Sunday, November 29, 2015

'Happy Birthday' to my favorite author ~ C. S. Lewis Week

Well, today is the last day of Abigail's C. S. Lewis Week, and it also happens to be the birthday of Jack himself.  (I didn't actually know that, so thanks for the info, Abby! :D)

I thought perhaps I'd attempt a "commemorative post" for the last day/his birthday.  We shall see how it goes;)

C. S. Lewis is my favorite author.  Have I announced that before?  Probably, I just don't remember it.  Well, now you all know (just in case the title didn't clue you in).  Lewis is my favorite, and not just because of Narnia.  I LOVE Narnia, especially the first movie and the books The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy, but sometimes I think that people judge Lewis's "depth" solely off the Chronicles, and that just MAKES ME MAD.  (I know, I know, I said all this yesterday.  Just stay with me.)


Y'see, I've encountered this a couple times:  people compare Lewis to Tolkien, which I don't think is fair or legitimate in the least.  Because Middle-earth is darker and more epic in proportion to Narnia, people not only think that the Chronicles aren't deep, but they also think that Lewis's writing is more shallow than Tolkien's.

Ahem.  I am civil when this happens, truly, I am ;)

Outwardly I typically just smile or ask if the other person has read much of his other works than Narnia.

Inside I think 'Seriously, READ THE OTHER BOOKS.'  The Chronicles of Narnia are an excellent series of books.  They're amazing.  But they're not all Lewis wrote.  I love Narnia, but I hate it when people see Lewis as only the creator of Narnia, and don't credit him with the stunning other works he produced.  (Though, seriously.  'The creator of Narnia' is an epic title for anybody.)


So.  Yeah.  There's my little rant about misunderstanding and misjudging Lewis;)  Narnia is epic, and so is LotR.  I love them both very, very much.  (Especially LotR.)  Their respective authors need be in no paltry competition.  

Okay *takes deep breath*  Moving on.  

So far--and I plan to lengthen this list greatly--these are the books I've read that were written by Jack (in no particular order).

~ The Problem of Pain 
~ Mere Christianity
~ The Chronicles of Narnia (7 books)
~ The Screwtape Letters
~ Out of the Silent Planet
~ Till We Have Faces

Huh.  That doesn't look like very much typed out.  Oh, well ;)  I hope to read ALL of his works one day, but it'll probably take a while.  For now, how about talking about the ones I have read?


You all know my opinions on Till We Have Faces ;)  It is my favorite of his books, and I can't stress enough how good it is.  The story is gripping the whole way through, but then you get to the latter chapters, and the booklover practically swoons with delight.  IT'S JUST STUNNING.  It's heartrending, uplifting, brutal (in a way), and sympathetic.  Just go read it.  Please.

The Screwtape Letters and Out of the Silent Planet are probably my least favorite of the ones I've read :-P  Don't get me wrong, they're good, but just not my favorites.  OotSP is very well-written, but not my favorite genre (though I do plan to finish the trilogy), and TSL is…well, TSL ;)  It's a bit, um…dark.  It's a very good book, and it should be read, because it definitely is eye-opening, but it's not one that I'd rush to read again.  Ya feel me?


The Problem of Pain is excellent.  It's a bit "over my head" in certain parts ;-P  but it's really good.  Lewis has this incredible knack for taking ideas that everyone has had, and putting them into words in a clear, concise, yet beautiful way.  Can I get an 'amen'?!  He deals with controversial issues, such as free will and the existence of pain and suffering, and it's very good.  He doesn't so much come to a final conclusion as he simply presents the facts, and different arguments to try to make sense of them in a rational way.  I think he does it pretty well, personally ;) 

Mere Christianity is WONDERFUL.  I think it was the first non-Narnia book of his I read, and it is SUCH a good book.  If I were to try to collect quotes from that book, I'd end up with the entire book in my quote collection.  (I do actually have very meaty paragraphs from it in different collections, hehe.)  He encapsulates the reality of a Christian life, and some of his points have been really helpful for me, such as how feeling devoted to God is quite a different thing from being devoted to God.  I need to re-read this again, actually…

And then, of course, there are the Chronicles.  *sniffles*  These are just…*blissful sigh*  They're nostalgic and comforting and convicting and just plain awesome.  They're written for children, but they're beneficial for any age.  Plus, did I mention that they're just plain FUNNY?  The man had a gift for humor.  Lasaraleen = point made. 


There you are!  Jack, thank you.  Thank you for your faithfulness, for your honesty, for your versatility, for your sensitivity, for Narnia, for your teaching, and for your fiction infused with the light of the Lord.  

You're my favorite.  Happy birthday!






23 comments:

  1. I'm smiling SO HUGELY right now (I know ya can't see me, but take my word for it). This is just . . . beautiful. It really is.

    Yes. He's a wonderful, wonderful writer. He really is.

    Oh, yes, the man most definitely had a gift for humor. "And if you ARE caught, you can always pretend you weren't going far and had no particular plans. (It is much more difficult to make either grown-ups or giants believe this when you're found climbing out of a bedroom window at four-o'clock in the morning.)"

    (That's my personal favorite . . . but there are so many others. :) )

    I know I've asked you this before--but I can't remember what you said. Have you read much G.K. Chesterton? If you like Lewis, I think you might really like him because they're quite similar in many ways. In fact, I believe I read somewhere that GKC's books were a big source of inspiration for Lewis.

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    1. Awwwwww :D Jessica, thank you SO MUCH for your comment! It made me so happy :)

      He truly is. Haha! I know, he's hilarious. I think my favorites are Lasaraleen's lines, like the ones you and Meredith mentioned xD

      I haven't read much GKC, actually! I read "Favorite Father Brown Stories" for school, and I really enjoyed it. But it's not my favorite genre :-P I'm sure he wrote lots of other genres, though, right? Which of his books would you recommend for someone just "beginning" with him? Oh, yes, I think I did hear that about his being a big inspiration for Lewis!



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    2. Yes, he did! It's kind of like Lewis, actually--the Father Brown stories are his best-known work but he wrote a ton of other stuff, too . . . literary criticism, philosophy, biography, poetry, etc.

      Ummmmmm . . . I had to think about this for a long time because he has SO MANY awesome books. But if you're just starting out, I think I would recommend these three: "Orthodoxy," "Tremendous Trifles," and "The Man Who Was Thursday." Possibly also "The Ballad of the White Horse," if you like any of the other stuff.

      "Tremendous Trifles" is a set of essays he wrote where he's basically musing on various everyday things that have happened to him, and how awesome they are if you only take the time to notice them. It's really funny and also really thought-provoking. Highly recommended.

      "Orthodoxy" tells the story of his philosophical/spiritual journey from being an agnostic to being a Christian. It's brilliantly written and also HILARIOUS at times--at least I think so--and it's also just a really happy, cheerful book. It's not "dry" or "boring" like some philosophy books.

      "The Man Who Was Thursday"--this is one that some people absolutely LOVE, and some people are like, "What was that even all ABOUT?" and you really don't know what category you're in until you try it. It's kind of a philosophical fantasy masquerading as an 1890s spy story. Personally, I think it's AMAZING. It's one of my absolute favorite books ever.

      "The Ballad of the White Horse" is a long narrative poem--an epic poem, actually--about King Alfred and his fight to keep the Danes from taking over England. It's really beautifully written, but also has simple language and short stanzas that actually rhyme, so I personally find it WAY easier than some other epic poems (coughcoughParadiseLostcoughcough)

      Okay, I know that was a lot, and I hope it's not too much ;) As you can tell, he IS my favorite author . . . :)

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    3. It's definitely not too much! Thanks so much for giving me the low-down on some of his books, I really appreciate it :)

      "Orthodoxy" sounds especially awesome :D

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  2. This was so beautiful! I would love to have someone write this sort of thing for my birthday :)

    Haha, Lasaraleen. She was funny. Sort of. Actually she drove me nuuuuuuuuts. Not kidding :P

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    1. *blushes* Aw, shucks, Rosie! That's too sweet of you! :D

      Hehe, I can understand why she'd irritate people. Personally I find her too funny to be annoying, but she's definitely featherbrained ;-P

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  3. What a nice post!

    I'd forgotten who Lasaraleen was, so I googled it. NOW I remember, "No one is to be let out of the house today. And anyone I catch talking about this young lady will be first beaten to death and then burned alive and after that be kept on bread and water for six weeks. There." xD

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    1. Yessssssssssss . . . My personal favorite Lasaraleen quote is the following: "And with a peasant boy, too! Darling, think of it! It's not Nice."

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    2. Thanks so much, Meredith! :)

      Ohhhhhh, that line is my FAVORITE! "First beaten to death and then burned alive and after that be kept on bread and water for six weeks. There." xD Best line ever :D

      Jessica, another favorite! "It's not Nice." xD

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  4. AMEN!!

    You summed him up perfectly!! :)

    Oh. My. Word. Lasarleen. She is so spot on and ridiculous, it makes me laugh every time.. I've always wondered how he was able to so accurately write a silly female character like that..... And Rabadash? He is so utterly well, stupid... Rabadash the Ridiculous indeed!

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    1. Thank you, Abby! :D

      YES. Every single time. She's just hilarious :D Haha, yeah, that's a good point! Rabadash is exactly that--Ridiculous ;) "But I WANT her!"

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    2. "I MUST have her. I shall DIE if I don't get her! "

      He is hilarious.

      One of the best lines is when he says the bolt of Tash falls from above, and Corin asks him if it ever gets stuck on a hook halfway down. xD

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    3. YES THAT LINE!!!! "Does it ever get caught on a hook halfway down?" "For SHAME, Corin!"

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  5. Aww, this was really sweet to read. I haven't read as many Lewis books as I probably should have, and I plan to read more soon. This post really was very pleasant and relaxing to read. :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Laura! I really appreciate it, and I'm glad you liked the post :)

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  6. Excellent post, Olivia! I really need to read more of Lewis' writing. His quotes are SO good.

    I hear you regarding the frustration you feel when people compare Lewis to Tolkien. That's such a pointless comparison. They're both excellent authors. They each have a unique style and unique stories, and yeah, you just can't compare them. Sure the Narnia books are not as epic and complicated as LoTR, but there's an awful lot of meaning tucked into those simple words. People actually think the Narnia books aren't deep? Really? Well, I begs to differ. :)

    And, yes. The Narnia books are HILARIOUS! Lewis' humor is excellent! Lasaraleen = point made! Hahaha! She is a funny character, isn't she? My siblings and I always liked the part where she gives the command that anyone breathing a word about Aravis will be killed...and then fed on bread and water for a particular length of time. Haha! Really, Lasaraleen! :D

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    1. Thanks, Miss March! :)

      YES. YOU UNDERSTAND. It just Makes Me So Mad.

      I know! xD Lasaraleen makes that book even that much better. It's just hilarious :D

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  7. I must say, The Horse and His Boy is my favorite of the Chronicles. It's odd... most of the story doesn't even take place in Narnia. But the characters are just so memorable. Have you listened to the Focus on the Family Radio Theater version? It is absolutely amazing. :)

    ~Lizzy

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    1. Exactly, Lizzy! It's just so GOOD :)

      I have heard the Focus on the Family version! Though, I have to admit, I prefer the one that's just the book narrated verbatim by Alex Jennings ;D

      Thanks for commenting!

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  8. Happy late birthday C. S. Lewis and I can't wait to read more of your books!!

    I also need to re-read Narnia. Soon. Very soon.

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    1. Yes!

      Same here. Especially The Last Battle :)

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