The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

Book 6… complete.  This is the first book (and I believe the only book) that none of the Pevensie children are in.  Eustace, along with a new companion named Jill Pole, is brought back to Narnia. The pair are told by Aslan they must search for King Caspian’s missing son, Prince Rillian.

While I missed the Pevensie children, it was kind of fun to see the new and improved Eustace back for another try at Narnia.  In this book., Jill is given a clear list of instruction from Aslan on how to get thngs done, but in  the process of adventure. Jill often forgets what she was told and instead does things her own way.  (How often is this true in my own life?)

While Eustance and Jill are not the strong characters like Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy, C.S. instead gives us this round the Marshwiggle, Puddleglum… who is a scarecrow meets Eyore type of fellow who I would think would be delightful to the audiance these books were made for.

The children go about their search for the Prince and find yet another beautiful Queen (who turns out to be another witch like in the first book).

The ending is rather good – I can’t give it away so you’ll have to read it for yourself.  I would say that this was not my favorite of the books, but I am guessing it a necessary book to get us to where we are going…  The Last Battle….

The Shack by William Young

This book first came to me in a conversation, “The Shack, ” they said, “Amazing – it really made me think…”

Another said, “It is at Bethany Book Store, but it has a warning on it…”

Then I seen it in our local book store – in the top ten no less.  “What kind of book is sold in the Local Christian Book Store with a warning label, and is also on the top ten list on the fiction list in a secular section,” I wondered.

Then a friend said, “Read it if you want to – but I hated it.”

Such strong emotions… all from the same book.  What could that be about?  I had to read it.

The Shack is a Christian Fiction book that is written from a  third persons perspective on what happened to Mack.  Mack’s story is one that is sadly all too common, growing up in a home with an abusive father, who eventually drives Mack out of the home at a young age.

When Mack becomes a father, he is loving and generous and nothing like his own father.  His wife, Nan, refers to God as “Papa” which Mack struggles with as the word Papa does not hold within it the sense of security and love for him as it does for Nan.

On a camping trip, while saving one child who becomes entangled in an over turned canoe, his youngest daughter Missy is kidnapped from the campground and later confirmed to be murdered.  Mack is beside himself with grief and years later receives an invite in his mailbox to go to the shack where they had found Missy’s dress and meet God.  A confused Mack makes the trip back to the shack without his family’s knowledge and that is where the book really takes off.

This book makes you think about how you (I) perceive God.  Now let me clarify, this is a FICTION book.  It is not causing me to rethink my beliefs – however, instead it just makes me wonder how many of us have God pictured as one way, when He really can be so much more than we have ever imagined.  The pages that tell the story are turned faster and faster as you are right along side Mack as he bears his grief, his anger, and yes, even his shame, as he learns right beside God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit about his daughter, about forgiveness.. and at the same time I find myself learning too.

Through tears I battled with a tough decision that Mack has to make at the end of the book… have a chance to see his daughter again, even be with her on a day to day basis… or return back to the world as he has always known it – to his wife and children and continue on with his life until the day comes to return again…  this is the part of the book that touched me the most.

I had to consider this question for myself… how hard to be right there – where your deepest desire is within your reach and suddenly you have to decide… it pained me to even think about it.

Through reading this book, I was… enlightened.  Intrigued.  And thoroughly impressed with the writing, the words, and even though at times it was tough – I give a lot of credit to the author for putting this on paper for all to have a chance to think beyond the walls of our own mind.

Breathe in me… deep

That I may breathe … and live

And hold me close that I might sleep

Soft held by all you give

Come kiss me wind and take my breath

Till you and I are one

And we will dance among the tombs

Until all death is gone

And no one knows that we exist

Wrapped in each others arms

Except the One that blew the breath

That hides me safe from harm

Come kiss me wind and take my breath

Till you and I are one

And we will dance among the tombs

Until all death is gone

Note from the author

Footprints of a Pilgrim by Ruth Bell Graham

I picked this book up, Footprints of a Pilgrim, at the Library Fall Sale.  I mainly picked it up because it had a beautiful cover and was .50 cents.  I thought it would look lovely in my library… but I really had no intension of reading it.  The book was about Billy Graham’s wife and I didn’t think it would be anything I would be interested in.

I brought the book home and considered offering it on Swaptree as like I said, it was a beautiful book.  I started thumbing through the pages making sure all pages were clean and no writing in the book.  As I skimmed through the book I was capturing parts of this story, ” Ruth being late for curfew, sneaking in windows, dating 52 men in college, breaking her arm ski diving and trying to hide it from Billy…”  This actually sounded interesting.

I started reading this magnificent book which is filled with stories of Ruth’s carefree spirit and at the same time showed me a side to Billy Graham that I did not know was there.  He’s funny, he’s real… and maybe if I would ever listen to a thing the man has said I would have known that – and his wife – well she was a real firecracker!  With great stories about their children, and stories written by their adult children about life with this incredible mom it was hard to put down.

I really enjoyed this book and I know I want to read more about this amazing couple.  I want to loan it out to people just so I can share the funny stories!  An A+ read and a real wake up call for me and my preconceived ideas of who someone is.