Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Night of C.S. Lewis

Instead of having a specific book this month, we had a specific author:  C.S. Lewis.  We each chose whatever book by Lewis that we wanted. 

These were the books represented last night:
  • Regina - Screwtape Letters
  • Kristin - Pilgrim's Regress
  • Kate - The Dark Tower and Other Stories
  • Amanda - The Magician's Nephew

A few of our other members were reading Lewis's non-fiction works, but last night it was all about his imagination and storytelling.

It was actually a really interesting evening.  Kate started by telling us about the short stories in her book. Her ability to summarize is quite fantastic.  Her conversation flowed well into the themes I loved in the Screwtape letters, which led into the Pilgrim's Regress, which led.... needless to say, we could all see Lewis's personality and philosophy in all his works.  Displayed differently of course, but it was all there.  It would have been interesting to see how they were echoed in his non-fiction works.  But we'll just have to catch up with those girls later.

We discussed the power and effectiveness of analogy -- a tool C.S. Lewis used very often.  We also discussed time and perspective.  Lewis wrote Pilgrim's Regress at the beginning of his Christian life.  He included a forward (or afterword...I can't remember) that he wrote several years after he wrote the initial book.  In it, he says that looking back, he can see all his book's flaws, but he still stands by it.  That sentiment reminded me of a forward that Tolkien wrote for Lord of the Rings.  We wondered last night if the two were related.  After all, Lewis and Tolkien were friends.  Perhaps after of banter and growth they both felt compelled to both acknowledge their flaws, but to embrace them and stand by what they did.  In the case of Lewis, his honesty is one of the reasons his books have had so much staying power. 

One of the prompt questions I found asked:  What part of this book inspired you in some way?  While it was supposed to be for a non-fiction book, we were all able to identify thoughts in Lewis's works that we found inspiring.  This was especially true for me.  I've tried to read Screwtape Letters several times in the past, and haven't made it past page 30.  But this time, I couldn't put it down.  There was so much that I wanted to mull over.  As I shared with the girls last night, maybe this was just the right book for the right time.

All in all, it was a wonderful night.

Next month: We continue our WWII theme with an alternate reality - The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick