C.S. Lewis–A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet

I have always been a C.S. Lewis fan. I love his fiction. I love his apologetics. And I am amazed both accounts of genius came from the same mind. So, as a fan, I was really looking forward to reading a biography by such a heavy-weight academic as Alister McGrath.C.S. Lewis--A Life

It did not disappoint.

First, it’s a very academic accounting. It’s exhaustive in detail and explanation. McGrath not only tells you Lewis was born in Ireland, he tells you the implication of being a Protestant in Ireland just before the split of the country. And he explains the implications of being an Irishman not required to fight in the Great War but feeling compelled. This is a biography not only of facts but of academic implications based on extensive research.

There were many aspects of Lewis’ life I had been familiar with before. But I was also introduced to new ideas and conclusions. For instance, for all his great apologetics, it was actually experience that converted Lewis to Christianity. As a young child, he had the sense to recognize the feeling of joy and wonder from where it come. That desire to understand joy ultimately led him through atheism to a belief in biblical Christianity.

As well, it appears his writing of apologetics waned after World War II, in large part to his reasoning being challenged in the setting of an academic social club at Oxford. After that night, it is inferred, he lost his confidence in being an apologetics leader of the era. It was never his goal to write apologetics. He had just kind of gotten sucked into it. So it was also easy for him to leave.

Lewis read veraciously as a child. The affects of which are numerous, but one of which was the creation of Narnia. McGrath goes into great detail regarding Lewis’ relationship with Tolkien and their distancing in later years. One of the most fascinating aspects of the book to me was the comparison and differentiation between the development and writing of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings.

Know this is an academic book, but if you are a Lewis fan, it is a must-read. McGrath does a really great job. Click on the photo of the book above to be taken to Amazon for your own copy. Buy it. Read it. Share it with someone else.


I love words. And thus, I love reading. Always have. My one educational goal for my kiddos is that they develop a love for reading. I’m not sure you can truly “develop” a love for reading in a kiddo, but I’m trying my best. I made it my goal to never say no when my kids ask me to buy a book. As our oldest beauty has begun to devour books, I’ve had to temper my resolve in this, lest we go broke, but it’s a value all our kids know we hold.

I have discovered so much beauty through the power of words. All of us have. So, I wanted to dedicate part of this little blog to the books hitting my nightstand. Or my hubby’s. We share this love for books.

I just finished a hefty biography on Julia Child that I was so sad to finally turn the last page on.

Dearie by Bob Spitz

In addition to words, I also have a thing for cooking. Our years overseas introduced me to the beauty of simplicity on a plate and the sheer pleasure that can be discovered by sharing the experience of an exquisite meal. As my interest in cooking grew, so did my interest in Julia Child’s story. She discovered the joys of food while overseas, as well. I have read several biographical books on Julia before, but all were snapshots of different times in her life. This is an extensive history of her entire life.

Academic at times, my interest in the subject kept me engaged through every one of the 576 pages. I was most fascinated to see how long Julia wandered before she found her passion. She held countless, unfulfilling jobs before having the meal that changed her life in her forties. I was also deeply inspired by the commitment she had and the joy she found in her marriage. Paul Child was a difficult man (quirky?) by all accounts. Yet, she fell in love and nurtured all the quirkiness. When others were completely put out with her husband, she lavished acceptance on him. They went everywhere together. Even into Paul’s 80’s, after a personality-changing stroke, she refused to travel without him.

Julia lived to the ripe old age of 93, and saw the food culture revolutionized in America. I had never thought of food trends in culture before this book, and it was fascinating to see the development.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone. But if you’re a foodie at all, you will love the history. The insights into public television, on-air personality, cooking education and American food culture are fascinating.