Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group discussion

33 views
Books by Title/Title=topic name > _The Chronicles of Narnia_ by C. S. Lewis

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments The title, _The Chronicles of Narnia_, includes the following books:

1. The Magician's Nephew
2. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
3. The Horse and His Boy
4. Prince Caspian
5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6. The Silver Chair
7. The Last Battle


For a discussion of the above order of the books, see the following webpage: ====>
http://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Narn...
See the customer review of "Godly Gadfly" at the above website.

The reviewer says:
"The order in which the Narnia Chronicles should be read and published is a matter of great controversy."

The other reviews at the above webpage also discuss this issue. It's an interesting one.


message 2: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I found the following review by a Goodreads member (Mansoor) very interesting: ====>
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

I now see that there are all kinds of issues to discuss about _The Chronicles of Narnia_.


message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6158 comments There's a lot of discussion as to the order the books should be read in. Publication order is one way, but that isn't the chronological order, so can confuse people on the story line. It's the theme that is in publication order, I think. There's a good article about it on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chro...
It lists both orders & discusses it. It's been a while since I read either the books or this article, though.


message 4: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Thanks for the link, Jim. I'll check it out.

I found the following part of Mansoor's review interesting. It concerns the religious allegory in the story. (This may be a SPOILER for some readers.):
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The Magician's Nephew is easily the best story of the Chronicles.
First of all, it's the least overtly religious. ...
Starting with _The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe_, the religiosity becomes noticeable, with the Witch as Satan, Aslan as Jesus, and the Emperor as God."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6158 comments Not a spoiler, but something people should know when reading it as adults, IMO. As a kid, I'm glad I didn't know it. It would have ruined the fun of the story for me. I hated 'reading into' a book, but as an adult, it was OK.

He also wrote a trilogy starting with, Out of the Silent Planet, I think. I found it unreadable, although I know quite a few who liked it. It's SF.


message 6: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim, if you found it unreadable, it probably was. :)

I'm often puzzled when folks read something into a book which I didn't see.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6158 comments I'm a picky reader, Joy. I don't have a lot of patience with writers. They need to grab my attention or I know there's another book out there that can do so. It's been years since I tried reading that trilogy, so it may be OK now. I've found my tastes have changed over the years.


message 8: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Oh yes, our tastes do change. When I was younger, I read Ayn Rand's _The Fountainhead_ and copied 10 pages of quotes which I found compelling at the time. The other day I read my notes over again and couldn't see what was so great about many of the quotes I had valued so many years ago. It could be because they were taken out of context, but I think it's also because I've changed my outlook.


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6158 comments Rand sounds very good to teenagers & early 20's, I think. Especially when reading "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged". I got sucked into her high-contrast, fantasy world where the choices are all clean & the gray problems are avoided. She's an idealist & that's an idealistic age in a person's life - or should be.

The trouble (reality) is, as we get older, we find out that the world doesn't support ideals or high-contrasts very well. There are way more gray areas & messy problems We get more conservative, practical & jaded about good deeds & the goodness of our common man. We've been burned too often & seen too many people milk the system for their own greed.

Rand's ideal of Rationalism is certainly something to aspire to, but like all ideals, it's unobtainable. People won't & can't always be rational. Sometimes their needs collide & no one will ever have enough information or understand the complexities well enough to know which paths are the correct ones for certain.


message 10: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "...but like all ideals, it's unobtainable.

Jim, your post (Message #9) shows a lot of wisdom. You said it all very well. We are constantly see-sawing between our needs and our ideals.

Some quotes:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the probem."
-John Galsworthy (1867-1933) (p. 213, _The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time_)

"Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the cost becomes prohibitive."
-William Buckley
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Also, today on CNBC/C-Span, I heard someone quote David Halberstam. He quoted Halberstam as saying "Objectivity is B.S.".

I googled for a confirmation of Halberstam's words, but couldn't find it. However, IMO, there's truth in them there words!


message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6158 comments I like the sayings. They've got it spot on, although I think that saying objectivity is BS is a little too harsh. If we don't at least try, we'd really be in the soup & we can achieve some pretty decent levels of it.

I don't like me & the word wisdom in the same sentence. Wisdom is something that Buddha or Confucius said. I occasionally get things right now, mostly because I've gotten so many wrong. Beating one's head against a wall eventually teaches even me! (I've found lots of walls!)


message 12: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 03, 2009 09:14AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim, I agree with you about objectivity. We at least have to try to be objective, even though we know that a bit of subjectivity is bound to creep in inadvertently.
At times, even by omitting certain information, we are being subjective. I doubt if anyone can be 100% objective.

As for wisdom, I think each of us has some wisdom in us, some folks more than others.

The following thought has been said many ways, but I like this one best:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
""Judgment comes from experience and great judgment comes from bad experience."
-Senator Bob Packwood, NY Times, May 1986
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


message 13: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments I read all 7 and they were good at first, but towards the end, my interest waned. This is often the case with series, for me, that is.


message 14: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Wow, Jackie. You certainly have read a wide variety of books. I think you told me you were a fast reader. I'm as slow as molasses.


message 15: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments I derive the most pleasure out of reading, so I put the time into it.


message 16: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I think my problem is that I force myself to read what a group is reading, just out of curiosity. I like discussing a book with a group. However, it takes me so long to read one book, that I haven't got time for the books which might be more enjoyable for me. I guess I can't have my cake and eat it too. It's one thing or the other... although I do try to fit both in. Then I'm slower than ever! LOL


message 17: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments Even though I belong to a a sci-fi group and a fantasy group, I have yet to read what they are reading. Either it's not something I want to read, I have already read it, or I don't have the book.
If I've already read it, I can participate.

I can't make myself read something that doesn't appeal to me; there are so many good books that I want to read, I won't waste time on books I'm not into.


message 18: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 03, 2009 05:25PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jackie wrote: "Even though I belong to a a sci-fi group and a fantasy group, I have yet to read what they are reading. Either it's not something I want to read, I have already read it, or I don't have the book.
..."


If I weren't so curious about what all the hoopla is about certain books, I could do as you do, Jackie. And I wish I could. But my darn curiousity gets the best of me. (g)

Maybe someday I'll get smart like you. Meanwhile, I'm plowing away.

I wonder how many people are like that.


message 19: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments I'm sure I've read books that are the hot topic of the moment, but it still has to have some kind of appeal for me to pick it up.


message 20: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 03, 2009 11:46PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jackie wrote: "I'm sure I've read books that are the hot topic of the moment, but it still has to have some kind of appeal for me to pick it up."

Well... I'm waiting for this book, _The Plague of Doves A Novel_, (by Louise Erdrich) to start to appeal to me. It's the library group's selection for Feb. I'm up to page 40 and it's still not appealing to me. I keep thinking... "OK, get to the point!" LOL

I hate it when the writer keeps talking but gives no idea of the plot until you're way into the book. I need a hook. Sometimes the style hooks me. But so far I'm not hooked. I can't keep track of who's who. Too many names. But that may be my own limitation.

BTW, I purposely haven't read the book flap and am reading the story cold, without prior knowledge about it, i.e., I haven't read the book descriptions. I want to judge for myself without being biased by what people say about it.

Hmmm, I just got an idea for a new topic. See the topic which begins with the words: "Book Flaps..." in the Books & Reading section.

Or click here to go to the topic: ====>
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...


message 21: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments To read a book without any prior knowledge takes a discipline and a resolve that I just don't have.


message 22: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jackie wrote: "To read a book without any prior knowledge takes a discipline and a resolve that I just don't have."

Jackie, I'm slowly losing my resolve with _The Plague of Doves A Novel_ !!!! LOL


message 23: by Jackie (last edited Feb 04, 2009 08:15AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments I don't blame you. I'd feel the same way. I don't like when I'm involved with a book that isn't giving me anything. I feel like I'm wasting my time, and one thing I am conscious of is Time, and it's limits.


message 24: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Actually, I don't feel like I'm wasting my time. I want very much to find out why people are reading this book. You see, it's my curiosity that's getting me into trouble. (lol)

I feel like I'm in the middle of an investigation. I'm investigating the book.
Yes, I know... investigation isn't as satisfying as actually enjoying something. In fact, its more like work! :)

You probably have the right idea, Jackie. I wish I could think more like you!


message 25: by Carolyn (last edited Feb 04, 2009 08:37AM) (new)

Carolyn (seeford) I'm with you Jackie! I have to know something about the book, even if it's by a favorite author, in order to read it.

Because of GR, my TBR list is over 1K books now, and growing! I have to stop surfing the shelves at the library and just request books from my list for a while! = )

Then I just need an extra couple of hours in the day to do some serious reading to catch up on the list!

Re: the Narnia books. I loved them, read them all as a tween and though I was raised Catholic, I have to say that I don't see the religious symbolism that everyone else does. I mean, once someone spells out what they see, I can say, ok, I can see what you're saying, but I don't think that is what/how they were written, it is the interpretation of that by literary critics.

I think that there are some basic symbols that you can point to and parallel to many different myths/religions (many of which pre-date Christianity). Personally, I don't see a strong religious content in any of the books, I just see a strongly written *fantasy* world.

Reminds me of AP English in high school (one of the best teachers I have ever had), discussing Lord Jim, or Heart of Darkness, or Othello, the teacher asked us what we thought certain passages meant or referred to. She never dissed our opinions, even if they were different from the prevailing notions of what the author 'meant' that popular literary dissection had determined it to be.

What I learned from her method over all, is that if you ask me what the prevailing thought is about such-and-such, I can tell you that, but if you ask me my opinion, that may be totally different. And you know what? - my opinion (if well constructed) is just as valid as all these so-called "expert's" opinions.

Unless the author wrote some kind of preface/afterword or essay about their writing and actually flat-out stated it, in which case all the literary dissection is really moot. In this case, the wikipedia article quotes a Lewis statement that he didn't write it to 'teach' Christianity - see quote here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chro...

It is also interesting to note, that although only the supposedly Christian influences are debated and discussed ad nauseum, "the series [also:] borrows characters and ideas from Greek and Roman mythology, as well as from traditional British and Irish fairy tales." source: wikipedia.com

Just my 2 cents... = )


message 26: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 04, 2009 10:10PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Thanks for the interesting post, Carolyn, and thanks for sharing your opinions about the book. That's exactly what Goodreads is for... for sharing our opinions and our impressions of books.


message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6158 comments Carolyn, I agree 100% with all you said. "Reading into a book" were words I dreaded to hear.


back to top