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Tuesday 28 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Wenceslaus

50 Books Till Christmas

Simcha Fisher - published on 11/05/12

My son pointed out to me that it was 50 days until Christmas.  Being a cynical and mistrustful person, I didn’t believe him; but being an incredibly lazy person, I didn’t feel like turning my head forty degrees to the right to check the wall calendar.  I was also too lazy to open up the calculator on the desktop of the computer I’m sitting in front of.  I did, however, manage to Google “how many days  until christmas 2012″ and sure enough!  The little crumb is right.

So how’s about, for the next fifty days, I tell you about my favorite books. Fiction, non-fiction, art collections, poetry, picture books, board books, books you have been hunting for six days and then suddenly realize have been holding up the tippy end of the couch.  Books, books, books!

(illustration from Arnold Lobel’s Pigericks.  Argh, or possibly from Whiskers and Rhymes!  Sorry, I have to run out!  Both are great books, though)

If you care to buy one of them (or anything else from Amazon, as long as you click through the links on this blog), I will get a small percentage of the sale, which I have opted to receive in the form of Amazon credits, to prevent me from spending it all on Twinkies and gin.  Wait, do they sell gin on Amazon?  Probably not.  Which means I’ll be spending those credits on Christmas presents for the kids, to whom, in a rash moment, I promised that we would not be having an Imagination Christmas this year.

The first book is great for someone who wants to do some spiritual reading for Advent, but who doesn’t like doing spiritual reading:

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

It’s fiction, a sort of fantasy/thought experiment with a nod to the Divine Comedy.  The speaker finds himself in a dim and dismal land and nervously gets on line for a bus.  The bus turns out to be headed to Heaven, and everyone who gets off has a chance to stay there, if they wish.  We witness the ghosts (because Heaven is so bright and substantial, the bus passengers are flimsy and transparent, like smoke in that land.  Even the grass hurts their feet) meeting people they knew on Earth, who try to persuade them to give up whatever is holding them back from leaving their fatal sins behind.  Some do, and some do not.

So, this is good spiritual reading because Lewis hits home again and again as he exposes the foolishness and lies that we harbor in our hearts, leading us away from God.  But it’s eminently entertaining, easy to follow, fascinating, piercingly insightful, and moving.  And it’s short!  I would recommend this book for adults or for teenagers as young as 14 or 15.

I’m giving really short shrift to an unforgettable book.  What’s worse, I’ve used up about 30% of my book reviewer’s adjectives on the first day.  Oh well.

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