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Showing posts from January, 2010

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Fellowship of the Book: T. M. Doran's Toward the Gleam (Review)

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Christmas is upon us, and Peter Jackson's new Hobbit movie has recently premiered, which reminds me of a great book I've been meaning to recommend. Anyone looking for a Christmas gift for fans of Tolkien's tales of Middle Earth should take a look at T. M. Doran's novel, Toward the Gleam (from Ignatius Press , available in hardback, ereader, and audio editions; get the Kindle version from Amazon .) It is both an homage to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and a gripping tale in its own right. The makers of the book's trailer definitely wanted to draw attention to the connection between Doran's novel and Tolkien's. The cover art design for the book should also remind readers of LOTR. Toward the Gleam 's cover was designed by John Herreid and executed by a wonderful Catholic artist, Daniel Mitsui . You can see that it incorporates some of the design elements from the well-known covers of the 1986 Houghton Mifflin edition (below), such as the r

Michael Ward's Planet Narnia

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I thought I would mention another book that I read recently, which I like very much. This is Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis , by Michael Ward. I won't spend time describing the book just now -- go to the Planet Narnia website and see for yourself -- except to say that it is a work of literary criticism that will change Lewis scholarship forever. And about time! I found out about this book quite by chance -- I was on Graboid (a video downloading service), and trying to find copies of the TV versions of Lewis's Narnia stories that the BBC produced back in the '80s. To simplify my search, I just used the keyword "Narnia." Not only did I find the old television shows (some of them, anyway -- I'm still looking for The Silver Chair , and one or two others), but I also hit on a BBC documentary called "The Narnia Code." This was not a title to inspire confidence; "oh, no," I thought, "another crackpot

Current Reading: Arthur & Augustine

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I'm currently working on (re) reading a couple of things that I have loved for a while. First is T. H. White's The Once and Future King , which I'm reading for the first time in many years, certainly since I began seriously studying the Arthurian literary tradition (in fact, wrote my doctoral dissertation on one of the earliest Arthurian romances, Chrétien de Troyes' The Story of the Grail ). I loved White's story of the boy Arthur as a kid, after reading (about 40 times) the "Golden Book" story based on the Disney movie, The Sword in the Stone , which itself was based on the first part of White's novel. At age 13, I took part in a performance of the stage musical Camelot, based on the latter part of the novel, but I don't think I made the connection. As an older teenager, I finally read all of T. H. White's novel ("The Sword in the Stone" is just the first of four parts), and was rather dismayed at the tragic turn the story tak