Narnia Aslant: A Narnia-Inspired Reading List

In the fifty some odd years since C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia were published, other authors have been inspired by, or provoked by, Lewis’s imaginary land and characters. If you like the Chronicles of Narnia, especially if you’re a die-hard fan, you may enjoy these related books:

Young Adult Fiction:

Here There Be Dragons by James Owen. Owen’s Imaginarium Geographica and the lands it maps are clearly inspired by Lewis’s Narnia as well as other fantasy and science fiction classics.
Nymeth’s review of Here There Be Dragons. I’m pretty much in agreement with her: great literature it’s not, but it is a lot of fun.
Semicolon review here. The sequels are The Search for the Red Dragon and The Indigo King. I just finished reading The Indigo King, and as with the other two it was a lot of fun, mostly because of all the sic-fi and fantasy allusions and in this third book also because of the time travel element which reminded me somewhat of LOST. (Of course, everything reminds me of LOST.)

A Door Near Here by Heather Quarles is quite a different kettle of fish, although it has a Narnia slant, too. It’s young adult contemporary fiction about a family of children dealing with the alcoholism of their mom. One way the youngest child copes is by writing letters to C.S. Lewis and believing that she can go to Narnia if she can just find the right door.
Semicolon review here.

In Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Paterson, Leslie is a fan of the Narnia books, and the children name their secret place Terebithia, which Ms. Paterson says was not consciously a corruption of Terebinthia, an island in Narnia. It sure sounds awfully close to me, though, and the author admits that she probably got her secret kingdom’s name from Lewis, although sub-consciously.

Adult fiction:
Neil Gaiman wrote a 2004 short story called The Problem of Susan in which we get to meet a grown-up, left behind, Susan Pevensie. I suspect I won’t like the story very much, because I don’t like short stories in general and I never did understand what the problem was with Lewis’s having Susan refuse to return to Narnia. She “outgrew” Narnia, so Narnia was closed to her. I’m going to read it, though, just to see what Gaiman’s take is on the whole “Susan problem.”

Nonfiction Narnia-lore:

The Narnia Cookbook by Douglas Gresham. Illustrated by Pauline Baynes. HarperCollins, 1998. I haven’t actually seen this book, but doesn’t it sound like fun. Who wouldn’t want to learn how to make Turkish Delight, even though I hear it’s not nearly as good as it’s cracked up to be?

Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Michael Ward. I’m definitely going to read this book as a part of Carrie’s Narnia Challenge. You can read more about the book here and here.

Any other suggestions for Narnia-inspired fiction or nonfiction?

12 thoughts on “Narnia Aslant: A Narnia-Inspired Reading List

  1. I need to get my hands on Planet Narnia. A while back, I read an essay by Ward, detailing the thesis for what would become the book. Very interesting.

    By the way, I love the new background on your blog.

  2. Planet Narnia is on my list – a friend recently recommended that I read it.

    I have the cookbook and we used it a lot a few years ago when we used a Narnia unit-study that a friend of mine wrote (and sells). The recipe for Turkish Delight never turned out well. I suspect it was somehow corrupted in the translation of measurements from metric to American.

  3. It’s like my fingers are shaking as I’m trying not to hit the “buy now” button on my Amazon account.

    I didn’t know there WAS a Narnia cookbook. (Maybe I can just not tell my husband and maybe he won’t look at the bank statement this month. . . .? Right, ha.) My mom make turkish delight a little while back for curiosity sake and she said it really wasn’t all that great. But it’d still be fun to make. Hmm….

    And I’m with you on the “problem” of Susan. I’ll look forward to your thoughts on that book with much anticipation!

    P.S. LOVE the new site layout.

  4. Our library used to carry the Narnia cookbook and we checked it out often, and then somebody stole it.=( It was wonderful.
    I LIKE the turkish delight recipe in it. It’s something like applets and cotlets, if you’ve ever had those. I have had a rose flavored kind from an Asian shop, and that I thought was nasty.

  5. Planet Narnia is a masterpiece. I read & reviewed it last year (part of my review got picked up and posted under blog reviews on Michael Ward’s blog…hooray!) and I love it so much I’m reading it again. It’s elegant and cogent.

    I recently read the first book in N.D. Wilson’s trilogy (third book still forthcoming). The first book is called 100 Cupboards. Elements of it were clearly heavily inspired by Narnia, especially the Woods Between the Worlds.

  6. A Narnia cookbook! I like the sound of that a lot.

    That Neil Gaiman story is a controversial one even among his fans. I can think of at least two people who love all of his stuff but hated it.

    Another Narnia related book I hear a lot about is The Magician’s Book – a mix of reading memoir and literary criticism about the author’s relationships with the books both as a child and as an adult. It sounds really, really interesting.

  7. I haven’t read Gaiman’s story, but have read a bit of Pullman on the subject, and (much more to my taste), Rebecca Anderson has written a wonderful essay with the same name. Don’t know if this will take HTML for comments, so will just copy and paste. It’s here: http://rj-anderson.livejournal.com/176635.html Well worth reading.

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