From The Library of C.S. Lewis – Not What I Expected
WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group sent me a complimentary copy of this book for my review.
One thing I hated about my entire college experience was text books. Not only were they expensive, but they were so dry and boring to read. I found myself feeling the same way about From The Library of C.S. Lewis by James Stuart Bell. Don’t get me wrong, C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors (The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, and Miracles are among some of my favorite books) but this book was not what I expected. I lost interest after only four chapters.
The premise of the book sounds great – a collection of excerpts by authors and poets who influenced C.S. Lewis and his writings. Divided into eighteen sections, the book covers topics like God’s love, our love of God, knowing God, sin/temptation, self/the soul, grace/redemption, suffering, and faith. Each section has about 10-20 excerpts from various authors and poets regarding that topic. Each author or poet is given about a page to a page and half and under each excerpt is a sentence or two about the author or poet and their life. What gets confusing is within one section you may find multiple excerpts by the same author or poet, but they are not back to back (which to me would make more sense)…they are scattered throughout the section. Something else that really bothered me was that the excerpts weren’t explained – most of them completely went over my head and left me thinking “What did I just read?! I have no idea what that even means!”
If you are familiar with Christian literature, you will recognize several names including George MacDonald, Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, and Brother Lawrence. I really wished this book had given me more insight as to who C.S. Lewis was and who influenced him spiritually and as an author, but it felt more like a history lesson that left me bored to tears and more often than not with a headache to boot.
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