Some time back, I mentioned that I assigned my daughter a homeschooling project to trace the historical development of Christianity. The subject interested me, too.
Our first stop was the encyclopedia. I tossed off a list of possible entries (Jesus, Apostles, Pope, Luther, etc.). Then Maddy read aloud to me as I made dinner one night. Encyclopedias don't tell the whole story, but they give a good overview. Maddy made notes of other topics to follow up on.
Back in March, 1999, I wrote a column on a book my family was crazy about. It was the first installment of the Harry Potter series -- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in America, or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in England. Since then, my household has purchased the entire boxed set, including Ms. J.K. Rowling's two other books: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I've read and loved them all. My 12 year old daughter has read them all twice. My wife is working on the third one right now.
[Some years back, I wrote a Christmas column that I still think says what I want to say. So here it is again.]
What we really need is an all-purpose gift that will satisfy everybody. It should be suitable for all ages. It should require no assembly. It shouldn't need batteries. You shouldn't have to feed it. It should last forever. It should be constantly entertaining. The more the recipient uses it, the more he or she should like it.
And of course, it should be free.
Welcome to my last library column of the millennium. (I know, some people think that won't happen until the last day of December, 2000. Spoilsports.)
It happens that the idea of libraries stretches back quite a ways. The printed word has been around for about 5,500 years. The oldest library was probably that of the ancient city of Nippur, where the Sumerians stored over 30,000 clay tablets.