his dark materials.

Into this wilde Abyss,
The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave,
Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixt
Confus'dly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless th' Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more Worlds,
Into this wilde Abyss the warie fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and look'd a while,
Pondering his Voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross.
— Book 2, lines 910–920
[John Milton, Paradise Lost]

There are some books I love so dearly and are so clear in my mind that I feel as if I've experienced them, actually lived and explored that world.  His Dark Materials is probably my most prominent example of this since I have a hard time remembering if I've seen a movie of all of these books because I can picture the story so vividly.  Of course, I have seen the first movie... you are probably familiar with, at least with the name, The Golden Compass, but that movie doesn't even scratch the surface, and it's not the most vivid in my mind... it doesn't have Cittagazze, or the World of the Dead, or Will... oh dear Will!  I love these books so much that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about them.  I've read the series several times, but I've read the last book, The Amber Spyglass, the most.  Over Christmas break John and I listened to the entire series on audibook -- what a joy that was!  It's a perfect book to have read to you. 

I've been aching for those words in my life again so I went back to the library to check out the audiobooks again.  Listening to Lyra's adventures before bed, while driving, or even at work (when I have time to do work that doesn't require complete concentration) are a great way to get those words in my heart again.  Man, am I thankful for these books. 

If you haven't read them, you should.  John and I had so many wonderful discussions about "big" topics while we listened to them.  Life, the nature of humans, the universe, religion, politics, death, ancient history, physics... it's ridiculous how many topics you want to mull over and discuss with people when you read these books.  And Lyra & Will are two of my favorite literary characters (... as well as Mrs. Coulter, though not because I love her, but because she's so complex).  I can't say enough good things.  The characters, the writing, the plot, the message... these books are top notch.

[I wish I had a running count for the amount of times I've talked about these books on all of my social media outlets... all of this is probably super redundant.  I just wanted to post about it today because it's been so strongly on my mind lately.]

fyi - I don't know the original source of the image above. I found it on a blog and they didn't give credit.  I apologize for not crediting an original source properly. But how lovely is this image?  I love that it captures something important from each of the books.

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