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Tag Archives: Charles Williams

Well, Look What We Have Here!

My wife’s been gone this past week, visiting family back in Wisconsin. So, what’s an old book junkie going to do to pass the time but go book hunting at his favorite thrift stores and library book sales? Not too predictable, am I?

I won’t go into all the books I came up with, but I will brag about my favorite find of the week. Resting inconspicuously on the bottom shelf of the religion section at the Prescott Public Library was the complete two-volume set titled “The Gifts of the Child Christ: Fairy Tales and Stories for The Childlike,” by George Mac Donald, edited by Glenn Edward Sadler. It’s a collection of the shorter fairy tales and stories by this famous author who influenced such writers as C.S.Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams. It was originally published in 1973 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., and the two-volume set cost $7.95 at the time. Can you imagine that? I’d hate to see what it would cost today!

I’d post a photo, but my wife has the camera. I’ll try to get a pic up here soon.

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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Authors, Book Hunting, Libraries, Old Books

 

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Book Review: “The Place of the Lion” by Charles Williams

The ancient Celts had a saying that went something like this: “The wall between the worlds is very dark but very thin.” Certain times, such as dusk, and places, such as the edge of a forest, were held to be specially thin since they were physical manifestations of the borders between one realm and another. In “The Place of the Lion” Charles Williams uses this idea as a springboard to a somewhat muddled discussion of philosophy.

As I explained a couple of weeks back, the story examines what would happen if “between a world of living principles, existing in its own state of being, and this present world, a breach had been made.” In other words, what if Plato’s ideals and Jung’s archetypes found their way into our world? Interesting premise, no?

Unfortunately, wooden characters, weak plotting and overly long interior and exterior discourses on what’s happening ruin any chance the book has of keeping the reader’s attention. As Anthony, the main character, thinks to himself, “Why did he always ask himself these silly questions? Always intellectualizing, he thought. . .” Indeed.

It’s not that Williams is a bad writer. He isn’t. I mean, you didn’t belong to the Inklings by writing junk. He makes some very good observations, such as,”They also probably like their religion taken mild – a pious hope, a devout ejaculation,a general sympathetic sense of a kindly universe – but nothing upsetting or bewildering, no agony, no darkness, no uncreated light.”

It’s just that, maybe, some people aren’t meant to write fiction, although it seems that Williams wrote 6 other novels. I’m guessing that this wasn’t one of his best. On that basis I’m willing to give him another chance later on.

In the meantime, if the concept of “thin places” intrigues you at all, try the Celtic fantasy novels of Stephen R. Lawhead, particularly his Song of Albion trilogy or the more sweeping Pendragon Cycle. You won’t be disappointed.

As for “The Place of the Lion,” on a scale of 1 to 4 bookmarks, I give it a 1.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Authors, Book Review

 

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Here We Go Again!

I’m back, folks. After 6 days and nearly a thousand miles of driving it’s good to be home. We had a great time with our friends and spent several wonderful hours with my mother and aunt in California. From there, we rolled into Laughlin, Nevada. After we arrived there, however, the rolling stopped. Donna hit a small jackpot playing video poker, but I mainly fed the penny slots. Hey, they were hungry!

Of course, I read. I made it about half-way through Dean Koontz’ “What the Night Knows.” I’ll go into more detail after I’ve finished it, but I can tell you all now this book is one of his best in a while. I also finished Charles Williams’ “The Place of the Lion” before we left and I’ll have a review up soon on that one as well.

It is good to be back, and I’m looking forward to writing and sharing ideas with you all in the days and weeks ahead.

Oh! How rude of me. What have you been reading while I was away?

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Authors, Book Review, What I'm Reading

 

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Monday Book Report

Two friends hoofing it through the English countryside are warned about an escaped lioness roaming the area. A short time later, the two young men witness the lioness leap a garden gate and collide with a man passing by. When the tumbling forms finally settle and the scene becomes clear, the two witnesses see standing over the prone man not a lioness but “a lion such as the young men had never seen in any zoo or menagerie; it was gigantic and seemed to their dazed senses to be growing larger every moment.”

So begins “The Place of the Lion,” by Charles Williams. If you’ve never heard of the book or its author, don’t be surprised. Charles Williams was a lesser known member of the famous writers group The Inklings. C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were two of its more famous members.

I had never heard of this author either until a few months back when I happened across this book at one of my favorite thrift stores. For only ten cents I couldn’t pass it up. This weekend I picked it up and began to read. I’m glad I did.

The story examines what would happen if “between a world of living principles, existing in its own state of being, and this present world, a breach had been made.” Thus the escaped lioness becomes the archetypal LION. Other archetypes begin to appear as well. Fun ensues. OK, maybe not “fun” exactly, but it sures makes for a fascinating tale.

I’m only five chapters in, but at a bit over 200 pages this won’t take long to finish. So far I can see more than a little of C.S. Lewis in here, which isn’t surprising since evidently Lewis and Williams were close.

I’ll give a complete report when I’ve finished it.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Book Review, What I'm Reading

 

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