Good Books I – Reading and Writing Foundations

From: $100.00 / month for 6 months

This is a year-long literature course in which students will read eight “good books” and meet weekly for live video-conference recitations with Christiana Hale. These are books that are outside the Western canon of Great Books and yet are delightful examples of imaginative stories that draw on many of the same themes found throughout the history of literature, and are the ideal preparation for the great books. The weekly lecture/discussion period will focus on thematic elements, study how authors were inspired by those who went before them, discover connections between their plots, and delight in their settings. Students will write short “reading response” style essays on each book as well as one larger writing assignment due at the end of the year.

Weekly Recitations:  Mondays, 3:00 pm – 4:15 pm PST SECTION CLOSED
Instructor: Christiana Hale
 1 (English or Literature)
Price: $600 | Full academic year
Level: 13-16-year-olds (7th – 10th grade+). Older students welcome.


Student Name

Student Email

Product Description


Video Introduction:


These are good books. They are some of my favorites, stories that I revisit time and time again and that always welcome me back with open arms and new insights. They are stories full of good examples to follow, both in the stories themselves and in the way that the authors crafted these stories.

In this class, we will discuss these good books together, focusing on themes and the craft of writing good stories. We will read stories that inspired other stories and study how authors “borrow” elements and make them their own.

If students have previously read any of these books, all the better! A “second coat” is an advantage which allows the students to better grasp the deeper themes of each book. These are all books that warrant multiple reads.

Grade will be calculated based on timely completion of the readings, class participation, and writing assignments.

Good Books I, 2019–2020 Books:

Instructor Q/A and Interviews:

My Ideal Good Books Student

What’s up with the Phantom Tollbooth?

Is Beowulf a “great book” or a “good book”?

Why do we need good stories? 

Good authors steal

What Makes a Good Story? 

Each student must have, and be prepared to use for class:
– A computer
– Broadband internet access
– A computer microphone (headset recommended)
– A webcam

Christiana Hale graduated with honors from New Saint Andrews College with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and Culture in 2015 and an M.A. in Theology and Letters in 2017. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing through New Saint Andrew’s College. She wrote both her undergraduate and graduate theses on one of her favorite authors, C. S. Lewis, focusing on his love of medieval cosmology as seen in his Space Trilogy. Christiana also teaches literature and writing through service through Roman Roads Classroom, in addition to writing for the Roman Roads blog.

See our Terms and Conditions for using our DVDs and Roman Roads Classroom.