Wednesday, July 27, 2011


"Commonplacing" is writing in a book or journal quotes that speak to you, or that you want to remember. Since I haven't been doing anything else here, I thought I would "commonplace".

These days I am reading several books. One that has taken backstage is Emma by Jane Austen. This is my second time reading Emma, the first being about the time the Gwenyth Paltrow movie came out. Although I have enjoyed this second reading, I haven't dog-eared any of my pages yet (which is what I do when I find a part I want to return to or would be better to write it down, but that isn't always possible)

The book that has risen to the forefront these days is called The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour. This has had an interesting effect on me. I am a big fan of Louis L'Amour, whom I discovered in my early undergraduate days. I read him voraciously for several years, even belonging to one of those book clubs with the leather bound editions coming each month for $10 a piece or probably more. Incidentally, I just saw a large box of them for a dollar a piece at a library book sale, and probably could have gotten them for much less if I returned on Sunday, but I had most or all of them already.

The reason this book has had an interesting effect on me is the time period it is covering. It is set in the late 1100's (an unusual theme for L'Amour as many of his books are westerns) and therefore at a turbulent time in Church history. So, the "me" that read it the first time did not have a degree in theology from a Catholic university. This "me" is really struggling with my favorite author's take on the Church and history and the theology of the time. I realize that he isn't Catholic, nor is he an historian, nor is he trying to make a statement about the Church (at least I don't think he is) and that his main character (it is written in the first person) could very well have different opinions and experiences than the author himself.

But it is bugging me just the same.

It made me consult some of the Church history books I used when studying at Steubenville. So, I guess that is good.

All that being said, there is some great stuff in this book:

On reading....

...What kind of scholar was I? Or was I a scholar at all? My ignorance was enormous. Beside it my knowledge was nothing. My hunger for learning, not so much to improve my lot as to understand my world, has led me to study and to thought. Reading without thinking is as nothing, for a book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think. 

On leadership...

The Hansgraf [the leader of a large army of traveling merchants] drew up by the gate and sat on his powerful horse. He rarely made gestures, but each was a command. I have never known a man who better understood his role. He accepted rights due him without comment or apology, and he made the responsibilities of command seem a privilege. 

On courage in study....
It is a poor sort of man who is content to be spoon-fed knowledge that has been filtered through the canon of religious or political belief and it is a poor sort of man who will permit others to dictate what he may or may not learn.

I am also reading "A Little Way of Homeschooling" by Suzie Andres. It is speaking to my heart about early childhood and how children learn and the optimum times for learning different things. Nothing to quote just now, no dog-eared corners...just simmering thoughts in my brain.

Finally, I am reading lots of information on Leadership Education, specifically Thomas Jefferson Education. Perhaps I will "commonplace" some of those thoughts and readings next.