Archives For Literary

 

Our Absurd and Grotesque
and Beautiful World

A Feature Review of 

A Political Companion
to Flannery O’Connor
Edited by Henry T. Edmondson III

Hardback. UPress of Kentucky, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Todd Edmondson

 

Upon hearing of Flannery O’Connor’s death in 1964, Thomas Merton famously wrote that when he reflected on her life and work, “I don’t think of Hemingway, or Katherine Ann Porter, or Sartre, but rather of someone like Sophocles.” It is perhaps unsurprising that Merton was compelled to draw connections between the mid-twentieth-century fiction writer from Milledgeville, Georgia and the most-decorated playwright of Greece’s Classical period. Both wrote works that occupied the threshold between violence and the sacred. Both depicted dysfunctional family dynamics and the perennial struggle between parents and children. Both confront and unsettle their audience with the oracular wisdom and obscure utterances of blind prophets, and both, in Merton’s words, show us “man’s fall and dishonor.”

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Here are our favorite biographies and companion guides to C.S. Lewis’s work.

Compiled by Marina Konow


 

Though the celebrated C.S. Lewis, didn’t necessarily have a long life, he managed to accomplish a great deal with the time he was given. In his 65 years on earth, Lewis went from being raised Christian to later becoming atheist; only to be brought back to the Christian faith later. His famous friend, J.R.R. Tolkien, played a key role in his return to the faith.

Lewis created a world near and dear to many hearts through his well- known Narnian stories, which continue to influence our culture, over 60 years after the last book was published, For instance, three of the seven books have recentlybeen turned into major motion picture productions. Since 1950, (the year The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was published) The Chronicles of Narnia series has sold over 100 million copies and has been published in 47 different languages.  

Lewis continues to inspire all Christians through his essays and novels. Besides the Narnia series, his novels Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce are but a few of his insightful works.

With all the wonderful stories and perspectives Lewis gave us, many authors have tackled the challenge of writing about him and his work. Through these books, one is able to gain more perspective of Lewis’s character and backstory; as well as an understanding of his faith journey.

Listed below are some of the works that help us better understand C.S. Lewis.  We’ve included excerpts from the books where available via Google Books.

 

1)   Jack: A Life of C. S. Lewis
by George Sayer

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Just in time for summer!!!

Whether strolling the beaches or lounging around the house, these literary t-shirts will be a delight to book lovers!

They make great gifts for graduations or birthdays!

Most of these shirts are available in styles for men, women, and youth…
Some are available in a variety of colors.
(CLICK IMAGE to see what options are available for each shirt)

 

1 – Hope is the thing with feathers

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A Bounty of Literary Beauty
for Lent and Easter

A Review of

Between Midnight and Dawn:
A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide
Compiled by Sarah Arthur

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle
 
Reviewed by Alex Joyner

 

I can’t be alone in thinking that, when Dorothy discovers that her ruby red slippers have (and always have had) the power to take her home, it is one of the most profound theological insights in American pop culture.  Or that the death of Stringer Bell was a moment where the ability of the TV series The Wire to plumb the depths of the human condition was most on display.  I like my piety with a little artistic license.  “Tell all the truth,” as Emily Dickinson said, “but tell it slant.”

Sarah Arthur, who compiled the great new Lenten and Eastertide literary prayer guide, Between Midnight and Dawn, is a kindred spirit in this.  She introduces her collection by comparing the movement from Lent to Easter with night to dawn and winter to spring, but don’t believe her.  She’s got far more tender and terrifying territory to cover in this beautiful, bountiful book.

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Today is the birthday of South African novelist Alan Paton (born 1903).

His masterpiece was the novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, which wrestles with issues of faith, race and class, in mid-twentieth century South Africa. The 1995 film adaptation, starring James Earl Jones and Richard Harris, is extraordinary. I highly recommend finding it, if you haven’t yet seen it. 

Here is the trailer…

 
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A Very Good Book.

 
A Feature Review of 
 

The Good Book: Writers Reflect on their Favorite Bible Passages
Andrew Blauner, Editor

Hardback: Simon and Schuster, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Jennifer Burns Lewis
 
 
It’s really a very good book, this anthology of reflections about the Bible. In some ways, it’s like having an amazing chat with friends about biblical texts about which they are passionate, except that these authors are far more eloquent and eclectic than my thirty-two closest friends. The Good Book: Writers Reflect on Favorite Bible Passages is a wonderfully rich assortment of essays by an array of thoughtful, reflective, sometimes witty, often reverent writers. Representing a variety of faith perspectives or none at all, these essays offer the reader delicious morsels of goodness that invite the reader to question, ponder and consider the limitless ways in which readers encounter the Bible.

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Light, Logos, Love.

A Review of

Tolkien’s Sacramental Vision: Discerning the Holy in Middle Earth
Craig Bernthal

Paperback: Second Spring, 2014.
Buy now: [ AmazonKindle ]

 

Reviewed by Alden Lee Bass

 
 
At an event in San Francisco in 2003, when literary critic Joseph Pearce explained to a gathering of Tolkien fans that the author’s Catholicism was an integral and crucial part of The Lord of the Rings, several members of the audience got up and left. Yet it’s not only casual readers who miss this obvious point – Tolkien scholarship is divided between those who emphasize the pagan elements of his great works and those who see an underlying Christian infrastructure. For those versed in Christian theology, the Christian elements of Tolkien’s epic are unmistakable: from Gandalf’s death and resurrection to Gollum’s failed redemption to Frodo and Sam’s march up Mount Doom to destroy the ring. Tolkien himself said in one of his letters, “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”

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“An Oft Overlooked Genius

A review of
Defiant Joy:
The Remarkable Life and Impact of G. K. Chesterton
.
By Kevin Belmonte.

Reviewed by Jonathan Schindler.

Defiant Joy:
The Remarkable Life and Impact of G. K. Chesterton
.
By Kevin Belmonte.

Paperback: Thomas Nelson, 2011.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Defiant Joy: On GK Chesterton - Kevin BelmonteI had always considered G. K. Chesterton a bridge. I knew him as the man who wrote the book that served as a catalyst to C. S. Lewis’s conversion. Beyond that, despite his imposing bulk and vast literary output, he remained for me a figure in obscurity, a Monica to Lewis’s Augustine.

Still, when college was over and I had more freedom to choose my own reading, I decided to give Chesterton a try. I started with his most readily available book, Orthodoxy, and I hated it. His “logic” was dizzying, everything turned on paradoxes, and I found it inscrutable. Two years later, however, my opinion changed when I discovered the genius behind The Man Who Was Thursday, which served as the key and doorway into the rest of Chesterton’s works. Even Orthodoxy made sense to me after Thursday, and I have since come to see Chesterton’s merits on his own, apart from the host of others he has influenced. He is no longer a bridge for me but an author worthy of contemplation in his own right.

Because of this, I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Kevin Belmonte’s Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life and Impact of G. K. Chesterton, not only because it gave me an excuse to delve deeper into the corpus of one of my favorite authors, but also because it marks a widespread resurgence of interest in a man whose works are more timely than ever.

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