Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Screwtape Letters ~ A Peek Into My Bookshelf

Well, we missed it in April, but May is here and it's to travel again to the wonderful place that is my re-read bookshelf. This is where I store my absolute favorite books ever. The ones that I pick up every now and then to read again because they are just that good.

Normally, I pull out a romance book because, well, that's what I usually read. Today, however, I have a special treat for you. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.

No, C. S. Lewis won't be stopping by the blog today. That would be a bit difficult seeing as he's dead and all. His books, however, are far from dead. I haven't picked up anything he's ever written that I didn't enjoy and learn from. Narnia, Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain. All of them fabulous books.

None have made me think and rethink as much as The Screwtape Letters.

It takes a while to immerse yourself in the story because you have to flip your terminology completely around. The book is written from the perspective of a high-powered demon. Therefore "The Enemy" is God. Takes a bit to get used to it. This adjusted terminology is part of what makes this book so amazing and powerful. Because things are phrased differently than you've ever heard them before, you see them in ways you never thought to before.

Our copy is looking a little worse for wear. My husband and I have both read it multiple times. It's one of the few books we have with notes written in it. We've done Bible studies based off of it as well.

If you have ever wanted the way you think about Christianity challenged, this is a great book to accomplish that. Foibles, patterns, and shortcuts that we all accept and even take for granted are brought to light in a way that makes you feel very vulnerable. Because the book is written as a demon looking for chinks in a particular Christian's armor, you can begin to see just how open we are to attack from the true Enemy.

Book blurb:
A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to "Our Father Below." At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C. S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation - and the triumph over it - ever written.

While C.S. Lewis is not able to be with us, several people interviewed him while he was alive. (He talked more then...)

One interview indicated that Lewis felt The Screwtape Letters  was the only book he didn't actually enjoy writing.  "They were dry and gritty going. At the time, I was thinking of objections to the Christian life, and decided to put them into the form, 'That's what the devil would say.' But making goods 'bad' and bads 'good' gets to be fatiguing."

Read the whole article as well as some other bits of C. S. Lewis' life story here. It's a pretty interesting interview.

The Screwtape Letters is readily available in most bookstores - being one of Lewis' more popular titles. It is also included in many C.S. Lewis box sets. A radio/audio recorded version is also available. I found rumors of a pending movie, but can't find anything definitive on that.

Have you read The Screwtape Letters? What did you think of it?


  1. i have read the screwtape letters--i hate to admit it, but i was very disappointed in it--i guess i had always heard so much about it--it was bound not to live up to what i expected--good post!

  2. That happens often - something rarely lives up to its hype. It's a concept I wondered about when I started posting about my favorite books. In the case of Screwtape, I think it depends on what you're trying to get out of it. It certainly isn't for everyone (as you can attest, since you didn't care for it!) For me, I had never even heard of it when I started reading it, so I had no preconceived notions.

  3. I've wanted to read C.S. Lewis for some time, and this sounds so interesting. I'll have to put it on my to-read list.

    By the way, I love that you have a re-read bookshelf.

  4. I love my re-read shelf. What I haven't figured out yet is how to put some of my Kindle books on it... :)

    When you get around to reading Screwtape, make sure you commit to at least a few chapters. It can take a little while to get into the rhythm and terminology. Hope you enjoy it!