Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Books Thursday: #6

I almost didn't do a Three Books Thursday post because I'm so fried from my project that I didn't want to have to think. But I've been pretty lax on reading and reviewing lately and I felt bad, so I figured I'd go ahead and put one together.

I've already admitted to being a godless heathen but that doesn't mean that I don't keep an open mind when it comes to literature. I tend not to care about whether or not an author is religious as long as the books are enjoyable and don't get too preachy. In the spirit of open-mindedness, here's a list that I'm calling "Three Book Series by Christian Authors that Everyone Can Enjoy." Okay, it's a crap title. I'm tired.

Three Book Series by Christian Authors that Everyone Can Enjoy

1) Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I actually have these editions. They used to belong to my uncle.

Okay, no surprise here. Tolkien was a devout Catholic and there are a lot of elements within the books that reflect his faith. That having been said, for some people LOtR is a religion unto itself. I'm not one of them, but I do appreciate good literature and these books are incredible. Some of the best novels have characters who are Christ figures (see, for example, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey) and Tolkien's works are among those novels.

2) The Time Quartet by Madeleine L'Engle

The four books that comprise L'Engle's quartet--A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters--are highly enjoyable reads (although I felt like Many Waters was the weakest out of the four). L'Engle is one of my favorite authors even though her strong Episcopalian beliefs show through in her novels. These books combine theology with science fiction, politics, dystopia, horror, pretty much anything that struck her fancy and seemed to fit within the confines of her story. They are well-written, the characters are delightful, and the stories will stick with you long after you've put them down.

3) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I grew up on The Chronicles of Narnia. In fact, I was first introduced to them in Sunday school, back when I used to go to church. I haven't read all of them, although they're on my to-do list, but the ones I have read were wonderful. They obviously have Christian themes, but a lot of these themes transcend religious boundaries. The books are great even for people who aren't as hardcore religious as Lewis himself was or, even, for those of us who aren't remotely religious at all.

None of these books can be tied down into the Christian literature genre and that's the beauty of them. They communicate across the lines that we as humans draw for ourselves and speak to greater overarching themes that all humans can understand. Christ is not the only figure to have sacrificed himself for the greater good; the battle between good and evil predates modern religions. These three fantasy series hold magic and wonder that even the most devout Atheist can enjoy.



  1. Tolkien has a magical ability to send me to sleep. I've never made it past page one of the first book but I was read The Hobbit as a child. I even managed to fall asleep during the first film (on a friend's shoulder and I drooled). Admittedly it was on the 1st January in the days when I celebrated Hogmanay with too much drink. I do like the films, just don't get on with his prose.

    I still want my own personal Aslan...he's real, he has to be!

  2. I actually haven't read all three books, but that's only because something always seemed to come up and I'd forget where I was. It's the same story with Little Women. I'd get about halfway through and some huge project would be assigned and by the time I got back to it I'd forgotten what happened. I love the films, though.

    I've always wanted to find a big wardrobe and see if I could get to Narnia. Although, I'm also the kind of guy who keeps hoping that his Hogwarts letter is just fifteen years late.

  3. Well. If you ever do get to it, I highly suggest reading The Hobbit first. As Mr. Wilson and Mr. Fisher say, "But imagine for a moment that you did watch the first movie and were so inspired that you picked up The Fellowship of The Rings and began to read Tolkien's tale. Let us pretended that you were so excited that you decided to skip the prologue with its extended discourse on history of hobbits and jump right into Chapter 1. You would, or course, immediately bump into Bilbo Baggins. And as you read, you would find that Bilbo is not your typical hobbit. It seems that Bilbo has had some odd adventures, has actually been out of the Shire and is now fabulously rich as a result. You pause in your reading, "I'd like to know about that adventure," you say to yourself. Suppressing the desire, however, you press on - you want to read about Sauron and Isengard. But the desire continues to increase as tantalizing details from the past leak out - a magic ring, a wizard, frozen trolls, the House of Elrond, and the son of loin. You get a nagging feeling that you are missing an important piece of the puzzle. "Will I never have piece?" you ask yourself. So you decide to glance at the prologue and there you find mention of an earlier book, The Hobbit, where many of these tantalizing details are discussed. Heaving a great sigh, you decide to become a true Tolkien aficionado. You close The Fellowship of The Rings and go to the store where you pick up a copy of The Hobbit and you begin to read at the beginning."

    So in a nutshell, go get The Hobbit first.

  4. It's funny. I didn't think that I had a copy of The Hobbit and then a few weeks ago I was looking for something on my shelf and there it was, right alongside my copies of the LOtR trilogy. I'm not quite sure how it got there, to be honest.

    I might read all four of them one of these months. I've been considering reading a short series or trilogy or whatever every month because I've got several on my shelf that I haven't completely finished. We'll see how things go.

  5. Good. I've never felt like I was actually there, like I did with this series.