
T.S. Eliot
Langston Hughes
W. H. Auden
Philip Larkin
Allen Ginsberg
Sylvia Plath
Mark Strand
Adrienne Rich
Seamus Heaney
Robert Pinsky
Jane Kenyon
Rita Dove

...I feel sick. Also I feel like Homer Simpson looking at a mountain of donuts, 'ahhh boooks, aaahh' tongue lolling out. Somehow, I'm going to read all of these, but for now I'm going to bed.
SAHM the Libby
Don Quixote, so far, is hilarious. I did not know that. It is easy to read even though it was written in 1602. I'm sure that is due to the translator and the fact that it wasn't written in old English.
It is the story of a man who has been reading to many romantic tales of knights and ladies, he becomes a tad nutty and runs off, with a not-to-bright farmer Sancho Panza as his side kick though Sancho is often the voice of reason, in search of adventure after making a make shift suit of armor, getting an old nag of a horse and imagining up a lady paramour he names Dulcinea. Here is a taste:
"After a a couple of miles, Don Quixote spotted a throng of people who, as it afterwards transpired, were merchants from Toledo on their way to Murcia to buy silk. As soon as Don Quixote saw them, he imagined that here was the opportunity for a new adventure; and, wishing to imitate in every way he believed he could the passages of arms he'd read about in his books, he decided that one he had in mind was perfect for the situation. And so, with a gallant bearing and a resolute air, he steadied himself in his stirrups, clutched his lance, lifted his shield to his chest and, taking up his position in the middle of the highway, awaited the arrival of these knights errant, for this was what he judged them to be; and when they came within sight and earshot, Don Quixote raised his voice and, striking a haughty posture, declared: 'You will none of you advance one step further unless all of you confess that in all the world there is no maiden more beauteous than the Empress of La Mancha, the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso.'" Imagine this scene on your commute hehe.

And here:
"'...and if I do not utter any complaint about the pain it is because knights errant are not permitted to complain about wounds, even if their entrails are spilling out of them.'
'If that's so there's nothing more for me to say,' replied Sancho, 'As for me, I can tell you I'm going to moan like anything about the slightest little pain,...'" Hehe, once again Sancho is the one to make sense.
SAHM the Libby
Susan has several good suggestions I want to share from The Well-Educated Mind. On page 68 She begins a section about how to read a novel based on the trivium which is, grammar, logic, and rhetoric, a classical method of teaching and learning. She says to read the preface only if it is written by the author or you will be swayed in your reading by another persons opinion. Look the book over before beginning, read the back, front, and table of contents. Look at the brief author bio. In your notebook keep a list of the characters and their relationship to each other. This is a very good idea when reading Russian writers as a common complaint is the difficulty keeping people straight.

She also writes that when reading nonfiction you need to ask yourself what the author is trying to convince you of, but that that is not necessary when reading a novel. She writes that the novelist is not presenting you with an argument. I disagree. Every author has a unique perspective of the world and they present that with their book. When you are reading Dickens he is trying to convince you that if you work hard and are a good moral person you will succeed, get the girl, inherit a large amount of money and go to heaven. Kafka and Sylvia Plath will present you with a different take on the human condition. I'm only a little way into Don Quixote but I can see that Cervantes is trying to present an argument to me about how to live about how people are. When reading a novel look for the authors view of the world, and his beliefs about the human experience.

SAHM the Libby
Adler and Van Doren have succinctly described what I feared and what I am aiming for. "There have always been literate ignoramuses who have read widely and not well." "To avoid this error-the error of assuming that to be widely read is to be well-read are the same thing- we must consider a certain distinction in types of learning (page 12)."
In chapter two they outline levels of reading: elementary, inspectional, analytical, and syntopical reading. Inspectional reading is where most people stop, after elementary you can answer, "What does the sentence say?" After the second level you can answer, "What was the book about?" How many times have you asked that question or answered that? For many books that is enough, after reading the Notebook knowing the answer to this question is enough. However, reading Crime and Punishment requires more. "Analytical reading is preeminently for the sake of understanding (19)." This is the level that I am trying to achieve. I will try to gt to the last level at another time. For now gaining a better understanding of what I am reading is enough.
Tip from the book: ask these questions during your reading, what is the book about as a whole, what is being said in detail and how, is the book true in whole or in part, and, what of it?

SAHM the Libby
A list of coordinating conjunctions: for, but, yet, so, nor, and, and or.
example: A101 is bad at grammar and math, but she is trying to improve.

The sentence did not get a comma after the and because it was not a complete sentence, but it did get one after but because it was a compliment to the independent clause.

This may all be very remedial for many of you but I need it, and it may be a good reminder nonetheless.

Yup, I'm a dummy.
SAHM the Libby

At last my copy of Don Quixote has arrived and I can get started. As an added bonus it came with a note from one Miss Julie, to 'My dear Jeremy,' who appears to have been writing with her left hand. It'll be a fun book mark.
SAHM the Libby
Superlative : \s-ˈpər-lə-tiv\ Superior to or excelling all others; of the highest kind 2. excessive or exaggerated
New World Dictionary

I have bought those word a day calenders and I think I learned a few words from them. To me though a word a day is like taking a hand full of darts at lobbing them at the target, sure a few will hit but most are doomed for the floor. I am going to write this word on post its and note cards and tape them around my house: the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, the remote, the stereo in my car, the baby's forehead. Well maybe not that last one, but places I will see it regularly. Every Monday I will post the word of the week.
SAHM the Libby

Okay here it is. The list of classics in The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had. Later I will delve into the biographies and histories she has listed. But first
1.)Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes
2.)Pilgrims Progress John Bunyan
3.)Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift
4.)Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
5.)Oliver Twist Charles Dickens
6.)Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
7.)The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne
8.)Moby-Dick or, The Whale Herman Mellville
9.)Uncle Tom's Cabin: or, Life among the Lowly Harriet Beecher Stowe
10.)Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
11.)Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky
12.)Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
13.)The Return of the Native Thomas Hardy
14.)The Portrait of a Lady Henry James
15.)The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
16.)The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane
17.)Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
18.)The House of Mirth Edith Wharton
19.)The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
20.)Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf
21.)The Trial Franz Kafka
22.)Native Son Richard Wright
23.)The Stranger Albert Camus
24.)1984 George Orwell
25.)Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
26.)Seize the Day Saul Bellow
27.)One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
28.)If on a Winter's Night a Traveler Italo Calvino
29.)Song of Solomon Toni Morrison
30.)White Noise Don Delillo
31.)Possession: A Romance A.S. Byatt

phew!- I tried to get Ms. Bauer's suggested translator where available but some like If on a Winter's Night a Traveler where not available.
Quite a few of these books I have already read. As I said earlier a book isn't a notch on the belt once you've read it. Once you have read a book you have simply made its acquaintance. To make friends you have to pay more than one visit. If the book is good company this is easy, some of those books I am looking forward to revisiting. I don't know how I'm going to get through Moby Dick again though. As far as a time line for getting through this list I would love to give one, to say I'll do it in a year. But I have a small baby, I'm in college, and my husband's work has us moving every four months or so, so I'd hate to make myself a liar. I love reading though and it shouldn't take me to long. See if you can keep up, I'm sure you too have many distractions in your life. You just need to read thirty minutes a day, fifteen at lunch, fifteen before bed, and don't forget your notebook, if you read at an average pace you'll finish a book in two to three weeks.
SAHM the Libby
'Uh, excuse me, I already know how to read. See? I'm reading this right now. '

The first chapter of How to Read a Book, The Activity and Art of Reading (ooh I love that), says that this book is for those who wish to become better informed, for those who wish for greater understanding. They go on: "There is a sense in which we moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of understanding. One of the reasons for this situation is the very media we have mentioned [television and radio, and I would add internet] are so designed as to make thinking seem unnecessary. (though this is only and appearance). The packaging of intellectual positions and views is one of the most active enterprises of some of the best minds of our day. The viewer of television, the listener to radio, the reader of magazines, is presented with a whole complex of elements-all the way from ingenious rhetoric to carefully selected data and statistics-to make it easy for him to "make up his own mind" with the minimum of difficulty and effort. But the packaging is often done so effectively that the viewer, listener, or reader does not make up his own mind at all. Instead he inserts a packaged opinion in his own mind,[...]. He has preformed acceptably without having to think."

Exactly. The part about ingenious rhetoric reminds me of The Daily Show. I love The Daily Show but it is so easy, you don't have to think you merely have to sit eating a late night bowl of ice cream or chips and laugh at the jokes and the stupid politicians and Jon has done all the thinking for you. I don't have the statistics but a large percent of the population claims this as the place where they get their news much to Jon's dismay. Watch and laugh but also think. Much of this attitude comes because on some level we know the news is biased and slanted, because there is so much out there. It isn't just laziness, apathy, or the desire to be entertained that drives us from serious reading. It is that we do not know how or where to look. That is why that cynical kind of humor is so appealing.

SAHM the Libby

Because of, is a description of an action.
The ball game was canceled because of rain.

Due to, describes a noun or pronoun.
Part of Mental multivitamin's obsession with books is due to her book poor childhood.

I think we can all agree that what I really need to conquer are commas. There are seventeen uses for commas. Don't hold your breath.
SAHM the Libby
Okay-so the notebook. I said I would explain it later and here it is. As I read through Susan Wise Bauer's list I will be writing questions, comments, and summaries about what I read. That's a lot of what I'll publish here. How I am doing with the books as well as how my followers are doing in their reading. Right now I am waiting for my copy of Don Quixote to arrive from Amazon. I am not wasting time though I am reading through the beginning of The Well-Educated Mind and How to Read a Book. As well as trying to study more about grammar. Bear with me on that.

Susan writes on page 33 about keeping a reading journal, she says: 'simply reading isn't enough. We must learn to fix our minds, to organize our reading so that we are able to retain the skeleton of ideas. What we summarize in our own words becomes our own.' Reading a book isn't a notch on the belt. 'Yup I've read Don Quixote ain't I clever.' If you do not understand it, if it doesn't become a part of your mental landscape, if it hasn't enriched your life, then it means nothing. Learning to read for understanding as well as how to analyze the books, that is what I am out for. I was always turned off by the idea of dissecting books. To me they are living things and if you pick them apart then you kill them. But I am trying to think of them as crystals with shades of color if you only hold them to the light and look turning it ever so slightly this way and than that way.
SAHM the Libby
Yay! I just finished the set daily puzzle. That's the first time I have gotten all six sets since I started a week ago when I first discovered Mental Multivitamin. I'm getting smarter. Smart enough not to end this with a wide smiling emoticon.
SAHM the Libby
Polonius: What do you read, my Lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.

I need to learn about grammar. Many people do. Laziness and forgetfulness have made us throw away the fundamentals of our language. One thing I blame are cell phones. I resisted texting for a long time but I did eventually gave in. But I think I became poorer for it. It was another excuse to be lazy and not actually call that friend I haven't seen in so long, it also developed bad habits in me and I know I am not alone. Admit it, you've left a note for your husband or roommate or whomever that read, C u @ 8. Maybe not quite this bad but still a stunted text inspired letter such as, Happy B'day, and they were lucky for the apostrophe. I have bought myself a cell phone with a full qwerty keyboard and I am disciplining myself to use it, to send proper messages. I believe that if I just take the couple of extra seconds to spell things out, use punctuation even, the rules of usage will be fresher in my mind; then when it comes to more formal writing I will be able communicate clearly and not sound like an idiot.

When first meeting someone one of the first things they use to judge your intelligence is vocabulary. In writing you can add how well you use the words, e.i. your grammar. I may have made an error with the preceding sentence, I actually am not sure but that is something I want to correct in the next months of my self education project. Instead of using spell check and moving on I am going to take note, just a few seconds longer to look at the word: so that's how you spell preceding.

SAHM the Libby
Oh sheesh, and I already see several grammatical errors. I have always been of the descriptive grammar persuasion rather than the prescriptive, but I have seen the error of my ways. I will have a weekly grammar lesson as well as a word of the week vocabulary feature. As I read over the materials I have chosen I will discuss it and give tips, and any tips that are forwarded to me, your input is welcome, so that we can all benefit and grow.
We will need a copy of The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had
By Susan Wise Bauer
How to Read a Book (A Touchstone book) Mortimer Adler, and/or How to Read and Why By Harold Bloom, and the first book on our list provided by Susan Wise Bauer which is: Don Quixote (Penguin Classics)

as well as a good notebook. I'll expand on this in a later post.

Also if you would like to improve on your command of the English language along with me I am using a copy of The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
and English Grammar for Dummies. A classic and a, well, not so classic. Hehe.