Friday, April 15, 2016

Miss Read (#atozchallenge)

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One of the things I love about homeschooling is that I've met, either in real life, or online, so many people who are (nearly) as passionate about books as I am. I thought I was fairly well-read before I started homeschooling. I was so, so wrong. I have received so many wonderful book recommendations over the years, I would never be able to list them all. I didn't write them down. People do that, I understand, but not me.

On the Well-Trained Mind forums, back in the day when I still visited there, someone mentioned they read books by Miss Read. They referred to her books as their "guilty pleasure." Naturally, I had to go find some immediately. I think my library may have had one or two, but then again, maybe not. I purchase them whenever I find them, often at library sales. (I go to as many library sales as possible. We will discuss that another day.)

Miss Read was actually Dora Saint. She was born in London in 1913, married in 1940, and had one daughter. She was a school teacher, and wrote about "school and country topics" for several magazines, according to Wikipedia. She passed away in 2012 at the ripe old age of 98, having left behind many wonderful books through which we can know her, just a little bit.

She has two series: Fairacre and Thrush Green. Fairacre is narrated by Miss Read, a schoolteacher in a two-room school in a country village in England. I love these books more than might be reasonable. I have no idea why reading about a single teacher living in an English village is so enjoyable, but it is. I love Miss Read, herself. She knows all about the lives of her students: which ones are privileged, which ones are poor. She loves them, and cares for them sometimes when they need her. She seems to be a Charlotte Mason-esque teacher, and that may be part of the appeal. I do love reading about the nature walks she takes with her students.

Thrush Green books are written in the third person perspective, about the residents of the village by the same name. I enjoy these books because they describe a community in which the residents care about and look after each other, in a way I have not experienced as an adult. I'm sure at times I'd be annoyed at the way they were "in my business" if I actually lived there, but on the whole, I love the idea of living in community. It seems hard to come by these days.


While I was looking up books for this post, I found a book I hadn't heard of before: Mrs Griffin Sends Her Love (Tales from Turnham Malpas). It's a collection of some of Miss Read's earlier writings, including some letters, put together by her daughter. I have it in my cart to order. I'm so excited!

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