100 untimed books: sun

99. sun

99. sun

Some years ago, I read Planet Narnia: the seven heavens in the imagination of C. S. Lewis, which argues that the seven Chronicles of Narnia correspond to the seven classical heavenly bodies. It’s an attractive and plausible theory, and I think that’s as far as I’ll go.

Anyway, if we’re to believe the author, Michael Ward, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is associated with the Sun, and that’s good enough for me to include this book for this prompt. Even if it weren’t, there’s the Sun front and centre on Caspian’s tunic.

It’s my favourite of the Narnia books, and has one of the best opening lines of all time.

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

100 untimed books

100 untimed books: can’t wait to see

22. can't wait to see

22. can’t wait to see

I read a lot of school stories in my childhood and teens, but I only discovered Antonia Forest’s Marlows series a couple of years ago. They’re great: much more nuanced and cynical than the average example of the genre. Or genres, I should perhaps say, because Forest drags her characters through everything from spy thriller to roleplay game gone wrong.

The only problem is, they’re very difficult to find. Some Forests change hands for hundreds of pounds on Amazon. Happily, Girls Gone By Publishers are republishing a selection of titles at irregular intervals. I have End of Term on order, and it should be showing up any time now.

100 untimed books

100 untimed books: lighting

63. lighting

63. lighting

The nights are drawing in. I’ve been using my daylight lamp every day since the beginning of August, and I have to say it’s helped. I’ve been very tired, but on the whole I haven’t been experiencing the low moods that I usually get in these early autumn months.

So here we go. Five stories of music and nightfall.

100 untimed books

100 untimed books: how loud your heart

84. how loud your heart

84. how loud your heart

I’m reading this very slowly indeed: one poem or extract every Sunday. I had to skip ahead some way to find this, from a paraphrase of Psalm 57 by Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke:

My heart prepar’d, prepared is my heart
To spread thy praise
With tuned lays:
Wake my tongue, my lute awake,
Thou my harp the consort make,
My self will bear a part.

But really the whole book seems to speak to this prompt.

100 untimed books

100 untimed books: the rent’s not paid

82: the rent's not paid

82: the rent’s not paid

I am pleased to say that we are in fact up to date with the rent. But it is rather dispiriting to consider that, Cambridge property prices being what they are, we will probably be renting for some time yet. I believe that this was not – for a variety of reasons – something that Gwen Raverat had to deal with.

100 untimed books

100 untimed books: thinking of

91: thinking of

91: thinking of

If I’m put on the spot about my favourite book (for example, here), I almost always go for The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s very long, it simultaneously plays to and undercuts Gothic tropes, it has a ton of moral ambiguity, and there is a lot of early nineteenth century opera and a lesbian elopement.

Stephen Fry, regrettably, omits the operatic lesbians, but I really can’t complain about such an affectionate, funny, adaptation as The Stars’ Tennis Balls. He isn’t just thinking of The Count of Monte Cristo, he’s thinking of it with real fondness.

I’ve got a rather long (and probably you-had-to-be-there) anecdote in which I tried to explain one of the jokes to my brother in the driving rain on the Camino Ingl├ęs. You might see it in a month or so, when I’ve got round to writing up the journey.

100 untimed books