Monday, April 18, 2011

The Literature in my Life

"...They were the strangest pair at such a time that ever firelight shone upon.

Mr. Dombey so erect and solemn,
gazing at the blaze;
his little image, with an old, old face, peering into the red perspective
with the fixed and rapt attention of a sage.

Mr. Dombey entertaining complicated worldly schemes and plans;
the little image entertaining Heaven knows what wild fancies,
half-formed thoughts, and wandering speculations.

Mr. Dombey stiff with starch and arrogance;
the little image by inheritance, and in unconscious imitation.

The two so very much alike,
and yet so monstrously contrasted.

On one of these occasions...

little Paul broke silence thus:
'Papa!  what's money?'

The abrupt question has such immediate reference to the subject
of Mr. Dombey's thoughts,
that Mr. Dombey was quite disconcerted.

'What is money, Paul?' he answered.  'Money?'

'Yes,' said the child laying his hands upon the elbows of his little chair,
and turning the old face up towards Mr. Dombey's;
'What is money?'

Mr. Dombey was in a difficulty.
He would have liked to give him some explanation
involving the terms circulating-medium, currency, paper,
bullion, rates of exchange, value of precious metals in the market,
and so forth;
but looking down at the little chair,
and seeing what a long way down it was, he answered,

'Gold, and silver, and copper.  Guineas, shillings, half-pence.
You know what they are?'

'Oh, yes, I know what they are,' said Paul.
'I don't mean that, Papa.  I mean, what's the money after all.'

Heaven and Earth, how old his face was as he turned it up again towards his father's!

'What is money after all!' said Mr. Dombey,
backing his chair a little, that he might the better gaze
in sheer amazement at the presumptuous atom
that propounded such an inquiry.

'I mean, Papa, what can it do?' returned Paul,
folding his arms (they were hardly long enough to fold),
and looking at the fire,
and up at him,
and at the fire,
and up at him again.

Mr. Dombey drew his chair back to its former place,
and patted him on the head.

'You'll know better bye-and-bye, my man,' he said.
'Money, Paul, can do anything.'

He took hold of the little hand,
and beat it softly against one of his own as he said so.

But Paul got his hand free as soon as he could;
and rubbing it gently to and fro on the elbow of his chair,
as if his wit were in the palm,
and he were sharpening it -
and looking at the fire again,
as though the fire had been his advisor and prompter-
repeated, after a short pause:

'Anything, Papa?'

'Yes.  Anything - almost,' said Mr. Dombey.

'Anything means everything, don't it, Papa?'
asked his son:
not observing, or possibly not understanding,
the qualification.

'It includes it: yes,' said Mr. Dombey.

'Why didn't money save me my mamma?' returned the child.
'It isn't cruel, is it?'

'Cruel!' said Mr. Dombey,
settling his neck cloth, and seeming to resent the idea.
'No. A good thing can't be cruel.'

'If it's a good thing, and can do anything,'
said the little fellow thoughtfully,
as he looked back at the fire,
'I wonder why it didn't save me my mamma.'

This selection is from the book Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens.

I am not one who makes time for reading books for fun,
like this one would be,
because there always seems to be a hundred other things to get done,
and the moment I open a book like this,
my eyes seem to instantly close,
choosing sleep over many long pages of overly long words such as these.

But I love stories like this:
so deep and full of little lessons and unique characters.

So I am listening to it,
all 30 CD's of it,

38 hours long...

...while I am out here working on painting.

It was a Christmas gift from an aunt
who joins me in my love for this type of book,
and in hearing it read by a good reader.

It was one of my favorite Christmas gifts and will give me hours
of fun entertainment.

Kelly's Korner had a link-up I wanted to join about books that we are
This sits by my table for paging through for ideas while 
eating breakfast or lunch,
if it's a quiet one,
after the kids have finished theirs.
I picked these up at the library.

Of course, these came from the same place
and are also on my reading list,
although these are how I practice my reading out loud
and use of different voices
while balancing a child or two on my lap.

This is my morning feast.
I love Tozer;
his daily devotionals are always so helpful.

I like to read a portion from the Old and New Testament.

And I try to squeeze in some of this book a few times a week.
It is helpful for dealing with kids and what causes them to lose their tempers
(I may not agree with or do everything it says,
but it is full of helpful information).
Of course, I find it helpful for myself as well.
After all, I need to deal with my own irritation prompts
before I can help them address theirs.

And lastly, this is my healthy cookbook
that I sneak into when possible,
when I want to broaden my knowledge about cooking a bit healthier.

That's my literary base at the moment.
It's not college textbooks or genius prep courses,
but it's my staple of words on paper at the moment.

What have you been divulging your eyeballs with
in book-form lately?


  1. I love Dickens. And many other books.

    I've been reading Elizabeth Chadwick historical fiction of late.
    Quite lovely!


  2. Do you know, Dickens was all my grandmother ever read. Well, Dickens and the Bible (possibly in that order!!). His stories used to come serialised in newspapers so reading them in bits like this is just as he intended!


  3. Oh how loudly a good book can call! Excellent reading material around your house. I love painting. Hope to see your finished results. Such a nice addition!


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