Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Narnian

This post contains affiliate links.

I love C.S. Lewis. When I read his books, it's like reconnecting with an old friend. His voice is so familiar, anything he wrote sounds like a letter I've been wanting to read.

I remember reading The Chronicles of Narnia as a child. I still have my little white paperback set in its slip case. Actually, I think it's at my parents' house, because I have a lovely set of hardcovers my husband gave me early on in our marriage. My teens each received their own hardcover set for their birthdays from their grandparents, because they can't have mine. I read them in order of publication, which means I read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe first.

There's always a lot of discussion about the "best" order in which to read the Chronicles, but really, the important thing is to read them. I enjoyed discovering the world of Narnia through LWW, but if you happened to have read The Magician's Nephew first, which is essentially the "creation" story of Narnia, I promise you have not ruined yourself for life. You could even be daring and start with–*gasp*–The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. That's the beauty of books: we all get to enjoy them in our own way.

I recently started reading a biography called The Narnian, and it's a wonderful glimpse into who he was. It focuses more on the intellectual and spiritual facets of his life, rather than the dry when-and-where facts. I tried a different book from the library, and it was just awful. I returned it and got this one at the recommendation of some other Lewis fans. I am also going to read his autobiography, Surprised By Joy, but not until I finish The Narnian. I don't normally enjoy biographies. They tend to read like textbooks. This one is quite good, though. I do wonder, if he were still alive to read all these biographies people write about him, what he would think.

My girls and I read Mere Christianity for school a couple of years ago, and we loved it. As I understand it, Lewis gave a series of radio talks which evolved into this book. His goal was to write a book that discussed the basic tenets of the Christian faith on which all Christians could agree, regardless of their denomination. It's such a fantastic book. I started out trying to highlight and underline things, but I quickly saw that I was going to have more underlining than not, so I stopped. I see myself re-reading this book often.

As I was poking around looking at other books he'd written, I was surprised by the length and depth of his bibliography. He has his fiction works, of course. Everyone (I think) has heard of the Chronicles of Narnia. He also has a science fiction trilogy.

In addition to fiction, he wrote several books on topics of Christianity, as well as several scholarly works. I have Till We Have Faces, which is his retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche, and his book called The Discarded Image, on literature from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It's hard to keep track of exactly what I have, because my teenagers abscond with anything that says C.S. Lewis. I need to go put all his books on their Amazon lists so they STOP TAKING MINE.

I have several other of his books, and am attempting to keep up with an online reading group working through some of his books this year, but I'm woefully behind. (I stink at reading lists. I keep meeting other books and reading those first, rather than sticking with the carefully constructed list I made when I was making my 2016 bullet journal and people were going on about their lists and collections. I have given up on lists and collections. It's a good week when I write my to-do list in my BuJo.)

The one thing I have read by him that I didn't think was the best thing ever was this book of his poetry. I enjoy it because I can hear him in it, but it's really not very good poetry. I've recently read that both Tolkien and Lewis loved epic poetry, but neither was good at writing it. I would agree with that assessment based

Have you read anything by C.S. Lewis? Surely, you have. What's your favorite?


  1. I love everything CSLewis but I agree that the poetry's not my favorite. I'm in the process of reading the Chronicles through again with my younger girls. We're reading in chronological order. That's my favorite way. :)

  2. Hi ,
    All the best for the Challenge:) You made it half way through already <3 Looking forward to read your posts during April.
    Stopping by today as part of the #AtoZChallenge Minion Activity :)
    @sneha_sasi from
    Life As a Potpourri
    Am a Minion for Holton's Heroes

  3. Til We Have Faces is one of my favorites. As for Naria, a childhood favorite, I had the opportunity to see THE wardrobe at Wheaton College (
    Visiting from A to Z!

    1. Really?!? Oh, how exciting and wonderful!