The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite book is in the Chronicles of Narnia series is I often reply whatever book of the series I’m reading at that time, unless of course I’m reading the last battle.

This is mostly due to how greatly I esteem the first 6 books in the series and only marginally due to my opinions of the final installment of C.S. Lewis’s beloved heptalogy. Since this is a review of the aforementioned final installment my opinions will surface soon enough, but first some background may be helpful.

I first became familiar with Narnia while in High school while attending a youth group called Campus Life. Speakers at events would read or tell stories from the books. At some point in the summer of 1980 I purchased my first set of the chronicles and I instantly fell in love with this series and subsequently all of Lewis’s work. This set which I bought back in the Carter administration, went every where with me: college, Russia, South Carolina, and back to Illinois when I returned home to court Amy. This was even the set I used to read to our children (initially in the womb) and the same set my children read themselves. Some of those books are now no longer in existence as while I devour books figuratively, my children seem to devour them literally.

In all that time I generally managed to reread each book every year. This year I decided that I would double down and read each book twice. First I would read the books in the order they were published and secondly I would read them in the order they happen in Narnian history, As my 100 days of summer reading began I was midway through The Last Battle, the final book in the order they were published. On this past Saturday I finished it,

The Last Battle is the last book in the series in either way of ordering them. As I have mentioned it is my least favorite. I’m not exactly sure why this is the case. Many people consider it their most favorite and in my multiple readings of it I have been open minded about improving it’s place in my estimation of it. This has just not happened.

The last battle is the story of the ending of Narnia and in a sense like Jill Pole, a character introduced in the Silver Chair. I hoped Narnia would never come to an end. In that way I may have prejudiced my self to a story chronicling it’s end. There are also parts of the book that if I read theologically I would find myself disagreeing with. However I’m not sure if that’s exactly why I find the book wanting. In fact I’m not even sure if I find the book wanting or it just pales in comparison to the other 6. Because like I said I don’t hate or even dislike The Last Battle, I just don’t regard it the same as I do the other 6.

That being said, I tried as much as possible in this reading to approach The Last Battle with fresh eyes. The past few years I even skipped reading it in my annual Narnia fest, so it would be less familiar to me when I did revisit it.

This approach did work to an extent, and I think I enjoyed the book this time around more than I had in past attempts. There certainly aspects and nuances that I gleaned more from than I had previously. One such aspect I rediscovered was the integral roles Jill and Eustace have in this story. I remember them being in it, but they had an earlier and more prolonged involvement than I had remembered. I thought their part was reduced to the final chapters of the book like the other Friends of Narnia. However much like the Pevinise children in Prince Caspian, Jill and Eustace are called to Narnia for a to provide help in the midst of an already developed narrative and then are very central as the narrative comes to a conclusion.

One aspect I’ve always enjoyed about this book is the role of the dwarves in this book Especially near the end of the book when they are at a feast and all they see is dirt. I have had many such experiences when I have not been able to see the joyous things set before me because they have been obscured by my negative thinking.

I really enjoyed The Last Battle this time around, while it’s still not the best of the Narnia bunch, it still ends the Narnian story in a credible fashion.

If I’m to write a review for all the books I read this summer they will probably need to be shorter , so far I’m on pace to read 26 books this summer and only complete 5 reviews.

Last 5 Posts

As much as I enjoy blogging, I sometimes really enjoy what I call meta-blogging which is blogging about blogging, or as I titled it some years ago blah, blah, blogging.

This blog began when I compiled a few of my previous blogger blogs here at WordPress. These blogs were YBD: Your Basic Dave, Crazy Uncle Dave’s Sports Blog, Dave Out Loud and Writers Write, Readers Read, Rollers Roll. The plan was to post everything under one roof.

During the month of April I was A to Z challenge intensive. In the past few weeks I have been spraying to all fields and hope to continue you to do so.. From time to time, like now for instance, I will step back into the recent past and meta-blog about my last 5 posts. So here they are from least to most recent

A to Z Reflection Post.

I had hoped to write the reflection post 3 to 5 days after the A to Z challenge came to an end, This didn’t drop until the 19th of the month due to busyness, procrastination and mostly trying to do too much with it, I like to have a lot of segments to my blogs one of the segments I call ten things, kind of an homage to David Letterman;s top 10 lists. Once I decided to make the reflections post 10 things I boxed myself in the corner a little. Overall, I liked how it turned out, but if I had to do it over, I would have produced it quicker and shorter.

The Battle for Our National Soul

From time to time I hope to share links to other peoples blogs here. That is what the category OPB stands for. I wanted to get my 2nd post out in the middle of May after dragging my heels on the a to z reflection post. So familiarizing folks with the political observations of a former pastor of mine seemed a good way to go..

One thing I would do differently on this one would be to edit it better. In my 2 paragraphs I mistyped professor, missionary, and evangelical and only just now did I catch it and correct it.

Bill Buckner

Bill Buckner is a former major league baseball player best known for a fielding gaffe that cost the 1985 Boston Red Sox the World Series. He passed away last month. I wanted to pay tribute to him without mentioning the World Series incident. I was pretty satisfied with the attempt although reading it over I think I would put less statistics in it if I was writing it again.

A to Z Road Trip May 2019

The approach to these monthly A to Z posts is not be to caught unawares. During the course of the month I stop by the A to Z road trip spread sheet on multiple occasions go to a blog read and react to the post and then put all the information for that post including my comment on the post I am creating. At the beginning of the next month I publish that post and it has the feel of a blog carnival. The stress doesn’t get to me as I do it in segments. As I write this it’s just the third of June but I have already visited two a to z road trip blogs and wrote about them. When I finish today’s post I may go visit a third.

Summer Reading

Each year I plan to read quite a bit during the summer and I generally succeed in doing so. Each year I also plan to write mini reviews of each book I finish during the summer, I don’t far so well in completing that task. This year I felt If I posted about it, it would give me a little accountability on the writing part of the task.

I did struggle, as I often do with the ending to this post. After multiple stabs at the ending, I finally just decided to end with questions. I wasn’t totally satisfied with that ending either, but I did get a comment answering the questions, so I’m feeling a little better about it.

So those are my last 5 posts. 3 posts that I am currently thinking about or working on are : An open letter to Governor Pritzger (The governor of Illinois). 2 Lies and a Truth, and A Summer Fun Video. There will certainly be other posts than that including some book reviews.

Summer Reading 2019

In my mind, there are 100 days this summer. A lot of people consider Summer the time between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. I lean that way myself. I also am a numbers guy and in some ways a round numbers guy. And you have to admit one hundred is a pretty round number. So Each year around this time I pronounce a 100 day period near the Memorial Day Weekend and the Labor Day Weekend as my Summer Reading time.

This year it began on Sunday May 25th and will end on September 2nd. During that time I like to spend quite a bit of time reading. My goal is to finish 20 books in 100 days. I also hope to post small reviews of each book that I finish. At the end of the Summer Reading Season, I will add a page to the top pf this blog with all the books I read.

I tend to read multiple books at a time and when May 25th rolled around I was in the process of reading 3 books.. SInce then I have started 2 others. These are in no particular order

The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis, which is a book I own

My Final Word, by Charles Colson, which is a book I just purchased.

Rejoice, Karen Kingsbury,, which I borrowed from the library and reading on my IPAD both courtesy of the Hoopla App.

Abortion by R.C. Sproul, I borrowed this book through inter library loan and will be returning before I can get it finished so I will probably borrow it again later this summer

Restoring All Things, Warren Cole Smith & John Stonestreet,I just purchased this book yesterday and plan to read it to my wife this summer.

I generally don’t purchase a lot of books. I own many books that I have not read yet and several more that I like to reread. I borrow lots of books from libraries.

After 7 days with zero books completed I am not on target to finish any books this summer, let alone 20. However, I just need to finish 2 of the books above in the next 3 days and 3 in the next 8 days to be on track for the Summer. That is definitely a perk of having so many books in progress a t one time.

Do you read a lot during the summer? Do you read more than one book at a time? What are you reading now?

A to Z Road Trip May 2019

I am participating in the A to Z Road Trip. This means that I am visiting select blogs between now and March 2020 and commenting on their A to Z posts. At the beginning of each month, I will post links to the blogs I visited the previous month along with the comments I wrote.

Here are the Road Trip blogs I visited in May:

J Lenni Dorner Blog presented Quote #AtoZChallenge Writing #BookReviews as an #Author and #IndieAuthor

Here was my comment: Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip! What a great post. I took your advice and quoted your post on a tweet

Heather Erickson of Heather Erickson Author Writer Speaker was next with T is for Trust your Intuition

My comment: I think that trusting your intuition is generally a good thing and you certainly make an excellent case for it. My wife is a cancer survivor so I will be checking out your 2nd blog as well.

Heather Erickson’s 2nd blog, Facing Cancer With Grace was the next stop and featured the fine post entitled Respite Care for Burnout Prevention.

I commented thusly:

I am participating in the A to Z Road Trip. I think respite care is great. When my wife had cancer we didn’t need much respite as she only had radiation and not chemo. Our family has provided respite services for families with kids for special needs. This has never really felt like service as we got to spend time with super kids while other family members got much needed break. I’m sorry for your loss. Thanks you for writing so candidly about it.

Those were all the A to Z Road Trip blogs I visited in the month of May. I will visit some more this month and post those here come July 1st.

Bill Buckner & The Cubs

Bill Buckner 1949 – 2019
Chicago Cubs 1977-1984

Bill Buckner, one of my childhood heroes, passed away on Monday. There are multiple news stories like this one from ESPN that will give you a biographical sketch of the former first baseman and outfielder. I want to focus here on his time with the Cubs.

Bill Buckner was traded from the LA Dodgers to the Cubs in January of 1977 along with Ivan Dejesus and a minor leaguer. The Cubs gave up Rick Monday and Mike Garman to acquire them.

Buckner played 7 full seasons for the Cubs and was traded to the Boston Red Sox in May of 1984 for Mike Brumley and Dennis Eckersly in 1984. Buckner had lost the starting first base position to Leon Durham in the off season and appeared in his last game as A cub on May 24th asa pinch hitter in the first game of a double header against the Atlanta Braves. He batted only .240 in limited action in 1984 but still hit .300 in his time for the Cubs.

Buckner played 974 games for the Cubs more than any of the other 4 teams he played for. His .300 batting average for the Cubs was 11 points better than he had hit hit with his first team the Dodgers (The .289 he hit with L.A. was equal to his lifetime average. In his 7+ years with the Cubs Buckner had hit 235 doubles 35 triples hit 85 homers and had over 500 runs batted in all the most he achieved on any of the teams he played for. The only thing that diminished with Buckner from his time on the Dodgers was a little of his speed. He had stolen 93 bases for the Dodges about 15 a year. That went down to about 7 a year on his time with the Cubs.

In 1977 when Buckner came to the Cubs, I had officially made the leap from the Cubs to the White Sox as my favorite team. But i still liked the Cubs and Bill Buckner became one of my favorite players on either side of town. Both teams were in contention in 1977 as well a great year to be a 12 year old baseball fan in Chicago. , The Southside Hitmen easily come to mind but don’t forget the Cubs who were in 1st place from May 28th to August 6th. before finishing 4th. .This was very disappointing for the Cubs and their fans as they had led at one point by 8 1/2 games near the end of June. Equally disappointing for Buckner was that the Cubs made it to the playoffs in 1984 but by then he had already been traded to the Red Sox.

You may have noticed no reference in this column to Buckner’s time after the Cubs. That is because I choose to remember him for his multiple plays for the Cubs and not for one play for the Sox team I don’t follow. It was great to think of him again and how much I enjoyed watching him play. I wish the best to his family. I’m sure multiple baseball fans over the country wish the same.