Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reading Together

Ever since we got married, one of our favorite things to do has been to read books out-loud together. So far we have read Watership Down (our first - I made Dave a believer!), multiple Harry Potters and Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle from the Chronicles of Narnia. We started reading Fire in the Bones about William Tynsdale but haven't finished it yet. Our next book together will be The Chosen but I guess that will have to wait until after we are reunited! Our latest book together was Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, the Newbery Award book in 1955. Amazingly, it was a favorite in both of our households growing up and after this last reading it has once again inspired us to be better people, to work harder, to learn more, to spend our time more wisely and to deal with life's challenges with more patience and hope. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"I made up a sort of saying for myself, Nat. I will lift up my eyes unto the stars. Sometimes, if you look at the stars long enough, it helps. It shrinks your day-by-day troubles down to size." –Nat's mother, 33 [I believe this! It is amazing how your problems change when they are placed in perspective. Nothing can help your problems seem smaller than staring at the universe…]

"Being happy takes a lot of practice, don't you think?" –Elizabeth Boardman, 73 [I really believe this one as well. Happiness is never guaranteed, no matter how wonderful life is. It requires noticing the everyday miracles, counting your blessings and being so grateful for every one, and recognizing that the day to day troubles don't matter so much.]

"He had applied to Congress for a patent on a steam engine he'd made to run on a boat. He had also tried to get Congress to give him a patent on his idea for a steam wagon, too. But the Congressmen said that that idea was so crazy they wouldn't even consider it" (80) [Congress didn't know what they were missing! Can you imagine their faces if they were to see our modern-day freeways, filled with "steam wagons"?!]

"I'm just like a chair you stumble over in the dark," Elizabeth said. "It isn't the chair's fault, but you kick it anyhow."
Nat blinked. "What are you talking about?"
"Your brain. It's too fast. So you stumble on other people's dumbness. And – you want to kick something."
Nat felt his face get hot. "But I shouldn't."
Elizabeth agreed. "No, you shouldn't, because even if people are dumb, they aren't chairs, are they? They do have feelings" (82) [Sometimes I behave like Nat in this instance. I'm certainly not the genius Nat Bowditch was, but I do get frustrated if people don't understand quickly enough. My Customer/Technical Support job has sometimes been a great test of patience!]


Bonnefoy beamed. "Monsieur! You speak French! Why didn't you tell me?"
"I – I – guess I just didn't think of it."
Captain Prince roared again. "So you didn't think of it? And here I've been expecting all along I'd have to have an interpreter in Bourbon! Have you any more tricks up your sleeve, Mr. Bowditch?"
"No, sir, I – I – don't think so, sir."
"No more languages?"
"Just – just – Latin, sir. I learned that to read Newton's Principia" (112) [Love it! Hello, "I just learned Latin to read Newton's greatest book on Astronomy." This is why Nat is motivating both David and me to work so much harder than we normally do! ]


The Phoebe, from Boston, was anchored nearby. Her master, Captain Hudson, came on board the Astrea to ask news of home. "And how was it around the Horn?"
"We came by the Cape," Prince told him.
Captain Hudson stared. "Not in the teeth of the monsoon?"
Prince shrugged in an offhand way. "Why not?"
"The navigation. You'd have to have a man who could work lunars -"
Prince shrugged again. "What's so hard about lunars? Every man in my crew can work a lunar."
Hudson's face was blank. Then he laughed, "Come on, tell me. How did you do it? Just sheer blind luck?"
Prince said, "I'm not joking. Ask any man on board."
Charlie [the cabin boy],
who was nearby, straightened and cleared his throat.

Prince nodded. "Go ahead, Charlie. Tell Captain Hudson how to calculate a lunar."
"Aye, aye, sir!" Charlie stiffened, stared straight ahead and rattled off the formula. "That's the way we do it, sir. It's better than waiting for the moon to occult a star." He looked at the bewildered Captain Hudson. He added helpfully. "Occult – that means cover up, sir."
Captain Prince had a sudden coughing spell. (204) [This is hilarious, the cabin boy teaching the captain how to do complicated navigation! I love that Nat believed anyone could learn and worked hard to teach them.]

1 comment:

Hannah said...

The Chosen is pretty much the best book ever!! Besides The Book of Mormon, I guess. It is the only book that has ever made me laugh out loud and cry too. Love love love it!

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