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The C.S. Lewis Chronicles: The Indispensable Biography of the Creator of Narnia Full of Little-Known Facts, Events and Miscellany

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This biography reconstructs Lewis' professional and daily life. More than 100 sidebars offer little-known trivia tidbits on the more personal side, and cover such topics as the contents of his home library, 10 things he believed about cats, his favorite beers and pubs, and the women and friends in his life.


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This biography reconstructs Lewis' professional and daily life. More than 100 sidebars offer little-known trivia tidbits on the more personal side, and cover such topics as the contents of his home library, 10 things he believed about cats, his favorite beers and pubs, and the women and friends in his life.

30 review for The C.S. Lewis Chronicles: The Indispensable Biography of the Creator of Narnia Full of Little-Known Facts, Events and Miscellany

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Definitely not a go-to Lewis bio for me. But I have to admit it has its merits. It takes a while to really get into the “story” and start to see the familiar Lewis that we know and love. Really it wasn’t until the late ‘20s / early ‘30s (halfway through) that I became invested in the book. It’s full of random facts scattered about, so many that it’s hard to trace a cohesive narrative through the years. Why do we need to see lists of unconnected famous people who were born and died each year? I su Definitely not a go-to Lewis bio for me. But I have to admit it has its merits. It takes a while to really get into the “story” and start to see the familiar Lewis that we know and love. Really it wasn’t until the late ‘20s / early ‘30s (halfway through) that I became invested in the book. It’s full of random facts scattered about, so many that it’s hard to trace a cohesive narrative through the years. Why do we need to see lists of unconnected famous people who were born and died each year? I suppose to give context, but initially it seems irrelevant. This form of autobiography is useful to see the basic facts of Lewis’s story side by side with Lewis’s own writing and comments from friends and strangers who knew him at the time. It shows an outsider’s perspective of the man. Not a bad bio, but again, not a great one either. Useful, but certainly not “indispensable” as the title and endorsers would have us believe. Go read McGrath or Jacobs’s bios before you pick this one up: C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet or The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis. Side note: It’s amazing that Lewis wrote The Pilgrim's Regress just one year after converting to Christianity. It shows how long he had been wrestling with Christian ideas before he personally gave in to them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ginette

    It's exactly as the book cover describes it, full of facts, events, and miscellany of Lewis's life. I enjoyed reading it and, because of it, I added a lot of books read by Lewis or written by various Inklings to my Goodreads to-read list! The book was not written to be a literary masterpiece, but it could've been honed a bit. The book was set up in chapters of a span of years, and then within the chapters the author went from year to year; within each year the author would describe events by date It's exactly as the book cover describes it, full of facts, events, and miscellany of Lewis's life. I enjoyed reading it and, because of it, I added a lot of books read by Lewis or written by various Inklings to my Goodreads to-read list! The book was not written to be a literary masterpiece, but it could've been honed a bit. The book was set up in chapters of a span of years, and then within the chapters the author went from year to year; within each year the author would describe events by dates. At the beginning of each chapter there would be a summary of major events in the chapter; at the beginning of each year there would be a summary of major events in the year. This meant a lot of repetition of some of the events, which was unnecessary and sometimes even confusing. Near the end the author "foreshadowed" Joy Davidman's death at least a dozen times, which lent a somber tone to the entire description of Lewis's time with her. Granted, most of their time together was darkened by the cancer she eventually died from, but still... Other than that it was a very personal, fascinating, and often fun look into Lewis's life. He's definitely a man I look forward to meeting in heaven.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    Colin Duriez has made a bit of a career, it would appear, out of writing about C.S. Lewis and the Inklings.  It's nice work if you can get it.  C.S. Lewis died on the day that JFK was assassinated, and yet his books (especially the Chronicles of Narnia as well as his classic Christian apologetics works like Mere Christianity) have remained popular, and so those who have been able to acquire a reputation in writing about him and about his associates have a good chance at having successful and pop Colin Duriez has made a bit of a career, it would appear, out of writing about C.S. Lewis and the Inklings.  It's nice work if you can get it.  C.S. Lewis died on the day that JFK was assassinated, and yet his books (especially the Chronicles of Narnia as well as his classic Christian apologetics works like Mere Christianity) have remained popular, and so those who have been able to acquire a reputation in writing about him and about his associates have a good chance at having successful and popular works given the enduring worth of the writings that they are working with.  If this book is not the best book ever of its genre, it is certainly a book that is well worth looking at.  Who doesn't want to look at a book that has information and facts about C.S. Lewis?  If you're reading this book you are likely a fan and more or less willing to read anything by him or about him that is written fairly and competently, and this book certainly meets that standard. This book of about 300 pages is divided into eight sections that look at Lewis' travels and activities over the course of his life.  The book begins with a foreword and a preface that set the tone for the sort of facts that are included and where the information comes from--a great deal of credit is given to Walter Hooper, another man whose life's work has been deeply tied to promoting and editing the works of C.S. Lewis and is clearly a peer of the author in that regard.  The first part of the book looks at Lewis' childhood in the north of Ireland from 1898-1908, when the death of his mother and his own departure for schooling made for a dramatic change of life.  After that the author discusses the school experiences and tutoring that Lewis had in places like Watford, Malvern, and Great Bookham, and where his total inability at math and his own imagination became recognized by others (II).  After this comes a discussion of his initial experiences at Oxford as well as in the trenches in France (III), as well as the early Oxford years that followed the end of World War I (IV).  The author then looks at Lewis' life as an Oxford don between 1926 and 1938 where he became close friends with Tolkien (V) as well as his experiences during World War II (VI).  Finally, the book ends with a discussion of the beginnings of Narnia and the coming of Joy (VII) up to 1953 and the last decade of his life spent as a professor in Cambridge as an aging scholar and writer. If I had to give a label to this work, I would not consider it strictly a biography.  It certainly does have little known facts about C.S. Lewis, but it operates more like a diary written based on what can be properly dated from letters and other known information.  And it is a fascinating picture, as we can see where Lewis was and what he was doing and who he was talking to and what he was writing on a level that is pretty frightening for someone who has not been alive for nearly 60 years.  One wonders if this sort of work will become more popular in the future, as famous people are looked at as being worthy of writing about their every move.  I can imagine this sort of book being fascinating for presidents or musicians on amazing world tours or for traveling environmentalists to track their massive carbon footprint through flying all over the place on private jets.  Nevertheless, even if C.S. Lewis was not exactly a jet-setting traveler but rather someone whose mature life was rather confined within the Oxbridge world, this is still an interesting book because Lewis knew some amazing people and was quite the raconteur himself, all of which makes this an enjoyable if low-key read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    CS Lewis's life is presented as a sort of log of events in his life. I read the book because I wanted to see the inspiration for his books and his relationships with JRR Tolkien and his wife Joy Davidman, but in this format, it was hard to connect the dots.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Osmond

    Another hero of mine. I wonder what life would have been like had I the opportunity to hang out with Lewis, Nouwen, and vanGogh. Sigh. Duriez did a fabulous job of making me wish Lewis was my neighbor.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Sabin

  7. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Dyck

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  10. 5 out of 5

    Molly

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Johnston

  12. 4 out of 5

    22Park

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chad Chisholm

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Denbow

  17. 4 out of 5

    SharaLee Podolecki

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sem

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bonny

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zach Konerza

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Wiltshire

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emma DiLeonardi

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kit-Cat

  25. 5 out of 5

    Derrick

  26. 4 out of 5

    Russ

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nali

  28. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl Proc

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alanna

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

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