Reading Over Jack's Shoulder
If you've known me long at all, you know that I'm a C.S. Lewis fan. In fact, when I went away to college, a part of my decision was made by the fact that my school has the 3rd largest collection of Lewis paraphernalia in the world. A good deal of what they had was his library. Every now and then I'd have the chance to look through of of his books. Lewis was a messy reader, writing in the margins and making notes in the back of the book. He read engaged. When I had the opportunity to review From the Library of C.S. Lewis I was excited to have the chance to read over his shoulder and see what he read. This book is a collection of short selections from books that Lewis owned, some authors that influenced him, others that he might have disagreed with, all considered to be relevant by the editor, James Stuart Bell. While I enjoyed reading these sections and found much in them to consider (though I would recommend reading this book in small chunks, perhaps like a daily devotional, rather than all in a row as I did, since the ideas need time to ponder) I also realized that this book didn't have much of Lewis in it. We are reading what he read, but not what he wrote in the margins, not what he thought of what he was reading. It is just these insights that I appreciate about Lewis and that seemed to be missing.
It is impossible to deny that reading what Lewis wrote would be instructive, but it is what he did with what he read that makes me admire him. The small notes at the end of each section certainly provide a bit of context and even a hint at what Lewis might have thought, but in general, this book left me wanting more.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.