Tag Archive: Books

Reading The Western Canon

_Words are a uniquely portable magic_Oh, words. I love words, all of them. Words truly are some form of magic that can transport you anywhere you could wish to go and paint endless pictures. For as long as I can remember I have loved words; reading words, writing words and Lord knows I could talk the ears off most people. This love has lead me to the life of an author, writing is the world’s best outlet for me. As a writer I am always looking for ways to hone my skills.

With that goal in mind I have decided to undertake a (as close as possible) complete reading of The Western Canon. The Western Canon is a list of 798 books that many scholars agree shaped the development of Western Culture. The Canon list was created by Harold Bloom and is a highly debated list. The canon is often referred to as a list of books by old, white men and a quick scan of the authors included confirms that. If one were to construct a list of great books today there would, for sure, be more diversity. Therefore, as I am reading through the ages I may add books to the list that I feel are necessary. Some of the works included in the Canon are things I have already read, however I want to reread them all within the scope and arc of the history of literature.

Bloom’s Canon

Bloom’s Canon is split into four periods of time; The Theocratic Age (2000 BCE-1321 CE), The Aristocratic Age (1321-1832), The Democratic Age (1832-1900), The Chaotic Age (20th Century). There are twenty-six authors specifically focused on throughout the Canon to include:

  • Shakespeare
  • James Joyce
  • Dante
  • Chaucer
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Cervantes
  • Montaigne
  • Wordsworth
  • Moliere
  • John Milton
  • Samuel Johnson
  • George Eliot
  • Goethe
  • Charles Dickens
  • Franz Kafka
  • Proust
  • Jane Austen
  • Tolstoy
  • Henrik Ibsen
  • Walt Whitman
  • Frenando Pessoa
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Freud
  • Samuel Beckett
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Jorge Luis Borges

So Many Books

 Getting Started

I decided to read through the immense list in chronological order in order to be able to fully appreciate all allusions, references and innuendos. Starting with The Iliad by Homer. I vaguely remember skimming through The Iliad years ago and I do not remember being impressed. I am only a short way in now and HOLY COW. Homer is blowing my literary socks off. The man had an amazing ability to twist words into magical phrases that I find myself rereading over and over again to soak up his creative genius. Here is to a long journey through many literary worlds and to the inspiration provided by the millions of authors that came before me.

“The smooth-tongued chief, from whose persuasive lips

Sweeter than honey flowed the stream of speech.”

~The Iliad


For more information about The Western Cannon please consult

The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages By Harold Bloom





I have very mixed emotions concerning this read, which makes writing this review very difficult. I really wanted to love this book. To begin with, allow me to give you a snap shot of the story. Katie is the daughter of a wealthy Hollywood couple who lives a relatively sheltered and pampered (albeit ignored) life until she gets close to her 16th birthday. Katie’s life then quickly veers off course as her father begins developing an unhealthy interest in her developing body and her mother grows more distant. Her life completely derails when her father, jealous over her new relationship with a boy, drives her to skid row and kicks her out of the car. Katie then becomes one of thousands of foster care children. Her world changes dramatically as she struggles to cope with the loss of her family, the trauma of her father’s actions and her own sense of self.

This book is a quick read; I read the entire novel in an afternoon. However, there is a reason it is so quick. The novel is choppy, has dramatic shifts in the span of a few sentences and then abruptly has a (unbelievable) happy ending. My main issues with this book come from the sugary version of events, not to minimize the horror of a child living through events like these. The sugary aspects come in with the instant bonds she forms with other foster children, the way she refuses to think ill of her (sometimes horrible) foster parents and the unrealistic happy ending. I do not want to give away the ending but I will say it is not realistic for children who have been through the types of trauma that lead to foster care to be so willing to embrace happiness instantly.

The bottom line on this book; it is a quick read concerning an important topic but it does not paint a realistic picture from any angle. I cannot in good faith recommend this book to anyone. Such a bummer for us all, it had such potential in the title.

Adoption Books

Ok, yes I can admit it. Hello, my name is Cabrielle and I am addicted to all forms of the written word. I love books; new books, old books, traditional books, e-books, as well as any new forms of books that may come out in the future. I also love learning as much as possible about new subjects that interest or affect me. As we are preparing to adopt our children through the foster care system I have begun reading everything I can get my hands on that concerns adoption, foster care and parenting children who have experienced trauma. I am aware there is no way to prepare for everything our children will come up with or for the events that brought them into our home to begin with, but I owe it to them and myself to be as prepared as humanely possible. I have started a list of the books I am planning on reading while we wait for our children to come into our lives. I will then review each book and let you all know if I found it to be a helpful resource for those adopting through foster care. If you know of any books I should add to the list please let me know.

  • Instant Mom Niz Vardalos – Read and Reviewed


  • When Love Is Not Enough: A Guide to Parenting Children with RAD Nancy Thomas


  • Another Place at the Table Kathy Harrison


  • Practical Tools for Foster Parents Lana Temple-Plotz, Michael Sterba and Ted P. Stricklett


  • The Foster Parenting Toolbox Kim Phagan-Hansel


  • Shield: A Framework of Self-Care for Foster and Adoptive Families Sharla Kostelyk


  • Foster Care: A Survival Guide Ken Marteney


  • The Adoptive & Foster Parent Guide: How to Heal Your Child’s Trauma and Loss Carol Lozier LCSW


  • Parenting With Love And Logic Foster Cline and Jim Fay


  • Finding Katie: The Diary of Anonymous, a Teenager in Foster Care Beatrice Sparks (Editor)