Archives For CS Lewis


Harper Collins

A number of imprints that are part of the Harper Collins publishing group, are running end-of-the-year ebook sales (inlcuding HarperOne, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson)

[ Part 1 of this Harper Collins Sale… ]
Barbara Brown Taylor, Ann Voskamp, Rachel Held Evans

Unfortunately, there’s not a good way to search Amazon for all of the sale ebooks, and I’m not sure how long these sale prices will last.
Some books that have been on sale have already reverted to their normal prices.

Sale prices may or may not be valid outside the United States…

Here are 10+ excellent books that are part of this sale and $3.99 or less!

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To make a song is a gift, and once it’s done it keeps evolving and changing and becomes a tool to interact with other people. It’s like a conversation.”
– Ryan Adams, Songwriter
who turns 40 today


Poem of the Day:
“The Death of St. Brendan”
By J.R.R. Tolkien

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*** From our recent list of poems for All Saints Day

Kindle Ebook Deal of the Day:
Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy
Only 99c!!!
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*** NOTE: This stated price is for the United States. Unfortunately, this offer may or may not be available in other countries. Sorry!

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The Wake Up Call – November 4, 2014


Two new books on CS Lewis and Interdependence

“The world is like a drunken peasant. If you lift him into the saddle on one side, he will fall off again on the other side.” Thus Martin Luther in his Table Talk. His words would serve well as a description of the history of Inklings scholarship. The earliest such scholarly studies argued that the Inklings (Lewis, Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, et al.) were possessed of “a corporate mind” and that their works had a “similar orientation,” “essentially uniform,” “clearly defined.” So claimed John Wain, a junior member of the Inklings, and various others. But this consensus was toppled from the saddle by Humphrey Carpenter, who maintained, by way of contrast, that the Inklings showed “scant resemblance” to one another and “that on nearly every issue they stand far apart.” Carpenter’s view, which he bolstered with evidence from senior Inklings who themselves claimed not to have influenced one another at all, has sat lumpenly in place since he published his study in 1979.

Diana Pavlac Glyer has now toppled the Carpenter view. But rather than allowing the cycle of drunken saddlings and re-saddlings to repeat itself, she has thoughtfully poured buckets of clear cold water over the entire subject. Fully sobered up at last, Inklings scholarship is for the first time able to sit straight, inclining neither to the view that the group was reliably homogeneous, nor to the view that its members were utterly immiscible. Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis. It’s a typical scholarly progression. But how long it has taken!

Read the full review:

The Company They Keep:
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community
Diana Pavlac Glyer

Paperback: Kent State UP, 2008
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Narnia and the Fields of Arbol:
The Environmental Vision of C.S. Lewis
Matthew Dickerson and David O’Hara

Hardback: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2009
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]

by Mary Henold.

I have never met a nun—there was a time when this would have been a truly bizarre statement from an American Catholic. Nuns were everywhere: running the schools, staffing the hospitals, flocking like slightly ominous birds in their easily recognizable habits. Nonetheless, many Catholics these days know no nuns—a fact that came to mind while reading Mary J. Henold’s new book Catholic and Feminist. Although she doesn’t quite acknowledge it, Henold’s work is in part the story of how a way of life vanished and took the ubiquitous nuns with it.

Many aspects of American Catholic life in the early 1960s—Catholic and Feminist covers only the period from the Second Vatican Council to the early 1980s—were troubling. There were structural inequalities in the Church for which (at least by Henold’s accounting) no theological justification was even attempted: a Catholic contact directory, for example, that listed (male) hospital chaplains but not (mostly female) hospital supervisors. One doesn’t need to be a feminist to wonder what possible purpose this could have served. Catholic and Feminist also features several stories of churchmen being palpably, personally hostile to the emerging Catholic feminists in ways that were not only counterproductive but ungracious. A snarling monsignor is not exactly a witness to the gospel of humility.

Read the full review:

Catholic and Feminist:
The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement

Mary J. Henold

Hardback: UNC Press, 2008.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

BookForum reviews Nic Brown’s

Nic Brown’s Floodmarkers is set in 1989, but in its fractured portrait of small-town American life, it feels considerably older—a Winesburg, Ohio run through with Gen-X slang. Like Sherwood Anderson, Brown is essentially a still-life artist; he eschews plot for portraiture, the linear for the lateral. “His instinct was to present everything together, as in a dream,” Malcolm Cowley once wrote of Anderson. So, too, with Brown, whose first novel scatters brilliantly in a dozen directions at once, without advancing a single day.

Floodmarkers is set in Lystra, a fictional North Carolina burg caught in the path of a very real natural disaster. As the narrative begins, at four in the morning on September 21, Hurricane Hugo, a swirling Category 5 monster, has barreled up the coast from the tropics and seems poised to peter out somewhere over the town. “Inland North Carolina always got weather like this, unraveling hurricanes dropping huge amounts of rain as they blew in across the Piedmont,” Brown writes of the storm’s first tendrils.

Read the full review:

Nic Brown.

Paperback: Counterpoint, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


The Washington Post Reviews

As a small girl growing up in California, Laura Miller did not just long to visit Narnia. So bewitched was she by that imagined realm — laid out in seven novels back in the 1950s by an eccentric English don — she was pretty sure that not being able to visit it in person would kill her. Along with its various sequels and prequels, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe brought her the purest sort of bliss. It was the book, she writes in this meandering but beguiling appreciation, “that made a reader out of me.”

When Miller was in her early teens, she discovered “what is instantly obvious to any adult reader: that the Chronicles of Narnia are filled with Christian symbolism” and that the books that had been the cornerstone of her imaginative life were “really just the doctrines of the Church in disguise.”

Miller had been raised a Catholic (close enough, for literary purposes, to C.S. Lewis’s born-again Anglicanism), but she was left as cold as a Narnia winter by what she describes as the church’s “guilt-mongering and tedious rituals.” The sense of betrayal by Lewis was so great that for a long time she wanted nothing to do with his now “appallingly transfigured” fairy tale.

A lot of readers have felt that way about Narnia — and not just since Disney’s unsubtle blockbuster movie in 2005 left the whole series more or less hijacked by Christian fundamentalists. Lewis’s longtime friend J.R.R. Tolkien, the creator of Middle-earth and a self-described “devout Roman Catholic,” objected to what he considered the books’ heavy-handed Christian parallels, too.

Read the full review:

Laura Miller.

Hardcover: Little, Brown, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $21 ] [ Amazon ]

BOOKS AND CULTURE reviews poet Adam Zagajewski’s
newest book ETERNAL ENEMIES.

To open Adam Zagajewski’s new book Eternal Enemies is to find oneself in motion. “To travel without baggage, sleep in the train / on a hard wooden bench, / forget your native land,” begins “En Route.” A few pages later the narrator wonders whether it was “worth waiting in consulates / for some clerk’s fleeting good humor” and “worth taking the underground / beneath I can’t recall what city” (“Was It”). Other poems find him in cars, imagining the “great ships that wandered the ocean,” on a plane flying over the arctic, on more trains, and occasionally on foot.

Often the motion is not just from one city or country to another, but from one historical era to another. In “Notes from a Trip to Famous Excavations,” for instance, the narrator sees “campaign slogans on the walls / and know[s] that the elections ended long ago,” yet when a gate swings open, the past becomes present as “wine returns to the pitchers, / and love comes back to the homesteads / where it once dwelled.” The poems move, as well, from concrete particular to the abstract and transcendent—from an epiphany, as Zagajewski once wrote in an essay, to the kitchen and “the envelope holding the telephone bill.”

Some of poems’ loveliest effects are achieved by juxtaposing one time or dimension with another, as in “Star,” the opening poem. “I’m not the young poet who wrote / too many lines,” the narrator recalls:

and wandered in the maze
of narrow streets and illusions.
The sovereign of clocks and shadows
has touched my brow with his hand

Notice how the narrator links “narrow streets” with “illusions,” and “clocks” with “shadows.” Small gestures like these give this poem, like many in Eternal Enemies, a tone that is somehow both wistful and particular. So too do the precise, loving references to buildings and streets that will be unfamiliar to most American readers (such as “Long Street” and “Karmelicka Street” and “Staglieno”—the first two in Krakow, the third a graveyard in Genoa, Italy, if you’re wondering). Zagajewki’s places are always more than simply places. They are both mythical and real, a quality that will come through even for readers who are less traveled and don’t put down the book long enough to Google the names.

Read the full review:

Adam Zagajewski.

Hardcover: FSG, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reviews two recent books on loneliness

With one holiday just past us and more on the way, it is a good bet that feelings of loneliness will register a sizable uptick in our emotional biorhythms. As we all know, a sense that one is isolated from the rest of humanity can descend at all sorts of times — not only on a bleak street at dawn, or in an out-of-town hotel room or during the kind of “solitary restaurant dinner” that F. Scott Fitzgerald saw as the epitome of “haunting loneliness.” The sense of loneliness can come upon us even at a raucous office party or a family dinner by a crackling fire or amid jostling crowds of bargain-hunting Christmas shoppers.

But why is this? In “Loneliness,” John T. Cacioppo and William Patrick try to explain. We all need to make three types of human connection, they say: with intimate or romantic partners, with close friends and with our “collectivity” — the community or nation as a whole. A failure on any one of these fronts is what produces loneliness.

But not only loneliness. For, as Mr. Cacioppo’s own research at the University of Chicago shows, feelings of loneliness and isolation are actually associated with a raft of social pathologies: everything from addiction, depression and uncontrollable anger to impaired cardiovascular functioning and damage to the brain’s “executive control” center. Studies even suggest that a rejection by humans “can increase the tendency to anthropomorphize one’s pet,” which sheds new light on the life of Leona Helmsley.

Messrs. Cacioppo and Patrick are thus arguing, among other things, that a concerted attack on loneliness would improve public health as well as individual happiness. The problem is that they take a scattershot view of what the attack should look like. They recommend everything from saying “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” to the grocer and taking therapy to prevent negative thoughts to finding human connection on the Internet. Which is all very well, except that a cautionary note is needed: Here, as elsewhere, a cure can sometimes be as costly as the disease.

Read the full review:

Cacioppo and Patrick.

Hardcover: Norton, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]

Loneliness As a Way of Life.
Thomas Dumm.

Hardcover: Harvard UP, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]


To Sleep
by C.S. Lewis

This poem is found in Lewis’s collection Spirits in Bondage,
which you can get as a FREE ebook when you sign up
for our free weekly email digest!

I will find out a place for thee, O Sleep-
A hidden wood among the hill-tops green,
Full of soft streams and little winds that creep
The murmuring boughs between.

A hollow cup above the ocean placed
Where nothing rough, nor loud, nor harsh shall be,
But woodland light and shadow interlaced
And summer sky and sea.

There in the fragrant twilight I will raise
A secret altar of the rich sea sod,
Whereat to offer sacrifice and praise
Unto my lonely god:

Due sacrifice of his own drowsy flowers,
The deadening poppies in an ocean shell
Round which through all forgotten days and hours
The great seas wove their spell.

So may he send me dreams of dear delight
And draughts of cool oblivion, quenching pain,
And sweet, half-wakeful moments in the night
To hear the falling rain.

And when he meets me at the dusk of day
To call me home for ever, this I ask-
That he may lead me friendly on that way
And wear no frightful mask.


Christianity Today interviews James Wilhoit
author of Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered. 

“… Certainly you have those classic disciplines that [Richard ] Foster talks about [in Celebration of Discipline]. But the trouble with those disciplines is they can become kind of “quiet time only” activities. So I want to put emphasis those disciplines that are distinctively relational. We all are in the midst of being formed and challenged in relationships, and we just have to be intentional about that — about engaging people in the margin, about offering forgiveness to people that have hurt us. And so that has to be there.

Foster’s introduction is so helpful in emphasizing this, and a lot of people’s lives, like mine, were changed by it. But a lot of people read the book and practiced these activities in a way that never touches their life.

I want to emphasize the context as well as the practices. What I have seen with my students is if you take a legalist and teach them Richard Foster, they simply become a far more adroit legalist. We constantly need to go back to this theme that it is all about seeking to live out the gospel and live out of our brokenness. …”

Read the full interview:

James Wilhoit.
Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered.

Paperback. Baker Books. 2007.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $15 ] [ Amazon ]

The MetroTimes (Detroit) reviews
American Earth: Environmental Writings Since Thoreau
edited by Bill McKibben

The reality of climate change is now beyond doubt in the scientific community. We also now know that it will take more than technological innovation to stave off its potentially devastating environmental consequences. As academic and laboratory squabbles about our planet’s ills begin to fade, the arduous task of correcting past and current negligence becomes, to a significant degree, an effort of rhetoric. Environmentalism today is in large part a campaign for the world’s hearts and minds, which makes the present a useful time to think deeply about the literature that addresses these concerns. American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau, a 1,000-page anthology, represents a Herculean effort on the part of author and activist Bill McKibben, its editor, to bring together the texts most relevant to an audience unfamiliar with the topic. It is matchless in its heft, generous in scope (included are Sierra Club founder John Muir and Marvin Gaye), and, with a detailed chronology in its back matter, serviceable in its depth.

Environmental writing today stretches from detailed meditations on particular places, such as those written by Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie, to assessments, by writers active in the environmental justice movement, of the social and economic inequalities that cause environmental burdens to be distributed unequally (think of Erin Brockovich’s lawsuits). The bulk of McKibben’s anthology leans marginally closer to the wonder-of-nature end of this spectrum, and likewise skews toward the present. But nearly all of the writers we associate with the movement, from the middle of the 19th century to the present, appear here… “

Read the full review:

American Earth: Environmental Writings Since Thoreau
Bill McKibben, editor.

Hardcover. Library of America. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $32 ] [ Amazon ]

First Things reviews Michael Ward’s
Planet Narnia.

“Late one night, a young scholar at Cambridge named Michael Ward reads “The Planets,” a minor poem by C.S. Lewis. In it he encounters a curious phrase about the influence of Jupiter: winter passed / And guilt forgiv’n. This, he notices, is exactly what happens in one of Lewis’ most famous works, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Could the poem and the book be connected somehow?

Ward quickly begins to notice connections between other books in Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series and other planets in the poem. He remembers a line from Father Silouan, the nineteenth-century Orthodox monk, about how prayer is a participation in the Holy Spirit, and he hears an echo in Lewis’ own words—’In prayer, God speaks to God.’

“I did not shout ‘Eureka!’ and run naked down the street like Archimedes,” Ward explains, “but I did jump from my bed in a state of undress and begin to pull books from my shelves, chasing links from work to work.” Indeed, he writes, “I immediately and instinctively knew, though it took much longer to understand with clarity, that Lewis had cryptically designed the Chronicles so that the seven heavens spoke through them like a kind of language or song. He had translated the planets into plots, and the music of the spheres could be heard silently sounding (or tingling, as he would have said) in each work.”

In other words, in 2003, Michael Ward discovered the secret key to the Chronicles of Narnia, a key no one had found before: Each of the seven planets of the ancient celestial hierarchy provides the atmospheric superstructure for each of the seven books in Lewis’ series of children’s books.  …”

Read the full review:

Michael Ward. Planet Narnia:
The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of CS Lewis.
Hardcover. Oxford UP. 2007.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $29 ] [ Amazon ]