How Reading Literature Benefits Leaders

How Reading Literature Benefits Leaders By Marcie Stokman, Well-Read Mom Founder and President “I never set out to run a business; Well-Read Mom is a ministry to help women, including myself, read literature.” I let Matt know that running a business was not my original intention. He countered, “If you’re serious about helping women read…

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Thou Mayest

Three years ago, I decided enough time had passed, and I would do something entirely for myself. I was going to go after something I had wanted for five years. I yearned to join my friend’s Well-Read Mom group. It wasn’t an easy decision. I am a mom of many, and I have a keen awareness of time, a sensitivity toward being present to those around me, and the need to be intentional with my own time. Also, I become consumed when reading a book and usually dive so deeply beneath the surface that I barely come up for breath. So, it feels (dare I say it) selfish to read. Plus, free time is precious. But as we know, discerning when to do something or not do something comes with much thought and preparation.

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The Beauty of a Difficult Read: A Reflection on East of Eden

Closeup shot of four books and flowers in a pot

My intention is not to cover every difficult aspect of this book but to offer a few insights that might prove helpful. Each woman has the power to discern her comfort level when it comes to reading. Every book might not be for every person. That is okay! But this is a worthy read, and I hope to illuminate why we chose it.

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Reading in a Large Family

a stack of seven books on the table

As nearly any mother will tell you, a mother’s life is certainly not easy. It’s filled with errands to run, chores to complete, emergencies to address, unforeseen “disasters” to navigate, and people to comfort, assist, and love through our words, but most discernibly through our actions of continual service. Even when our children move away from home, and we are no longer wading through toys or tackling mountains of laundry, we still offer loving assistance and care. From traveling to college games and events, answering late-night phone calls, and watching grandchildren, we make our support readily available. And this life of heroic motherly action often prompts us to frenzy: we forget the significance of rest, prayer, contemplation, and meditation in favor of accomplishing tasks—many of which are undoubtedly important—and adopting the mindset that only action is of merit.

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The Gift of Story Reveals The Giver

Journeys Through Bookland Eleven Books

To incorporate my family even more into my WRM reading life, I invited my nine-year-old son to have a mother-son book club about the WRM Family Supplement’s November selection: The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict.

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The Ripple Effects of Reading

a stack of four books and a plant

Human beings were made for stories. From our earliest moments, nestled in the comforting arms of our family members, we delight in the telling of age-old fairytales and silly rhymes. We are fascinated by retellings of our birth, how our parents met, and other family lore. We gravitate toward stories, whether expressed through written word, through a movie screen, or within the lyrics of a song. We enjoy hearing the entertaining anecdotes of friends and recounting moments from our past. We empathize with each other through the sharing of our life experiences.

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Transformative Love

An open book amidst natural surroundings

While I’d venture to guess that most Well-Read Moms had previously read Anne of Green Gables but were new to The Violent Bear It Away, I am just the opposite. As a huge Flannery O’Connor fan who, like Flannery, read nothing but “slop with a capital S” as a child, I’d yet to experience Anne of Green Gables until it appeared on the list for the Year of the Family. As I read it aloud to my four sons, I couldn’t help but make connections between the two.

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Why We Should Read Hard Books—Part Two

Books are arranged beautifully on a shelf

Three questions may help readers discern which literature is worthy of their time and effort. First, is the book recommended by tradition? Is it a “classic” in the broadest sense possible?  Have great literary thinkers throughout history acknowledged the worth and the artistry of this book? This can be a difficult question when books which have traditionally been considered valuable and worth reading are being dismissed and replaced with other, often more contemporary books of questionable quality. G.K. Chesterton, in his book Orthodoxy, explains the problematic error of this trend, particularly when it is enacted as a way of “democratizing” the literary canon.

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Why We Should Read Hard Books—Part One

Hard Books lined up for reading on a table

Words, be they written or spoken, texted or tweeted, are under intense scrutiny these days. Publicly spoken or written words are met with criticism, anger, and even a rush to censor and punish the person who said them. We bristle, we shake our heads, and perhaps we even protest such unfortunate myopia, especially when we agree with the censored speech. Why, then, in certain Catholic and Christian circles, is the propriety of reading words that come at us from the other direction, from voices that challenge us or clash outright with our sense of morality, truth, and virtue, such an enduring problem?

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Illumination of the Soul Through Kristin Lavransdatter

An woman is making important notes on a copy

As an ardent lover of literature, I have long been selective in my reading choices. Subsequently, I have encountered countless exceptional works communicating wisdom, truth, and beauty with surpassing skill. Occasionally, however, a novel does even more than that: it sears my very soul. I now count Kristin Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Unset, among such priceless works.

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