July Books 16) The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
It's a very long time since last I read this, though I had seen the most recent cinema adaptation - which was more faithful to the book than I remembered, at least as regards the lengthy period of time spent with the Beavers. It really takes a long time to get going, with much exposition from the Beavers and Mr Tumnus before we get to the main plot. As a seven-year-old I remember being baffled and also upset by Aslan's death; now I perceive the heaviness of the allegory, but I am also impressed that Lewis makes the young reader care about a character whose first appearance is more than two thirds of the way into the book. And the style is good and clear: I just started reading Tolkien's The Lost Road, and gosh, it's clunky in comparison. Sure, the gender roles are rather traditional, and the Christianity rather blatant to the adult reader; but there is also a great sense of magic and of a deeper layer of lore and history to the Narnia universe, and you can see why it has lasted.