If you'd stopped in at my house tonight, you'd have found me, at least for a portion of the time, wandering aimlessly about. After the Harry Potter blitz of the past couple weeks, I found myself craving more of the imaginative story experience. I wanted to get caught up in something that would captivate my imagination and turn off my analytical brain, which has become somewhat weary of all the thinking I've been doing in recent days.
The only trouble was, I was hard-pressed to find such a book in this house. My nightstand is riddled with business books and startup books. Another of my bookshelves is full of books on soul care. The cupboards of my built-in bookshelf open to reveal lots of nonfiction of the theological, travel essay, and personal memoir persuasion, loads of fiction I've already read dozens of times, some classics I've never been able to finish, and some other literary fiction I've been working on for over a year. Those classics and fiction selections are unfinished precisely because they're too serious -- definitely not "getting caught up" material.
But then, off to the side of the very top shelf, hidden behind the post that divides my side from Kirk's side of the shelf, I spied it: the Narnia series box set. It's a box set I've had for years and must confess I've never read straight through. I think I've only read two of the seven books, which means there was loads more to be enjoyed.
I'm so glad I found these books! They fit exactly the need of the moment. For instance, check out these two enjoyable gems from the first book, The Magician's Nephew:
1) The two main characters, a boy and a girl, discover there may be a way to sneak into an old abandoned flat a couple doors down from where they live. Both of them think but do not say that the house might be haunted. Instead, they try to be brave. The boy says the house might be taken by pirates or a criminal gang in the night. The girl, on the other hand, says her father mentioned faulty pipes. And do you know what the boy says to that? "Pooh! Grown-ups are always thinking of uninteresting explanations." I should say they most definitely are! This line made me laugh.
2) When the boy and girl find themselves in a strange wood and are about to start exploring their way around, they get into a quarrel. And here's how Lewis narrates it: "The quarrel lasted for several minutes but it would be dull to write it all down." Ha ha ha! That made me laugh, too. Imagine, a storyteller who doesn't want to bore his young readers with dull details. I love it. I had to read that part aloud to Kirk, and then I giggled some more.
I can heartily appreciate a book that not only takes me outside myself and fills me with wonder but also makes me laugh. This is, no doubt, why I love the Harry Potter series. But it's also why I can appreciate C. S. Lewis, a longtime predecessor to J. K. Rowling.