50 Books Till Christmas

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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  • http://www.strewing.blogspot.com Faith

    My oldest son recommended this book to me a couple years ago. He was 17. Mind blowing book (but in a good way!). Great first recommendation! I look forward to the 49 more!

  • Eileen

    I remember finding the Great Divorce in our bathroom when I was a kid. It freaked me out. I thought my parents were getting a divorce. A few years later I saw it in there again. This time, I recognized the Narnia author so I decided to page through it. Probably the coolest book I’d read at that point in my life – I think I was about 13 or so when I read it.

  • richard

    After all these years I have yet to get into any of C.S.Lewis’s writings,

    Talk about procrastination!!!

  • Stasha

    I love book recommendations, here’s one for you Trafficked by Kim Purcell

  • Old Bloke

    Great book, specially for young people.

    Bad news: Amazon sells both Gin and Twinkies.

    Good news: Adjectives are reusable. Just give them a good washing and ironining and they are as good as new.

  • http://catholicgrok.blogspot.com/ SteveG

    Loved the Great Divorce and highly recommend it, but all things Lewis make me think of all things Tolkien, and this brings to mind a slim little book by Tolkien in a similar vein.

    Leaf by Niggle

    (which I think is now public domain and can be had for free here):

    http://www.epubbud.com/read.php?g=QCLTJ8S8&p=1

    It’s a spiritual reflection as well as a quick, but very good read. As usual, it treats the subject of purgatory and heaven in both a more Catholic way, and more touchingly than Lewis than Lewis was able to acheive.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher Simcha Fisher

      Yes! “Leaf by Niggle” is very warm, and more doctrinally sound (younger readers should get a good lesson on heaven, hell, and purgatory before reading The Great Divorce)

  • http://www.callherhappy.com Jenna@CallHerHappy

    Yes! This is going to be a good 50 days! Also, how do you get in on that kind of affiliate deal??

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher Simcha Fisher

      I signed up some years ago, so I don’t quite remember the procedure, but it must have been easy, or I wouldn’t have done it. If you go to Amazon.com, scroll down to the bottom to where it says “make money with us” in orange, and under that click on “become an affiliate.” Maybe you will have more luck than I have in building links! I can never get the pictures to show up.

  • http://Saintsinprogress.blogspot.com Nicole Stallworth

    I’m reading this for the second time right now. Can’t wait to hear about the other 49.

    • http://Saintsinprogress.blogspot.com Nicole Stallworth

      Should have read the comments first, so I wouldn’t have to comment twice. I loved Leaf by Niggle. I kinda wish Pauline Baynes could have illustrated it for a young audience before she died.

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  • Marianne Bacon

    Great Divorce is a masterpiece. One of my all-time favorites.

    I love your blog, Simcha!!!! Where have I been???

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