My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

10 April 2005

Book Review - Aslan's Grandpappy

Not a Tame Lion - The Spiritual Legacy of C.S. Lewis
Terry W. Glaspey
Leaders in Action series (George Grant, ed.)

Could a boring book be written about C.S. Lewis? Maybe like a having a boring conversation about heaven - possible, but ridiculous. Terry Glaspey's biography of C.S. Lewis is well-written, engaging, thoughtful and - best of all - leaves you wanting more...not of Glaspey, but of Lewis.

It's a handsized little book that comes in the "Leaders in Action" series by Highland books (a larger list of these great bios can be found here). As with the other books in this series, it is composed of three parts: biography, analysis, and legacy, each part held together by bite-sized chapters. These smaller chapters allow for nibbling without indigestion; I covered this book in the free time we had in the hospital after #2 was born.

Great stories abound in the first section: Lewis' conversion (Sep. 28, 1931 - while on a motorcycle ride!), a childhood with books & a brother, a boarding school fit for Charles Dickens, an atheism forced into Christianity by too much thinking, the Inklings (a group of literary friends, including Tolkien and Lewis' brother Warren), a slow, beautiful, and fateful romance with Joy Gresham; stories all wrapped around a mind sharper and warmer than any we are likely to meet. I laughed to find out that Lewis' almost cancelled the publication of Lion, Witch & the Wardrobe because Tokien didn't like it at all; thankfully, others persisted.

I foresee returning to the second section of this book while reading Lewis in the future; its short chapters provide brief but valuable insights into the thought and writings of Lewis. I was glad to read this quote to my beloved: "The great thing is to be always reading but not to get bored-treat it not like work, more as a vice! Your book bill ought to be your biggest extravagance." (mmmmm, books) Other standouts in this section: humor, hell & the devil, pain, art & culture, and heaven.

So here I find myself in this weird place of writing about a book which writes about a writer - what to do? It seems that, to do justice to this little volume, I ought to recommend that we first go get more books by Lewis and read them. Along the way, though, we will do well to keep this cheery and helpful little book around.

take and read!


Micah said...

Thanks for the reviews! It's strange to step back and think about how many biographies there are on him - probably an equal number with Augustine or something. Personal favorite Lewis book: Till We Have Faces.

Jeff Kessler said...


Thanks for this reminds me that this is the only volume of the Leadership series I've not read. I will soon.

Jordan has reviewed the one on R E Lee for a school assignment and Heather is currently reading the one on Knox. I like the new blog. Keep it up.

Jeff K