Favorite C.S. Lewis Book and Giveaway!!

Today, November 22nd, is the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death. I thought it an appropriate time to discuss our favorite works of Lewis and perhaps share what influence, if any, he has had on us. Plus, that all adds up to a perfect chance for another giveaway too!

The winner will receive a copy of On Stories, The Screwtape Letters, and Till We Have Faces. So, there’s a lot to be gained by entering the giveaway! To do so, leave a comment here telling us about your favorite work by C.S. Lewis and/or telling us what influence, if any, he has had on your life. The giveaway will run through November 29th.

I’ll start. A warning, though. I’m not going to shy away from spiritual and religious themes in this topic. While some of what Lewis wrote can be enjoyed solely apart from any specific religious and in particular Christian content, let’s face it, Lewis was a Christian and a Christian apologist. To come to grips with him, you have to come to grips with that. You do not have to have been influenced by him in any particular spiritual way in order to comment, though. He could’ve influenced you in regard to literary criticism, for example, or in some other way.

How to describe Lewis’ influence on me? I’d say it was gradual. To begin with, being introduced to the Chronicles of Narnia around the time of fifth grade helped foster my already burgeoning interest in fantastic literature. This was also the same time I discovered Tolkien’s works. I would say that both the Chronicles and The Lord of the Rings helped anchor me in what sort of fantasy stories I considered to be the best. That sense of adventure and noble virtues and the hopeful ending that comes in spite, even in defiance, of the darkness and fading of the world.

I don’t think at the time the Narnia books directly impacted my spiritual life except in the sense of always pointing to something bigger and better, that feeling of joy or desire that Lewis always talked about. They are and remain good stories on their own. It was only later when I returned to the Christian faith that the books resonated with me more strongly in that regard.

In college I was acquainted with a few more of Lewis’ works. Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Problem of Pain, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, etc. But I didn’t read them all that often, certainly not as often as the Chronicles.

It was in seminary that I started to read Lewis more. Not because he was on the required list of reading but simply because of what he had to say on so many subjects especially those regarding the faith and apologetics. I did take one class on his works, which I think was called “C.S. Lewis and the Gospel.” It was in this class that I first read his Space Trilogy and perhaps most significantly Till We Have Faces.

I continue to read Lewis’ works, my old favorites as well as adding new works into the mix. I’m still not as well versed in his academic works, but I have most of them bought. That is to say, I have pretty much most books by Lewis, either in paperback or ebook.

And now for my favorite Lewis book. I’m tempted to say, “Whatever book of his I’m reading at the time.” It’s quite close to the truth. I have my perennial favorites, like the various Chronicles of Narnia books, The Great Divorce, Letters to Malcolm, The Abolition of Man, but my favorite book is Till We Have Faces.

Lewis wrote it in 1956 and he considered it the most mature of his works. I would also say the best in that it really captures the fullness of Lewis in his literary ability and his apologetics. It’s not an easy story, but one that is deeply beautiful and redemptive. I can’t read the last half of the book without weeping in places. I find it that moving and piercing to my soul.

Till We Have Faces is a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Lewis was haunted by this story and in reworking it, with great help by his wife Joy Davidman, he gives us perhaps his most fully realized character. I can’t recommend this book enough, and if you read it and don’t like it, please don’t tell me! 🙂

So, now is your chance. Tell us your favorite work by Lewis and any influence he has had upon you, and you’ll be entered in the giveaway for three of his books!

 

 

7 thoughts on “Favorite C.S. Lewis Book and Giveaway!!

  1. I hope it is not cliche to name a book from the Chronicles of Narnia, but I think my favorite book is the Magician’s Nephew. When I was in elementary school, our teacher read this book aloud to the class and it was the first time I realized that fantasy literature existed. Although that teacher’s later reading of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone would cement my zeal for the genre, and change my whole life in doing so, The Magician’s Nephew laid the groundwork. I went on to read the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on my own, and begged my parent’s to buy me the set, which I received for my eleventh birthday. It is still on my bookshelf, I can see it right now as I’m typing, held in prominence next to Potter and Grimm and Anderson. As a college student, I delighted in using Lewis’s work for literary analysis and discovered his other works like the Screwtape Letters, which fueled many discussions with my Christian friends. Lewis has allowed me to argue my case in favor of fantasy literature with others who would disregard the genre as ‘fluff’ and without substance. I cannot wait to share these books with my new baby son and see how they shape his view of the world, like they did mine.

  2. As a child, I adored every single Narnia book (except The Last Battle). Coming back to his works as an adult, I have to agree with revgeorge, Till We Have Faces is outstanding.

  3. When I was younger my favourite book of Lewis’ was “Prince Caspian”, but recently it has become “Perelandra”. I never realized that a book could be so close to what I feel that heaven (or the Glory of Heaven) would be like. The ending is one of the most amazing things I have ever read.
    The sequel (“That Hideous Strength”) is a good finish to the series, but I can see why people don’t enjoy it on the whole: it’s not as amazing as the book before it.
    This just reminds me that I need to re-read the series again 😀

  4. As a kid, I loved “Horse and His Boy”- such a great adventure story, and what gangly 10 year old wouldn’t identify with Shasta as being in a place where you don’t fit in? My first “big” Lewis book was “Miracles” which I really enjoyed and probably had the greatest impact- it was very hefty in terms of ideas and I’m sure ought to re-read it, but it was a moment of “it’s okay to not be able to explain everything but here’s my best shot”. I appreciated the intellectual exercise and the honesty in that book. After that, “Great Divorce” “Problem of Pain” and the Space Trilogy are in that second level for me.

  5. The only books I’ve read by C.S. Lewis are his “Chronicles of Narnia”, which is my favorite book series (although “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse is my favorite book that’s not part of a series). My favorite Lewis book is “The Sliver Chair” (TSC), which isn’t a favorite of Narnia readers (just as my favorite Harry Potter book is “The Order of the Phoenix”, which isn’t–based on several online surveys I’ve seen–a favorite of Potter readers.)

    What I love about TSC is its gritty outdoor adventure tale, which seems more harsh and despairing than the adventures in the other Narnia books. Also, I adore Puddleglum as a character in this book. His negative outlook and dry sense of humor have made me laugh aloud many times while reading his lines.

    The most memorable scene for me in the entire chronicles is near the end of TSC. The main characters are in the underworld trying to reach the overworld. They encounter a hole ahead of them, and Puddleglum hoists Jill Pole onto his shoulders so she can explore it. She then discovers she’s in Narnia. Lewis’s imagery is stunning (especially following the dark, oppressive imagery he uses to describe the underworld):

    “[Jill] was looking out of a hole in a steep bank . . . Everything was very white. . . . people were moving about . . . trim little fauns, and dryads with leaf-crowned hair . . . doing a dance . . .the pale, blue light was really moonlight, and the white stuff on the ground was really snow. . . . There were the stars staring in a black frosty sky overhead. . . . They had not only got out into the upper world at last, but had come out in the heart of Narnia. . . . the wild music, intensely sweet and yet just the least bit eerie too, and full of good magic. . . . Circling round and round the dancers was a ring of Dwarfs . . . all diligently throwing snowballs. They weren’t throwing them at the dancers . . . They were throwing them through the dance in such perfect time with the music . . . This is called the Great Snow Dance and it is done every year in Narnia on the first moonlit night when there is snow on the ground. . . . On fine nights when the cold and the drum-taps, and the hooting of owls, and the moonlight, have got into their wild, woodland blood and made it even wilder, they will dance till daybreak. I wish you could see it for yourselves.”

    How I wish I *could* see it for myself. Lewis’s description, however, is so vivid that I feel as if I *am* in Narnia with Jill. I’ve always remembered this scene (from chapter 15, “The Disappearance of Jill” in TSC), which remains my favorite of The Chronicles.

    One lasting influence Lewis has had on me is my use of parentheses when I write. This past summer I came across the following quote by British writer, Neil Gaiman:

    “I admired [C.S. Lewis’s] use of parenthetical statements to the reader, where he would just go talk to you. Suddenly the author would address a private aside to you, the reader. It was just you and him. I’d think, ‘Oh, my gosh, that is so cool! I want to do that! When I become an author, I want to be able to do things in parentheses.’ I liked the power of putting things in brackets.”

    I agree with Gaiman!

  6. Well, I’ve run the numbers and determined a winner for the giveaway! Using a random number generator it came up PotterMom05!!

    Congrats, PotterMom05! I’ve got the books on the way to me & as soon as I get them, I’ll get in touch with you to arrange sending them to you.

    I was a little disappointed not so many people participated in the giveaway, but I thank the ones who did very much. And as a little gift to each of you, I’d like to gift you an Amazon Kindle copy of A To Z With C.S. Lewis by Louis Markos. Even if you don’t have a Kindle yourself, most smart phones have Kindle apps. I’ll contact each of you and if you’d like the book, let me know and I will send a gift link to your email address.

  7. Wow! I never win stuff! Thanks RevGeorge for providing us with this opportunity to share what Lewis has meant to us at different stages of our lives. I look forward to a reread with my new editions

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