Every year I read the same books over because I value them as great works of literature and also because they speak sound theological truths into my life. It has been a venture that if highly rewarding. I would recommend it to anyone! Reading just a book a month is good for your brain and also your heart. Of course if you are a reading monster like me you will read above and beyond the one book a month! Here are my twelve books.
1. January- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
“They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps has already landed”
This series first introduces you to the world of Narnia, and Aslan himself. It is no great secret that the Chronicles of Narnia is my favorite book series of all times. I reread the series every year because the story of Narnia is so beautiful. It is a shame that this series has never been fully made into a movie series however I think that it is quite possible that the story could be ruined through adapting it. And taking it wholly from the book is never an option it seems.
2. February – Prince Caspian.
“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”
The second installment of the series is my least favorite out of the whole series but is still worth a read through every year for the sake of the overall story. I do admit that during the movie I cried like a baby when all the animals were trapped in the castle and forced to die because of Peter’s dumb plan.
3. March- Pilgrims Progress
“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend;
The difficulty will not me offend.
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up, heart; let’s neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”
One of the greatest allegories ever. Often people will tell me that they do not like this story because it is so obvious with whom they are talking about and such but this story only grows every time that I read it. I find that I can sympathize with certain trifles that Christian falls into and I really enjoy the end with the river to get to the Celestial City. As a young kid my mom and dad used to read me a chapter a night from this book and I will do the same to my children when they are old enough because it is a great story!
4. April- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
“But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.”
This is my second favorite installment of the whole series! I love the sea-faring stories and I love the ending. This is also the first installment where C.S. Lewis directly correlates Aslan to Christ. “In your world I have another name, you must learn to know me by it.” The redemption story of Eustace is wonderfully done.
5. May- The Silver Chair.
“I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”
The fourth installment of the series shows the tail end of Eustace’s redemption story and will pick back up with it in the Last Battle. Oh Puddleglum. He is my favorite character from the whole series. As faithful and loyal as a dog! The quote above from his mouth deals with a huge philosophical debate in such a candid way. What if we have made up this religion that we follow? What if it is all made up. Well then does following this religion seem like a better way to live then without it? One of the things I love about C.S. Lewis is his theological outlook on things.
6. June- The Imitation of Christ.
“A sure way of retaining the grace of heaven is to disregard outward appearances, and diligently to cultivate such things as foster amendment of life and fervour of soul, rather than to cultivate those qualities that seem most popular.”
Called the greatest devotional of all time. I can understand it earning such an honor. This book while not being a story like the rest of the books is a wonderful wonderful read and really makes you think through things in your life.
7. July- The Horse and His Boy.
“I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the horses the new strength of fear for the last mill so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”
This story is so good as it has nothing to do with the Pevensie’s. This story is completely different it deals with different character. That is great because it shows that Aslan isn’t just there for the Pevensies but that his godly nature and nurture if for all the creatures of Narnia and he takes care of them all. This is a great story about providence.
8. August- The Great Divorce.
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ”
This story certainly provides with an interesting view of hell and heaven. I really enjoy how it matches with Narnia in a way and I love the way that he describes heaven. C.S. Lewis has just a way of describing Heaven which made you ready to be there now!
9. September- The Magicians Nephew.
“But please, please – won’t you – can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?’
Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.
‘My son, my son,’ said Aslan. ‘I know. Grief is great.”
The genesis of Narnia. This story is also one of the saddest stories of Narnia. But it shows you the beginning of all that was and is Narnia. There is also the funny part about the witch being in England. This is the first story where the adventure takes place in England and ends up in Narnia instead of the other way around.
10. October- The Screwtape Letters.
“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
This backwards story about demons trying to drag a soul into hell is surprisingly telling. At first I did not want to read this story but it has since made its mark. It will scare you how normal the scenes will appear and how you have seen them in your own life.
11. November- Stepping Heavenward
“This is the testimony of all the good books, sermons, hymns, and memoirs I read–that God’s ways are infinitely perfect; that we are to love Him for what He is and therefore equally as much when He afflicts as when He prospers us; that there is no real happiness but in doing and suffering His will; and that this life is but a scene of probation through which we pass to the real life above.”
I could go on and on and on about this book. Until you have read it you will not know but it is a wonderful story. Especially for women as it deals with a lot of their insecurities and doubts and pains and really points it all back to God. It is wonderful to read and will encourage anyone.
12. December- The Last Battle.
“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
The last book of Narnia is so beautiful that I always cry when I finish it. The vision of Heaven or Aslan’s Country is so mesmerizing and saying goodbye to all the characters you have grown to love is heartbreaking. This in my mind is a masterpiece and my absolute favorite out of the whole series.