Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff: Rosemary Sutcliff is definitely one of my favorite writers and certainly my favorite within the “historical fiction” label. I hadn’t read Eagle of the Ninth before and it now ranks with The Lantern Bearers in my favorites of her works. The main character’s father disappeared years ago in the wilds of north Britain with the Ninth Spainish Legion. He now is going back to try to find the legion’s eagle but he has no idea what he will find. Highly recommended for slightly more mature readers.
More Spirited Than Lions by Sarah Elizabeth Cowie: This is a former feminist’s examination of the role of women within the Orthodox Christian Church. It uses the examples of women saints throughout the centuries to build a comprehensive view of femininity in the Church and how this both agrees with and differs from contemporary conservative Protestant and Catholic views as well as more liberal ideology. Highly recommended for slightly more mature readers, especially Orthodox.
The Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy Sayers: Some friends of mine recommended Lord Peter to me. I am eternally grateful to them. I have only been reading these books since August but I wonder now how I ever did without them! For the record, my favorites are Gaudy Night, Strong Poison, and Clouds of Witness. But they are all (excluding most of Busman’s Honeymoon) extremely agreeable. Highly recommended for more mature readers.
The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis: I had read the first two some years ago but I think I was a bit young for them. Anyway, I read all three this time around and enjoyed them, although I agreed with Tolkien that the philology is all bosh (although I am by no means an expert). I liked the last book a bit less than the first two, but all three were quite good. Highly recommended for slightly more mature readers.
W;t by Margaret Edson: I had seen the movie “Wit” which was based on this play a few years ago and when I got to college I discovered that my roommate loves the play and had a copy. It is every bit as good as the movie, maybe even a little better. Vivian Bearing is an English professor who discovers that she has very advanced ovarian cancer. Includes one of my favorite lines in the world: “Death be not proud comma death thou shalt die. You see, nothing but a comma separates this life from the world to come.” (From memory, if that isn’t the exact line please don’t kill me, although I would be glad of any corrections.) Highly recommended for mature readers.
King of Shadows by Susan Cooper: This year I really went back to about five or six years ago and revisited some of the books that I liked then. I read a great deal of Susan Cooper about that time but when I re-read a few I discovered that I only really like King of Shadows at this point. It is the story of Nat, a boy involved in putting on a production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Globe in London. One morning he wakes up in Elizabethan England where he discovers that Shakespeare himself is putting on the Dream for Queen Elizabeth. Highly recommended for slightly more mature readers.
A number of books by Madeline L’Engle: Another set I went back and re-read. I don’t always agree with her theology but she has a number of good insights into human nature and our relationship with God and she tells a very good story. I recommend in particular A Wrinkle in Time, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and A Ring of Endless Light. Recommended for slightly more mature readers.