C.S. Lewis: educational DVDs, books, devotional, Bible and other recent resources

Lewis,C.S.svg.pngDecember 10th 2010 will mark the opening of the third in the Walden Media, big-Hollywood film versions of the famous and beloved C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.   Oooh, this is going to be a good one, isn’t it?  So much to consider, such a tale.  And how many preachers or Christian teachers have used the famous and deeply moving scene of Eustace getting the dragony scales removed (and becoming a boy again!) by the painful kindness of Aslan?  I’ve heard from reliable sources that this third installment is excellent.

This year has marked also some very important new C.S. Lewis resources, books and audio and–yes–some educational DVDs that are sorely needed, to enhance our appreciation of the great Oxford don.

And appreciate him, we should.  For many conservative evangelicals, Lewis has little cache these days, it seems, and they fret about his being too academic or theologically demanding. And maybe too liberal.  For many liberal mainline folks–including some I talked to about this just recently–they think he is, well, too demanding.  And too conservative.  Some days, you know, I just want to smack my head.  Or, Lord have mercy, somebody else’s.

I will be the first to admit that not all of Lewis is perfect for everyone.  In the brand new book of book reviews which I’ve been talking about this week, Besides the Bible: 100 Books... my friend Susan Isaacs, a smart-as-as-whip Hollywood comedian and funny-as-can-be memoirist (Angry Conversations with God) does the review of N.T. Wright’s spectacular Simply Christian, comparing it to a 21st century Mere Christianity; her explanation of why Wright resonates more than Lewis these days rings true.  Although a few other Lewis works are cited in Besides The Bible (A Grief Observed and Lion Witch and the Wardrobe) Mere did not make it.  And I think Susan is exactly right: Mere Christianity is not the easiest book to give to seekers these days, and his lock-step logic isn’t as persuasive as it once was.  Where college age students, or Christian college professors, used to wave their Lewis around as a badge of honor—we can be orthodox Christians and seriously intellectual–nowadays it is more likely that they will push the impressionistic Donald Miller or the justice-minded Shane Claiborne.  It is a sign of the times, and perhaps it is not all bad.

Yet, yet, folks really ought to know Lewis, and know him well.  If I were editing the Besides the Bible naming the top 100 books to “create a Christian culture” as the subtitle has it, I’d surely suggest the Weight of Glory.  And the devious joys of Screwtape Letters. (And that lightlyscrewtape.jpg illustrated, wonderful gift edition gives it an extra punch.)  N.T. Wright has said that it was Miracles that allowed him to even imagine the possibilities of the resurrection.  Not a few have told us that Till We Have Faces is one of their all time favorite books.  The essay “On Learning in Wartime” is often cited about the ways in which we should commit to being serious students, even as the horrors of this world rage.  The Abolition of Man is as incisive social criticism (a critic of scientism and bad education) as it was in the 1944.  Letters to Malcolm is a sweet study of prayer—thanks to hip-hop fan Schooley for reminding me of how good it is!  The Four Loves is still so often cited (and the audio CD version is actually his voice, the only Lewis audios that are available for purchase.) His Cambridge University Press book An Experiment in Criticism is a classic in the field about how to read texts.  His many letters are famous.  The wild story about “a bus ride to hell” (The Great Divorce) has tons of provocative insights. And how ’bout that “Space Trilogy?”   And all those pithy lines!  All those quotable paragraphs!  (Even the edgy, missional The Advent Conspiracy book and DVD drawscfCle.jpg on his powerful suggestion that we all ought to truly give away our money until we actually feel it, unable to do some things because we’ve been too generous.)  Many educated Christians have a favorite passage or two from Lewis.  I think we should read him more, follow those who are writing about him, and know the body of work that has grown up around him.  A great place to start, in fact, is the great paperback by our friend Art Lindsley who wrote the engaging and helpful C.S. Lewis’ Case for Christ (IVP; $15.00)  What a fun and interesting story, teaching how Lewis used reason and imagination in his own journey to a “baptized imagination” and eventual faith in Christ.
Art and our friends at the C.S. Lewis Institute have a nice article about Lewis which is a fine introduction, with links to articles about him, here. 

Although it is a matter of some debate among the tribe of serious Lewis fans, most would agree that the very best, most serious, and rewarding biography of Lewis is the much-acclaimed 2008 release, The Narnian written by Alan Jacobs (HarperOne; $14.95.)

Here, then, are a few new resources on Lewis, some quite useful for beginners, others a bit unique for the true fan.  The last year or two has seen remarkable new studies, and we hope you consider them—maybe your church library should have them, or a few key titles could be bought by your fellowship group or even your public library.  There are some very exciting resources here, and two of them–both new DVD studies— I believe can only be found in a handful of stores nationwide.  You know we have the good stuff—read on, my friends, as we go “higher up and further in.”

41yY67ly7TL._SL500_AA300_.jpgThe C.S. Lewis Bible (New Revised Standard)  (HarperOne) $34.99  Okay, might as well start here, the creme de le creme of new Lewisonia product.  Yes, this is a serious study Bible, classy, handsome, useful.  In a lovely small font the front cover says “For Reading, Reflection and Inspiration” which, I hope, is indeed the point.  As we read God’s Word—and the NRSV is very good if you don’t use it regularly—we must reflect and, hopefully, be inspired to greater clarity and obedience.  Lewis may not be the final interpreter of Scripture, but he’s a smart and clear thinker,devout and humble.  These Lewis quotes and essays and sidebars sprinkled throughout are really quite remarkable, and we’d be happ
y to have folks journey for a year or so through their Bible study with Lewis at their side.  There are over 600 readings, culled from his books, essays, and letters.  The double-column format is readable with a classic design and there are indexes and concordances (for both Biblical text and the Lewis apparatus.)  Rave review endorsements have come from Rowan Williams and Eugene Peterson and Richard Foster and J. I. Packer.  Lewis experts (like Salwa Khoddam of the Inklings Society, have given it a thumbs-up as well.)  I think this is just about the coolest release of the year, and I am sure you know somebody who would love it.  They may not even know they’d love it (which is where you come in, naturally.) Three cheers.  No, wait, when you see the pairing of insight and text, Bible and Lewis, you’ll give three more cheers.  Hip, hip, hurray, or whatever those reserved Brits would have said, pubbing at the Eagle and the Child.  This is great!

Inside-Dawn-Treader-Book-Cover1.jpgInside the Voyage of the Dawn Treader: A Guide to Exploring the Journey Beyond Narnia Devin Brown (Baker) $12.99  This is a fine, fine book, and the only one committed to exploring the Dawn Treader book. Yes, this really will help you understand the book, talk about the movie, and learn to “discover the far reaches of Narnia.”

Listen to this great bit by Michael Flaherty of Walden Media

If Edmund were to finally receive a belated gift from Father Christmas, he would be lucky if it were a copy of my good friend Devin Brown’s book.  Like Lewis, Devin is someone who adores great stories and effortlessly weaves them throughout his book.  As a result, upon finishing Devin’s book the reader is hungry not only to read more of Lewis, but to read more great literature.  This book will surely be banned at Experiment House.

Mr. Brown is a Lilly Scholar and a professor of English at Asbury University.  He is the author of the wonderful Inside Narnia and Inside Prince Caspian, which, of course, we also stock.

51VzwBWPrGL._SL500_AA300_.jpgThe Lion, the Mouse and the Dawn Treader: Spiritual Lessons from C.S. Lewis’ Narnia  Carl McColman (Paraclete) $14.99  Do you seek the “radiant light of the silver sea”?  Does it even choke you up to ask, to hear the invitation?  This is a brief, but serious exploration of Lewis’ story, indeed, but it is more.  The author is a bit of a character, himself, a former new age spiritualist, who discovered the reality of the risen Christ by his study of Celtic spirituality.  Ahh, ahh, what a journey.  And what a fine person to do a book like this, weaving deep truths from ancient writers (he has also edited The Big Book of Christian Mysticism) relating them to the popular Narnia stories.  Popular Jesuit writer James Martin says it is “Playful, provocative and profound.”  Pretty good for an Irishman, eh?

The back cover notes that Dawn Treader is built around the Christian journey:

from resisting God’s grace to discovering the reality of sin to finding relief in the waters of baptism.  This voyage,for Christians of all ages, if full of adventures, temptation, discomforting silence, dealing with “Dufflepuds” (distractions) and a final terrifying journey to the “Island of Darkness” (the dark night of the soul.)  As the Dawn Treader sails beyond where the stars sing, you will discover a world of wonders characterized by light and clarity, and encounter Aslan—Christ—himself.

I love the quote by Trina Paulus, author of the old classic Hope for the Flowers, who wrote “You can touch the hole journey of the Christian search for God–and likely be spurred toward renewal in your own life—by getting on this Narnian ship.”  McColman brings a commonplace, yet mystical tone to this, and while it is playful, he gets at some profound stuff in ways that many Lewis interpreters do not.  Chalk it up to his Celtic insight; he sees Narnia as the “thin place” which it surely is.  Very interesting, accessible, and inviting.

9780061985515.jpgA Year with Aslan: Daily Reflections from the Chronicles of Narnia  (HarperOne) $22.99  What a great, great, idea!  Why haven’t we thought of this before??  This is a compact-sized hardback, handsome as can be, with 365 excerpts from various Narnian episodes, all that feature the grace and goodness, fearsomeness and felicity of the great Lion.  What more can we say?  For anyone who has seen the movie just recently, or for anyone who once loved the stories—parents, remember reading these out loud to your youngsters?  We sincerely this would make a great, great gift.  Give this as a gift, keep one on hand, dip in to it as you can.  It will be a keeper, one to use as a reference to look up that ill-remembered line) or as a true devotional, drawing strength as it points you to the Christ.  There are thought-provoking questions to consider each day, as well, giving it even more value.  Very nicely done.

2.jpgDVD The Question of God: Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis with Dr. Armand Nicholi  (PBS Home Video; $34.99) and Conversations on the Question of God Study Guide by Bill Smith (C.S. Lewis Institute, Atlanta; $12.00)  We cannot tell you how interesting this whole project is and how thrilled we are that the good folks at the CSLI, Atlanta, invited us to stock this study book they lovingly prepared.  You may know the New York Times best-seller The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life by Harvard Medical School professor Armand M. Nicholi (The Free Press; $15.99.) It so insightfully compared and contrasted the worldviews, assumptions and subsequent views of the meaning of things between these two classic thinkers that PBS made a quirky, creative docudrama based upon it.  (No, Lewis and Freud never really met, but as the Boston Globe review exclaimed, this sure makes you wish they had!)   The book is great, and the DVD fascinating.  It is good for anyone wanting to learn about the “differences differences make” and who wants to examine not only the truth-claims of these representative thinkers but wanting to know how best to defend a Christian perspective in conversation with others.  We’ve stocked the book and DVD since they came out a few years back.

Enter Bill Smith, founder of On The Way Ministries and Director of t
he Atlanta C. S. Lewis Institute, who then did a wonderful study guide for the DVD drama, helping us consider how it helps sort through the many issues raised by this remarkable PBS piece.  Dr. Nicholi’s
9780743247856.jpg Question of God: Lewis and Freud Harvard class has a waiting list, I’m told, and he only offers it about every three years at Harvard Med.  The book is sheer genius, and the DVD adaptation is truly interesting, so we can now essentially audit this popular Harvard class!  How cool is that?!.  But the study guide—ahh, that’s the ticket!   Bill Smith’s 9-week resource is  an excellent tool to launch your own study of Christian convictions, and how the Christian vision of Lewis can hold up in contrast to the inherent confusions, foibles, implications, and dangers of the contemporary views.  We stock the regular Question of God book, of course.  We especially recommend the DVD and study guide.  (The carefully designed study guide, again, is for the PBS DVD, not exactly the book itself.)  Watch the DVD, use the thorough and interesting study guide, alone or, better, in a group.  It is ideal for study groups, home Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes, a weekend retreat, even.

Bill Smith is a capable Lewis scholar and a gifted teacher about apologetics in the modern and post-modern world.  His passion to allow Lewis to speak to our generation drew him to the DVD, and his Biblically-sound leadership and teaching skills enabled him to create this first-class, useful study resource.  What a clever and creative way to explore contemporary apologetics.  What an important topic, to see how Christian conviction relates to the ideas of contemporary culture, influenced, as they are, by Freud and company. What a fun way to be reintroduced to the persuasive power of C.S. Lewis, and learn his own ways of expressing Christian truth in ways that are solid and clear.

When ordering, please specify if you want the book, the DVD, or the Bill Smith Conversations on the Question of God Study Guide.   As always, call about quantity discounts for group use.

mere-christianity-featurette-1_0.img_assist_custom.jpgDVD The C.S. Lewis Study Program: Mere Christianity  Dr. Chris Mitchell (C.S Lewis Institute, Washington, DC)  $19.99  I cannot tell you how many times we have been asked here at the shop for a resource to walk readers through the logic and analogies and teachings of Lewis’ most influential work,  Mere Christianity.  Here—fife and drum roll, please—at long last, we have not only a good, but a truly exceptional aid.  This is the answer to that 41779_118450480791_7820_n.jpgquestion I wish we’ve had decades ago.   This new DVD is a great, great release, and we are exuberant to finally be able to make such a resource available.  If you love Lewis, you will know what I mean when I say this is precious, holy,  life-changing material  And if you do not, but wonder what all the fuss is about, this may be the perfect entry.

In this four-part DVD set, Lewis scholar Chris Mitchell, Director of the respected Wade Center at Wheaton College, uses his great knowledge and good communication skills to ably present a stunning set of lectures on Lewis, literally reading through Mere Christianity paragraph by paragraph.  As you may know, Lewis was a master at a building an argument, making a case, and following his logic is itself a tremendous intellectual exercise. (Use this study program just for that, if you want—your brain and our culture will thank you if you learn to think more clearly and care more deeply!)  But learning to think well is only half of the fun: Lewis helps us learn to think after God, to seek truth and follow Christ with proper confidence.  And, again, as you may know, much of Mere Christianity explores the implications of the Christian faith for living the good life, for morals and ethics and meaning.  Knowing what we believe and why we believe it, is essential.  Knowing how to live out our convictions with joy in the real world is equally so.

mitchell.jpgC.S. Lewis is, for a whole variety of reasons, one of the chief thinkers whom God has used to ignite several generations of vital leaders in our lifetime.  Here, you can learn why.  Get a paperback copy of Mere Christianity (being prepared to mark it up) and follow along in this excellent, jam-packed, DVD lectures.  Delightfully, the CSLI, wanting this to be a truly useful tool for individuals or groups, hired an experienced small group discussion guide writer, so there is a handy and valuable discussion booklet in each DVD case as well.  The lessons are about 45 minutes, by the way, so most adult education classes in churches would find this a perfect class elective.

 The C.S. Lewis Study Program: Mere Christianity DVD comes handsomely packaged, in a compact, zippered case, which comes in a handsome slipcase.  It would make a great gift.  The lectures are crisp and illuminating.  The study guide is useful and a real asset.  Of course the real value, though,  is in the truth of Lewis’ claims, his call for a mere kind of basic Christianity, the essence of faith in the truth of Jesus Christ.  Do you know this central core of faith? Do you wish you could explain it better to others?  Do you wish you had a little of the famous Lewis logic, wit, and imagination?  Spend a few weeks being stimulated with this one-of-a-kind curriculum.  We think you will be glad you did.  Note that the $19.95 price is an introductory one and may be going up

Restoring Beauty: The Good, The True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C.S. Lewis Louis Markos (Biblica) $19.99  I suppose this could be a generic title to any good book about Lewis, but, trust me, this is precisely what this book is about and Dr. Markos—he holds the Robert Ray Chair in Humanities at Houston Baptist University—is the perfect scholar to do it.  He is renowned (in a very small circle of appreciative ancient literature geeks) for his breathtakingly good book From Achilles to Christ which explores why Christians should read the ancient Greek classics.)   This is a passionate study of the ways our culture has devalued truth and beauty and while one need not agree with all of his cultural criticism, he brings Lewis’ insights into the contemporary debates about good and evil.  Fascinating.

The book concludes with an updating of the letters of Screwtape and what Satan’s temptation tactics have been since the 1960s,  There is a detailed bibliographical essay about some of Lewis’ books and some of the best books about him.  Very intere
sting and very helpful.  

By the way, last year, Markos released Lewis Agonistes: How C.S. Lewis Can Train Us to Wrestle with the Modern and Postmodern World (B&H Books; $19.99) which was a superb study of how Lewis might speak to today’s intellectual milieu.  I was fond of that little book, without agreeing with it all,  and it is a great resource for those interested in Lewis,  apologetics and developing a Christian sensibility about our complicated times.

C.S. Lewis as Philosopher: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty  edited by David Baggett, Gary Habermas, and Jerry Walls (IVP) $23.00   There are five or six lucid, deep, academic pieces around each of these themes.  Some big names show up—Peter Kreeft, Jean Bethke Elshtain even Antony Flew,  and a few of the papers delivered have Latin in the title.  Just saying.  But this volume really is a very comprehensive survey of many of the big philosophical issues that can be explored in Lewis’ light.  From his “argument from reason” to the “problem of hell and enjoyment of good” to matters of theodicy, these authors are doing some very heavy lifting.  Very impressive scholarly collection and a good example of how some philosophers are mining Lewis’ work, even today, with new and important insight.

A Sword Between the Sexes: C.S. Lewis and the Gender Debates Mary Stewart Van51esMPiZTBL.jpg  Leeuwen (Brazos) $19.99  We have written a bit about this before, and promoted it anywhere we can. We like this author and we find the topic fascinating and important.  This has been the most discussed volume of recent Lewis studies in years, it seems, and it has been both lauded, appreciated,  and severely criticized.  John Hare of Yale Divinity School says, bluntly, “This book is an eye-opener.”  Christine Pohl weighs in, noting that “a keen intellect and a rich academic background are necessary in tackling a substantive study of Lewis and gender, and Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen brings those resources and much more to her work.”   Van Leeuwen is a Reformed, evangelical feminist, and a professor in the study of gender, psychology and the social sciences at Eastern University.  As Diane Marshal of the Institute of Family Living puts it, “I highly recommend this book for all Christians–male and female–who desire a richer awareness of our essential unity and communion as persons.”  Not a bad idea, eh?   Highly recommended.

Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis  Michael Ward (Oxford University Press) $18.99  Well, if Sword Between the Sexes gently deconstructs both Lewis and the standard assumptions about Lewis, helping us see some truly new aspects of Lewis’ life and teaching, the biggest conversation–causing nearly a paradigm shift in Lewis studies—came a few years ago when the British scholar Michael Ward released his very innovative (and to many, very compelling) book of new insight about what the Chronicles of 51mghQKS2BL._SL500_AA300_.jpgNarnia really mean, and what they were based upon.  Planet Narnia, now out in paperback,  explains how Lewis, medieval scholar that he was, drew upon a middle ages view of the essence of each of the seven planets, with each of the Narnian tales related to that planet’s meaning.  The author is confident that Lewis crafted his book in even finer detail and complexity than most of us knew.  This takes none of the overtly Christian thinking out of the Chronicles, but it does refract them through this medieval cosmological lens, which, in many ways, makes them even more theologically imaginative and compelling.  If this intrigues you but you don’t want to wade through this seminal masterpiece, try the brand new, popular level adaptation, The Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens (Tyndale House; $13.99.)  The title makes it sound a bit sensational, but  I, for one, am glad for this thinner version that makes this provocative case for ordinary readers, and helps us see how “the heavens declare” the glory of God.  Love Narnia?  Curious about what Lewis intentionally did or didn’t weave into his fables?  You’ve got to read this!  Here is the publisher’s page about it, including a short interview with Ward.  Wow.

C.S. Lewis on the Final Frontier: Science and the Supernatural in the Space Trilogy Sanford Schwartz (Oxford University Press) $27.95  I know it is a bit pricey, but if Alan Jacobs says, as he does, that this is “certainly the best book yet on Lewis’ science fiction” then you should know.  And get it.  These 3 novels are not appreciated enough amongst us, and there isn’t much written about them, so we are thrilled to commend this excellent book.  It is fairly serious, but the title alone reveals the authors clever use of words and phrases.  Very well done.  For many years, by the way, we  have been fond of the very good Planets in Peril: A Critical Study of C.S. Lewis Ransom Trilogy by central Pennsylvania Lewis scholar, David C. Downing (University of Massachusetts Press; $21.95) and remain glad that it is still available.  Downing has several good books on Lewis and we recommend them all, and stock them routinely.  His lovely hardback book on the mystical spirituality of Lewis called Into the Region of Awe (IVP; $20.00) is superb, and Into the Wardrobe (Jossey Bass; $14.95) his overview of the Narnia stories is solid.  He even has a new novel just out, set in Inklings territory, which I hope to review soon. 

Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C.S. Lewis Matthew
51IliF7vGfL._SL500_AA300_.jpg Dickerson & David L. O’hara (University Press of Kentucky) $35.00 Academic presses never fail to surprise me, with the oddest thesis being published, weirdo historical arcana explained in 500 plus pages and selling for fifty-five bucks.  And then, a gem pops out, a book that ought to be widely known, easily purchased, often discussed, but it languishes in the back of academic catalogs, hardly known.  We don’t know if other Christian bookstores carry this, but we are thrilled to promote it, and hope you tell others about it.  (I commented on it when it first came out, here.)  What a genius study this is, by a fine, respected, pair of solid Christian scholars.  Yes, it may be at first glance a bit of a stretch to think that the old Oxford don would favor green theology or have much to say to the harsh matters of 21st century climate change or species extinctions.  (Well, he opposed animal experimentation, you know!)  Get this book, form a reading club, and learn a lot about Lewis, literature, ecology, and God’s good care for the beautiful web of life we are called upon to steward.  I sometimes say Francis Schaeffer’s Pollution and the Death of Man may have been the first overtly evangelical environmental writing.  If Dickerson & O’hara are right, Lewis is the man!   Cheerio!

Is Your Lord Large Enough: How C.S. Lewis Expands Our View of God Peter Schakel (IVP) $16.00   Peter Schakel is well respected in Lewis circles, mostly for his reliable and clear-headed Way Into Narnia: A Readers Guide (Eerdmans; $15.00.)  The estimable go-to Lewis guy Walter Hooper says he is “the wisest and humblest of C.S. Lewis commentators.”  Schakel is truly a C.S. scholar, but here he desires to help people come to know God better, to worship well, to be nurtured in faith and formation.  Think of that line Aslan says to Lucy in Prince Caspian, “Every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”  This book will help that happen.

Conversations with C.S. Lewis: Imaginative Discussions About life, Christianity and God  Robert Verlarde (IVP) $15.00  This is not brand new but is so imaginative itself that I have to list it.  Yep, this is–in the style popularized by Peter Kreeft–a set of playfully construed imaginary conversations.  Wonder what Clive would say today if he were here?   What he might say about very contemporary issues and theological controversies?  Kreeft himself gives a big thumbs up to Verlarde’s effort here, and, as Douglas Groothuis puts it, he has “pulled off a rare and wonderful feat.”  What a fun and interesting way to learn about Lewis’ views, his logic, his heart, and how to think about orthodox Christian living in our modern setting.

9780801071843-l.jpgMere Christians: Inspiring Stories of Encounters with C.S. Lewis  edited by Mary Anne Phemister & Andrew Lazo (Baker) $14.99 

We’ve been making these book and author suggestions supposing you understand how influential Lewis has been, that you agree his was and is an important voice in contemporary writing, and especially in Christian writing.  You surely know that many think he was one of the more important writers of the 20th century.  Need convincing (or reminding?)  This book is fantastic!   Here are pieces by Anne Rice and Francis Collins, Philip Yancey and Joy Davidman, scholars like David Lyle Jeffrey and pastors like Earl Palmer.  My my, there are good folks here.  A little story: I was in our dungeon-like basement overstock room, putting away boxes of books, late at night and weary.  I had on the CD player a brand new CD, a favorite singer-song-writer, Pierce Pettis.  I started to browse through this new book, Mere Christian, and realized Pierce had a chapter in it.  No sooner did I start reading his moving essay, the song that blasted from the new album was, in fact, about Narnia.  It was surreal, hearing Pettis’ song for the first time, while reading about how Lewis made a difference in his journey of faith.  The album, by the way, is called That Kind of Love and the song is “Lion’s Eye.”  

cslewis.jpgThe Soul of C. S. Lewis: A Meditative Journey through Twenty-Six of His Best-Loved Writings Wayne Martindale, Jerry Root, and Linda Washington (Tyndale) $19.99  This book could sell for twice the price and be a bargain.  Lovingly edited and compiled this really is as the sub-title says, a sweet reflection on all of Lewis’ major works. This is at once a “readers guide” and guidebook, but also a thoughtful and at times captivating rumination on the deepest meanings and insights of C. S. L. The reviews are gathered into four major sections, and although they offer the dates and chronology, they are arranged by theme, or tone.  They show the journey of “Pilgrimage”, “Temptation and Triumph”, “Going Deeper”, and, then,  the books that they describe as  “Words of Grace.”  Lovers of Lewis will surely be thrilled to see these authors arrange and discuss this body of work.  Those who need a friendly sherpa or two, well, you’ve found them.  Excellent!

Want just one big book to get into Lewis, a good collection of a handful of his important works?
the-complete-c-s-lewis-signature-classics-rough-cut-edition-14678517.jpegThe Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics (HarperOne) $28.99 This just may be the one, since it includes full editions of Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed, and The Abolition of Man.  A great big bargain!

Want one book to just dip in to brief selections across his wider body of work?  There are a few,  (including one that goes a whole year, but is only drawn from the seven signature classics.)  Rather, for a broader selection of short entries, try
The Business of Heaven edited by Walter Hooper (Mariner) $15.00  It a tremendous.  While the readings are very short (which has its drawbacks for a substantive writer like Lewis) there are pieces from his vast output— literary criticism, his letters, his prayers, and all sorts of good selections, designed a bit to somewhat correspond to the church calender.

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