Thursday, October 12, 2006

literally a literary nerd

It has been quite a while since I have made any new posts- I've been busy working, going to math class, going to bible study, going to small groups, singing on the worship team, and trying to maintain my relationships in the midst of it. I feel so stretched!

One night I go to a book study, which I probably shouldn't have signed up for, given my already high level of stress. Anyway, we're reading selected passages from Devotional Classics, which I enjoy. It's a comfortable setting, a pretty small group, and I am liking the book. It includes exerpts by a lot of classical christian authors, everyone from CS Lewis to Martin Luther to Francis of Assisi. It's refreshing to read these, especially the older stuff. I feel many of the newer devotionals I've read recently (the kind under the 'christian inspiration' section at barnes & noble) are superflous, meandering, and soft.

CS Lewis and AW Tozer are my favorite authors. I've been ruined for typical Christian literature ever since I read the first page in Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy. Every sentence is heavy with meaning, straight to the point, unflinching, clear, profound, and beautifully written. He did not back down from unpopular or unpleasant truths- he wrote about what was really important in a time when much of the church was focused on trivialities. Tozer pointed out the irreverance of the church and their wrong beliefs about God, and his resulting work is an enduring classic which continues to impart revelation to those with ears to hear and eyes to see.

Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy is a thin little volume which I think every Christian should read at least once. It has changed my perception of God and changed my relationship with Him- the revelation I've gotten during my reading of this book has changed my thinking and transformed my faith.

CS Lewis's Mere Christianity is another of my favorites. It's such a well-known classic that it almost seems cliche to recommend it, but I do anyway. Lewis's writing style is simple, funny, and resolved. He has a way of articulating common thoughts in a new and "aha!" kind of way. I love all his work.

I've read the Narnia series dozens of times (and thought the movie was weak, but good), but my favorite selection by CS Lewis is a lesser known sci-fi trilogy chronicling the adventures of a character named Ransom. Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength are books I could, and do read over and over. Like Tolkien, Lewis creates a complex, phantasmal world, and you can't help but get lost in it. I never was able to read Tolkien, though I have a great respect for him. He's so descriptive, almost too complex- every attempt I ever made on his work was abandoned early on because it bored me (keeping in mind my relatively short attention span).

I love books that make you forget where you are. I'm in the middle of an historical fiction set in the 1600's in Hindostan (India and the surrounding areas). I'm just fascinated by the customs and culture- I get so caught up in the story and the setting. I can almost taste the chai, smell the jasmine, feel the smooth, brightly colored silks, and see the elegant architechture glimmering through the desert heat waves.

Next on my list: Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers, Feast of Roses (the sequel to the book I'm reading now), and a book of short stories about "surviving the extremes" (stranded on everest, lost in the desert, stuck in a cave, etc.).

I should read the Dune series. I've heard they're good. I've also never read Dracula.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'll read almost anything.


John Dekker said...

It's interesting how everyone has different favourite with C. S. Lewis. Mine is The Great Divorce.

Oh, and read G. K. Chesterton. Orthodoxy, and the Father Brown detective stories.

RachelRenae said...

John- thanks for the tip! I've never gotten much into the mystery genre, though not from lack of interest. I've just never had an idea of where to start for a good mystery read. I think I will begin with your suggestion. Thanks!

I really enjoy autobiographical work. It's interesting to see life through someone else's eyes, think about things from a new perspective- that's something I don't do often enough.

John Dekker said...

And Orthodoxy is one of my favourite autobiographies. You should read Lewis' Surprised by Joy then too.