In October 2018 I began another adventure in reading—as close to consecutively as was reasonable—all the works we own by or about a particular author.  Previous authors have included the highbrow, the lowbrow, and the in-between: William Shakespeare (plays only, read or viewed), George MacDonald, J. R. R. Tolkien, Miss Read (Dora Jesse Saint), and all the Rick Brant Science-Adventure series of John Blaine (Harold L. Goodwin).  This time I tackled C. S. Lewis, the number of whose books on our shelves is exceeded only by George MacDonald's.  I concluded the project 21 months later, in July 2020.  Needless to say there were a lot of non-Lewis books interspersed with these.  Even C. S. Lewis is none the worse for a break.

Here's the whole list, in the order in which I completed them.  The links are to my own posts about the books.

Ratings Guide: 0 to 5 ★s reflects how much I liked it (worst to best); 0 to 3 ☢s represents a content advisory (mildest to strongest).  I make no claim to consistency, as I couldn't keep the ratings from being affected by both my mood at the time of reading and what I had read before.

  1. C. S. Lewis: Images of His World, by James Riordan and Pauline Baynes  ★★★
  2. C. S. Lewis: A Biography  ★★★
  3. Spirits in Bondage  ★★
  4. The Pilgrim's Regress  ★★★
  5. Space Trilogy 1: Out of the Silent Planet  ★★★★★
  6. The Problem of Pain  ★★★★★
  7. The Dark Tower and Other Stories, edited by Walter Hooper  ★★ ☢
  8. Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis, by Michael Ward  ★★★★★
  9. Poems  ★★★★
  10. Preface to Paradise Lost  ★★★
  11. The Screwtape Letters  ★★★★★
  12. Space Trilogy 2: Perelandra  ★★★★★
  13. The Abolition of Man  ★★★★★
  14. The Weight of Glory  ★★★★★
  15. Space Trilogy 3: That Hideous Strength  ★★★★
  16. The Great Divorce  ★★★★★
  17. Miracle ★★★★★
  18. Mere Christianity  ★★★★★
  19. On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature  ★★★★★
  20. Past Watchful Dragons, by Walter Hooper  ★★★
  21. C. S. Lewis on Scripture, by Michael J. Christensen  ★★★
  22. A Book of Narnians: The Lion, the Witch, and the Others, by James Riordan and Pauline Baynes  ★★★
  23. The Chronicles of Narnia 1: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  ★★★★★
  24. The Chronicles of Narnia 2: Prince Caspian  ★★★★★
  25. The Chronicles of Narnia 3: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader  ★★★★★
  26. The Chronicles of Narnia 4: The Silver Chair  ★★★★★
  27. The Chronicles of Narnia 5: The Horse and His Boy  ★★★★★
  28. The Chronicles of Narnia 6: The Magician's Nephew  ★★★★★
  29. The Chronicles of Narnia 7: The Last Battle  ★★★★★
  30. Smoke on the Mountain, by Joy Davidman (not by or about Lewis, but it seemed appropriate, as she was his wife)  ★★★
  31. Surprised by Joy  ★★★★
  32. Till We Have Faces  ★★★★
  33. The Business of Heaven, edited by Walter Hooper  ★★★
  34. Reflections on the Psalms  ★★★★★
  35. Studies in Words  ★★★★★
  36. The Four Loves  ★★★★
  37. The World's Last Night  ★★★★★
  38. A Grief Observed  ★★★★
  39. An Experiment in Criticism  ★★★
  40. Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer  ★★★★
  41. Letters to Children  ★★★★
  42. C. S. Lewis: A Companion & Guide, by Walter Hooper  ★★★★
  43. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (by Lewis, edited by Walter Hooper)  ★★★★
  44. Christian Reflections  ★★★★
  45. Letters to an American Lady  ★★★
  46. Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories  ★★★
  47. God in the Dock  ★★★★★
  48. Surprised By Laughter: The Comic World of C. S. Lewis, by Terry Lindvall  ★★
  49. G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis: The Riddle of Joy, edited by Michael H. Macdonald and Andrew A. Tadie  ★★★
  50. The Quotable Lewis, edited by Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root  ★★★★

Was this adventure worthwhile? Absolutely. Once again I found it interesting to follow an author's development over time. My reading left me with a strong desire to see what he would have written about our own times—if he could have survived the shock of seeing the fruit, 60+ years later, of the negative social trends that disturbed him in their beginnings.

A few of Lewis's writings are hindered by some of the examples he uses, which were aimed at a British audience of a long time ago, but that happens surprisingly rarely.  Timeless truths about the human condition never get out of date.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, July 26, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Edit
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Impressive!



Posted by Eric on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 8:05 am
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