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The Magician's Book

A reader struggles to reconcile her childhood passion for the Chronicles of Narnia with her more critical adult nature.

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Do you remember your first love? Of course you do. No one ever forgets. There was that falling sensation – that sort of dream-like passage into another world. Along with that came the wish that the journey would never end.

And then, of course, the inevitable sadness when it did – and the fear that nothing else would ever feel as good again.

I’m talking, of course, about books. Which of us ever really gets over that first, deep literary love?

Certainly not Laura Miller. “‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ will always be the best book I’ve ever read,” she states flatly.

Miller was a second-grader, living in a quiet California suburb when a teacher handed her a copy of the first book of the seven that make up C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

“It was this book that made a reader out of me,” remembers Miller, who is today a literary critic. “It showed me how I could tumble through a hole in the world I knew and into another, better one, a world fresher, more brightly colored, more exhilarating, more fully felt than my own.”

So begins The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia, Miller’s lovely, bookish examination of her first great literary love and the book(s) that inspired it. It’s a story for all of us who have never quite gotten over an overwhelming crush on a book.

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