Customer Reviews for

From the Library of C. S. Lewis: Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey (Writers' Palette Book Series)

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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Food for thought. Snacks for the soul. C.S. Lewis didn’t

    Food for thought. Snacks for the soul.

    C.S. Lewis didn’t become famous and influential in isolation. His writing was fuelled not just by his thoughts, but also by his reading and the thoughts of others. James Stuart Bell’s compilation gives readers access to those volumes and authors beloved and well-read by Lewis. It’s an interesting collection covering centuries of writing and a fascinating breadth of philosophies and belief.

    The excerpts are all short, few covering more than a page, and each is tagged with the name of the writer and why or how they influenced Lewis. Mystics, saints, Catholics, Protestants, poets, politicians and more, they date from Greece’s Aristotle to Europe’s present day. From Wordsworth’s “lonely as a cloud” to Coleridge’s “In Zanadu di Kubla Khan,” from Chaucer to Donne, from Augustine of Hippo to Calvin, the excerpts are endlessly fascinating, each page offering something new.

    Not a book to be read in one sitting, this volume’s perfect for reference and sampling, nicely organized into sections as diverse as Fantasy and Imagination, or Living a Devout Life. I started dog-earing pages with favorite quotes but had to give up or the whole book would fall apart. Each piece has something to commend it, and the whole is like standing in a garden of flowers, hesitating in that moment before choosing which bud to inspect.

    Of particular interest to me is seeing how little our Christian beliefs have really changed over the centuries, and I loved the excerpts from church fathers such as Athanaseus (296-373 AD), mystics like Julian of Norwich (1342-?), and early academics from various traditions. A comprehensive bibliography lists all the volumes excerpted, and a wonderful index allows readers to find pieces by author instead of by topic.

    All in all, a beautiful reference book, a fascinating introduction to a glorious wealth of writers, and a seriously thought-provoking collection of short essays, this is a beautiful book and I’m delighted to have had the chance to review it.



    Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted July 12, 2012

    C. S. Lewis, one of the most influential Christian apologists an

    C. S. Lewis, one of the most influential Christian apologists and philosophers of the twentieth century, and those who inspired him speak into the needs of our own generation, helping us to see beyond our own generational blindspots. In the book From the Library of C.S. Lewis, compiled by James Stuart Bell with Anthony P. Dawson, you will find a rich smorgasbord of food for thought (aka writing ideas).

    This eclectic collection of writings from spiritual mentors includes over 200 excerpts from over 100 literary giants of a variety of genres from a vast range of time periods. Genres vary from poetry, fantasy, and science fiction to journals and theological treatises with authors as old as Aristotle to as recent as G.K. Chesterson. The selections are organized into 18 categories by subject, such as suffering, obedience, writing, humility, death, sin and temptation, grace and redemption, and living a devout life.

    I tried to read this book in order starting from page one, but after reading through the first quarter of it, I found it to be tedious and boring. However, when I changed my approach by reading a page or two a day at random based on my momentary subject of interest, I found it to be a delightful source of ideas, mulling them over and meditating on them. This is a book that I will keep on my nightstand and read repeatedly.

    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted July 10, 2012

    A Buffet of Classic Writers

    I am a fan of C.S. Lewis. I'll confess that from the start. It was my motivation behind reading From the Library of C.S. Lewis: Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey¿ (compiled by James Stuart Bell and Anthony P. Dawson). The book contains short selections (I don't believe any were over two pages long) of writings that Lewis read on his journey toward accepting Christ.

    The book includes writings from G.K. Chesterton, John Donne, Martin Luther, George MacDonald, William Wordsworth, Julian of Norwich and many others. The snippets of their works provide an overview of what influenced Lewis. They provide the reader with a chance to look into the works and decide which ones they might further want to explore for their own curiosities, but not every selection will be of interest to every reader. The book is more like a nice buffet sampling to let you pick and choose.

    I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for this review. My review was not influenced by the publishers in any way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Selections from writers who influenced his spiritual journey. T

    Selections from writers who influenced his spiritual journey. This book is authored by James Stuart Bell, who wrote his masters thesis on C S Lewis and his influences. The purpose of the book according to the author "Doesn't attempt to "figure out" Mr. Lewis, but to provide a smorgasbord of the content and style of those who have shone forth as messengers of light in his life." A quite a smorgasbord it is of a variety of material from history. There are selections from Martin Luther, Dante, G.K. Chesterson, Thomas A. Kempis and other well known and not so well known authors.
    Lewis is quoted as saying that George MacDonald's Phantastes "baptizes my imagination."
    There is a well organized Bibliography and Index that makes it easy to find references. The book is also divided into 18 catagories such as "Impressible Sweetness," "Divine Influence" and "A Particular Joy."
    This is a good book to keep for reference and if you find a particular work or author to your liking, to delve into it more.
    I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about what influenced C.S. Lewis in his thinking and conversion to Christianity.

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  • Posted July 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    C.S. Lewis was a masterful writer. Who were the people who influ

    C.S. Lewis was a masterful writer. Who were the people who influenced his life? What books and authors would you find in his library if he were alive today? In his new book, James S. Bell, with Anthony Dawson, answers these questions and more.

    C.S. Lewis was a prolific writer of such classics as the "Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Screwtape Letters." His Christian beliefs ran deep and he used writing as a way to express himself. But, givers must also find resources for their own strength, and C.S. Lewis had many resources. He drew strength and renewal from people like Aristotle, Chaucer, Dorothy Sayers, and J.R.R. Tolkein. Inside the pages of this book are more than 200 wonderful excerpts, giving the reader an insight into not only Lewis, but so many others as well.

    This is a really interesting book. James S. Bell and Anthony Dawson, took a great deal of time to study and select the information here. This book is one I will read again, taking more time to savor the individual passages presented. I recommend this book to all readers, especially C.S. Lewis lovers. It is a great tool in discovering the types of influences we all should have in our lives. I received my free review copy from the Blogging for Books program for an honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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