February Picks: Books We Love Part 2

Sheila loves: For the Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann

for the life - schmemann

Rev. Heather loves: Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis


Connor loves: Tales Worth Telling: Views from an Ivory Tower by Harry St. Clair Hilchey
Unfortunately we’ve only got a used copy of this book, available in-store only! Come in and pick up this collection of anecdotes from the history of Wycliffe College.


Ryan loves: The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis


Ryan says: “The Silver Chair is my favourite book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a great entry point into the Narnia series or, for others, a great re-entry point.” 


January Picks — Reading Resolutions

Happy 2015 from the staff at Crux.

Well a new year means a new start, right? For January our staff pick theme is “Reading Resolutions.” We share with you books we’ve been meaning to read, and have resolved that 2015 is the year we are finally going to get THESE books off our reading lists.

Cindy Resolves to Read: C.S. Lewis – A Life by Alister McGrath


Cindy says: “I have resolved to read C.S. Lewis: A Life by Alister McGrath. I have picked up the book several times, begun reading, then gotten distracted by other books that “needed” reading. This meant I put down the book I really wanted to read. I plan to start the new year off right by reading this book from cover to cover. The few pages that I have already read were an engaging and insightful look into the life and background of C.S. Lewis. I look forward to actually finishing the book!”

Ryan Resolves to Read: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (ooo, a big Russian novel, go Ryan!)


Ryan modestly says: “The Brothers Karamozov is the final novel by  Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  This year I plan to read this book because it is a great work of literature that treats philosophical and religious issues in great detail.”

Rev. Heather Resolves to Read: Leviticus by Ephraim Radner (ooo, a book by a professor, nice move Rev. Heather.)


Rev. Heather gushes: “In this New Year with all of its infinite potential and shiny new possibilities I – The Reverent Miss Heather Kathleen May Liddell – resolve to read the infamous Radner commentary on Leviticus! Wish me luck! Keep me in your prayers! Consider joining me on this adventure? Can Ephraim Radner really make Leviticus intersting? I’ve heard good things but I’m skeptical. Are you? Let’s find out!”

Sheila Resolves to Read: Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is by Joan Chittister and Rowan Williams. (ooo, Sheila how very ecumenical with that pair of authors!)


Sheila notes: “This year, I am starting off my reading with Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is by Joan Chittister and Rowan Williams.  This is a book that has been on my “intend to read” shelf for longer that I would like to admit.  Now seems the optimal time (o chairos) to begin again the practice of gratitude.  Chittister and Williams seek to guide the reader in the offering of praise regardless of one’s particular circumstance: ‘To define life by its pastoral moments only — the goal of a feel-good society — is to understand vey little about life at all.  Life calls for stronger stuff than that.  Life is dirge as well as symphony, lament as well as hymn.’ [p.94] Amen.”

Lewis Recommendations: Academic Works

The final category in the C.S. Lewis-themed staff picks for November is Academic Works. Lewis was a professor of English Literature. He contributed a volume on sixteenth century literature (excluding drama) to the Oxford History of English Literature. He also wrote a work on medieval literature, The Allegory of Love. We didn’t pick those academic works, but look forward to reading them.

Alain’s Pick: Preface to Paradise Lost


This is an introduction to Milton’s epic poem that probably makes much more sense if you’ve read Milton. I’ve read Preface with out reading Paradise Lost. I should probably correct that soon.

Heather’s Pick: An Experiment in Criticism


This is my pick (just when you thought that the store had come to life and was writing blog posts in the first person). I love this book. I’ve read it multiple times. It is an easy read, but not a light read. Every time I read it I think “now I’ve got it.” Then I read it again and I get it better than before.


Lewis recommendations: Telling stories

Crux staff picked only C.S. Lewis books to recommend in October. While no one picked any of the chronicles of Narnia, stories were still a theme.

Pam’s pick:


This is a great dream-story with an “And Then I Woke Up” ending. I really liked it. It makes some people uncomfortable, but that is because it asks some thought-provoking questions. Check it out if you haven’t already.

Sheila’s pick:


True confessions? I haven’t read this. Sheila has and she loves it. So do lots of my other friends. I need to read it soon.

Carolyn’s pick: Letters to Children


This small collection of letters to children contains a lot of background on Narnia. How great is it that Lewis wrote back to children who wrote to him?

Lewis recommendations

Crux staff picked all C.S. Lewis books to recommend in November. It was interesting that no one picked a Narnia book, or eve the series as a whole — all of us picked essays or other fiction to recommend. In part we were trying to aim to recommend books that people might not have read before. But part of the issue is Lewis wrote a lot of readable insightful prose. Fifty years after his death his essays and fiction are still in print and interesting. Is this only marketing? I’m not sure uninteresting ideas or unreadable prose could survive in such good shape even if well-marketed.

Here are the more theologically inclined works recommended by Crux staff.

Ed’s Pick: Mere Christianity


The print version of radio talks on the basics of the Christian faith. Lewis attempts to get to the bottom of faith and what it means. Remember that he is a literary scholar and philosopher more than a theologian.

Cindy’s pick: Reflections on the Psalms


I’ve not read this one, but Lewis is a published poet, so I’m interested to see what he’s got to say on Hebrew poetry.

Conner’s pick: The Problem of Pain

the-problem-of-pain-weeping-cs-lewisI’ve heard people compare this work unfavourably with Lewis’s later book on grieving, A Grief Observed. The earlier book wasn’t meant to be a reflection on feeling pain, but thoughts on the fact that pain exists in the world. A Grief Observed is not a book of thinking as much as a book of feeling.

Next: Staff recommendations that are stories or about stories.

Narnia Out Loud

Now in at Crux — the Narnia Audio Book collection. Love the Chronicles? Love the great actors reading the series:

  • The Magician’s Nephew narrated by Kenneth Branagh
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe narrated by Michael York
  • The Horse and His Boy narrated by Alex Jennings
  • Prince Caspian narrated by Lynn Redgrave
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader narrated by Derek Jacobi
  • The Silver Chair narrated by Jeremy Northam
  • The Last Battle narrated by Patrick Stewart

Yes, you read that right. Patrick Stewart does The Last Battle!

narnia audio


C.S. Lewis — Thinking about his Legacy

November 22, 2013 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of C.S. Lewis. There have already been Lewis Jubilee celebrations, and more ways to remember his life and legacy are coming in November. To warm up for a Lewis version of November, check out the two-part series that aired on “Ideas” on the CBC in the past couple of weeks. C.S. Lewis and the Inklings, Part One, & Part Two.

Watch this space for more Lewis-related posts in November. If you are in Toronto, save the evening of Thursday, November 14 for an event called Remembering C.S. Lewis at Trinity College.