Monday, November 1, 2010

In Narnia Again

The Dawn Treader is probably my favorite of the Narnia books. At least, it was. As I grow, my favorites change. Lewis explains that any book that's good to read as a child should be good to read as an adult. Narnia for me is like that. But as the reason I like them changes, my favorites change too. For example, when I was little, I definitely didn't like The Silver Chair. This summer, in preparation for class, I re-read the entire series. I absolutely LOVED The Silver Chair this time through. Partially because I had just hiked through a mountain cave that week, but also, I think, because I appreciated different elements of the story. 

Last time I read Narnia, two years ago, I wanted the feel of something more, something beyond my boring, normal life. The sense of potential. Dawn Treader gives that in spades. I feel great ability, adventure, and shared excitement with the children. The Silver Chair brings out the weaknesses of the children much more strongly. It wasn't such a heroes and villains story. Sure there were good guys and bad guys and a great adventure, but there was more. I didn't need what else was there. It was just a good story, and Dawn Treader gave me more of what I needed in my life. But now I am older and I see that life is that exciting. I don't need the Dawn Treader to let me feel that feeling of journeying and adventuring. Now The Silver Chair shows me a mirror where I can see the mistakes I have and may yet make. 

Reading these books again and again as I grow helps to illustrate how lasting and true a good book is. The meaning and significance may change over time, but a good book can always offer me something important to my life, whether it's the first or thousand and first read. I still read my favorite picture books because where they once gave me limitless thoughts of grown-up adventures, now they provide me with peaceful images of childhood joy.

"The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man nothing else that he builds ever lasts monuments fall; nations perish; civilization grow old and die out; new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on. Still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts, of the hearts of men centuries dead.” -Clarence Day

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