The Illustrated Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis

Screwtape Letters Cover Image

A C.S. Lewis story I had not read before, this satirical novel was brilliant, and definitely timely for me personally. The 31 chapters are each an individual letter from Screwtape, a senior devil, to Wormwood, a junior devil whose job it is to keep his “patient”, a newly converted Christian man, from getting too deep into things with the Enemy; aka God. I won’t give away how it ends, and what happens to the patient, but I can easily highly recommend this book!

Screwtape Letters chapter 1

Mr. Lewis certainly touched on many aspects of the human condition, and what brings them closer to God, as well as moves them further from God. A few excerpts that I found still fitting today:

“…he can be induced to live, as I have known many humans to live, for quite long periods, two parallel lives; he will not only appear to be, but actually be, a different man in each of the circles he frequents” (C.S. Lewis, pg 59).

Screwtape Letters chapter 20

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts” (pg 72).

“They will find out in the end, never fear, to whom their time, their souls, and their bodies really belong – certainly not to them – whatever happens” (pg 128).

Have you read this already? I would love to hear what you thought of it!

All excerpts from The Illustrated Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis (1961). Illustrated by Papas. New York: Harper One Publishers.

Prince Caspian – The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis

One of my favorites from the Narnia series, this story had me laughing out loud, angry, and sad, all in one setting. The thing I enjoy most about C.S. Lewis and his writing is how he just puts it out there. Right there; yes, for you to see, and contemplate, and enjoy.

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Okay, enough reminiscing.

There are some great lines in this story, as well as the others, that make me remember them long after I read them.

Chapter 3: “The worst of sleeping out of doors is that you wake up so dreadfully early.”

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The Pevensies wanted to go back to Narnia, but they did not know what that would cost them. Prince Caspian is the rightful heir, being denied his throne by his uncle. It is a quick story, with all of the allegories you come to expect from Mr. Lewis. And I have to honestly say; Reep-a-Cheep is likely my favorite “character” out of all of them! Well, except for Aslan, of course!

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If you have seen the movie, I have to say it is quite different from the story, but I do enjoy the movie as well. How did you feel about this installment in the Narnia series?

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The Horse and His Boy – The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis

Book number three in the Narnia series, by the numbering on the books I have, is “The Horse and His Boy.” This is also the only book I seem to have missing from my collector’s box that holds all 7 of these books. I haven’t the slightest idea where it went, who may have had it last, or how I managed to lose a book!

The Horse and His Boy

With that being said, this is actually my least favorite book out of the 7 in the series. This is a novel that can stand alone, and there is no need to read, or have read, and of the other books to enjoy this one. I did like this story, I just did not find it as interesting as the other 6 stories. This story is set in Narnia for its entirety, and focuses on a boy running away from home, who meets a horse who is also running away from home.

The Full Color Edition
The Full Color Edition

Shasta discovers his adoptive father is going to sell him as a slave, and learns from Bree, a horse at the stable, that Bree has been treated badly by this same adoptive father. A plan gets underway, and soon both Shasta and Bree are on the run, trying to get to Narnia and the High Kings and Queens there; yes, the Pevensies. (And yes, of course the horses talk, it is Narnia!)

They also meet a girl and her horse who are running away from home; she being a Princess forced to marry against her will. Once they reach their destination, they both learn things about themselves that will change their lives forever. These two eventually get married, and have a son who becomes the most famous King of Archenland.

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The thing I liked best about this story was the cat who seemed to follow Shasta all through his journey. Sometimes a lion chasing him, and sometimes a cat comforting him; Aslan always makes his presence known.

Which Narnia story did you like the least? I know it’s hard to choose when they are all great stories, but they can’t all be your favorites, or are they?

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe – The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis

Since I reviewed my favorite Narnia book, I thought I may as well just work right through the series. Probably not consecutively though. I will keep this review light and simple, since so many are familiar with this story.

Another well loved book!
Another well loved book!

This is the story where we meet Digory Kirke again, except now he is Professor Kirke, and he is who the Pevensie’s go to stay with while the war is happening. The wardrobe that Lucy steps through to find Narnia? That wardrobe is made from the first tree that was planted in Narnia in book one, “The Magician’s Nephew“.

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Lucy has a hard time convincing her siblings of this wonderful world she found, and even Edmund lies to Peter and Susan about it after he went there himself. Older brothers, right?

Nothing like a bit of Turkish Delight to get Edmund tangled up with the White Witch!
Nothing like a bit of Turkish Delight to get Edmund tangled up with the White Witch!

While trying to hide from the housekeeper, all 4 of the Pevensie’s climb into the wardrobe, and step in Narnia. Edmund gets an earful for lying, Susan wants to return to the professor’s home, and Peter and Lucy want to explore. They meet the Beaver’s, who are one of my favorite parts of this story!

Dinner with the Beaver's
Dinner with the Beaver’s

Edmund decides to go find the White Witch, because she promised to make him a King. Since he is tired of being bossed around by Peter and Susan, this is just the ticket for him. But of course, it’s not. He manages to get all four of them in a heap of trouble, and it takes Aslan to get them out of it.

This is the first story that was made into a movie, although I used to watch this as a cartoon when I was growing up. It must have been in the late 70’s, and it was shown once a year, kind of like The Wizard of Oz was shown. It was always on a weekend, and it was a big deal to watch this cartoon movie. Maybe that is why I never read the books when I was growing up!

If you would like more information about this series of books, be sure to visit the Narnia website here: https://www.narnia.com/us

The Magician’s Nephew – The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

Out of all 7 of the stories in The Chronicles of Narnia series, I think “The Magician’s Nephew” is my favorite one! I never read these stories during my childhood (I have no idea why!) but I have read them several times in my recent past. This is a series that I get to share with my girls, and they like it as much as I do.

My copy is a bit tattered and worn, or as I like to think of it; very well loved!
My copy is a bit tattered and worn, or as I like to think of it; very well loved!

Well, maybe not as much, but they like it none-the-less!

The Magician’s Nephew takes you through how Narnia came to be, along with Aslan, the White Witch, and Professor Kirke, or Digory Kirke in this story. The first tree that gets planted in Narnia has significance in future stories as well.

The Uncle is soon to show his true colors!
The Uncle is soon to show his true colors!

Digory is staying with his Aunt and Uncle, due to his mother having a severe illness. Extremely upset by this situation, he goes in the backyard, crying, and meets the neighbor, a girl his age named Polly. It does not take long for them to decide to start exploring the attics of the townhouses they live in. They are all connected through the roof, so they can get from one end to the other.

Leave it to Digory to sneak right into his own townhouse, and right into his Uncle’s secret room. This is where things get really interesting.

His Uncle sees Digory and Polly as the perfect pair to test out his magic rings. And let me be clear on this; these are real magic rings. As soon as Polly puts a ring on and disappears, Digory quickly sees what a coward his Uncle really is. Digory has no choice but to put a ring on himself and see if he can find Polly and bring her back.

Polly is found!
Polly is found!

Digory finds Polly, and they begin their amazing adventures into many different worlds. One world holds the White Witch, whom Digory and Polly end up bringing right back into their world.

The uncle is thrilled, Digory is furious, and someone had better figure out how to fix this mess, and quick!

The White Witch lets her fury be known!
The White Witch lets her fury be known!

I will not go further into the story with spoilers, but this is indeed how we got our Narnia. There are many situations that will test Digory’s morals, and with the help of Aslan, he attempts to put things right again. Or as right as possible considering he has unleashed the White Witch unto the world.

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This is just the beginning of one of my very favorite series, and I have read these books to my girls until they were able to read them themselves.

Do you have a favorite Chronicles of Narnia book?

The Narnian : The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis – Alan Jacobs

I am a huge fan of the Narnia books, and all books by Clive Staples Lewis. The Narnian is a great overview of C.S. Lewis and his life, and how that in turn brought us the wonderful world of Narnia, and the adventures of the Pevensies.

The Narnian Cover

You will learn about his youth in Ireland. The games he played with his brother Warnie, and how this was the beginning of what would become Narnia. Clive loved to create worlds with fantastic creatures and settings even from a very young age.

Taking part in World War I, being in the trenches fearing for his life would have even more profound effects on his beliefs, and his writing. C.S. Lewis was also friends with J.R.R. Tolkien, and they were members of a writing group known as “The Inklings.” Could you imagine sitting in a room with C.S. and J.R.R.? Oh my goodness, I do not know if I would be speechless, or unable to shut up with never-ending questions I would love to ask both of these great writers!

courtesy of Google+
courtesy of Google+

This is a thorough, extensive biography of the life of C.S. Lewis, and even if you have extensive knowledge of him already, you are bound to learn some new things in this book as well. A wonderful read for fans of C.S., his stories, or great writers in general. This is a book I will read again!