So you want an education.  You wake up one day and realize, "How did I get to be this age, and I have learned so little, read so little."  This is one of those crises which often happens, and it is a good thing.  But what do you do?  My short answer is: read, read, read.  And then read, read, read.  Spend less time (very little time) in front of a television, and simply read.  If you have a fire place, light a fire.  Then get a book, and simply start reading.

I am not all that sure it is particularly important where you start.  C.S. Lewis said in his classic essay, "Learning in War-Time" (I have linked it under "Recommended Readings") that you might try reading at least one "old" book for every three contemporary books.  Not a bad idea.  You might pick up a wonderful book by James V. Schall, Another Sort of Learning.  This book has the wonderful sub-title: Selected Contrary Essays on How Finally to Acquire an Education While Still in College or Anywhere Else: Containing Some Belated Advice about How to Employ Your Leisure Time When Ultimate Questions Remain Perplexing in Spite of Your Highest Earned Academic Degree, Together with Sundry Book Lists Nowhere Else in Captivity to Be Found.  Now that is a sub-title!  The book is made up of a number of short chapters with titles like "Why Read?", "What a Student Owes His Teacher," and many more. Each chapter concludes with a wonderful short list of recommended readings (and the book concludes with a longer bibliography including all--I believe--of the books recommended throughout Schall's fine book).

But the bottom line, simply start reading.  Tonight the children and I sat in the den (there was some lying down as well) simply reading.  We read Scripture (we are reading slowly through the book of Romans), and then we read some out of Tolkien's The Two Towers.  I hope and pray that my children are cultivating the habit of reading, and that it will be a joyous habit throughout their lifetime.

There are also lots of lists out there.  Here is one that might be useful.  There is a wonderful web site called The Imaginative Conservative. If your political inclinations are not conservative, do not let the web site title scare you off.  If your understanding of "conservative" has been formed by the main currents of American political and media discourse, you might find some (most? all?) of the essays at The Imaginative Conservative quite illuminating.  But particularly helpful is the "Book Store" that one can find at the web site.  Here is a wonderful collection/list of books under various themes.

Again, the bottom line is to read.  Don't forfeit the opportunity to develop one of the greatest gifts--and it is a gift--that God has given you, your mind.  Get off the beaten path.  Unplug from what Richard Weaver called "The Great Stereoptican" (in Ideas Have Consequences).   Don't let marketing agents in L.A. and New York be the interior decorator of your children's souls (or your soul).  We all need what C.S. Lewis called "the fresh sea-breeze" of the past to blow through our lives.  And much of this sea-breeze comes through books--and old books, as Lewis argued.

Life is too short to be spent watching the latest offering on the television.  Take up and read.