Wednesday, February 26, 2014


The 50th Anniversary of the death of Clive Staples “Jack” Lewis has provided an opportunity for much reflection by scholars of his life and works.  I’ve had the opportunity to review several, and they have all been excellent.  This book is no exception. There is one caveat – when you sit down to read this book, make sure you have a pen (for writing notes in the ample space provided on facing pages and margins) and a highlighter (for highlighting the passages that WILL be leaping off the page).

This is not light reading.  This is important reading.  But that does not mean that it is boring.  Alister McGrath has been “reading” C.S. Lewis for over 40 years, and his insights into the thought of C.S. Lewis help the rest of us to really “get” what this wonderful writer and apologist was trying to communicate.

And don’t let the small footprint of this book fool you; that merely aids in portability.  When you open this volume, you will be immersed into a world of thought and ideas that will challenge you to the very core of your being.

As I said . . . this is important reading.  It requires reflection; you may find yourself reading passages over and over to comprehend the truths being reflected.  Don’t stop.  It’s worth it.  It really is.

5 stars for a challenging book that will change your life for the better

Alister McGrath
Religion / General
Tyndale House Publishers
241 pages
$17.99 U.S.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The A - Z of C. S. Lewis - An Encyclopedia Of His Life, Thought and Writings

The A – Z of C. S. Lewis is a comprehensive introduction to C. S. Lewis’s life, family, friends, career, marriage, and writings, as well as the worlds he created, the creatures that he imagined, and the studies he delighted in.  It’s also a volume that I wish that I had had close at hand when I was reading many of Lewis’s works.  The entries (in encyclopedic form, alphabetically listed) provide rich background for practically every important aspect of Lewis’s life, thought and works.  An asterisk clues the reader in to the fact that there is another important entry to be found elsewhere in this volume. 

The entries provide enough information to enable the reader to better appreciate Lewis’s writings, without boring the reader or inundating the reader with a glut of inconsequential details.  And the hardbound volume, at a size of 8 X 5 ½ makes this an encyclopedia that is truly portable.  Whether you are just discovering C. S. Lewis, or are a seasoned scholar of his life and works, this volume will enrich your appreciation for the genius that is C. S. Lewis.

5 stars for an outstanding addition to a Christian library

Colin Duriez
ISBN 978-0-7459-5586-5
Encyclopedia \ Biography
Lion Hudson
352 pages
$24.95 U.S.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Shadows Of The Past by Patricia Bradley

Patricia Bradley has provided for your consideration a mystery filled with intrigue, suspense, and a spice of romance in her first of the Logan’s Point series.  The author has taken care to ensure that the reader is hooked from the beginning, and with a liberal dose of “red herrings,” inexplicable incidents, and a strong undertone of looming danger strives to “land” the reader at the very least possible moment – at the end of a breathtaking climax.

I must admit that this is probably not my favorite genre, so the criticisms I offer probably owe a lot to that statement.  Patricia Bradley has done her homework, and on the way has gathered a myriad of details on a wide range of interests.  Sometimes . . . it’s best to leave the tools in the tool-shed.  Some of the “details” that she has garnered in her research serve to slow the pace of the book.  Some descriptions seem to take longer to get through, and I found myself bogged down at times.  And the “liberal dose of ‘red herrings’” mentioned of above . . . the emphasis is on “liberal.”  Again, my unfamiliarity with the genre probably made me more sensitive to this aspect than some other readers.

Having said that, Patricia Bradley takes the same detailed approach to her characters. And in this instance, it really works.  The psychological and emotional palette that each character brings to the scenes help you understand why the character is thinking, or responding, in a certain way.  And the author is completely consistent with those characteristics, even as the characters learn, and grow, throughout the book.  This is an aspect of the “novel” genre that distinguishes good, from great, from classic literature.  I would love to see a novel from Patricia Bradley.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher Revell in exchange for my honest review of this book.

3 ½ stars for a thoughtful mystery

Shadows Of The Past
Patricia Bradley
ISBN 0-800-72260-4
Mystery / Romance / Suspense /
Revell Publishers
353 pages
$14.99 U.S.