11 September 2014

Reading Appetite

Over the past few weekends my appetite for reading has been insatiable. Literally, I have been reading entire books within a day or two and then finishing others. I ask myself what is causing me to be devouring books like mad?

It's just me, really. I don't have much of a conclusion except that there isn't much else to do on such a hot day. I am tempted to go out in the morning to the farmer's market or on a little adventure somewhere, but I step outside and it is 100% humidity but no rain. Any plan to spend more than a few minutes outside is scratched, until the weather improves. I almost wish it were rainy all day, and then I could emerge with an umbrella and then at least the humidity is falling through the air all around me. And the temperatures are knocked down with the rain.

So, the conclusion is that books are my companions, and the worlds they draw me into.

Here are a few books I haven't been able to put down lately:

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis - This is not your typical C.S. Lewis book. It is set in a strange pre-Christian time with sacrifices, rituals, and gods. It is the re-telling of the myth Psyche and Cupid, which is originally from a Latin novel in the 2nd century. It is written from the perspective of Psyche's ugly older sister, who loves Psyche in a possessive way, but who ends up as queen. It would be assumed that a story like this may not appeal to a modern reader, but the way Lewis writes is like a suspenseful story that I read it so quickly because I wanted to find out what happens.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - I've only read this book once, and it was so many years ago that I really didn't appreciate it. Reading it again I am picking up on all the intricacies of Jane Austen's writing, and how she knew each character so deeply as she wrote their stories. This is the story of Fanny Price, whose family sends her to live with her aunt and uncle at the grand estate of Mansfield Park, so she grows up around her four cousins, two boys and two girls. Fanny grows close to Edmund, which turns into love for her. But then the fashionable Crawfords come to the estate, and things are never the same. It is such a good study of behavior, morals, and how we can be blind to things in front of us and blinded by people so easily.

If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath - I read McGrath's biography on C.S. Lewis several months ago, so I feel like this is a little continuation of it. He comes from the perspective that we are having lunch with C.S. Lewis and imagines what we might ask him about. Then he dives into some things that Lewis would say and how he would answer. This isn't a long book, so someone curious to learn a bit more about Lewis and his beliefs and life would gain a lot of good knowledge from this book.

The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton - Set in the future and yet everyone wears top hats like in old London, the newly appointed King of England, who won his place by being next in line on an alphabetized list, jokingly creates little nations within London. Taking everything as a joke, he never thought that someone might take the change seriously. But one man does; adapting his Notting Hill pride and ruling over it as if it were its own tiny nation with enemies surrounding it. While Chesterton writes with such humour and silliness, there is always deeper truths being told behind the scenes. This book doesn't disappoint. It is much of what I have come to love about Chesterton.

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