Book Review: ‘A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works.’

Author: C. S. Lewis, Patricia S. Klein (Editor)
Pages: 416
Publisher: HarperOne
Published: October 21 2003 (first published January 1st 2003)

Coming in at 416 pages, Patricia S. Klein provides readers with a year’s worth of excerpts from some of the best-known writings of C. S. Lewis. What we have here is not your average daily devotional. Those looking for something similar to Chamber’s ‘My Utmost For His Highest‘ or Spurgeon’s ‘Morning by Morning‘ may want to turn elsewhere. The Lewis fan, however, will be pleased to see text extracted from key pieces like ‘Mere Christianity,’ ‘The Screwtape Letters,’ and ‘Miracles‘ to name a few. The book also serves as a gateway for the reader new to Lewis to discover more of his works.

The structure of the book is simple: There is an entry for each day. Each entry starts with what is usually a witty title related to the excerpt for that day. You then get the actual extract itself consisting of one or two paragraphs. Underneath the extract, you’ll find the source piece itself stated. Finally, at the bottom of the page, you’ll find a neat fact about Lewis pertaining to that specific day. For example:

“1954 The Horse and His Boy (the fifth book written in The Chronicles of Narnia) is published by Geoffrey Bles, London.” 1

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Something the editor does from time to time is to allow a train of thought to continue over multiple days. She breaks up a large extract and sections them off into individual entries. I enjoyed this. I understand that most traditional devotionals seek to have a single thought for a specific day. While this is what we’ve come to expect from many devotionals, it was nice to spend 3 or 4 days swimming in the same body of water.

I wouldn’t characterize the book as “devotional” or “inspirational” in the modern evangelical sense. Lewis isn’t always interested in “building you up.” He’ll challenge you and make you blush. He’ll cause a cerebral sweat and make you feel as though you’ve got some homework. But that’s one of the reasons we love Lewis.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. Though I’d be wary of reading this at the dinner table with children. Lewis deals at times with mature content and most of these extracts are meant for the reader to engage in some mental gymnastics.

A great addition to the library of Lewis fans both old and new, this book can be found, and purchased, through most preferred retailers.

Thanks for reading!

1 C. S. Lewis, Patricia S. Klein (Editor), A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2003), 274.

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