Monday, December 05, 2011

Lost in Oxford

Not really but the bookish way through Surprised by Oxford, a memoir by Carolyn Weber.  I couldn't put it down yesterday (thankfully a Sunday when lounging on the sofa is the keeping of a Sabbath and not considered lazy).

The last two chapters were before me last night but as hard as I tried, the sleepiness was overtaking my eyelids, making it impossible to finish the book until this morning.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the book very much... what is not to love about a well written story of one who wins a scholarship to graduate school at Oxford and comes to know Christ in that first year.  It is a love story on multiple levels and a wonderful destination in which to find myself on a rainy Sunday.

I would have enjoyed attending university at Oxford.  The way one learns there with reading a book and then discussing it is much the same way we homeschooled.  I don't enjoy arguments whatsoever but I do love talking ideas with others, even if they do not agree with me as long as it is not one big argument.

I have mentioned before that one of my very good longtime friends is both Jewish and Liberal.  We don't discuss politics or religion but there are many subjects we agree on including environmental concerns (one doesn't have to agree on what is causing global warming but one cannot dismiss the fact that the weather is crazy), the need for local and natural farms, the concern about the manipulation of our seed supply, and the joys of raising boys (except I also have a girl).

The book reminded me of my early days as a Christian, coming from a very "unchurched" home and finding myself in the midst of being wooed by He Who Created Me... in the days of the Jesus Movement.  There were lots of wonderful discussions and coffee and music and more coffee.  No wonder so many of that generation should own stock at Starbucks (not that I can go often but when I do... yum).

Anyway, I digress... another thing I love about this book is that it talks about Christians who love art and poetry and literature and gardens... and Lewis, of course.  How could one become a Christian at Oxford and not have the conversation eventually come around to Lewis (or Tolkien, etc.).  Sigh...

There is something about this time of year that brings out my inner Narnia.  I can almost expect Aslan to walk through the door but it is just Victoria and her Maine Coon hairdo.  Admittedly, if Aslan were to walk into my house I'd faint after I called animal control... but one can be fearless when it comes to fairy tale fantasies.

Since I finished the book which interrupted Christmas reading (but in such a good way), I will begin re-reading No Holly For Miss Quinn later this evening.  I also took my copy of The Wind in the Willow off the shelf this past weekend, which has the loveliest of Christmas scenes in it.  It is not only my favorite children's books, it is one of my all time favorite books... period.

It is dark outside even in early afternoon, I'd forgotten just how dark a winter day can be.  However, the Christmas tree is lit (I moved the laptop to the dining table after putting up the tree) and the kitchen is bright and shiny (Hallelujah... light in the kitchen!).  I've had Christmas music playing on Pandora.  Yes... about as close to Narnia as one can get in the American Midwest.  :)

Ohhhh... thank you for the compliments on the Christmas header (which is the top of my buffet decorated for Christmas this year).  I always return to my default header as I do love it but one has to be more festive for the Holidays.

Picture:  A Time For Reading, Judy Gibson;


Mrs.Rabe said...

Our tea is tonight and then I get back to reading! I am so looking forward to it!

I must find my copy of Shepherd's Abiding...

Every time you review a book I long to read it! Oxford and your homeschool way of learning is the way we learn too! I've heard this is the way at West Point as well!

Such delight in reading and sharing ideas and thoughts!

Enjoy those lights on the tree!


Heather L. said...

I will put that book on my list!!! The kids and I have been listening to Focus on the family's Narnia books on tape lately. They are so good. I'm always amazed at how much theology Lewis packs into the books --they speak to adults as well as to children. They can be quite moving...

Debbie said...

I recently re-read "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I so enjoyed being transported into a world that was far simpler but oh so much harder in so many ways.

Be blessed!

Rebecca said...

I was disappointed to find out that our rather extensive library system does not have Surprised by Oxford. It certainly sounds like a book I'd like to read.

I shall have to pursue other venues :)

Anonymous said...

the Oxford book sounds good. Must see if the library has it.
Your christmas header id very pretty. So cheerful.

Anonymous said...

I just read that Christmas scene to my (at home) children today! "Dulce Domum" in The Wind in the Willows. Is that the one you meant? Even the 19 year old, who informed me that he "didn't like that scene," decided it "wasn't so bad, really." :-)

Susan (DE)

Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life said...

I SO enjoyed your posting.... and the wonderful glimpse into the book you just read. I too have thought similar thoughts about Oxford and Lewis.

Did you know that apparently there is a week during summer when 'lay' people can apply to take in some studies/lectures and live there too? A colleague at work did that years ago... she said it was a wonderful experience. I have thought about it, maybe we should consider it more closely one day.

Wishing you a beautiful day....

matty said...

Enjoy the lovely books! Ah, to read something interesting and thought provoking and not poorly structured and written student essays... Sigh... Which is what I should be doing, but instead took a break and stopped to visit with you!

This is a wonderful time of year... enjoy the early dusk, the crisp air, and the anticipation of His Birthday!

Mama Squirrel said...

Charles Lamb used to like to hang out at Oxford and pretend he was a student. Suitably robed, of course.

jlt said...

I just put "Surprised by Oxford" on my library wishlist for after Christmas. Thank you for telling us about it.

I re-read "No Holly for Miss Quinn" last night. I love that story. I'm planning on starting Elizabeth Goudge's "Christmas Book" tonight.

Alice@Supratentorial said...

Sounds fabulous. Thanks for the review