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The Chronicles of Narnia, 7 Volumes: Full-Color Collector's Edition  -     By: C.S. Lewis
    Illustrated By: Pauline Baynes

Lately I’ve been bumping into quotes by C.S. Lewis in unexpected places. I took that as a sign that it was time for me to revisit his Chronicles of Narnia.

Aaah! That’s fine! The book we had is falling apart, so we ordered a boxed set (the one pictured above: you can find it at amazon, or with colorized illustrations by Pauline Baynes. I was quite surprised by how heavy the box was, until I discovered the high quality of the books: strong, glossy paper.

But it’s what’s inside the books that counts. I’ve just finished The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a parable in which the great Lion, Aslan, stands for Jesus Christ. I can’t imagine there’s anybody here who’s totally unfamiliar with these books. Suffice it to say that these are Christian books, truth brought out through fantasy, that are just as well-loved now as they were when they first came out in the 1950s. They have stood the test of time; and if our civilization survives, they’ll be part of it.

Really, you have no idea what a relief it is to put away the nooze and pick up a Narnia book. I’m in The Magician’s Nephew now, watching in delighted astonishment as Lewis uses a mere few words to mow down all the self-important self-anointed bogus intellectuals who ever lived. Gee, I originally typed that as “self-imported.” Now I think I ought to let it stand. Self-imported they certainly are.

I love these books, and they have inspired my own. If you haven’t read Narnia yet, there’s a treat in store for you.

The Narnia Children, Grown Up

Here are the four child stars from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the BBC version from the 1980s. The interview is about 12 minutes long; if you’re a Narnia freak like I am, you’ll enjoy it.

I’ve seen Edmund in a Poirot episode, and Peter in a Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes movie–the disappointingly bad one about the vampire.

My All-Time Favorite Half a Dozen Novels

Some folks are going to read this and say, “What a philistine! Why, he has no literary taste at all!” I can’t help that. Anyhow, I enjoy reading other bloggers’ lists of their favorite books, so why not post one of my own?

Here they are, in no particular order.

*The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I don’t have to explain this choice, do I?

*The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Not only is this, for me, the model of what a Christianity-based fantasy ought to be: but it also features the most fascinating story-start I’ve ever read. It’s been around for going on 70 years, and people will still be loving it 100 years from now.

*20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. When I’m reading this, I never want it to be over. We’ll never quite figure out what makes Captain Nemo tick, but that only makes him perpetually intriguing. You don’t expect this kind of depth of character in a science fiction novel from the 19th century–or any other century.

*Freddy and the Ignormus by Walter R. Brooks. Fantastic children’s fiction laced with humor that will delight adult readers. Freddy the Pig takes on a terrifying challenge which may or may not be real–and who but Walter R. Brooks would ever describe a beetle as “motherly”?

*Nemesis by Agatha Christie. Miss Marple takes on an investigation without knowing what the crime was, or even if there truly was a crime. More than just a puzzling whodunit, Nemesis explores the deep working of God’s justice in a fallen world.

*The Chessmen of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. More than any other book the creator of Tarzan ever wrote, Chessmen takes you to a place you never imagined, and makes you think it’s real. Plus it offers the most entertaining non-human character you’ve ever met–Ghek the Kaldane, all head, no body, who, in spite of himself, learns how to be human.

So there you have it–books that I come back to again and again, always with pleasure, and which have taught, and continue to teach me, much of what I know about writing.