The End of Fall (into Reading)

Callapidder DaysAutumn came to a quiet close last week amid the flurry of pre-Christmas activity. I often like to take note of those singular events—the shortest day of the year, a blue moon, February 29, the Ides of March. But my interest in the end of autumn has to do with the close of the reading period set out for those of us participating in Katrina’s (Callapidder Days) Fall Into Reading event.

For the past three months, those of us participating have been reading books on our wish list. I came much closer to completing my selections than I did during a similar springtime activity. Here’s my final report:

Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook).
Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead.
Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins (Zondervan).
The Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin.
DragonFire by Donita Paul (WaterBrook).
Landon Snow and the Volucer Dragon by R. K. Mortenson (Barbour).
Restorer’s Journey by Sharon Hinck (NavPress).
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.
A check mark indicates a completed read.

As you can see, I have two books on the list that I did not finish. The one, The Restorer’s Journey, doesn’t come out until February or so, but I have been receiving advance copies months ahead of the release date, so I put this one down hoping. It wasn’t to be.

The Dun Cow is unfinished for a very different reason. It’s a tiny book, and I’ve been reading it in bits and pieces for some months. Finally I decided a week or so ago that I should take some free time and finish it so I can check it off the list. I read twenty or so pages more, putting me at the half way point, and I just had to stop. People rave about this book, and I will do my best, since it is so short, to finish it, but I’m finding it hard.

I see some things that I’m guessing make people think this is such a good book, but frankly, so far, a hundred pages in, I find it depressing. Yes, there are small acts of kindness and some redemptive imagery, but animals (yes, a la Animal Farm, or Watership Down, the characters are all animals) die and mourn and conjure evil and steal and fear and brag and … love. Yes, there is some love, just not enough to make the other stuff worth dealing with, at least in anything but thimble-sized doses.

But what I really wanted to report on was the final book I did complete—Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J. K. Rowling. I see no reason to give a full review. Many have done so before me and undoubtedly have done a much better job than I am capable of. I will say that I thought the book was so good, I proceeded to get book seven the next day and devoured Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in less than a week, a real feat for a slow reader like me.

By book five of the Harry Potter series, I was immersed in the story world and relishing the experience. That continued on throughout the final two books. It was fun to read like that again.

The story was unpredictable (though I’d heard much about it already), suspenseful, intriguing, heart-warming, moving, and important. Yes, there was a strong redemptive theme running through it. That in and of itself makes the story important. But it’s also important because of what it means to reading and what it says about readers.

My guess is, the books will be studied for a long, long time. Look at the spate of non-fiction books that have already cropped up to challenge or explain or justify the series.

And if publishers were paying attention, it should also change how we perceive younger readers. No more is the little book a requirement for tweeners. Nor is a big book anathema for young adults.

Ideally the series will also serve as a model for Christians, since it is a great example of how to write redemptive themes for Anyone (not just for those who already believe in redemption).

I could say more, but this post is long enough as it is. Suffice it to say, Fall into Reading was a wonderful adventure that put me into books I enjoy, and I’m hoping there will be another similar Spring Thing in 2008.

Published in: on December 27, 2007 at 3:30 pm  Comments (1)  

One Comment

  1. Great job. I have yet to read Crimson Eve. Just recently watched The Order of the Phoenix. Have not read any of the books..*sigh*

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