5 Books by C.S. Lewis that Everyone Should Read
- Ryan Duncan
- Updated Aug 22, 2022
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It has been over fifty years since the death of C.S. Lewis. On November 22, 1963, the Christian author and scholar passed away quietly in his home, his absence largely overlooked by the rest of the world. Yet Lewis’ writings went on to inspire generations of Christians and challenged the world with new notions about faith and God. Today, I would like to commemorate his work with a list of five books by C.S. Lewis that everyone should read. But first, let's look into his life and what inspired his great works of literature.
The Life of C.S. Lewis
Born in Belfast Ireland on Nov. 29, 1898, Clive Staples Lewis (nicknamed Jack) grew up with a deep love for reading books. Some of his favorites were Beatrix Potter stories; he had a fascination for writing and illustrating his own animal stories.
Losing his mother at an early age had a deep impact on Lewis’ spiritual life. Without her wisdom and godly influence, under agnostic and atheistic education later as a teen, he eventually walked away from his faith becoming an atheist.
Through the years, he faced hardship and pain after being injured in World War One and continued his search for meaning in life. Lewis finally came back to God at age 32, greatly influenced by the inspiring writings of George McDonald and other colleagues and friends, such as J. R. R. Tolkien, and G. K Chesterton.
As Lewis’ faith grew stronger over time, his writings and work deeply touched millions of lives during World War II and the years that followed. It was then that some of his greatest work was published. It was also when, in his later years, that Lewis unexpectedly met the love of his life: American writer, Joy Davidman. The two married, yet just 4 years afterward, he lost his dear wife to cancer. She was only 45. Their love story was told through the award-winning movie Shadowlands.
Excerpt from 25 Inspiring C. S. Lewis Quotes by Debbie McDaniel
Books by C.S. Lewis Everyone Should Read
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Mere Christianity is one of Lewis’ most insightful books as well as one of his most difficult. A frank discussion on Christian beliefs, Mere Christianity urges the reader to ask tough questions while examining the Bible from new perspectives. At moments, some may find the material hard to digest, but Lewis’ determined narrations help to pull the reader slowly forward. Even 70 years after it was written, this book continues to inspire Christians in the midst of their walk with God.
“Every natural love will rise again and live forever in this country: but none will rise again until it has been buried.”
Drawing inspiration from the works of St. Augustine, Lewis Carroll, and George MacDonald, The Great Divorce takes its readers on a journey to the slopes of Heaven and Hell. Lewis imagines a grim and joyless city known as “The Grey Town”, filled with inhabitants seeking a better place. When the narrator of the story joins a bus tour on an excursion elsewhere, he makes some startling discoveries about himself and what awaits him at the end of the road. Filled with vivid imagery and some poignant discussions on joy and redemption, The Great Divorce asks us to consider the ultimate destination of every soul.
“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”
Wickedly charming and brilliantly clever, The Screwtape Letters is Lewis at his finest. The book is comprised of thirty-one written letters from the demon Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood, a younger and less experienced tempter. Together, the two schemes for ways to lead a human man toward “Our Father Below” (Satan) while dreading the strength of “the Enemy” (God). The unorthodox perspective, combined with Lewis tactful writing, makes The Screwtape Letters a riveting story that should not go overlooked.
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
Probably the most moving and heartbreaking addition to Lewis’ writings, A Grief Observed chronicles the author's bereavement following the death of his wife. The journal very candidly describes Lewis’ anger at God and his struggle to find faith amidst his pain. Between venting his frustrations and exploring his grief, Lewis finds a new understanding of God’s place in his life. The account is very personal, very raw, and will resonate with anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one.
“And so for a time it looked as if all the adventures were coming to an end; but that was not to be.”
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe will forever remain the most beloved of Lewis’ written works. It’s here that readers were first introduced to the magical realm of Narnia and the immortal character of Aslan, the lion. It’s here that the wonder and the beauty of Jesus death was rendered in stunning metaphor. And it’s hear where Lewis began the seven-book saga which would capture the imagination of children everywhere. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe has been read and re-read, and will no doubt open again in the years to come.
Cover Photo Credit: Pexels/Pixabay