Annie

Posts Tagged ‘C.S. Lewis’

What To Read? The Later Years

In Books and Movies, Musings on September 4, 2013 at 12:17 am

So, last week I talked about books for pre-teens and young teens. Those are mostly books I read when I was around 10-13 years old.

But what about older teens? That can be even harder sometimes. You get tired of re-reading Redwall (sometimes…), but the books for our age are even more disgusting. For some it’s so hard to find things to read that they just stop reading once they are done with school. I think it’s important to continue stretching yourself and reading good books. It can get hard to find these good books though. So I present for your reading enjoyment, my favorite books for older teens and young adults:

1. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness  Emmuska Orczy

When people ask me what my favorite book is, this is what I say. It has mystery, it has drama, it has action, it has (appropriate) romance, it has daring rescues, it has clever disguises, it has guillotines. Set in the French Revolution, taking place in both England and France. We follow the beautiful Marguerite Blakeney as she tries to save her beloved brother. The only way is to identify the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel, and in essence hand him over to Mademoiselle Guillotine. But will she find out too late?

2. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

Another favorite set in the French Revolution. This one is more complicated, as Dickens often is, and it took me a while to figure out who was who. Still, confusion aside, I love Dickens’ style and imagery.

3. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, by William Goldman

This one took me so long to figure out. It’s not an abridged version. It’s the original. Please just read it. At times the movie follows so closely it’s like reading a script. A few of the places are different, the Zoo of Death for example, but for me this made it even better.If you enjoyed the movie I would definitely recommend the book. It follows close enough that you feel like you know what is going to happen, but different enough that you aren’t sure. Buttercup and Westly don’t seem to be as tender as they do in the movie, but it doesn’t take much away from the story. (Taken from my Goodreads review)

4. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Another classic from the mind of Jack. Written as a series of letters from an older demon to a younger demon he is mentoring. It’s interesting to think of things from this perspective. Very thought provoking.

5. The Fishermans Lady (and The Marquis’ Secret) by George MacDonald

Almost a cross between Kidnapped and The Scarlet Pimpernel. The very first book of George MacDonald’s that I read. I love a good adventure book, if it is set in Scotland, even better. Fun Fact! George MacDonald was a favorite author of three of my favorite authors, J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle.

6. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The nerd in me couldn’t leave this off the list. It is pure fluff and has an extremely rambling and almost nonexistent plot line. There is some language and more adult themes, but it is so hilarious. If you like Doctor Who you will most likely enjoy Hitchhiker’s Guide (Adams did write a few episodes after all).

7. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis

An amazing sci-fi series by the man who is generally thought of as being a fantasy writer and theologian.  I actually read these when I was about 11, but I would recommend them for older teens. I was too young to understand them very well. Full of twists and turns

8. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

The classic epic story of good versus evil. This story has so many good lessons, it is a sweeping epic, there is rawness, there are heroes, there is brotherly love. Most people know at least the gist of the story, so I’m not going to further spoil it. I will say though, even if you have seen the movies dozens of times, please read the books. The movies, while they do a pretty good job, leave out some of the best parts.

9. Me, Myself and Bob by Phil Vischer

The story of how Veggietales got it’s start. I really love behind the scenes stuff, so this was a treat. Now, I realize this is the only book on my list that isn’t a novel, there is a reason for this though. As we get older, it’s also important to read (or begin reading if it hasn’t been your habit) non-fiction.  For most of the rest of our lives we will be reading non-fiction. I’ve found that great way to get a taste for books about real life is through biographies and the like.

While some of these books have a bit of language (nothing stronger than what you hear on PG movies or TV shows), the main reason I list them as books for older teens is because I want them to be appreciated. Most young teens could handle them, but they won’t get nearly as much out of these books as some one a little older will.

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What to Read?

In Books and Movies, Musings on August 28, 2013 at 1:14 am

I don’t think you have to read my blog for very long to notice I love books.

It really makes me sad when people can’t find good ones for their kids. Now, I totally understand the lack of good children’s literature these days. It’s getting harder and harder to find clean books for pre-teens and young teens. Judging by their age they could be reading Young Adult over in the Teen section, but then you go over there and it’s all zombies, vampires, end of the world and forbidden love. Nothing against you if you like that kind of stuff, I’m just of the opinion that this is not appropriate, especially for kids of this age.

So what can they read? My favorite books of course.

Don’t laugh. I’m not being arrogant. It just happens that most of my favorite books are considered Juvenile Fiction at our library. I’m quite serious. I’ve found that the best books are the old “young people’s books.”

They are mostly innocent, generally old (there are some exceptions), sometimes challenging, usually epic and always worth your time.

1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This is pretty much my favorite one on the list. Most people know the story of the March girls so I’m not going to go into much detail. Suffice it to say this is a great book for and about strong girls.

2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Fiery redheaded Anne. Another book that is near and dear to so many people. The story of an orphan girl who goes to live with an old maid and her bachelor brother has charmed young girls for over a hundred years. While she can be a drama queen, I love how she sees the poetry in ordinary life. Another book in my list of/for strong girls.

3. A Wrinkle In Time (book 1# of the Time Quartet) by Madeleine L’Engle

This is one series I have read over and over again, main reason being because I love Sci-fi and books with strong, complex heroines. Meg Murry is the oldest child of two geniuses, and the older sister of yet another, while she is about average in most ways. There are so many things about this book that I love.  The explanation and expectation of quantum physics? The fact that she actually has a good home life? Meg’s relationship with Calvin that stays sweet without getting overly romantic?  Another thing, I love it when the evil is obviously wicked. I like for the good guy to wear a white hat and the bad guy to wear a black hat. It’s fine for their minions to not be so apparent, but I want to know who I’m rooting for. I’ve just gotta say, there is an exceptionally short list of books I have read more than once, but this and the rest of the series are on that list. I could go on for a long time about how much I love this book, seriously, just go read it (or listen to it on Grooveshark!). This is not just for girls by the way.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Does this series really need an introduction? Most of us start our journey to the fantastic land of Narnia with four children sent out to the country to escape the air raids in London. Although I have mostly listened to the audio book,  this is another series I have read/heard many times.

5. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

Another one that requires little discription. This is the precursor to the Lord of The Rings trilogy, the story of how Bilbo Baggins gets the ring in the first place. My reason for putting it on this list instead of the Trilogy is because it is more of a fairytale than the others. If you feel that your child is mature enough I would definitely recommend the rest of the books as well.

6. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

I had several, unrelated, unacquainted people tell me to read this book. It’s a very basic fairytale, which is what I love about it.

7. Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Another one of my favorites. I have a thing for whimsy and surreality. The colorful world he creates for Alice to venture off to in her dreams is just he kind of place I love to read about.

8. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

High adventure in the Highlands. A young boy finds out he is the true heir of an estate is sold to pirates and shipwrecked, only to take arms with a Jacobite rebel and journey across Scotland to regain his rightful inheritance. Wha! It’s just exciting to think about!

9. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

A good classic adventure story about a family’s life after being shipwrecked on a tropical island.

Something about leaving that at 9 bothers me, but to stick with only my favorites for this age range it will have to stay that way.  There are many others I could list that are perfectly fine and clean, but I just don’t care for them. A very short list of books that are fine but bore me: Caddie Woodlawn, The Little House books, The Secret Garden, Pilgrim’s Progress. I know, I’m a bad Christian and a bad homeschooler.

Most of these books are in the Juvenile Fiction section of the library, and yes, I still read them and love them. I have no intention of growing up and losing my imagination or sense of wonder.

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