A Hobbit a Wardrobe and a Great War, Bandersnatch, Books and Beverages, C.S. Lewis, If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jamie Lapeyrolerie, Mere Christianity, Reader's Guide to Inklings, She Laughs With Dignity, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, The Silmarillion
Welcome to another guest post, this time from Jamie who blogs at Books and Beverages, as well as a faith-driven blog at She Laughs With Dignity. I originally found Jamie through her Inklings Week celebration this year, and have followed along since. She holds monthly book discussions on the Inklings, ranging from books written by Tolkien and Lewis to books written about Tolkien and Lewis and the other Inklings. I highly encourage you to check her sites out, and to join her in August as she discusses Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales.
Hello reader friends! Thanks David for having me on the blog – I love any excuse to talk about all things Inklings!
There are of course the go-to and obvious picks (and most popular) for Tolkien and Lewis. If you haven’t read them yet (which, why not friends?! Please make your life awesome and read their books!), then I’m here to help. Those include The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (I’d start with The Hobbit) and for Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia (if you want someone to read them with you, just let me know, I’m in). But lucky for us, the options don’t stop there.
There’s so many more books they wrote and books about them, so I wanted to share a few I suggest to folks outside of the previously mentioned ones.
First up, Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. It’s not a quick read, but I love it. It takes you deeper into Tolkien’s brilliant imagination and world. He once said he wanted to create England’s mythology and that he did.
Next up are a few of my absolute favorites of Lewis. I haven’t read every single book from Lewis (but getting there!), but with each new read, I still find myself coming back to these. The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity are first up for my non-Narnia recommendations. The first two, not only because they are so creative, engaging and even bring about a laugh or two, but because they get you thinking about the bigger picture, purpose and what you believe.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from The Screwtape Letters (which is an older demon teaching a younger demon how to get believers to fall away)
“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts…” The Screwtape Letters
Here’s one of my favorites from The Great Divorce:
“There have been men before now who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing of God Himself…as if the good Lord had nothing to do but exist! There have been some who were so occupied in spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ. Man! Ye see it in smaller matters. Did ye never know a lover of books that with all his first editions and signed copies had lost the power to read them? Or an organiser of charities that had lost all love for the poor? It is the subtlest of all snares.” The Great Divorce
Then there’s Mere Christianity, and well, where to begin with this one? It’s brilliant and the words he wrote during World War II are just as relevant and needed today. I recommend this book to everyone whether they share my beliefs or not.
It’s impossible to pick one quote to represent any of Lewis’ books, but especially Mere Christianity. I highlighted so much of the book, but here’s one:
“Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.” Mere Christianity
I’ll end with three books I really loved written about Tolkien and Lewis. If you want to learn more about the writers, these are great places to start!
If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath – This is a quick read and great introduction to Lewis and his books.
A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte – I absolutely LOVED this book. It looks at the war experiences of Tolkien and Lewis and the role it played in their writings. Very worth your time – you’ll grow to appreciate their works even more.
Bandersnatch by Diana Pavlac Glyer – This talks about the Inklings and the collaboration with the men involved. It’s fascinating and encouraging, especially for writers (but not just for writers!)
There were several other Inklings involved and my goal in the coming year is to start reading some of their books. If Tollers and Jack hung out with them, you know that means they were awesome. Maybe next year I’ll be able to have a Beginner’s Guide to them! Happy reading friends!
Thanks again for joining me and I would love to connect around the internet, so please feel free to connect! I also host a monthly Inklings discussion where we read a book written by or about Tolkien and Lewis and then discuss. It’s a ton of fun and would love for you to join in! You can find our next read here!