All Christmas presents are wonderful, and every year the gifts seem more lovely than the ones previous. This year I got a nice selection of books from various people, some that I've already read but that I lacked copies of, some that I've never read before. All are books that I placed on my shelf proudly.
All Loves Excelling: My friend Anna gave me this little Puritan Paperback by John Bunyan, more popularly known as the author of Pilgrim's Progress. However, he also wrote such books as the allegory The Holy War and the work Grace Abounding. All Loves Excelling is a look at Ephesians 3:17-19: "...that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." I just love having a friend who gives such wholesome, lovely, hearty presents! She truly is a dear.
The Pilgrim's Progress: I was also given this more commonly known work of John Bunyan in fine, pretty hardback. It is a recent reprint by John L. Dagg Publishing of a 1891 edition and has at least some of the original illustrations; I didn't own a copy, and I'm very pleased to have such a nice one of Bunyan's classic allegory of a man fleeing from the wrath to come and journeying to the Celestial City.
A Shiver of Wonder: Interestingly, this relatively short biography of C.S. Lewis by Derick Bingham was published by Ambassador Emerald, the same house that published my Soldier's Cross and Jenny's The Shadow Things. Jenny picked it up at a nearby bookstore and gave it to me. I have not yet read it, so for its theme I can only quote the back cover: "...[Bingham] seeks to show the deep influence the environment of Belfast and the nearby County Down had on Lewis’s imagination and sets out to trace the hand of God in seeking one who so actively denied Him."
Till We Have Faces: I have another copy of this one, but it is very tattered, so I was very glad to get a nice new edition; I'm still keeping the old one for sentimental reasons, though. Till We Have Faces is probably one of the most - if not the most - difficult of Lewis' works of fiction, but it was his last and favourite novel. It takes a great deal of getting into to understand any of it, but I love it all the same for its depth and the pictures Lewis paints, and the deeply rooted allegory and truth in the narrative. "Now I know, Lord, why you give no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face all questions fade away..."
The Chronicles of Narnia: Since Jenny moved out and carted away our only set of Lewis' Chronicles, I have been attempting to piece together my own collection - to little avail. I mostly had duplicates of three books in the seven-book-series, some hardback, some paperback. Thankfully, my sister-in-law took pity on me this year and got me a lovely Barnes & Noble leather-bound book of all seven. (Of course, she got Jenny one as well...)
I love books. And I'm running out of room on my bookshelf.