Monday, June 1, 2020

#1093

One week ago a series of choices were made and the ripple effects from those choices dominate the news cycle, 24 hours a day.  Choice is a major theme in Lewis's writings.  Is there a perfect quote for today?  Not really.  The last book we discussed as a group was The Great Divorce and the idea of our choices making us into a certain type of person, the cumulative effect of choices, was the main theme.  
The cumulative effect of choices can be seen in our country, from the beginning.  A very good book to read to see how these choices are active in our criminal justice system today is Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy.  
I had posted about the book on February 3, 2015, Post #570.  I will paste most of that post below, because I seem to always have trouble linking to a previous post on this blog.

From 2015:

"Taking a quick stroll through this blog you will see that current social/political issues are rarely addressed.  The main reason, we are a C.S. Lewis Society and I always try to have a Lewis quote to "support" whatever it is I post, with current events I would have to do more speculating - What would Lewis say?  Regardless of how much one knows the words and works of C.S. Lewis, to surmise his personal thoughts on a current event, more than 50 years after his death?, I think it would be prudent to stay away from such an enterprise.
That being said, I am going to enter the world of current events through a book I recently read called Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.  Driving home one night I was listening to CSPAN radio and a lecture/presentation featuring Bryan Stevenson and Sister Helen Prejean concerning the justice system and the death penalty was on.  I was hooked to the point that I reserved Bryan Stevenson's new book from the library.  There was a waiting list, but eventually it was my turn. . . The radio program was compelling enough for me to take the steps of getting the book and reading it. If you were to search the internet for video with Bryan Stevenson you will find numerous lectures and appearances which may compel you to read this book as well.
Now the book:  The blurb on the front cover is by John Grisham and while I have only read one of his books (though I always enjoy the movies) I will put Just Mercy up there as a court room drama, page turning read.  I could not stop reading.  I needed to know what was next.
The book is basically a memoir with the main story being the conviction, six years on death row, and ultimate release of Walter McMillian.  A tragic story of injustice which ironically takes place in Monroeville, Alabama.  The same town Maycomb is modeled on for To Kill a Mockingbird. . . In addition to the main story of McMillian, numerous other heart breaking stories of justice and/or mercy denied are interspersed throughout the book.
 Why this post?  Well, we are a C.S. Lewis Society and books are what made Lewis famous and without his books our Society would not exist.  Therefore, an interest in a C.S. Lewis Society most likely means an interest in books and this is a book worth your time.  We are about to begin a month or two discussing The Problem of Pain and injustice is a source of pain in our world, so this book provides more examples of the issue (in case you were running short), and it also provides a practical answer - an example of someone working to alleviate pain and suffering in America caused by injustice."

Thursday, May 21, 2020

#1091



Being a C.S. Lewis fan might just = a Francis Collins fan as well.  Speaking personally, this is very much true.  Search this blog for Francis Collins related posts and you will find a few, I believe 2, which would be the most for a scientist. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

#1090



I do share personal items on this blog from time to time, but do try and relate them to C.S. Lewis in some way.  I have tied in some of my Pandemic Experiences, but not much.  I would think it is probably a popular thing to do amongst certain segments of society.  If I were not working it sounds like something I'd try, and then regret it and wonder why we live in a society where everyone thinks they have an obligation to tell the world how they feel/think online, etc ... I have enjoyed reading "Journal of a Plague Year" by Chuck at Wonder Book.  I receive email updates and have read a few.  The latest was pretty good, detailing his adventure to save the baby animals he discovered in a storage area at the Book Warehouse.   Wonder Book has a good book deal going on right now too, click the previous link to see.

I have been working 40 hours a week, so my stay at home time is but 2 days, but they are 2 days that seem to have more hours in them, so my reading has increased.  I re-read Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor for no particular reason, except I love the story and, though very dark at times, provides a multitude of laugh out loud moments.  Since I now have a "smart" phone I have been discovering the world of podcasting and my current work day allows for about 3 hours of listening, so I searched for discussions on Wise Blood to listen to.  One I listened to was about a publisher called Wise Blood Books and not about the actual story.  That led me to their website.  I rarely read new fiction, but thought I would give them a try and order a book that was published a few months ago.  The price was the same as Amazon and the book arrived much sooner than Amazon could promise - less than a week with basic 1st class shipping.

The book is titled,  If Nobody Calls, I'm Not Home: The Open Letters of Bim Nakely by Samuel Hazo.  It is an epistolary novel and, while I have not finished all the letters, the one's I have were great.  Barbara (Bim) Nakely writes to FDR, Pope John XXIII, Ernest Hemingway, Babe Ruth, Mae West, St. Mary, and other famous people, as well as to her family members, some alive, most dead.  The letters I have read so far deal with her fears of death, thoughts on the Big Questions, politics and world events, and her personal life history.  They are engaging and funny.  The 22 letters are about 6 pages each and the book itself has about 140 pages. 

From the back cover:

I had such a good time reading If Nobody Calls, I’m Not Home. Hazo has written a unique, moving and insightful epistolary novel filled with honest emotions about the very meaning of life. As Bim Nakely, the main character, writes letters to both famous people and family members, we share her compelling journey as she explores her past and considers her future. A beautiful read.
—Eva Marie Saint, Academy Award Recipient

If you are looking to support a small publisher consider Wise Blood Books and If Nobody Calls, I'm Not Home would be a good book to start with.

Relating this to C.S. Lewis - he wrote 2 epistolary novels!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

#1088


In January 2020 I posted my plans to see a stage production of Paradise Lost (which was very good) and I wrote about the work Lewis added to Milton studies.  I decided to read Paradise Regained during Lent.   My reading was pushed back until recently and I just finished.  I have a Signet Classics paperback copy which includes a wonderful afterword by Fay Weldon.  

Weldon's essay is a fiction, set as a tutorial between herself - the professor, and a student who is not looking forward to Milton's work.  Here is a taste:

"I'm glad you noticed - he has chosen to treat the 'i' and the 'e'; of 'disobedience' as though they were a 'y,' one syllable for two," says the tutor.  "But don't you see?  That's the point.  It's what C. S. Lewis defined as 'freedom within form.'  C. S. Lewis was the great literary critic of the mid-twentieth century, as well as having written The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for which he is better known.  Familiarize yourself with his nonfiction."

Just a little Lewis Fun for you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

#1087


I am pretty sure, for the first time, a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche will be featured in a post on this blog.  If you look over some of the posts on this blog you will notice a desire I have to make sure the quote is accurate, and as far as I am able, to find the quote in an actual primary source.  In reading Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning I came across this powerful quote:

"He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how."


I may look for the source, I may not, with or without verification, it is a great quote.  Maybe a Nietzsche fan can provide some help as I often try when I see Lewis attributed to a quote that is not exactly his. 

#1045

The Christmas season, for me, usually means my annual trip to the movie theater.  I average about one trip a year and as far as I can r...