In Defense of Magic

Well, I've finally had enough "pushes" to actually do this, something I've contemplated for the past ... goodness... a long time. :) Here I am going to walk all who care to read through a defense of Harry Potter, and of fantasy literature in general. Here goes! Why do I care so much? Because I am passionate about two things: 1) leaving people's consciences free where Christ has not bound them, and 2) encouraging strong imagination in all people everywhere. There's a third reason, too. I love old stories, the myths, legends, histories so embellished they leave us wondering what actually happened, and those who so vehemently oppose Harry Potter logically have to throw those out, too. The story-teller in me just cringes at the thought of that happening.

Related books: 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The more I read, the more I see!! J.K. Rowling is the queen of narrative misdirection; I can see why she loved Emma (Jane Austen), which is a book ALL ABOUT thinking you know where the characters and plot is going, and being totally wrong. This book is amazing at that! For any who haven't read the sequel I won't spoil anything, but I will say that this book does a wonderful job making you lean one way, and then letting go so you fall over. :)

Bottom line? This book is chock-full of lessons on mercy and trust. But really, it's incomplete without Book 7!!

Cautions? The death at the book's end is in some ways unexpected, and it is very very sad. I cried. Some of the material is clearly for older readers-- the boy-girl relationships are quite full of "snogging" (kissing), though this is poked fun at and shown to be immature.

Series: 
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The Last Olympian

The Percy Jackson series wraps up without disappointment. The good guys win, and are rewarded, Percy chooses doing the right thing over immortality, and of course gets the right girl. I liked seeing the gods' personalities develop over the series, turning them from cardboard mythological characters to real people.

Cautions? As with this whole series, the parents of the protagonists are immoral; every child (except Athena's children) are conceived outside of wedlock, often as a result of broken promises, and are raised in broken homes. Makes for a nebulous moral backdrop. BUT this is an accurate representation of the old myths.

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The Jesus Storybook Bible

Ryan gave me this book as a gift on our honeymoon, and we immediately loved it. The illustrations are striking, even humorous, Jesus isn't a pale blonde, and it covered the WHOLE Bible, even less-storified things like Psalm 23 and Isaiah. But as I've used it for teaching this past year, I have realized the huge capacity for worship-building held within its cardboard covers. The thing is chock full of GOSPEL! As I assemble and outline the curriculum for our preschool next year, I've been researching a lot of books and Bible story books we may use. An interview with Sally Lloyd-Jones (the book's author) that I just read just left me speechless. And I don't just say that because I'm the only one home! I just wanted to stop and think and praise the Lord when I read it.

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The Spiderwick Chronicles

Since these are so short, I'll treat them as one book. we really enjoyed these! They seemed to read like one longer book instead of 5 very short ones, so I recommend bringing home 3 at a time at least. The world Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black create is very real. It is original working of familiar fairy material. It also really sounds like it's coming from the perspective of a 9 year old boy; childishly simple at times. The treatment of divorce is sensitive while still showing the deep pain and even havoc it brings to children's lives. All the old friends from fantastical literature are here: elves, fairies, goblins, brownies, hobgoblins, dragons, sprites, and ogres, but with so much originality and individual character.

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North! Or Be Eaten

Ryan & I LOVE Andrew Peterson's music.

We also love children's books. Especially children's fantasy.

So when we found out that we could get both Andy P & Fantasy in one package, we were eager to try it out. Andrew Peterson has recently begun to try his hand at another form of word-art. Not only is he still writing songs; he's now also writing a children's fantasy/adventure series called The Wingfeather Saga. Ryan & I read Book 1 (On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness) aloud to each other in the first year of our marriage, and lent our copy out to as many folks as we could. Book 2 came out ON our second wedding anniversary (August 18th '09), so of course we planned to order and enjoy our own copy. Imagine our excitement when we got a chance to participate in the North! Or Be Eaten blogtour! Basically, we got our own free copy of the book, and then "have to" write up a blog post on it during this week. Oh, please don't throw me in the brier patch! =D (Although it does sort of feel like I'm back in school with book reports due, lol.)

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My Thought After Reading Many Books

I read this snippet while skimming the Journals of Jim Elliott, and it resonated deep within me:

"I am reading The Return of the Native. Poor Hardy! If only he could have once seen the hand of God."

So true of a great many books --like A Thousand Splendid Suns or The Kite Runner-- and many many movies. Sort of reflects your feelings on The Dark Knight, Jeannette. (she commented: "I enjoyed the movie very much (so many unexpected twists and turns), but I came away thinking this is what our world would almost look like without the presence of the Holy Spirit.")If only these tale-spinners would be caught in the Great Story! Then, oh how wonderful, how true, how moving, how deep their tales would be-- truly glorious. Truly heroic.

Imagination

It's been hot and humid-- the kind of days in which you seem constantly to be...there's just no other way to say it: salty! Good training for the mission field, I keep telling myself. It's nice not having to work just right now. I've got PLENTY of work. =D

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