1st book: The Secret Garden.
I read this book in school. Probably late elementary or junior high school. Likely both, actually. I liked The Secret Garden. It's one of the titles that was in that box that vanished. Anyway, I've replaced it now. Twice, actually. Seems that I picked up one at a thrift shop and one at Barnes & Nobel, but I couldn't tell you which one came first. That's probably why I've got two. Anyway, reading The Secret Garden is a much different journey the second time around.
Before when I read it, it was an enjoyable story, but it never was much more than a nice story. Now, I wonder things: what happens to Colin and Mary after the story? It's a pretty idealic view of them that's presented in the book. And a mighty remarkable transformation, all from nothing more than getting out and gardening. Having worked with troubled kids, I have a hard time with the abrupt cessation of Colin's tantrums. But that aside, the way that the book is written makes me want to think about myself, and the changes that I need to make. And this seems quite remarkable to me! I watch the things that change first in Mary, then Colin, and finally in Mr. Craven, and it seems like such a hopeful, encouraging thing: "Look here, see how far gone these three were, and they managed to change, so surely you can too." Seems to be the message in the pages of that book. It's very interesting.
The 2nd Book: The Well-Trained Mind.
I've read this one before too, though it's not been as long as The Secret Garden. I was going back over what Mrs. Bauers recommends for the study of History, and looking at her ideas for time-lines. She says:
The time line can be simple (birth and death dates recorded in red pencil, political events in green, scientific discoveries in purple, and so forth). Or it can be as complected as the student likes (adorned with drawings and cutout pictures: notebook-paper-sized inserts hung above or below a particular date to allow for expansion -- for example, a month-by-month account of the Civil War or a year-by-year description of Arab conquests of the seventh century). (Well-Trained Mind, page 271)
This, along with the interesting things she was recommending for kids to study, made me want to pull out my Book of Centuries and see what I can learn about History. I don't have any of the resources she recommends (yet), but I do have an Institute Manual on the history of the Church. It's got some pretty interesting stuff in there. They actually start with the Apostasy, and so I included a map of the area covered by the early church, added the date of the Nicean Council, and a few other early things like that. I'm using my scrapbooking pens, at least for now, to add a bit of color to the dates. It really does seem to make it more readable and easier to tell what's going on.