My (Current) Top 6 Books Written by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis

Welcome to the final post of Inklings Week! You can find all the posts here. Thank you for joining in – it’s been a lot of fun and I look forward to next year (which will actually be by International Inklings Day, May 11th)! Think there’s something that should be added for next year? Please share!

Whenever I create any type of “favorites” list, I don’t include books written by Tolkien or Lewis. It wouldn’t be fair to the competition. But since it’s Inklings Week, I wanted to share my current favorites of the boys.

If you’re new to either Tolkien or Lewis, then this post is especially for you, but only because I get the honor of introducing you to some of the best books ever written. It’s a list of my favorites and ones I recommend to folks who are interested reading one of their books for the first time. (If I’ve read it for this blog, then it’s linked up, so you can hear me gush and discuss on those posts.)

Let’s start with Professor Tolkien. How can one adequately put into words just how amazing the creation of Middle Earth is? Before this turns into a gush fest, here’s my current top 3.

  • The Hobbit
  • The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King (Stop by next Wed. for this discussion!)

C.S. Lewis is a bit more difficult. From Narnia to Mere Christianity, how’s a girl to choose? Well, I’m going with the following three. Ask me next month and the list will probably change, but no matter, because these are all excellent ones to start with.

  • The Screwtape Letters
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • The Great Divorce

I’m glad we can all agree that they were geniuses and I look forward to reading more from them!

What are some of your favorite works by Tolkien and/or Lewis?


Wormwood Words: How “The Screwtape Letters” Brought Me Back to C.S. Lewis

Welcome to Inklings Week! You can find all the posts here. Thank you for joining in! Think there’s something that should be added for next year? Please share!

(Quick intro – I’m super excited to have Wesley from Library Educated guest post today! I hope you enjoy!)

When Jamie asked me to guest post for Inklings Week my first two thoughts were “Well of course I want in on Inklings Week!” and “I can talk about C.S. for hours, this will be the easiest post I write all year.” That last one turned out to not be true. After a couple of false starts I decided the best thing for me to share with you is what brought me to C.S. Lewis as a young lady and why I’ve stayed with him as an adult.

When I was a little girl I distinctly remember reading The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. I remember thinking that it was exciting and not too scary. I eventually read the whole Narnia series, though none of the memories are as clear as reading about Aslan for the first time. After finishing the series I walked away from C.S. Lewis’ work for a long time. I knew that he had written other books, but I didn’t think I’d be very interested. The way that people talked about Lewis, in these hallowed almost hushed tones; and the way people quoted him I figured that his non-fiction, theological books would be heavy, dense reads. (Which was a dumb assumption, but you know what happens when you assume…)

One bored summer during high school my mom suggested I pick up The Screwtape Letters. A conversation between demons sounded interesting enough but sometimes I don’t do well with books that are formatted as letters (a.k.a epistolary books), but I gave it a shot. For those who aren’t familiar with this work, I’ll give a quick summary (or you can check out my review of it here or Jamie’s Inklings group discussion of it here.)

Demons of hell who are “tempters” are each assigned a human target (referred to in the book as the Patient). Their goal is to keep their target away from knowledge of God’s salvation and forgiveness until he is firmly in their camp with The Father Below (Satan). Screwtape is the rookie tempter who is assigned the Patient, but he gets some “loving” guidance from his uncle Wormwood. Screwtape thinks he’s doing a better job than he is actually doing, and his uncle gets increasingly frustrated with his screw ups (he actually gets so angry he turns into a centipede, because, in hell those things happen). Luckily, despite Screwtape’s best efforts the Patient holds strong to his Christianity and at the time of his death is welcomed into heaven. We don’t know exactly what happens to Screwtape but we know it’s not good. Being too lippy is not good in any job, especially if your boss is the actual Devil.

Reading Screwtape Letters opened up C.S. Lewis for me beyond Narnia. All the assumptions that I had made about his works were wrong. Lewis is funny; in a dry, witty, British way. It pops out when you least expect it but it’s always a delight. Lewis makes things approachable; he talks about theology and big religious concepts in a way that you can understand, but also he doesn’t talk down to you. The thing that gives me the most joy and peace when I read Lewis’ work is the sense of not being alone. Sometimes when he writes about a struggle he has I see my own struggle. Although faith is a very individual thing a lot of the struggles and joys are universal, and there is something comforting about that to me. I think Screwtape Letters is a great introduction to Lewis’ other works, though I encourage you to read everything that he has to offer!

Thank you so much Wesley! What about you readers – what book introduced to Tolkien or Lewis (or another favorite author)?


Welcome to Inklings Week (and Why I Love Their Books)!

Ready for a bit of summer fun?! It’s the first ever Inklings Week! I thought of doing a Inklings Week earlier this year around International Inklings Day (it’s not a thing yet, but it shall be!) in May, but the idea popped in my head two days before. All kinds of planning time right? I also didn’t want to wait until 2016, so I figured July was the perfect month! (For all the posts from this year, just go here!)

First, things first – a (hopefully) fun announcement. You’ve already heard this if you subscribe to my quarterly newsletter (which you should totally sign up if you haven’t! It’s all kinds of bookish fun and there’s giveaways. You can here), but if not…there’s an Inklings podcast coming! I’m working on the details (like how I even get this up on iTunes) and material (I’m hoping it won’t be just me talking!) and I’m really excited about it. So if you’re into podcasts, I hope you’ll join in the fun!

There’s plenty of reasons people love the works of Tolkien and Lewis and I’d love to hear why you do! For me? Where to begin right? Their books have shown me what it means to be brave, what it means to be a true and loyal friend until the very end, what it means to love, what it means to fight for good against all odds, and what it means to embrace what you were meant to do.

Their books have also helped me realize it’s okay to wrestle with faith, to understand God’s character in ways I didn’t see before, how to hope in the most dire of circumstances and that there’s always a chance to turn back.

They wrote more than just books. They left a legacy (of their lives and their stories) that will continue to impact generations to come.

I love knowing I can always come back to them and be amazed. Sigh…I just love them.

So please, fellow fans, share below! Why do you enjoy reading Tolkien and Lewis?