February 9, 2006

Joan of Arc

My son and I are reading Mark Twain's "Joan of Arc" this year. It is a required reading text for Ambleside Online's Year 7 program. At first, neither of us really thought we would like this book. I will admit to not being a Twain fan. I have always found his writing to be wordy, verbose, and long-winded. It is his style, I know, and whenever I have read anything of his, I try and picture Hal Holbrook in costume speaking the words. I really think that with some writers - you just have to hear the words and not read them. Does that make sense?

With this in mind, I decided to read "Joan" out loud this term (actually for two terms). This book is very long and we will not finish it until mid-summer. We didnt' start right off because I didn't have the book on hand. I later found it at Half-Price books (yippee!) and since then we have been playing catch up.

We are now into Book II and about a third of the way through. I read it out loud after lunch and I have to say that I am beginning to really enjoy the story line. I never knew much about Joan, mostly because I am Protestant so she was not really a "saint" to me. We have a large Catholic church down the road from us named for her. Anyway, as I read this book out loud, I am so very impressed with her life and her calling. Twain's style of writing, in the first person, carries you along as though you were right there on the battlefield and admist the ambuscades (my newest favorite word).

I am excited to see what will happen next (we are just at the part where Joan has met the Dauphin, in disquise, and ask to be sent into battle). Maybe when I finish this book, we will try our hand at some other Twain novels - reading them out loud, of course!

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