• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Notable Quotables

    "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
    William Morris, from his lecture "The Beauty of Life"

    "‘Never look at an ugly thing twice. It is fatally easy to get accustomed to corrupting influences."
    English architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941)

    "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
    Clarence Day

    "Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing."
    Cicero

    "Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."
    Sir Francis Bacon, "Essays"

    "The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning."
    Gilbert Highet, "The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning"

    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
    Walter Wriston

    "I'd like to give you a piece of my mind."
    "Oh, I couldn't take the last piece."
    Ginger Rogers to Frances Mercer in "Vivacious Lady" (1938)

    "No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."
    Booker T. Washington

    "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

    "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, we feel all our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
    Jean Hagen as "Lina Lamont" in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
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  • Copyright © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

The company of books

I haven’t paid too much attention to the Barnes & Noble website since moving to Canada in 1994, because I rarely buy books online from the U.S. But earlier this year I learned — I can’t quite remember how — about The Barnes & Noble Review. Not only is The Review an

online publication that aims to bring serious readers smart and useful appraisals of current books, music, and films (on DVD), as well as reconsiderations of important past works. It will accommodate many voices, publishing exclusive material from a wide range of established critics, reviewers, and authors.

But its editor-in-chief is James Mustich, founder of the late great book catalogue A Common Reader, which I continue to miss greatly. It was A Common Reader that brought Ernst Gombrich’s A Little History of the World, and so many other delights, to my attention. So when James Mustich talks about books, or gets others to talk about books, I listen*. And take notes. And add to my library lists, reading lists, wish lists…

Some of the others talking about books include A.C. Grayling, who reviews history books; Michael Dirda; Lisa Von Drasek on children’s books; John Freeman; Katherine Powers of the Boston Sunday Globe‘s the literary column “A Reading Life”; and author Dava Sobel.

There are interviews, by Mr. Mustich and others, of authors, from Jonathan Franzen, Salman Rushdie, and Ted Sorensen (on political campaigns past and present), to Geraldine Brooks, Nicholson Baker, and Philip Pullman (on the storyteller’s art).

Great fun is the Five Books feature — five books on a particular subject, and they include bridges, forensics, gardening, swimming, ancient Rome, wine, Paris, baseball, and elections.

And each week there’s The Long List, a selection of 50 books, CDs, and DVDs. I have just one not necessarily low-tech request, though. In addition to the Digg, Del.icio.us, Facebook, Reddit, and StumbleUpon features available for The Review (none of which I use or really understand), would it be possible to have an RSS feed for each week’s new Long List?

I’m delighted that Mr. Mustich has found another way to share treasures, new and old, with other readers and kindred spirits.

* Though I miss the lyrical, evocative, sometimes breezy, blurbs, as much about the books as about how they make you feel. But because I saved several catalogues, I can still go back and read them. And add to my library lists, reading lists, wish lists…

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