Friday, October 29, 2010

The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan

This is another reread; the first time that I read The Pilgrim's Progress was probably 8th grade or so. I enjoyed it then, and I enjoyed it now. What impresses me most about this book is the myriad Biblical references that are in the margins of the pages. Bunyan wrote all these in himself. His knowledge of the Bible is astounding. His poetry isn't bad, either. I love when authors begin their stories with a poem or two, and he does this spectacularly.

The life of a pilgrim is not supposed to be easy, and Christian's journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City clearly illustrates this. Pilgrim's Progress is one of those books that every believer in Christ ought to read. I know it gives me strength to see the struggles that Christian (and in the second part of the book, his wife Christiana) goes through.

I guess there's not much more I can say about this book other than READ IT! It can be clunky and hard to follow, because there are no quotation marks for those people speaking. The first time I read it, I had to follow it kind of like I was reading a play. That seems the best way to describe it.

All in all, a wonderful book. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one. ~Chinese saying

Greetings, my friends.

Yes, I have created another blog. I have two already, one for my thoughts and nonsense, and the other for the poetry that I write. This one, however, is where I will record the books I read and what I think about them, and of course, if I would recommend them to you. I probably won't update this blog often, especially while in the midst of college, but I shall do my best. This first post is going to pay homage to a series which became an instant classic when the first book was released --

Harry Potter.

I reread (again!) the entire series in a month, just shy of a month ago. Let me tell you, seven books is a lot to read in that amount of time. But I had set myself a goal of finishing book seven before classes began. Unfortunately, I did not quite meet that goal, but I was finished within the first week of class! Now, I reread this series not only because the first part of the seventh movie is being released in November, but because this is a series which holds such a dear place in my heart. I feel as if Harry Potter and Ron Weasley are my best friends. I don't include Hermione Granger in this merely because I feel as if I am her. In all the literature that I've read in my life, there hasn't been a character I could identify more closely with. Maybe a close second would be Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables, or perhaps Jo March in Little Women.
Why is it that stories like that of Harry Potter and his struggles against Lord Voldemort stick out so strongly in our minds? I think it is because in stories like these, good triumphs over evil in the end. The bad guys may win some of the battles, but they don't win the war. That's not the way it works. We as humans want something like this. In spite of all the bad things in our world, we want to know that good will win out. We want to have that hope.
Being a Christian, I do have that hope. It is the hope for eternity, that all that is unclean and "bad" will be destroyed in the end. So many Christians who see the Harry Potter series as promoting the occult need to look more closely. These are not books about the magic specifically; the world the story is set in is magical, but there are clearly defined lines between good magic and Dark magic. This is no different than Chronicles of Narnia, or Lord of the Rings.

My point is, I love the Harry Potter series and the characters as if they were my own friends and family. I can return to Hogwarts School at any time in my mind if I just open one of the books. I think this is what great books are supposed to be -- close friends that we may turn to at any moment we need them.