Friday, February 25, 2011

Only the Beginning of an Adventure

After reading these and these and watching this, I needed to return home to Narnia. 

Reading the Narnia books again is like coming home. I was overjoyed to again meet Tumnus and Lucy, the Beavers and Centaurs and most of all: Aslan. 

These books are a beautiful addition to the world of Faerie, to that classic Fairy Tale cannon that Lewis so admired. The stories flow along as easy as water and each new character is a delight or nightmare. Or simply silly, but they are necessary too. In Narnia, the world is not always beautiful and the people are never perfect but Aslan redeems all that is allowed.

Narnia is still a delightful world were there are animals and Animals (who talk), creatures of mythology and fantasy, and nothing is the same for long. Still, darkness and evil threaten the world Aslan created and even the beginning of the world is marred by man and witch. The main four we all know and love were different this time for me, and as Aslan says, they are bigger because I am older. There are new facets revealed by these books everything I read them. This time I learned a lot about myself and my willingness to serve God.

While that story is for another post, I encourage you to read these books, especially if you've read them before. Experience a world where magic exists, adventures are journeys, and life is possible with a new imagination. 

But Aslan is not a Tame Lion.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

10 Things I Hate about You

While “Ten Things I Hate about You” veers pretty sharply from Shakespeare’s play “The Taming of the Shrew,” the movie cleverly captures the spirit of the Bard with its quick banter, strong female lead, and unpredictable antics. Heath Ledger gives an excellent performance as Patrick Verona (Petrucio), the dangerous senior with a reputation for eating ducks and selling organs on the black market. Julia Stiles makes the prickly Kat (Katerina) into a likable, relatable character for the audience while retaining Katerina’s trademark contrariness and difficultness in her world. The two clash in a love story both heartwarming and funny and you just can’t help hoping that they will be together in the end.

The premise of the movie is similar to the play: there is the beautiful Bianca (played by Larisa Oleynik) who cannot date or be wooed until her shrewish sister Kat goes on a date (or is married in the play).  A smitten boy Cameron (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls hard for Bianca on the first day in his new school. Along with his new friend Michael, Cameron pulls together a plot to pay the scariest guy in school to take out Kat while he befriends Bianca by posing as her French tutor.  A stuck-up model boy, Joey, comes into the story both as the financial backer to pay Patrick and as a rival for Bianca’s love.  While many of Shakespeare’s lesser characters are not visible in any form, several lines from the Bard are clearly distinguishable in the movie. Also, Kat’s best friend, Mandella, is a hopeless Shakespeare fan-girl, which adds some Elizabethan flavor to the movie. 

The quick, funny story skips through the Bard’s plot and through high school. Stereotypes are well-represented and mocked but in the breaking of such stereotypes lies the heart of the tale.  Well-written, well-acted, and well-produced, this movie was a favorite of mine long before I ever heard of “The Taming of the Shrew.” It may not last as long as Shakespeare but “Ten Things I Hate about You” has proven a classic teen movie for all of us who did not find high school the best years ever. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Have you ever longed to fly away to Neverland? To join in adventures against Pirates? Wage war alongside the Indians? Or hear the chiming song of fairies in flight? Peter David takes us away to Anyplace in:
This is a story about The Boy and about Paul. Paul is forced to become the man of the house and he doesn't know how to go about it. The Boy, a mischievous Pan, teaches Paul how to be a child for a bit more while Anyplace teaches him how to grow up-- and it's okay.

The book was strange at first, all the Peter Pan elements had me expecting Peter, Tink, Hook, and the gang rather than the pastiche characters of The Boy, Fiddlefix, Hack, and the Vagabonds. (I didn't know what pastiche was until I read the author's note but it's the word that best fits.) I didn't like how it was so similar to Peter Pan and used the characters without it being PAN who was there. But it worked out. Because this is Paul's story and Peter cannot be in any story that is not his own.

The story was brilliant, beautiful, and fantastical. It broke my heart several times and mended it back together, bigger and better to dream. Almost as drawing as Narnia, David's anyplace is a lush paradise while his characters make you forget about any hesitation to grow up and the fact that people do consider you a grown up. 

A tale about the glories of growing up and never losing yourself, Tigerheart took my heart along with it. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Oxford Chronicles

Yay for legit Christian fiction!

This series was a really interesting imagining of Oxford in the early 60's. C.S. (Jack) Lewis has just passed away and one of his close students is beginning his teaching career as an Oxford don. Introduce Kate, a pretty young American looking for adventure in England for a semester. You know what happens, but it was a fun book anyways.

Melanie Jeschke is a talented author who takes a tired-Christian-romance story form and inflates it with lovely British style. The obstacles to the young lovers are immense and really different from my western's dilemmas. And everything has such a fine flavor-- fine English tea you could say. Her details are spot on and actually made me more interested in Oxford (master's degree?). And of course, you cannot go to Oxford without encountering the Inklings.

The whole series is slathered with Lewis quotes and references, as well as a dash of J.R.R. Tolkien.  I loved it!These books actually inspired me to read more of Lewis. His ideas are so eloquent and his theology very sound. 

The Oxford Chronicles make a great read for winter-y days. They sparkle at you as you read and draw you to this foggy, tea-drinking world where Jack Lewis created Narnia and Tolkien dreamed up Middle Earth. 

Only now I'm more homesick for England than ever!