Classics · Notes

3 Tips For Moms Who Want to Read Hard Books


Moms, have you ever wanted to read a Great Book?

Classics are the foundational texts of Western Civilization. Why should we leave them behind in college?

Recently, I wanted agreed to read Paradise Lost with a friend on Facebook. But my schedule, three kids, a house, friends, and life reminded me why I’ve read so few of the Great Books since I got married.

It’s hard. And by the time the kids are in bed, and the day is over, my brain cannot appreciate or engage difficult literature on a meaningful level.

Is Paradise Lost even worth it?

Susan Wise Bauer’s book The Well-Educated Mind lays out a meticulous plan for adults to self educate through the Great Books. A few years ago, I perused her book and thought I’d give it a try.

I’ve gotten almost nowhere.

But something happened today and I wanted to share three helpful tips I used to read Paradise Lost today while my kids were playing.

Tip #1: Make Progress By Starting Small

Climbing a mountain begins with small steps.

Today I had thirty minutes. My son was finishing up homework and I decided to read Paradise Lost until he finished.

Maybe you only have ten or fifteen minutes. That’s enough to begin. And progress can be a great motivator.

Tip #2: Find a Decent Audiobook of Your Selected Title

Audiobooks are excellent tools for tackling difficult grammar and syntax. Understanding is key to gleaning all the richness from difficult books.

I lucked out on a free LibriVox recording.

So good.

Tip #3: Play the Audiobook and Read Along

The kids were playing. They interrupted. But this changed everything. By engaging my brain on two levels, I was able to read and comprehend in spite of significant distractions. 

And now I feel encouraged to read more tomorrow. I hope you will too.

(Happy Bonus: Your Kids Will Listen to Great Literature With You)









7 thoughts on “3 Tips For Moms Who Want to Read Hard Books

      1. Certainly! I love Elizabeth Klett’s readings of The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton), all of Jane Austen, and am working on listening to her version of Jane Eyre. Also, Karen Savage’s readings of The Scarlet Pimpernel and rest of the series (the dramatised version is quite good but unfortunately the cast members were inconsistent – still nice to have different voices though)! Also working on listening to the Sherlock Holmes canon (David Clarke), Charles Dickens works (the Paul Adams reading of Tale of Two Cities is fantastic), and Shakespeare (which is always better listened to than just read). Clarke also read the entire Count of Monte Cristo which is wonderful.

        What are your favorite recordings/readers/works?

        Liked by 1 person

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