CS Lewis’ Personal Favorites of his own fiction…

Having read most (though not quite all…yet) of CS Lewis’ fiction works, I enjoyed his reply to a letter from a girl named Meredith who apparently asked what his “most representative book was:

“Which of my books do I think most “representational”?  Do you mean (a.) Most representative, most typical, most characteristic? or (b.) Most full of “representations” i.e. image.  But whichever you mean, surely this is a question not for me but for my readers to decide.  Or do you mean simply which do I like best?  Now the answer w[oul]d be Till We Have Faces and Perelandra.” (from C.S. Lewis: Letters to Children, p. 95.)

Till We Have Faces and Perelandra are two of my favorite CS Lewis’ fiction works.  For those unfamiliar with these (i.e. they haven’t made a Narnia film about them yet), here’s a brief tease to get you to buy it.

Till We Have Faces is probably the most “grown-up” of Lewis’ fiction.  It is essentially a re-telling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche–don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with it!  I didn’t even know it was based on anything the first time I read it and still loved it.  As Lewis points out in Pilgrim’s Regress, he viewed the Christian faith as the fulfillment of all the longings and pictures celebrated by Paganism.  This is one of the major points of the book (in my opinion), but it is filled with other ideas and beautiful moments as well.

Perelandra is the second book of Lewis “Space Trilogy”, which begins with Out of the Silent Planet and ends with That Hideous Strength. While some may call these (especially the first two books) a sort of “Narnia for adults,” I (and more importantly, Lewis himself) would disagree.  The tales of Dr. Ransom and his trips to other planets are good in their own right, and Perelandra is my favorite, as well.  We’ve all imagined perhaps what life in the Garden of Eden before the Fall was like, what we would have done in that situation, how it might have been avoided…well, Lewis imagined this as well and creates a fanscinating world for this thought to develop on the planet Perelandra.

So if you enjoy good story-telling and/or like C.S. Lewis, here are his two favorite fiction books for you.  They may even have a copy at the local library if you are lucky. (I also really like The Horse and His Boy, and my wife’s favorite is The Magician’s Nephew.)

For the CS Lewis fan…

I’m a fan of CS Lewis.  Perhaps it was because the BBC version of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” was the only movie with swords we were allowed to watch at my Christian school. I’ve recently made it a goal of mine to collect pretty much anything written by Lewis for my library. (And my Amazon wish-list is proof of just that…)

One of the volumes that made its way to my hands from my latest birthday was a volume called On Stories: and Other Essays on Literature. To be honest, this collection of essays, book reviews, and articles was only on my list because, well, I’m collecting it.  It probably would have been last on my list if not for my lovely wife who bought it for me.

However, it’s been one of the favorite of about 6 Lewis’ books I’ve recently acquired.  In fact, it would make a great Christmas present for the Lewis enthusiast in your life.  (It’s not too expensive either.)

Inside are some wonderful things, such as:

-An Essay on three ways of writing for children- Lewis explains his own style and some of how he crafted the Narnia series.

-Thoughts by Lewis on the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.  (ok.  that’s a little geeky, I know.)

-A very interesting comparison of Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm.

-Thoughts on Science Fiction, and of course some information about his own work with The Space Trilogy.
That is just a few of the 20 articles and essays in the volume.  It provides a behind-the-scenes look at some of Lewis’ own writings as well as much discussion of his opinions on other works of his day. Well worth the 10 bucks or so for a new copy!

Enjoy this rare but sparkling gem from the CS Lewis’ anthology.

Some “Twilight” Links…

disclaimer: I got most of these links from other blogs…but there’s too many to cite.

This post is primarily intended for parents of teenage girls.  For the record, I’m not a book-burner.  I don’t believe everything one reads has to have a Christian message or share a Christian worldview.  In fact, it’s probably healthy if it doesn’t.  But I do believe that parents should have a pulse on what kind of things they are spending their money purchasing books and movie tickets and posters and lunchboxes for, things their kids are spending hours reading and watching and discussing.  I think I’ve begun my 8-9 grade Sunday School class each week for like a month now having to tell some sub-group of the girls that it was time to stop talking about Twilight.  (that’s the church kids–several of which are home-schooled.) If parents let their kids read this stuff, (that’s each parent’s choice–some may choose to just avoid it altogether), then they should also be prepared to have honest, informed discussions with their kids about the ideas encountered in the books or movies.

So here’s some links to help you think about these things:

Theology of Twilight: This article examines the author’s intention of Twilight as a veiled Mormon allegory, as well as a interesting defense of some its more popularly vilified doctrine.

Doug Wilson: Pastor and author and Christian apologist Douglas Wilson spends some time reading the first novel of the series and providing his thoughts.  He gets very pointed in posts 5 and 6.

20 Unfortunate Lessons for Girls: Wired magazine’s website provides an interesting article (from a non-Christian worldview–this isn’t Plugged In) on some terrible lessons Twilight promotes for young girls.  Numbers 3, 7, and 14 are especially noteworthy.

“On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness”

A few months ago, I discovered that one of my favorite musicians, Andrew Peterson, is also a published author.  Anyone who has listened to music (his Christmas album, “Behold The Lamb of God” is probably my favorite ever) knows that Peterson is quite gifted in telling a yarn.  And so far, “The Wingfeather Saga” hasn’t caused me to change that opinion.

The first book of the series, “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness,”  tells the story of the Igiby children in the small town of Glipwood, which is located (no surprise here) on the edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.  I won’t give much more plot information than that, but I enjoyed reading the book very much.

CS Lewis said that a children’s story that cannot be enjoyed by adults is not really a good children’s story.  The prose is well-written, and the imaginative world Peterson creates is rich and full.  There is both light and darkness in his portrait of Aerwiar, which can’t always be said about books aimed at children. There’s also a few footnotes and an appendix, which are pretty humorous.

The book can probably be read by kids 8 and up.  (Though not having kids of my own, I have no internal clock for childhood reading development.)  It’s the kind of story I think that deserves to be read aloud (perhaps it would be enjoyed even more in that fashion!), so families with younger children might take that option.   I haven’t read the second book “North! Or Be Eaten!” yet, but am looking forward to its arrival in the mail soon.

About a chapter in, I had already decided the books would make great Christmas presents for my 7 and 9 year-old cousins.  Perhaps some of you might consider the same…

Both books available here (and signed by author).