Saturday, May 1, 2010

Week 18: Enchanted Glass


Enchanted Glass, by Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones is my all-time favorite writer, so don't expect an unbiased critique of Enchanted Glass from me.

Andrew inherits his uncle's house but has no memory of the powerful magic and work that go along with the place. When a frightened boy named Aidan fetches up on his doorstep, they start to help each other figure out what's going on and why the reclusive Mr. Brown seems to think he owns both of them.
That summary doesn't do justice to the story. Jones has been working out themes of land magic in a couple of her recent books (The Merlin Conspiracy, The Pinhoe Egg) and this new book continues that train of thought. Of course, I enjoyed Enchanted Glass and of course, I'll be rereading it many times. Nobody compares to Diana Wynne Jones!





The Ultimate Career, by Daryl Hoole
Way back in the 60's, Daryl Hoole (who is female) wrote The Art of Homemaking for an LDS audience. I've never read it myself, but evidently it was extremely popular--everyone but me knows about it. A few years ago, with the help of her daughters and daughters-in-law, she wrote The Ultimate Career for modern LDS homemakers. I picked up a used copy; I like to collect and read these books, though I'm not much good at the actual job.

The title is taken from a C. S. Lewis quotation: "The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only--and that is to support this ultimate career." I have not actually been able to find a proper citation for this particular bit, but I did find another, similar quotation from a 1955 letter to a Mrs. Ashton:


"I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely, in reality, the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? As Dr Johnson said, ‘To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour’. (1st to be happy, to prepare for being happy in our own real Home hereafter: 2nd, in the meantime, to be happy in our houses.) We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist."
Well. Now that the librarian in me is satisfied, we can continue with the review of the book. The first half covers the physical basics of running a home well: organization, setting up a system, chores for children, and so on, plus sections especially for women with outside jobs and people just getting started. The second half is about motherhood and more spiritual topics, especially caring for children with special needs and coping with chronic illness. It's all about maintaining a happy, comfortable home, pretty much.
I quite enjoyed the book and certainly got something from it. It will go on the shelf with my other homemaking books and I'll use it again.

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