I wondered for a while what the topic of my first blog post would be. Would I jump right into reviewing or would I ease into it? So, I decided to start somewhere in between and dive into my favorite books growing up (er, I am still growing up, but you get the idea).
It would be too weird for me to rate and review these following books as they are so close to my heart but since I will most likely be constantly bringing them up, I shall rant to you about them now to prevent future confusion and chaos!
The World of Middle-Earth:
Ah yes, the universe created by the illustrious J.R.R. Tolkien! The love for Middle-Earth runs deep in my family. First starting with my great-grandfather who read the Lord of the Rings to my Oma and her siblings as a child and trickled down the generations to me
When I was about six or so, my Dad first read to me The Hobbit. In short, I adored it. I mean, what little girl wouldn’t love dragon slaying and battles? As I got older my Mom would show me video clips from the Lord of the Rings movies and I would beg her to let me watch the full movies. Finally, when I was nine, I watched The Fellowship of the Ring and I remember jumping on the bed afterward with absolute delight. As the years followed, I watched the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies countless times, read the books multiple times, and got Tolkien books every Christmas for at least four years in a row.
As a teen, I got my hands on The Silmarillion and my love was renewed tenfold… as did my love for elves (which I have no doubt you will discover quickly). My fair friends, it has been downhill since the beginning. When I hear that someone doesn't love the Lord of the Rings, I honestly don't know whether to faint from shock or challenge them to a duel. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and epic fantasy might not be your thing, but I will say, it takes a whole lot of willpower to retain the calm appearance of an elf in those situations. These stories are just that beautiful. The hope in the darkness and undying love for the light in Tolkien’s work can make your heart throb.
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it, there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
The Chronicles of Narnia:
C.S. Lewis said that Phantastes baptized his imagination; well, Narnia baptized mine. My Dad first read The Chronicles of Narnia to me around the same time as the Hobbit, but these books truly launched my reading addiction. At that time, I hated reading. Not stories, I loved those but only if they were read to me. Narnia changed that.
In the Summer of my 9th year, I decided to read them on my own. I thought if Mom was going to make me read, I might as well read something I remembered loving. And I was done for. I stayed up till 10 pm, which was scandalously late for my 9-year-old self, reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from the top bunk bed and I finished the whole series in a month. After that my Mom couldn’t get me books fast enough.
Narnia did something to my young heart. It made me yearn. I didn't know how to describe it when I was younger, and I still struggle to find the words today. The almost unbearable longing for something beyond this world. It was like remembering precious memories that had never happened. It made me both want to laugh and cry. And I believe that was Mr. Lewis’s intention. To make us realize the yearning inside ourselves for something greater, the yearning for God and our true home.
The Green Ember:
This series was a journey. A journey I am still taking. My family listened to the audiobook of The Green Ember for a book club with my cousins when I was around ten or eleven. I remembered being instantly entranced by the story from the first chapter during the long car ride to my grandparents. I related to Heather and Picket on so many levels. An ordinary kid with a thirst for magic and beauty through the realm of storytelling. I imagined myself along with them. Thrown out of my happy, peaceful life into a swirling tide of danger and adventure. The books were filled with wonder and sacrifice just like my early childhood memories of Narnia.
Unfortunately for me, the series was not complete. So, I waited. Every year hoping the next book would introduce itself with a ringing of trumpets. The years ticked by, and I was a flow-blown teenager when the final installment found its way into my hands. I finished it on a rainy spring day, and it was the first book to make me cry. Not delicate tears but great heart-wrenching sobs. Not only was the ending so beautifully bittersweet but with the closing of the pages I felt as if part of my childhood had come to a close and another door opened unto a new dawn. I cannot explain what this series means to me. It makes me believe that even now, in our modern age there is still hope. That there are people like me who still dream, who still believe in chivalry, who still long for the dawn.
I would say these three series have influenced me the most in my life. They are so deeply woven into my soul that to destroy their connection to me would be like destroying a part of me. They have opened my eyes and deepened my wonder of God and his creations. I hope that someday my own work will be but a candle to their blaze.