Saturday, November 23, 2013

Books Like Whoa: Where to Start with C.S. Lewis?

Whew- it has been a great week o' Lewis! I have loved dusting off the old bookshelf and revisiting some of my favorite books - not just favorite Lewis books, but favorite books full stop. My modest dream is that someone who has not read any or much of C.S. Lewis may have been encountering my posts and be intrigued to start reading some of his work. How would I feel if I convinced someone to start reading Jack?

Just a little excited.

Anyways, I wanted to give some parting guidance as to where one could go from here. First, if you are interested in hearing more about C.S. Lewis' life and thought, Regent College Audio has a number of lectures available (for free until November 26, 2013). 

As for where to start with the Lewis oeuvre...

I think the best place for anyone to start with C.S. Lewis is The Screwtape Letters. It is where I started, as a matter of fact, I am very thankful that I did. It represents most of what is great about Lewis: humor, satire, his mastery of the epistolary form, philosophical musings, and religious insights. I firmly believe this is the place to start with C.S. Lewis.

There are a few different streams to follow from here...

If you are interested in Lewis' literary and philosophical writing:

1) An Experiment in Criticism
2) The Discarded Image 
3) God in the Docks: Essays on Theology and Ethics
4) On Stories
5) Of Other Worlds
6) A Grief Observed
7) The Four Loves

If you are interested in Lewis' fiction:

1) The Chronicles of Narnia (starting with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and then going back through chronologically with The Magician's Nephew and so on)
2) Til We Have Faces
3) The Great Divorce
4) The Space Trilogy (starting with Out of the Silent Planet)
5) The Pilgrim's Regress

If you are interested in Lewis' religious and apologetic writing:

1) Mere Christianity
2) Letters to Malcolm
3) The Great Divorce
4) The Four Loves
5) The Weight of Glory
6) The Abolition of Man
7) The Problem of Pain
8) God in the Docks: Essays on Theology and Ethics

If you are interested in Lewis' own life:

1) Surprised by Joy
2) A Grief Observed
3) The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis (Vols. 1-3)
4) Letters to Malcolm
5) All My Road Before Me: A Diary

These are my recommendations, though of course there are other books that I turn to for different moods. 

Thus endeth the week of Lewis... For those of you who also love Jacks' work, where would you tell people to start?

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