If You Like C. S. Lewis, Then Read…

Begone, the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan

Years ago, Aunty ran with Mup and her mam, taking them from the realm of the witches across the border to the human world. Now Aunty is dead and her magic no longer protects them. And the Raggedy Witches come, stealing Mup’s father. So Mup and her mam cross the border to save him. Aunty always warned them to avoid the realm of the witches at all costs. But suddenly Mup’s mam seems like she might want to take back the throne that could have been hers.  A thrilling children’s fantasy that feels like an instant classic.  Read Krysta’s review.

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My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond

Lord Arkus, a self-proclaimed villain, goes to capture a gormack, an evil spirit, to help him execute his wicked deeds.  But he mistakenly captures a sparkling, a good spirit who is now bound to him for five years and has a much different interpretation of what is in Lord Arkus’s best interests.   My Sparkling Misfortune is a humorous middle-grade novel that incorporates Christian themes, which may appeal to Narnia fans.  Briana’s review.

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Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Fans of Lewis’s science fiction The Space Trilogy might enjoy Card’s classic novel about a young boy who is trained into a formidable general in order to save humanity from an impending alien invasion.  Krysta says: “Card’s book speaks to the heart with rare power.”  Read her review.

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Phantastes by George MacDonald

After opening a drawer and finding a tiny woman, Anodos is transported to the land of Faerie. There he has many adventures while he struggles to find a purpose for himself.  This book famously changed C. S. Lewis’s life; he wrote it “baptized” his imagination.  Perfect for fans of Lewis’s Till We Have Faces.  Read Krysta’s review.

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Paradise Lost by John Milton

Paradise Lost

This seventeenth-century epic poem chronicles Satan’s rebellion and fall from heaven and then his role of seduction in the Fall of Man. Lewis wrote A Preface to Paradise Lost in 1942, and his criticism of the work continues to be admired and studied in academic circles.  Goodreads page.

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Planet Narnia by Michael Ward

Ward argues against the common perception that there is no unifying theme that ties the seven Chronicles of Narnia together.  He suggests that Lewis was inspired by medieval cosmology and that each of the seven books reflects characteristics of a planet, including Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Luna, Mercury, Venus, and Saturn.  Book website.

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The Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli

In addition to his fiction, C. S. Lewis is famous for his works of Christian apologetics.  Kreeft and Tacelli continue the apologetics tradition in this well-organized question-and-answer format book.  They address such questions as the existence of God, whether faith and reason conflict, life after death, and objective truth in an intelligent yet highly readable style.  Goodreads page.

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

One day the Green Wind catches up September and takes her to Fairyland—but all is not how it should be. Fairies are scarce, winged beasts are forbidden to fly, and the Marquess has stolen the spoon the witches use to see the future. September agrees to travel to the capital and retrieve the spoon, but somewhere along the way she realizes that her quest has grown bigger than she anticipated.  The start of a whimsical world-crossing series that explores the effects of Fairyland on those who journey there.  Read Krysta’s review.

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The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

Five years ago, Evelyn Hapwell, her brother Jamie, and her sister Phillipa found themselves transported to the magical world of the Woodlands while hiding during an air raid. Then, after fighting a war there over the course of five years, they were sent back to London at the very moment they had departed. Evelyn would do anything to return to the tree spirits and the mighty elk Cervus. But Philippa, concerned with nylons and boys, is convinced they must make a life where they are. When Evelyn goes missing, however, Philippa must confront her past. A YA take on what happens after children return from an enchanted world.  Read Krysta’s review.

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100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson

Sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Kansas, Henry York is surprised to find that the cupboards in his attic bedroom seem to lead to different worlds! But when he and his cousin unleash an ancient evil, they must find a way to fix their mistakes before it is too late.  N. D. Wilson writes fantasy where the characters are not overtly religious, but there are Christian themes.

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The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

Great DivorceGoodreads: The Great Divorce

Summary: Finding himself in a grey town full of quarrelsome characters, one man boards a bus and embarks on a journey to heaven.  The country there seems to him pleasant and desirable, but the pride and self-love of his fellow passengers prevent many of them from choosing to continue on.

Review: In The Great Divorce, Lewis envisions a heaven and a hell that, while not meant to be taken as literal representations of what might occur after death, explain some very thorny and some very nuanced theological questions.  From the types of choices that can keep a man or a woman from entering heaven to the reason why a loving God could permit hell in the first place, Lewis posits answers in the form of an allegory that seems startlingly new even as it draws inspiration from a long tradition of Christian writers.

Although The Great Divorce may lack some of the subtlety found in the allegory of his more popular Narnia books, the ideas raised in it prove interesting enough to keep readers engaged even without a plot.  Intriguing descriptions of a heaven where the grass is hard enough to injure and the leaves too heavy to lift mix are interlaced with the reactions of souls encountering heaven and the reality of their lives for the first time.   The combination beautifully illustrates Lewis’s theme that heaven is real, earth the “Shadowlands”; heaven will give this life meaning and make even pain and suffering significant.

Lewis thus holds out to readers the promise of everlasting joy, if only they choose God.  However, the obvious question raised is: what does choosing God mean?  If readers hoped that no outright violations of the Ten Commandments would constitute a good life, Lewis quickly begs to differ.  Through various characters, he illustrates a host of sins that may prove obstacles to getting to know God—not “big” sins like robbing a bank but the “smaller” ones so much more familiar to us all.  Many of take the form of selfishness or pride: controlling someone’s life because one needs to feel needed, exaggerating the pain or suffering one has experienced so as to seem special, refusing to forgive someone who has done wrong.  Reading The Great Divorce, readers may feel uncomfortably reminded of themselves.

To say that Lewis was pointing fingers or saw the world and its people in a negative light would, however, be a mistake. Lewis clearly counted himself among the sinners: his reflections on the nature of intellectual pride and the proper purpose of art suggests problems with which he himself would have struggled.  But he does not leave humankind without hope. In a beautiful passage in which a soul dies to his sin, Lewis shows the sin transformed—the lust that controlled the man during his lifetime proves a small, sad thing compared to the virile thing that emerges when the desire is oriented properly.  Lewis’s book is an opportunity for readers to examine their lives and redirect them.

Although Lewis clearly wrote The Great Divorce for a Christian audience, the ideas underlying it reach across religions, exploring timeless topics such as the nature of love, the meaning of life, and the definition of morality.  It furthermore provides an illumination look at the philosophy that drives his perhaps more popular Narnia books.  Christians, philosophers, fans of Lewis–The Great Divorce appeals to a broader audience than it might at first appear.

Published: 1946

What Type of Talking Animal Would You Be?

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Keep track of the letter of the answer you choose for each question.  At the end of the quiz, tally the number of each letter.  Whichever letter you have the most of corresponds to your answer.  Feel free to share your results in the comments, or grab an image to share on your blog!

If none of the suggested  answers corresponds to your ideal answer, pick the one you like best.  And remember that this quiz is just for fun.  We really don’t know much about your personality!

If you would like to see more of our personality quizzes, click here.


1.  What type of paper would you most like to write a letter on?

a. heavy cream-colored paper
b. colored paper
c. parchment
d. patterned paper

2. What is your ideal home like?

a. large
b. light and open
c. impressive
d. cozy

3. What instrument would you most like to play?

a. piano
b. violin
c. drums
d. guitar

4. Which would you most like to avoid?

a. financial problems
b. confrontation
c. disorganization
d. loneliness

5. What types of games do you like best?

a. strategy games
b. creative games
c. individual games
d. team games

6. Which talent would you most like to have?

a. leadership
b. writing
c. public speaking
d. design

7. What is the best thing about blogging?

a. Discovering new things
b. Creating a place to showcase your work
c. Helping to influence others’ thoughts
d. Interacting with others who share your interests

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The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis

The Magician's NephewGoodreads: The Magician’s Nephew
Series: The Chronicles of Narnia #1
Source: Purchased

Summary:  When Digory’s magician uncle trick him and his friend Polly into wearing his magic rings, the children find themselves in place they believe is the gateway to a number of new worlds.  Wonder turns into worry, however, when they visit a dying world and unwittingly release an ancient evil that will follow them home to their world and then to the newly created Narnia.


[Some Spoilers!]

When I first read The Magician’s Nephew in fourth grade, I was not impressed.  After the excitement of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, this book seemed pretty tame.  The main character was, first of all, a boy (Polly has always seemed a bit ancillary to me) and a lot less happens, in terms of action.  Digory and Polly accidentally release a crazy sorceress and then, what?  Watch a world get born.  Half the time, the crazy sorceress is not even around; she is off ruining the lives of people who are not the main characters.

Re-reading has slowly changed my opinion.  In the first place, I have grown to believe that watching a world come into being is interesting after all.  There is the obvious enjoyment that readers learn a few fun facts from this book, such as where the lamppost and the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe originate, but there is also a more subtle pleasure to be had in watching Aslan bring Narnia to life.  The connections between Aslan and God are fairly obvious here; he is the Creator, he is both terrifying and wonderful, and he knows everything about you.  Watching Lewis’s imagining of how a Creator might operate is fascinating.  The Magician’s Nephew, then, is a bit more about the experience of art and creation than about an exciting plot.

Nonetheless, the book does have entertaining moments.  Digory’s Uncle Andrew is a schemer with no backbone to support his plans, and it gets him into some hilarious situations when he must interact with people of stronger personalities.  Likewise, the Talking Animals Aslan creates get into lots of scrapes while exploring the new world around them.  And, yes, there is the rampaging evil Sorceress.  While these moments have never struck me as comprising the bulk of the book, they do add lots of life and fun.

Finally, this is Narnia and it is Christian allegory, so of course there are moral lessons.  However, Lewis manages to incorporate them into the plot; it is Digory learning the lessons, and then the reader tangentially, so it never sounds preachy.  As a child, I never felt Lewis was talking down to me or purposely trying to instruct me from his vantage as a wise adult, and I never get that sense from re-reading.

The Magician’s Nephew is a quieter book than some of the other Chronicles, but it is imaginative and ultimately charming.  It also helps complete the circle of Narnia’s existence by presenting its origin, and I think portraying a world from start to finish is a beautiful concept for a series.

Published: 1955

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C.S. Lewis Read-Along: The Chronicles of Narnia Discussion Questions

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To start off our event, here are some discussion questions for The Chronicles of Narnia series in general.  Feel free to post your answers on your own blog at any time or comment below!

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think The Chronicles of Narnia should first be read chronologically or by date of publication?
  2. What do you think the Christian elements add or detract from the series?
  3. Do you think it is important for children’s books to have more humor than this series?
  4. Who are your favorite characters from the series and why?

Briana’s Answers

1. Do you think The Chronicles of Narnia should first be read chronologically or by date of publication?

I was first introduced to the series when my third grade teacher read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to my class.  I fell in love and obsessively read and reread the series for at least the following year.  I may be biased because of that, but I have since concluded that beginning with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe does make sense.  It is a more immediately gripping and interesting story than The Magician’s Nephew in my (and many readers’ opinions) and therefore a better tactic for getting new readers to like the series.  The Magician’s Nephew is also more interesting in retrospect, as readers can see details like the origins of the infamous lamppost and think, “Oh, so that’s how that got there!”

2. What do you think the Christian elements add or detract from the series?

When I initially read the series as a child, I did not notice the books were Christian allegory—and this certainly was not due to an ignorance of Christian teaching on my part—so I can personally see no argument that the Christianity takes something away from the books.  They’re good, adventurous stories.

In defense of the allegory, however, I do think it is worth something that C. S. Lewis was invested in putting what he saw as truth into his books.  Great books are always something in which the authors truly believe, and they contain things the authors think are important.  Lewis’s commitment to Christianity, I think, is part of what gives Narnia lots of heart.  And, to be honest, Christianity is full of great stories, even if one is a non-believer, so they are interesting reworked into fantasy, as well.

3. Do you think it is important for children’s books to have more humor than this series?

It never even occurred to me that The Chronicles of Narnia were not funny until I read a few pieces of literary criticism that took a huge issue with its lack.  Apparently, children are just not drawn into books that are funny, or books that do not crack jokes are too serious for them to handle.  Either way, I do not think Narnia is suffering from its lack of humor; I loved the books as a child and continue to do so now.  Also, books that try intentionally and often to be funny run the risk of alienating readers who have different senses of humor from the author.

4. Who are your favorite characters from The Chronicles of Narnia and why?

I was always a fan of Lucy as a child.  She’s the youngest, the underdog who is generally right and generally good, but no one believes it of her.  What child wouldn’t identify with that?

I also love Reepicheep, however, for being a fantastic combination of bravery, nobility, and cuteness.  He has some of the most quotable lines, as well.

C. S. Lewis Read-Along: Post Master List

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This will be the master list for all posts relating to the C. S. Lewis Read-Along at Pages Unbound.  We will provide links to all activities, and all discussion posts or book reviews, whether they are posted here at Pages Unbound or on other event participants’ blogs.  If you have posted for the event and do not see a link to your post here, feel free to leave us a comment or email us so we can add it!

Note that this post has been made “sticky” for the duration of the event, so you will always be able to find it at the top of our homepage.

Informational Posts

Book Reviews

Discussion Questions

Discussion Posts

Other Activities

Previous Posts

Some of our participants love C. S. Lewis so much that they’ve posted a lot of great things about his work even before the read-along started!  Check out what they’ve written here!

The Egotist’s Club

The Middle Page

C. S. Lewis Read-Along Begins

Lewis Button

This February, Pages Unbound will be hosting a month-long read-along of the works of C. S. Lewis.  Any of his writing is eligible for the read-along, including The Chronicles of Narnia, the Space Trilogy, his Christian works, his literary criticism, his letters, etc.  You may also post movie reviews, reflections, or any other posts relating to Lewis and his work.  Check out our past events.

Ways to Participate

  • If you would like, grab the button and add it to your blog.
  • Read any book(s) by C. S. Lewis during the month of February.
  • Post a review of the book on your own blog anytime during February.  Let us know about it, and we will add it to a master list post of all the read-along posts and reviews.  (We think this will make it easier to find other bloggers’ posts than using Mr. Linky).
  • If you don’t have a blog and would like to participate, email us at pagesunboundblog@live.com and we will post your reviews as guest posts.
  • If you would like to be in charge of hosting a mini-challenge, a giveaway, discussion questions, or anything else you can think of on your own blog during the event, there is still time! Pick a date in February and email us at pagesunboundblog@live.com.
  • If you would like to tweet about the event, use the hashtag #readinglewis.

At Pages Unbound

  • Book Reviews.
  • Guest Posts.
  • The Master List.
  • Discussion Questions.
  • A Personality Quiz.
  • And more!

Our Previous C. S. Lewis Reviews