Monday, July 28, 2008

Speaking of Books . . .

C. S. Lewis once wrote: "If good stories are comments on life, good novels of fantasy are actual additions to life; they give, like certain rare dreams, sensastions we never had before, and enlarge our conception of the range of possible experience. Specimens of this kind will never be common. . . . Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings," David Linday's "A Voyage to Arcturus," Melvyn Peake's "Titus Groan" -- and William Hope Hodgson's "The Night Land," from the unforgetable sombre splendour of the images it presents."

Based on this "recommendation," I read all of those above-mentioned books (and every book in each series, when one was more than a single volume), and I agree that they each have a special charm. EAch does, indeed, give sensations never experienced before. But, I would not recommend Lindsay or Peake to the casual reader. (Nor, truth be told, would the average reader appreciate Hodgson!!!) They are simply too far "out there." But, I *DO* recommend "The Night Land," even if it *is* hard to reach.

And thus we come to the purpose of this blog post: I have heretofor listed various and sundry other's people's "Best Of" book lists. I shall now present a VERY BRIEF list which I think of as my "C. S. Lewis Books-That-Changed-My-Life" list. I can and do heartily recommend each and every one. They are not all fiction; not all the fiction is fantasy; they are in no particular order; but each has touched me and changed my life. A day does not go by that I do not find myself thinking about a lesson I learned from one or more of them; certainly a month does not go by that I do not reflect on each of them. Perhaps I should post future blogs reviewing each book and explaining it's influence on me . . . .

In any event, here is my "Essentials" List:

C. S. Lewis -- The Screwtape Letters

The Book of Mormon

Ester Rasband -- Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem

Stephen R. Covey -- The Divine Center

Dallin H. Oaks -- Pure in Heart

Agatha Christie writing as Mary Westmacott -- Absent in the Spring

Paul Dunn -- I challenge You/I Promise You

Richard Eyre -- The Discovery of Joy

Cheiko Okazaki -- Lighten Up!

William Hope Hodgson -- The Night Land

Madeleine L'Engle -- A Wrinkle in Time

Madelein L'Engle -- A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Ayn Rand -- Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand -- Anthem

J. R. R. Tolkein -- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

The list is not a complete list of my favorite books, for i have not included ANY of the "Dragon Riders of Pern" series, or any Harry Potter, or any of Elizabeth Kern's wonderful dragon trilogy . . . But they do not belong on this list. For, although I THOROUGHLY enjoyed them, and many of them were a "better read" than some of the titles in the above list, none of them made me a different person when I finished, and THAT is my criteria for this posting.

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