I spent the day at home yesterday. Not a bad place to be after six days away. And yet the holiday mood still clung closely. Still a good holiday read waiting to be finished, still the lethargy and laziness hanging around. I spent a lot of my holiday time reading, relaxing, walking, eating, drinking, meandering and musing, enjoying the pleasure of nothing to do. I took exactly the correct number of books. Two volumes of the 'Chronicles of Narnia'(one of which I completed on my arrival) a little children's book called 'Once' by Morris Gleitzman, a larger teenage read called 'Twilight' by Stephanie Meyer, and 'The Knife of Never Letting Go' by Patrick Ness (which I completed last night). Each of them was a good read - for very different reasons. I am, at the moment, still immersed in the genre of young people's literature, which is a far more subtle, complicated, demanding, creative and creatively profound genre than many people may imagine!
Yesterday, I caught a video trailer on Stephen Fry's website abut the stories of Oscar Wilde, where Stephen hails Wilde as so many different things and describes how discovering his works when he was young changed the way he viewed literature and language. He was particularly enamoured by his children's stories - they are indeed a moving example of parables, powerfully crafted, language cleverly mastered, delivering truth through story and words. It would be such a waste to think that many adults miss out on what this genre offers! For me, reading a novel, is as good a spiritual read as any devotional book! And children's literature features very strongly in that!
The best Children's literature does indeed deal with important issues, and sometimes rather surprising issues and images emerge. 'Once' deals with the real horrors of the Jewish Holocaust. Aimed at 9 to 12 year olds it is written with sensitivity and fragile honesty. 'Twilight' - although dressed in the fantasy horror world of vampires - really deals with love: what it means to love and be loved, and what it means to be human. 'The Knife of Never Letting Go' has all the ingredients of a book that I really shouldn't enjoy (with talking dogs and spaceships and all!) but it worked beautifully, which meant that I found it difficult to put down: it deals with issues of choice and repsonsibility, what it means to grow up and become a man, what it means to know the truth of who we are, and how we discover and understand the world (and there isn't even a happy ending!) Now that I am home I am very tempted to pick up one or two books that have been lying around the house for some time, waiting to be read or waiting to be completed. But alas there is work to do! A long list has already emerged on my note pad of things to do today. Or do I have just time for one more parable before work really begins?