Sunday, August 19, 2007

Words on a Page

It's been a good weekend. Actually, it's gone by a bit too quickly and I would love to have another day off, but what the heck ... if I never had to go back to work, I wouldn't appreciate the weekend, would I? Even when I wasn't working last fall, I looked forward to the weekend, because Max would be off work and he and I would be able to hang out. So ... no complaining from me, right?

Several years ago, I purchased the entire CS Lewis "Chronicles of Narnia" radio dramatizations by Focus on the Family. Max burned them to our hard drive and that meant I could easily share them with a friend and her kids - so, I did. Life is good. But, this weekend I decided it would be fun to listen to them again. Oh, they're awesome! I like listening to audiobooks at home because I can be wandering around the house, or around the internet, or knitting or any number of things while I listen to the book.

I've discovered a bad habit. When I read, I tend to fall asleep. I know a lot of you have commented on having the same habit. Doggone it! I love to read! When I'm reading non-fiction, or studying, I'm usually sitting at my desk with a notepad in hand, so I don't sleep much at my desk. A few weeks ago, when the last Harry Potter book came out, I forced myself to sit at my desk so I wouldn't drift off - I wanted desperately to finish it ... and I did. Ahhhhhhhhh ... the satisfaction.

Hmmm ... that was a couple of paragraphs only to say that I have really been enjoying listening to The Chronicles of Narnia. If you have never read (or listened to) these books, you are missing an amazing allegory of the Christian Life. CS Lewis is nothing less than amazing. As I was talking to God this evening, I was wondering out loud with Him if He just really enjoyed having CS Lewis up in heaven right now. That man's mind is stunning! His insight into how God talks with His children and how terrible we act as Christians is incredible! It is all right there in these simple children's books.

In "Prince Caspian", the 4 children (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy) are pulled back to Narnia because they are needed to help return the world to right. Aslan shows up and Lucy sees him, but the others don't. They are so wrapped up in what they think they ought to be doing, they completely miss Aslan speaking to them! She finally gets them to do the right thing, but not without a lot of junk going on. And when they become humble about their roles and open themselves up to the possibility of Aslan actually being there, they finally begin to see him - and the joy of that is overwhelming! Lewis picks up on every human foible and makes them so clear to us in his stories.

As a matter of fact, I do believe that the books beyond "The Lion, the With and the Wardrobe" are actually much better books. We are only exposed to the one on a regular basis, but the others just keep getting better and better.

Max and I were talking about children's books today - he had read that researchers are quite disappointed that the Harry Potter series hasn't encouraged deeper reading - beyond those books. That's too bad. But, we seem to have forgotten about amazing children's stories.

On the way home from church today, we were talking about the Tarzan series. Max didn't recall that I enjoyed those books. But, I do! They're fabulous! Burroughs had an amazing talent for getting his reader to spend time in the world he was describing. As Tarzan was racing through the jungle, I was there with him, my heart racing as he was chasing down evil men intent on destroying the jungle. In the "Little House on the Prairie" series, I spent months living with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. I saw what each home looked like and I became a part of the landscape of her stories.

The books that I continue to love are the ones that take me into a world and leave me wanting more of that world when I finish. As a child, I was transported every time I opened a book. When I discovered science fiction and fantasy I discovered authors that were creating entirely new ideas and new places for me to spend time. My mind was opened to new thoughts and tolerance for people that were different. Science fiction writers were able to write commentary on issues and policies happening today in a way that made us think.

I don't read as much fiction now as I used to. I don't have time. When I sit down to read, I generally have a task ahead of me and I have to get something read and I need to learn something from it. I also haven't found writers lately that transport me into their world quickly and easily. When I find one, I consume the books they've written and then I stop reading again.

I confess to being a bit arrogant about the authors I read. I'm pretty selective. Books are still inexpensive enough for me to toss out if I'm not attracted to them. I don't have time to waste on a badly written book. And let me tell you, there are a lot of badly written books out there right now. Science Fiction is one of the worst places for them. So, I find myself drawn back to the classics. I'll read them over and over again. They still take me away from the present and they entertain me until I turn the final page.

I do love to read.

1 comment:

Jacqniel said...

Ok, put my comment under the wrong post. Sheese! Here it is in the right spot!
A childrens series I didn't discover until I was an adult was Anne of Green Gables. I can't explain why this story captivated me so, but it did. I also like to reread the Chronicles series. Haven't done that in a while - maybe I should get it back out!