Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Today I went to Barnes and Noble, looking desperately for a funky card.  No luck.  But I was feeling down, so I perused the children's section (always a picker-upper) and the new releases.  
For one thing: are moths suddenly in, and I happened to already be on that bandwagon?  I saw a million and a half books that have moths on the cover (not to mention this adorable gypsy moth brass hanger from Anthropologie), noticeable for being moths that are recognizably MOTHS, not brown butterflies.   One of the books I saw was a pink book clearly aimed at tween girls with several moths on it, and tweens and pink usually go hand in hand with butterflies.  Hells yes.
But this is the really exciting part:

The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia

I want this book so bad I might not even wait for the library to have a copy available (my heart is literally racing thinking about it), or for the inevitable B&N gift certificates I am sure to receive for Christmas.
This book touches on so many topics that are close to my heart, and several I have written on academically, and contains a chapter that dives right to the meat of what I envision my grad. thesis to be about.  From what I gathered on the book jacket, Miller felt compelled to write this because she loved The Chronicles of Narnia as a child, but felt betrayed by the overt Christian theology later in life (oh, that ENDING! Why, Lewis, why?).  
Note: I am not knocking stories that act as religious allegories at all-- they are some of our most beautiful and moving stories (East of Eden immediately springs to mind), but C.S. Lewis and his personal move to Christianity, studied alongside the Chronicles, is an interesting and problematic view of the genre.
I felt the same qualms when I re-read the series as a high school senior, and was shocked to discover layers and layers to the series that were a lot darker and more disturbing then anything I could have understood as a wonder-struck child.  It's part of the quandry of an adult reader: how to retain the awe of a beautiful and amazing story, but to have the understanding of experience and the perspective of a generation several after the author's.  This is a particularly poignant issue for me, having decided to study children's books with the theory of my adult education, but to still approach them with a heart open to imagination and astonishment.
My senior year as a lit. major, my final project was to look at several children's books, both picture and novels, and analyze the relationship between gender and violence-- this project is ultimately what made my decision to become a librarian final.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the book that inspired the project: there is a scene when Father Christmas gives the Pevensies gifts: the boys receive weapons, and while Susan is given a bow and arrows, she is told that women are never to fight in battle except in the direst of needs.  There are so many gender issues in this; several I know Miller touches upon in the book, from the chapter I read standing up in the bookstore.
Part of me just wishes I had written this book myself!

1 comment:

sarah marie p said...

Hi my Britt!
How are you?! I feel like I haven't seen you in forever! Well, I guess it's been a week and a half. Feels like way longer!

I'm so sorry you were feeling down. :( But I'm glad you found that awesome book and all that neato moth stuff! Yay! I'm sure that cheered you up -- cuz that book looks great! I wanna check it out! You must get your hands on it!

Oh, and that moth hook you were telling me is charming! Love it!

Dang, too bad I missed out on those pumpkin cookies. We'll have to make a batch together some time. Whoa, this is basically an email, not a comment. Whoops!