Somehow, I’ve never been able to read this book before. I’ve tried a few times but never gotten beyond the first few pages. Recently I tried again with the help of an audiobook version from the library. It worked, helping me to gain some momentum and push through the spot where I’ve run aground in the past. I found Mere Christianity to be a timely, clarifying, and inspiring read. It was timely, because I need reminding of the big picture of the Christian faith and…Continue Reading “Mere Christianity”

The Screwtape Letters. Most of us have read it at one time or another. I reread it this week with my daughters and was struck again by its often disturbing relevance and genius. On the surface, it seems like a good joke: a senior devil’s tutorials as addressed to his younger nephew, an inexperienced tempter. But I can see why Lewis himself spoke of both the ease of its inspiration , and the unpleasantness of its writing. “It almost smothered me before I was done,”…Continue Reading “Devilishly Clever”

In A Life Observed, author Devin Brown offers a biography of C.S. Lewis for a new audience: “a generation who may know him only through the Narnia films.” Though I don’t fit into this category, I’ve enjoyed this retracing of Lewis’s spiritual development for several reasons. First, Lewis is one of my spiritual mentors. His books have influenced my thinking and my faith in far reaching ways — quite possibly more than any other writer. His ways of imagining spiritual truths are often the first…Continue Reading “A Life Observed”

This was at least my third reading of C.S. Lewis’s culminating space trilogy novel. I reviewed one reread a few years ago here. What makes this reading unique is that it occurs on the heels of rereading the two preceding novels. I was hoping this would enable me to see more in the book than in previous readings. And, I suppose, I did see more, as one always does in rereading. Lewis himself was a rereader, as he explains in “On Stories“: An unliterary man…Continue Reading “That Hideous Strength: Once more into the breach”

It has been a good many years since I read C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra. Recently I reread the first book of this author’s space trilogy, so it seemed natural to attempt a reread of both remaining works as well. Perelandra is Book 2 of the trilogy, and it is the book responsible for reminding me, as a college student, that I loved reading — a reality I had forgotten, somehow. My rereading got off to a slow start, but once the central action kicked in, I…Continue Reading “Perelandra”

What then, were the Inklings? Was John Wain right to call them (as we reported on the first page of this study) ‘a circle of instigators, almost of incendiaries, meeting to urge one another on in the task of redirecting the whole current of contemporary art and life’? Were they, rather, just a circle of friends, sharing talk, drink, jokes, and writings? Something in between or something other? The question vexed the Inklings themselves, their supporters, and their detractors during the group’s existence and after…Continue Reading “The Fellowship”

It seems to us that he went from being a formidable atheist to a formidable Christian right away, but he didn’t. There really are about ten years that we really don’t know very much about. When Lewis was in one way God, I think, was preparing him. These are the thirties when he was just venturing gradually into Christianity. He wrote a few poems, but during that time Lewis realized that he would never be a great poet; all the plans that he’d made for…Continue Reading “C.S. Lewis and Bottoming Out”

We’ve been listening once again to Kenneth Branagh’s impeccable reading of Lewis’s Magician’s Nephew. I have always loved this book; it was the first of the Narnia series that I read as a child, and I know it well. Still, hearing this reading brings out elements of the story that I never registered reading it myself — the humor in particular. Some of these scenes are hilarious! You can tell that Branagh is having a ball when he reads Uncle Andrew’s parts, or the scenes…Continue Reading “Rereading Narnia”

Now 14 years old, this book doesn’t represent cutting edge scholarship on the marriage between Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. I saw it on the shelf at the library, and as a perpetual student of Lewis I was immediately interested. A Love Observed: Joy Davidman’s Life & Marriage to C.S. Lewis was apparently written to fill in gaps, and correct misimpressions, in the movie Shadowlands. As a former director of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College, author Lyle Dorsett brings considerable knowledge to…Continue Reading “A Love Observed”

Along with the many reflections on JFK today are a number of tributes to C.S. Lewis to commemorate the anniversary of his death. I liked this photo essay presenting the different book covers The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has had over the years. Which is your favorite? Mine is this one, illustrated by Christian Birmingham for a picture book version in 2000: Such beautiful, glowing faces! I have a sentimental attachment to Pauline Baynes’ illustrations, but for me they have never seemed to…Continue Reading “Narnia Cover Art”