Maureen Wittmann compiled this fabulously helpful book based upon her years of home educating her own children, input from other families, and a great deal of research. For the Love of Literature is a guide for Catholic families interested in using “living books” as part of their curriculum. At the beginning of the book, Wittmann discusses how living books fit into classical, Charlotte Mason, and unit study approaches event though they are not limited to those teaching environments. She also offers some very helpful and practical suggestions for obtaining books and for using library services, ever mindful that most families have to budget book expenditures very carefully.
The bulk of the book is divided into literary guides for art and music appreciation, math, history, science, and “books about books.” There is also an “at a glance” section with grade-level recommendation lists of the top four (or sometimes fewer than four) recommendations for each of the four subject areas.
The literary guides for each subject area include brief descriptions of each book along with coding indicating the appropriate age level audience. Each literary guide has an introduction and a listing of general books. Most of the art and history recommendations are presented by historical period. Math and science guides both have sections with books by historical period, but these are a small part of these two guides. Books listed in the math and science sections will likely serve as supplements rather than the basis of a complete curriculum, but history and art/ music appreciation guides provide enough options for constructing your entire curriculum in those areas.
Keep in mind that using some of the Charlotte Mason techniques described in the beginning of this book (e.g., narration, dictation, journaling) you can cover a significant portion of the language arts curriculum through books selected for other subject areas.
The history guide is by far the largest. It includes annotated lists of Catholic textbooks, unit studies, and Bible history. Works related to Church history as well as stories of saints are integrated into the chronological lists. This means that you might also select books for part of your religion studies from the history list.
Catholic families should each have their own copy of For the Love of Literature as part of their basic, how-to-homeschool bookshelf to help them make living books an essential part of their curriculum.