On ReReading

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I’ve been doing some rereading this summer, something I haven’t done much of since I was a teen and read The Outsiders a countless number of times. I’ve seen the subject discussed on goodreads, and recently read another blog on the subject, so I thought I would share my own recent experiences in rereading, including the rereading I have been doing this summer. I would love to hear from others on what they reread and why. I know most of you readers are like me and feel that with “so many books to read, so little time”, how can anyone possibly justify rereading? Well, there are several reasons, but read on for mine.

First, let me mention a legitimate fear in rereading and that is the possibility of returning to a book you enjoyed at an earlier time, but when you reread it, you’re disappointed and wonder ‘what in the world did I see in that book?’ Obviously, we are different people at different times and usually a book will mean different things to us at different times. However,the well-written book will stand the test of time, even if it means something different to us upon rereading.

A series of books I recently reread was the Harry Potter books. I know; almost a cliche. I don’t know how many times my five kids have reread those books. I read them the first time as they came out; before they were a cult, a fad, a part of our culture. I bought the first one for my oldest son (now 23) and began reading it to him; though a few chapters in, he took it upon himself to read it alone. A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to see the movies because I had only seen a couple of them, (having stayed home with “the babies” when the first ones came out, and my husband took the oldest ones to see them). Now, with the “baby” being 13, I told him I wanted to watch the movies with him, but only after I read the books. So, we would reread a book, then watch the movie together. So, I reread this series for two reasons. One: I wanted to see the movies, but not without returning to the books first (and in most cases, I don’t know how you know what’s going on without reading the book first). Two: to spend time with my son doing something we both enjoyed.

This summer I find myself rereading several books in different genres for different reasons, though they all boil down to the simple reason of: I want to. I am currently rereading Lord of the Rings. I have read this several times, but probably not all three in over 20 years. It was just time. I’m rereading Gap Creek by Robert Morgan. I read this several years ago and enjoyed it for his beautiful writing and because I know the characters lived a lifestyle shared by my own grandparents and great-grandparents, and I find this fascinating. I have wanted to reread it for awhile, but having bought Morgan’s sequel The Road fro Gap Creek, I decided this was the time.

Two other books I am rereading this summer are about as different from each other as possible. The first is Bill Bryson’s A Walk Through the Woods. One of the few books that my husband and I have both read. We agreed it would be good to reread this before the movie comes out. Two chapters in, I am already laughing and glad I found a used copy on AbeBooks.

The other book is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I first read this in college and have probably read it a couple of times since. My apologetic skills are weak, so I knew this deserved a reread before I tackled some new books in that area.

For another view on rereading, check out Kelly Jensen’s blog: http://www.stackedbooks.org/2015/07/on-becoming-re-reader.html

What about you? Are you doing any rereading this summer?

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C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy–ebook sale

“There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there is never more than one.”  from: That Hideous Strength

space trilogyI have read C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy several times and am always amazed at the wisdom and insight he was able to put into these books. I wrote about the first–Out of the Silent Planet–about a year ago. I am getting ready to read it again with my 17 year old son as part of his assignment for literature. I had checked the price several weeks ago for an ebook, but didn’t want to pay what the cost was at that time. Happy to report that Harper One is having a holiday sale where each of the three books can be had for $1.99. If you have not read these books, this is a good time to get them on your ereader.

Perelandra, the second book in the series, has Ransom being sent on a mission to the planet, Perelandra. He does not know what his mission is until he gets there. He soon finds that this is a new world which has not yet fallen to the sin of mankind and earth, but that the Tempter is there already making plans. Ransom understands these plans, knowing the history  of his own world, but how can he convince the first lady of Perelandra that he wants to help and that Weston (remember the scientist in Out of the Silent Planet?) is bent for evil?  bbc7perelandra500

That Hideous Strength was published in 1945. Most futuristic books published so long ago would seem to be out of date, but this book fits in nicely with today’s popular dystopian books. It is much longer than the first two books and very different. The first time I read it, back in my college days, I felt a bit confused for the first 100 pages or so. Then things began to click and I was mesmerized and, as usual with any book by Lewis, amazed at his insight into man and into spiritual warfare.

Even if you don’t normally read science fiction, take a chance on any of these books and you will not be disappointed. I’m not sure exactly when this sale will end, but probably in less than a week, so pass on the news to any of your reading friends; especially those who may have gotten a new ereader for Christmas.

“Those who are enjoying something, or suffering something, together, are companions. Those who enjoy or suffer one another, are not.” That Hideous Strength

Happy Birthday, Jack!

“To have faith in Christ means, of course, trying to do all He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

Out of the Silent Planet–C.S. Lewis

Today is the birthday of C.S. Lewis.  I wrote a little about Lewis last week and today want to talk about the first book in his space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet.

I used this book while teaching literature to some high school students. There are themes running throughout the book such as the value of life, social Darwinism, and the spiritual battle of good & evil which make for very good discussion with this age.

In this trilogy, the main character, Ransom,  seems to be a lot like Lewis himself. He is a professor, an expert in languages and medieval literature, single, and was wounded in WWI, but Lewis always maintained that he fashioned Ransom after his good friend, J.R.R. Tolkien.

In Out of the Silent Planet, Ransom is kidnapped by some scientists who take him to another planet, Malacandra, believing they need him as a sacrifice. Ransom manages to escape after they land & begins to meet the inhabitants of this planet.  Though he is afraid of them at first, he soon learns that they have more intelligence, and certainly are more moral, than the scientists who have kidnapped him. He also discovers that Earth has been exiled from the rest of the solar system due to its fallen nature.

Ransom settles into a routine with these beings and has his ideas about life–mainly, religion and humanity–challenged and questioned. Before he can get too comfortable, though, he is summoned to meet the ruler of  Malacandra. Here, he is challenged still greater about his previous beliefs in God and his own planet, Earth.

Though Lewis was a genius at explaining God & theology in his non-fiction writings, his analogies and allegories are also amazing and thought-provoking throughout his fictional writings.

I used the literature guide from Progeny Press when I taught this book. I highly recommend all of their guides. They divide the book into readable sections with vocabulary and discussion questions. They have several others for books by C.S. Lewis including some of the Narnian Chronicles and The Screwtape Letters and are a Christian-based curriculum.

Happy Birthday, Professor Lewis!