Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis | Inklings Series Discussion

(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)

Inklings_Sketch(b)

“A violet yellow sunset was pouring through a rift in the clouds to westward, but straight ahead over the hills the sky was the colour of dark slate.”

How have I not read this until now? I feel like a fake fan! It was a fabulous read to kick off the series and I look forward to reading the other two in the series, but first to discuss!

The first book in C. S. Lewis’s acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity. First published in 1943, Out of the Silent Planet remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force.

out-of-the-silent-planet-cslewis

Here’s a fun fact to kick things off (in case you didn’t catch last month’s read): Tolkien and Lewis once flipped a coin deciding who would write a time travel story and who would write an outer space novel. Thanks to that coin toss, Lewis wrote Out of the Silent Planet and Tolkien wrote The Notion Club Papers (a time travel set in the future of the 1980s :).

I wish I had a better way to say this, but the way C.S. Lewis paints a story is rad. I constantly found myself pausing during the book and just thinking how talented and gifted he was as a writer (and by my description of “rad,” you can see we’re on slightly different playing fields).

Like this:

“Pulsing with brightness as with some unbearable pain or pleasure, clustered in pathless and countless multitudes, dreamlike in clarity, blazing in perfect blackness, the stars seized all his attention, troubled him, excited him, and drew him up to a sitting position…

…now that the very name “Space” seemed a blasphemous libel for this empyrean ocean of radiance in which they swam.”

I mean….

Now onto the actual storyline :). Not only did we once again see the creative and imaginative genius of Lewis, but I found myself wishing all the creatures on the planet were real and that one day I could hang out with them (add that list to Narnia and Middle Earth). I loved what got Ransom to speak with Hyoi was he heard him speaking and his love of language took over, especially since both Tolkien and Lewis loved languages.

I laughed quite a bit too, like with this line: “For a moment Ransom found something reassuring in the thought that the sorns were shepherds. Then he remembered that the Cyclops in Homer plied the same trade.”

When Hyoi was shot and killed (which, by the way did not see coming :( ), I thought Lewis portrayed the aftermath in such a poignant way. How do you explain someone kills something for no other reason than they wanted to?

As I mentioned before, I haven’t read the rest of the series, but I hope there is more to come battling Weston and the forces behind him.

“…our cry is not merely “Hands off Malacandra.” The dangers to be feared are not planetary but cosmic, or at least solar, and they are not temporal but eternal. More than this it would be unwise to say.”

I also really enjoyed the Postscript and the letter between Ransom and the writer. Not only was it a creative way to gain more insight into the world Lewis created, but I like that we got more of what it was like when Ransom returned home.

Here’s some questions I was thinking about:

1. How the hey was Jack (aka Clive Staples aka my BFF) so creative?!
I mean, geez, save some genius for the rest of the world. Obviously this isn’t really a question I expect answered, but I still needed to get it off my chest :).

2. How does this rank against Lewis’ other fiction books for you?
It might be too early for me to make this statement (since I have to read the others), but I think Narnia still holds the top spot for Lewis’ fiction work. But please don’t take that to mean I didn’t enjoy this – I thoroughly did. It’s just hard to beat Aslan. :)

3. I love that Lewis used a sci-fi novel to take a look at humanity. Did that stick out to any of you?
It could be because I’ve been watching Breaking Bad and I love The Walking Dead, two shows that reveal both the bad and good of humanity in different/unique/dire circumstances, but that kept popping up. Take Weston. He’s arrogant and refuses to truly learn about the lives he encounters. He only sought power and dominance. Devine clearly didn’t grasp mo’ money, mo’ problems. Greed drove him, even when he encountered something no one else from planet Earth had. Then there was Ransom. Sweet Ransom. The complete opposite of the other two. I kinda think Lewis wrote pieces of his personality in Ransom’s character too.

4. Did you have a favorite of the Malacandra beings? Between the sorns, hrossa, Oyarsa and pfifltriggi?
I want to pick the pfifltriggi based solely on their name. I have no idea how to pronounce it, but it makes me laugh! This really is a tough one though, but I think I might have to go with the hrossa. They were the first we really encounter, so that probably has something to do with my bias.

What about you readers? As always, please share any other insights as well! Looking forward to reading what you thought of the book!

Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Books

Love’s Fortune by Laura Frantz | Book Review

Guess what? It’s release day for Laura Frantz’ latest and final installment of the The Ballantyne Legacy series! Happy release day Laura! Now let’s dive right in shall we?

Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas’s vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world–filled with family members she’s never met, dances she’s never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes’ shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty. Fans will cheer for this final installment of the Ballatyne saga.

loves-fortune-laura-frantzB

As Frantz has the ability to do, she paints a story that flows with each page. As with the previous installments in the story, besides the romance of the main characters, it’s a story of family. I think that’s one thing I appreciated most about this novel. With grandparents, children and grandchildren, many take their own path, no matter what influence they had growing up. For better or worse, there’s ripples that span generations. I liked that Frantz portrayed a realistic picture of that.

Wren and James have a sweet story as well and I enjoyed seeing each character grow and change. I did think the ending came rather quickly and I wish there would have been a few more chapters to see that all pan out and not as rushed. It was a change of pace from the rest of the novel, so I don’t think I was prepared for it to end so quickly. I still enjoyed it though!

If you liked the first two, you’re a fan of Laura Frantz, enjoy a sweet romance or all of the above, then I think you’ll enjoy this final conclusion.

Have you read Laura’s books before? If so, what’s your favorite one?

(I was provided a copy of the book by Revell Books in exchange for my honest opinion)

Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Books

I Have Some Questions Walking Dead. About 12 of Them.

Do you realize next month at this time we’ll be RECAPPING?! Ahhhhhhh! I can’t wait! Although I’m nervous too…I have a feeling someone major is going to die in the first half of this season. If it’s one of my favorites, expect my blog to be black the next day. I’ll be too emotionally distraught to compose a recap.

But let’s not think about that now because in my mind everyone I like survives and that’s all that matters.

The-Walking-Dead-season-5-banner

Now onto some questions. After four seasons, there’s some things I still wonder about. Are they important to the plot? Probably not, but I still need to know the answers. So wonderful writers of the show, please feel free to chime in :).

1. Who cuts the grass? My good friend first brought this up. And I agree. Unless there’s some grass-eating zombies we haven’t met yet, I’d really like to know.

2. How does Carol’s hair stay short? This especially came into light in Season 4 when Hersh *sniff* was rocking the pony tail, but Carol still had perfectly/cropped trimmed hair. I have yet to see a pair of scissors.

3. How come Daryl never runs out of arrows? Not that I’m complaining…

4. Why are there more psychotic people in the apocalypse than normal people? Why can’t we all just get along? Granted there wouldn’t be much of a show, but still. How about instead of eating each other, we work as a team?

5. Why aren’t there zombie animals?

6. Why don’t folks go Robin Hood Prince of Thieves style and build a community in the trees? I have yet to see a walker climb things.

7. Is the whole world zombied-out or is America the only lucky one? I’m assuming it’s the world, otherwise we have some pretty jacked up allies and neighbors.

8. Can we chat about the essentials of toothpaste and other I-don’t-want-to-live-if-I-don’t-have-these type toiletries? Please tell me they haven’t run out.

9. Can we discuss the mullet?

10. Did I miss the wedding? Or do Glenn and Maggie just call each other husband and wife because instead of planning a wedding they had to escape crazy town led by the Gov?

11. Will all the secrets of the season 4 all hit the fan for season 5? I.E. Carol’s murderous ways, Tara’s connection to Mr. Looney, etc.

12. DOES DARYL DIE? I NEED TO KNOW.

I had to toss that last one in, even if I know no answer will be given.

Alright fellow fans, how excited are you? Any other random things you’ve noticed and have questions about? I’d love for you to join in!

October Inklings Series Read | The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Inklings_Sketch(A)

(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)

the-hobbit-jrr-tolkien

Have I read The Hobbit for the blog? Yes, but that was many moons ago and before this series. I’ll use an excuse to give people a reason to read it. Plus the second movie is coming out soon and I needed an excuse to buy another copy of the book and re-read it again. One can never have too many editions of Tolkien or Lewis. Tis a fact. Plus, I’m always in the mood to discuss Hobbits, dragons and such!

J.R.R. Tolkien’s own description for the original edition: “If you care for journeys there and back, out of the comfortable Western world, over the edge of the Wild, and home again, and can take an interest in a humble hero (blessed with a little wisdom and a little courage and considerable good luck), here is a record of such a journey and such a traveler. The period is the ancient time between the age of Faerie and the dominion of men, when the famous forest of Mirkwood was still standing, and the mountains were full of danger. In following the path of this humble adventurer, you will learn by the way (as he did) — if you do not already know all about these things — much about trolls, goblins, dwarves, and elves, and get some glimpses into the history and politics of a neglected but important period. For Mr. Bilbo Baggins visited various notable persons; conversed with the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent; and was present, rather unwillingly, at the Battle of the Five Armies. This is all the more remarkable, since he was a hobbit. Hobbits have hitherto been passed over in history and legend, perhaps because they as a rule preferred comfort to excitement. But this account, based on his personal memoirs, of the one exciting year in the otherwise quiet life of Mr. Baggins will give you a fair idea of the estimable people now (it is said) becoming rather rare. They do not like noise.”

Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD.com

Discussion date: October 15, 2014

Previous books discussed

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis | May 21, 2014

The Children of Húrin by J. R. R. Tolkien | June 18, 2014

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis | July 16, 2014

Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of a Friendship by Colin Duriez | August 20, 2104

4 (Or More) Questions with Todd Lawton | Founder of Out of Print Clothing

You know what is almost as awesome as books? Really awesome things about books – like Out of Print Clothing. They have such fun shirts, jewelry, journals and other things all book nerds NEED. I’ve been known to purchase quite a few items. Plus they donate a book with every purchase made. A.K.A. They are awesome! I thought it would be fun to connect with the founder and feature him on the blog and he was nice enough to join in,  so please welcome Todd Lawton!

Out of Print Clothing: Literary apparel and accessory company that loves celebrating great stories! Every product sold donates one book to a community in need.

Oh wait, first, here’s some of my favorite things (I love my P&P shirt!)

out-of-print-clothing

Pride & Prejudice shirt, book matches (all books that had once been banned), Scout & Boo necklace, Tote bag, The Great Gatsby journal, Hardbound Classics and the Library stamp t-shirt

1. I love what you offer – so creative! So where did the idea for Out of Print come from?
The long story is it started when my partner and I met in the second grade in Portland, Oregon. The abridged version, is we felt that readers weren’t given the same level of expression through fashion as other interests. Just because you’re reading alone doesn’t mean you can’t show the world what books you like. We wanted to be the band shirt for the book lover. Simply put our mission is to get people talking about reading through making things that people feel good about wearing or carrying. So far, it seems to be working. We have hundreds of thousands of customers making bookish statements about themselves in over 80 countries.

2. I think it’s awesome to have a business model that gives back. Can you tell us a little more where this stemmed from and how y’all got connected to the non-profit?
It was a natural extension. The world would be a terrible place, and we’d be out of work if there weren’t people reading books. My business partner and I feel very fortunate to have grown up with plenty of access to books, so we felt strongly that OoP should help where books are scarce. Through our research we found Books For Africa and fell in love with their mission and methodology. In just over four years we have helped to donate approximately 950,000 books!

Since partnering with BFA, we have developed relationships and supported projects closer to home through other reading and writing non-profits like 826 National, First Book, Girls Write Now, Uprise Books, etc. Recently, we developed a fundraising program that helps schools, libraries and other groups raise money through our website. Seeing the impact our “small” idea for a business has made is incredible.

3. Another thing I love is the annual Book Madness (Long live Atticus!)! How did this one start?
It’s hard to remember exactly how it came to be, but I’m sure there was beer involved. We’re lucky to have a very passionate following that is always up for having fun with books. When Book Madness started it we decided which books would be entered. Now all the books/characters are nominated by our fans. We’re always looking for different ways to connect with readers. Often it comes up as a random thing that makes us laugh…like “Put a Poe On It.”

4. What are you currently reading?
“The Sunday of Life” by Raymond Queneau

5. Most of the Out of Print products are classics, so do you have a favorite Classic?
Obviously I’m quite into everything we do, but lately I’ve been wearing “Brave New World” in green, “Clockwork Orange” in black and Walden in blue a lot.

4 Questions

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
That I’d be lucky enough to be doing this and to be business partners with my best friend.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I wish I would have learned to play a musical instrument. Sorry Mrs. Strauss for terrorizing your music class.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Hearing my daughter have her first hard laugh.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Food seems to taste better while camping.

Thank you so much Todd for stopping by – I’ve loved featuring you and Out of Print Clothing! Readers, be sure to check them out! I’m sure you’ll find more than enough fun finds :)

What are some of your favorite bookish goodies?

Where to connect with Out of Print
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | Google + | Instagram