Tumnus’s Bookshelf: The NarniaFans Book Reviews: “A Grief Observed”

Welcome to Tumnus’s Book Shelf where we review any and all books related to Narnia and CS Lewis! For this weeks review, we will be looking at CS Lewis’s A Grief Observed.

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C.S. Lewis Books receive new Cover Designs

A few weeks ago I noticed that some of the C.S. Lewis books were getting new cover art on Amazon.com. I ignored it at first, but I have seen it reported on in a number of places and thought it would be good to alert readers of this website about them as well.

Now, some sites are reporting that there are 9 books receiving new covers, whereas the official C.S. Lewis book website says “Collect all 10 beautiful new editions of C.S. Lewis’s greatest works.” I’m doing some digging to find out if it is, in fact, 10 books receiving the new cover art.

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C.S. Lewis Society Update, 6/23/07

David J. Theroux, the Founder and President of the C. S. Lewis Society of California has e-mailed us with the latest updates on many upcoming events that you’re all invited to attend! I hope that some of you have the chance to visit these events and join Lewis Societies, or even have the opportunity to start one in your own area if one does not exist. Again, sorry for the delay again. I was reminded of this e-mail by a user that actually visited the group and had a great time. Here’s the update:

Please note the following in this issue of the C.S. Lewis Society Update (6/23/07):

1. Forthcoming Films Based on Books by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien
2. Mere Christianity
3. Next meetings of the C.S. Lewis Society’s Bay Area Book Club: “Why does suffering exist?”
4. Other Events

1. Forthcoming Films Based on Books by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien:

A. The acclaimed film-maker Michael Apted will direct the third film in C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia” series, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” Among Apted’s earlier films are “Gorillas in the Mist,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Lipstick,” and “Amazing Grace.”

New Zealander Andrew Adamson, who has directed the first two films in the series (“The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” and “Prince Caspian”) will serve as a producer for the third Narnia film. (“Prince Caspian” is scheduled for release on May 16, 2008, and “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” will debut on May 1, 2009.)

B. Oscar-nominee director and screen writer Randall Wallace, whose film credits include “Braveheart,” “Pearl Harbor,” and “The Man in the Iron Mask,” is writing the screenplay for (and may direct) the film version of Lewis’s book, “The Screwtape Letters.” The film is being produced by Ralph Winter, whose many films include the last four Star Trek films, “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Planet of the Apes,” and “The Puppet Masters,” as well as the widely popular ABC-TV series, “Lost.”

C. Plans are also underway for a 2009 prequel film of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.” The producers are trying to get the original cast re-assembled for this film as well as a film version of Tolkien’s book, “The Hobbit.” Additional film interest has already developed in the new novel by Christopher Tolkien (J.R.R.’s son) that was released in April, “The Children of Hurin,” set hundreds of years before the events of the “Rings” trilogy, during the First Age of Middle Earth.

2. Mere Christianity:

Are materialist modernism and post-modernism on their way out? Consistent with C.S. Lewis’s work in critiquing the pervasive materialism, reductionism, scientism, collectivism, statism, and de-humanization of the “modern” era, more and more top scholars are revealing the unique and enduring truths of Christian theism.

Here is a sampling of interviews in this regard:

“An Interview with Francis Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute” (Time)

“Spiritual Disciplines in a Postmodern World: An Interview of Dallas Willard” (Newsweek)

“Mere Mission: N.T. Wright Talks about How to Present the Gospel in a Postmodern World”

“Theism as a Properly Basic Belief: An Interview with Alvin Plantinga”

“Divine Action: An Interview with Sir John Polkinghorne”

“Argument from Reason: An Interview with Victor Reppert”

“Faith and Reason: Was Christianity the Engine of Western Progress? An Interview with Rodney Stark”

“A Man of Ethics and Science: An Interview with Ian Barbour”

3. Next meeting of the C.S. Lewis Society’s Bay Area Book Club:

Books for Discussion on the Topic, “Why does suffering exist?”


Meeting moderator/leader: Daniel Classen
Wednesday, June 27th, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 11th, 7:30 p.m.

THE PROBLEM OF PAIN answers the universal question, “Why would an all-loving, all-knowing God allow people to experience pain and suffering?” C.S. Lewis asserts that pain is a problem because our finite, human minds selfishly believe that pain-free lives would prove that God loves us. In truth, by asking for this, we want God to love us less, not more than He does. “Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved; that the mere ‘kindness’ which tolerates anything except suffering in its object is, in that respect at the opposite pole from Love.” In addressing “Divine Omnipotence,” “Human Wickedness,” “Human Pain,” and “Heaven,” Lewis succeeds in lifting the reader from his frame of reference by artfully capitulating these topics into a conversational tone. Lewis is straightforward in aim as well as honest about his impediments, saying, “I am not arguing that pain is not painful. Pain hurts. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine that being made perfect through suffering is not incredible. To prove it palatable is beyond my design.”

Lewis later experienced crushing doubt after his wife’s tragic death from cancer. A GRIEF OBSERVED contains his epigrammatic reflections on that period: “Your bid-for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity-will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high,” Lewis writes. “Nothing will shake a man-or at any rate a man like me-out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.” This is the book that inspired the film SHADOWLANDS, but it is more wrenching, more revelatory, and more real than the movie. It is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can regain his bearings and be stronger than ever, just as he discussed in his book, THE PROBLEM OF PAIN.

The meeting will be held at:

11990 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94619
510-482-2906 phone
wine, soft drinks and other refreshments served

Here also are articles that discuss THE PROBLEM OF PAIN and A GRIEF OBSERVED and related issues:

“C. S. Lewis: The Problem of Pain,” by Jacek Bacz

“The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis”

“God, 9/11, the Tsunami, and the New Problem of Evil,” by N. T. Wright

“A Possible Perfect World: Examining the Anti-theistic Argument Based on the Problem of Evil,” by John Gay

THE PROBLEM OF PAIN is available in paperback and on CD.

A GRIEF OBSERVED is available in paperback and on CD.

Here also is the schedule of future Lewis Society book club meetings:

Here also is information on C.S. Lewis:

We hope that you and/or others you know will be joining with us! (Please feel free to forward this update to others.)

4. Other Upcoming Events:

C.S. Lewis Summer Conference: “Finding the Way: C.S. Lewis as Pilgrim Guide in an Age of Pluralism”
Sponsored by the C.S. Lewis Foundation
San Diego, CA
June 28-July 1, 2007

The 38th Annual Mythopoeic Conference (Mythcon XXXVIII), “Becoming Adept: The Journey to Mastery”
Sponsored by the Mythopoeic Society
University of California, Berkeley, CA
August 3-6, 2007

“The Crisis of the University: Freedom, Tolerance and the Pursuit of Truth”
Sponsored by the C.S. Lewis Foundation
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
October 5-6, 2007

“C.S. Lewis: Man and His Work: A 21st Century Legacy”
Sponsored by L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture
Southeastern College at Wake Forest, Wake Forest, NC
October 26-27, 2007

Peter Kreeft talks Lewis, Narnia

Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at Boston College. He is a regular contributor to several Christian publications, is in wide demand as a speaker at conferences, and is the author of over 45 books including the excellent Handbook of Christian Apologetics which is WELL worth the read. It is just incredible. He’s got audio available, on C.S. Lewis’ works, available at the following link.

[Listen to Peter Kreeft here]

13. Lost in the Cosmos — Contrasts two classics, Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos and C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man, on the topics of Natural Law, humor and irony, direct and indirect communication, the nature of self, knowing vs. knowing about, and others

14. Mere Christianity — Next to the Bible, C.S. Lewis’s masterpiece receives Dr. Kreeft’s highest recommendation

15. The Problem of Pain — A commentary on C.S. Lewis’s brilliant exposition on the problems of suffering and evil

16. Till We Have Faces — A commentary on C.S. Lewis’s solution to evil, worked out in fiction. Also deals with the fascinating question “Why does God wear disguises?”

17. A Grief Observed — C.S. Lewis’s personal and honest account of the loss of his wife, and how God deepened his love

20. Time and Eternity — C.S. Lewis’ insights on these intriguing topics

21. The Cosmic Dance — C.S. Lewis’ joyful cosmology of femininity and masculinity

22. The Imagination — C.S. Lewis and the power of creative images

27. The Good, True and Beautiful — C.S. Lewis on the three great transcendentals

And be sure to check out the Video Lecture for What Christians Believe — A review of Part II of “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis, which is the first book Kreeft recommends after the Bible. And also the Audio Lecture for an online streaming interview with Kreeft (and other speakers) regarding C.S. Lewis and the Screwtape Letters.