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The End of Many Books

That Hideous Strength (take five)

by C. S. Lewis

It’s only been two years since I last read THS, and it was, perhaps, even better on my fifth time through? Our 7th annual fiction festival is coming up in March, and the theme is “Why Christians Shouldn’t Be NICE.” So it will have a Ransom trilogy focus, with special attention on the third of the three. I wanted a running start, so I started a plod read with Out of the Silent Planet last summer, got through Perelandra, and just finished THS. I had forgotten how (bloody) bloody the damage is at the end, and of course it couldn’t have happened to NICEr guys. THS couldn’t get any higher on my list of favorite fiction books, though it did root its position more securely.

still 10 out of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle In Time audiobook

by Madeleine L’Engle

I didn’t read A Wrinkle when I was 12-16 years-old, which is apparently the intended target age, but my wife said I she thought I’d probably really like books two and three in the series, and so I figured I should read the first. I listened, and I LIKED it!

I cared about Meg and Charles Wallace, and I have a son named Calvin. I’m curious about dystopian stories, and why not check out a dystopian narrative for teens in particular? The various supernatural powers and astronomy were bonus. So even though I’m not a free will guy, it still worked for my edification, and I’ll get on to A Wind in the Door.

4 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Perelandra

by C. S. Lewis

I have grown older since the last time I read Perelandra, and reading it again has made me older still.

Of course I’m riffing off the Green Lady’s testimony; growing older is how she describes her learning, so does the King, as well as Piebald. We learn more and it makes us less young. Solomon once wrote that in much wisdom and knowledge there is much grief and sorrow. And there is much to maturing that is misery. It is a fight to keep the joy.

Ransom’s fight on Venus is a good fight.

I reread this second part of the Ransom trilogy because our next Fiction Festival is at least about That Hideous Strength and I wanted a fresh meditation through the whole series for sake of my preparation. I’m adding the fifth star to my previous four in 2014.

Blessed be He!

5 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Watership Down

by Richard Adams

I read this final “curse” from this post a few months ago:

“May all of your rabbits die, and may you be unable to sell the hutch.”

I thought that sounded good, but I had no idea what the hutch part was all about. Ha!

My wife told me it was a reference to Watership Down, a novel about…rabbits. I was intrigued, plus I had been looking for my next fiction book to plod through.

I really enjoyed it, and recommend it, even if you don’t immediately push it to the top of your queue. It’s a good story with an unexpected leader, a strong sacrificer, a troubled oracle, and a ruthless (and virtually unbeatable) tyrant.

4 of 5 stars

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Every Thumb's Width

Tackling Virgil

We’ve made the call that our 2022 Raggant Fiction Festival will cover some of the epics. The festival’s title is: Monumental Myths – Lit That Made Western Man. When talking about which epic I wanted to cover my first response was anything except for the Aeneid. Ha. Turns out, due to a number of variables, that I am now very excited about tackling Virgil. As I get going, I found this fantastic looking resource that I’ll be trying for doing some work in the original Latin text. I told my Latin students in class today that they can help keep me accountable.

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The End of Many Books

Planet Narnia

This was my third full time through the book, and I’ve read large chunks more times than that. I’d give it seven stars out of five if that was possible. This time I got to read it with my college astronomy class, to whom I assigned it, and I enjoyed sharing Ward’s discoveries with them and hearing their thoughts. I can’t assign it to everyone, but I can recommend it to everyone, whether for insight into world of Narnia or just for considering the unique power of donegality in fiction.

5 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Ecochondriacs

My wife just finished listening to this and loved it. I liked it. I enjoyed the spy-like suspense, the climate-change jabs, and the idea of a Hummer running nonstop outside of an office building. I cared about the main characters, and it also seemed like there were a lot of characters to keep track of, especially since I read it in pieces as posted on Blog and Mablog over a couple months. The story could have been a lot longer, especially as the plot wrap-ups were finished like the ink was running out. Overall it was more good, hearty, fun fiction from Mr. Wilson.

3 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

That Hideous Strength

I give this book 10 out of 5 stars. It is my favorite fiction book of all that I’ve read. It is prescient, auspicious, faith-building, and fun. I had wanted to reread it when the pandemic lockdowns began last March (2020), and didn’t get around to start listening until December, but, wow, it’s still double-plus-extra good.

What’s not good are the covers. I selected a decent one to go with this post, but here is the Audible cover:

And then take a look at some of the craziness.

We seem to be living in a bitter mix of 1984/Brave New World, but the world is much more like Lewis’ vision, even though Orwell hated it and wrote his dystopian nostrum against it. Read THS. Listen to it. Again and again. Get yourself to St. Anne’s.

10 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Beowulf

A New Verse Rendering by Douglas Wilson

I had only read Haney’s translation, and it was good though I knew no alternative. Wilson’s rendering was different, with more alliterative snap, and also good. The whole thing is epic, poetic dragon slaying at it’s best. Wilson’s essay at the end of on “Beowulf: The UnChrist” is also worldview-gold.

Should you read this? The story is required reading, and this edition serves the story well.

4 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

The Princess and Curdie

by George MacDonald

Do you need a magical story about cultural corruption and decay confronted by a thirteen year-old boy with a mattock and courage? If yes, then this is it. Having finished the Wingfeather Saga last summer, I have to believe that MacDonald lit some of Peterson’s creative sparks. I’m glad I read it, highly recommend it, even without reading The Princess and the Goblin. My biggest disappointment was not finding out more about the Uglies, which Peterson’s whole plot actually aims to redeem.

4 of 5 stars