Every year at this time, I put out a couple reading lists. This year, I’m doing the Mother Culture Reading List first. If you aren’t familiar with the term “mother culture,” I’m actually referring to an article that appeared in Charlotte Mason’s Parents’ Review Magazine way back in 1892.
The Mother Culture article does a couple important things.
First, it reminds us that books are a way to wisdom — that a solid reading life is imperative if Mom is going to gain the maturity she needs to be a good mom to her older children.
Second, it gives us a way — a simple habit-based approach — to help us build reading into the busyness.
The habit involves three simple steps:
- Always have three books available to yourself: a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel.
- Read for 30 minutes per day.
- When you go to read, pick up the book you feel fit for.
I love this for its depth and its simple practicality.
The purpose of my lists is to offer an example to get your ideas flowing. Some people like to use books off of my lists; others find that these books make them remember other books, and those are the ones they end up reading. No matter. My point is to simply encourage you to feed your soul with good books.
My list is divided into the same categories found in the Mother Culture article, but remember that one man’s stiff book might be another’s moderately easy book (and vice versa) — make sure you categorize your reading stack in a way that makes sense for you.
These lists include book I have read as well as books I own and plan to read (but haven’t yet). I stay away from recommending books I’m not actually familiar with, even when they’re famous.
On to the list!
For the Stiff Stack
What makes a book “stiff”? The most obvious quality would be reading level — a stiff book is the most difficult to read. Beyond this, the subject might be heavy or require a high level of attention. Sometimes, the book itself might be easy for you to read and understand, but hard for you to work through because it touches an emotional spot in your soul or it confronts a place in your life where you need to repent and grow.
Just remember: the stiff stack is for the most taxing books. If a book is taxing for you, put it in the stiff stack.
The End of Economic Man by Peter Drucker
Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
Struck Down but Not Destroyed by Pierce Taylor Hibbs
Moderately Easy Books
Moderately easy books should still be good books. They are teeming with ideas that grow your mind and expand your soul, but they aren’t nearly as difficult to read as your stiff books. They might be more light-hearted (they might even make you giggle). Sometimes, these books are more modern — one reason they’re easier to read is because they are written in your own time.
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
In Vital Harmony by Karen Glass
How to Think by Alan Jacobs
Do these really need introduction? If anything says summer to my soul, it is a good novel. Click here for advice on choosing and reading a novel. Please remember that stories are powerful things. It’s important to fill your mind with good thoughts. This doesn’t mean your books can’t contain evil — they should, in my opinion. But tempting you to approve of evil is altogether different, so guard your heart as you choose wisely.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
The Lonesome Gods by Louis L’Amour
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Waverly by Sir Walter Scott
Grab Your Mother Culture Habit Tracker Collection!
When you sign up for this freebie, you’re getting a boatload of summer reading goodness!
- The Mother Culture Habit Tracker! This is the habit tracker that started it all. ♥
- A mother’s habit tracker for general habit tracking.
- Three Gorgeous Student Reading Tracker Options!
- Whether your children are little or big, boys or girls, you’ll surely find a version they will like for their very own.
- Helps you get them started on reading habits!
- Two general student habit trackers (one more boyish and one more girly).
Fill out the form below to get yours via email. Also, share what you’re doing on Instagram — post photos of your habit tracker and books! — using the hashtag #motherculturehabit.
Need More Book Ideas?
- The Summer 2019 Mother Culture Reading List
- The Summer 2018 Mother Culture Reading List
- The Summer 2017 Mother Culture Reading List
- The Summer 2016 Mother Culture Reading List
- The Summer 2015 Mother Culture Reading List
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