catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 12, Num 1 :: 2013.01.04 — 2013.01.17


Ten books, past and present

These are some of the books I have read over this past year, and I would gladly re-read all of them. In fact, some of them I already have!

1. Perelandra by C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis wrote a trilogy that was dubbed his space trilogy, and I have been reading them for the first time. In Perelandra, the second book, Dr. Ransom is brought to Venus, where he meets the young Lady.  He realizes that it is the dawn of a new world, and he has stumbled into a sort of “Garden of Eden” experience, with evil residing in the man called the Un-man. He is the tempter. But since nothing in God’s creation is repeated, this story doesn’t follow our earthly story. The debates between Ransom and the Un-man had me glued to the pages. Some parts were chilling.

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This book is a classic most people read in high school that I had somehow never read. This book is so good on many levels: the writing, the story, the morality.  I was particularly captivated by how he wrote this in the 1950s predicting a future that takes place today, and the eerie accuracy of his predictions. It deals with government censorship and book burning. Books are banned because they create “confusion” when people read them and think for themselves.

3. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

As soon as I started reading this I was engrossed in its quirky, dark settings, which makes it quite interesting. The characters are strange and kept me curious throughout this murder mystery. There is a whimsicality to the story even though it is dark. Readers should expect the unexpected.

4. The Princess and the Goblin & The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald

MacDonald was writer from northern Scotland who lived from 1824-1905. These are children’s stories, but many aspects of the writing can be (and should be) appreciated by an adult. There is something so wonderful about children’s stories, and how truth about love is made evident through story and fantasy. We are all children at heart, with so much to learn. It is easy to see why C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle were so fond of his stories.

5. Rilke’s Book of Hours by Rainer Rilke

I think this has quickly become one my favorite books of poetry. They are love poems to God, but they are full of questions and musings that we all can relate to. Rilke writes in short phrases (though the German looks longer than the English translation), displaying in a few words a world of imagery and thought. His thoughts expand in my mind like a growing balloon reaching my imagination and my soul. He leaves so much unspoken and yet conveys something so specific. How is that possible?

6. The Spirit of Cities by Daniel A. Bell and Avnet de-Shalit

Spotlighting nine different cities, the authors discuss why cities and their individual spirit (ethos) is so important to maintain. I love learning about and visiting cities, and there are several in this book that I want to visit. I am learning about each city’s history, culture, the outlook of the people, buildings and other important structures, and the struggles each city has had to overcome before embracing its unique identity.

7. Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse

British humor at its best. Written in 1924, it is that funny, silly, story with a man who calls himself Pmith (the P is silent, of course). Psmith puts an ad in the newspaper putting himself up for hire and, well, it’s the kind of book that makes me chuckle out loud at the silliness and enjoy every moment.

8. The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

The hero of the story sets off to stop an anarchist cell in London, with a mysterious leader who is never seen. Published in 1908 when the World War I was not far down the road, this story that blends reality with something set apart from reality, bringing the reader into strange underground plots to overthrow order. Chesterton is so readable in his stories that you may not catch the undercurrents of his Christian beliefs right away.

9. Surprised By Oxford by Carolyn Weber

A memoir of a Canadian who goes to Oxford for her Masters degree in English thinking she doesn’t need God and doesn’t need help from any man, and how she simply cannot escape God while in Oxford. He shows up in new relationships, lectures and everyday conversations with new friends. It is at Oxford that she falls in love with her Savior. Through her relationships there, she learns how God has been wooing her, but would never force her to love Him. The choice is hers to make. The theme that keeps reverberating in me is how it’s okay to live the unanswered questions. Her writing is fresh and beautiful. I felt like I was standing alongside her through her journey at Oxford.

10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Have you seen the movie yet? Read the book. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth is full of daring adventure and unexpected journeys. For me, it’s not just about the action and the events that take places that makes a good piece of writing, it’s very much about the descriptive, imaginative style, verbiage and imagery. And it’s about the heart of the story — the deep-down, underlying theme of the fall, morality and the machine.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus