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The Reading Life: The Joy of Seeing New Worlds Through Others' Eyes

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  922 ratings  ·  202 reviews
The revered teacher and bestselling author of such classic Christian works as Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters reflects on the power, importance, and joy of a life dedicated to reading books in this delightful collection drawn from his wide body of writings.

More than fifty years after his death, revered intellectual and teacher C. S. Lewis continues to speak to
ebook, 192 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by HarperOne
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Cindy Rollins
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Honestly, this felt a bit like a bait and switch. Almost half the essays are from An Experiment in Criticism. I had read all the others too.
The second half of the book is made up of short quotes from letters and works some of which were quite interesting but hardly worth the price of this book.

I've read C.S. Lewis's writings extensively, and he always has something to say. I am not sure why someone felt the need to release this compilation of snippets from his letters, essays, and various other works. As a reader, I saw the title and thought that it sounded interesting. I was disappointed. Many of the pieces are taken out of context, with references that are undoubtedly explained in the original, but that leave someone reading this collection confused, and some are dated ("We have all ...more
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
(#partner @cslewis_official) “But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.” - C.S. Lewis.

The Reading Life is a wonderful new collection of excerpts from Lewis’ writings and letters all about the literary life. You don’t have to be a reader of childre
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable to read. A page turners delight! Looks at the classical and newer notarary writers and thinkers and explains in moving contemporary language what a better world it is because we can see the world, through our 'readers eyes .' ...more
Jena Henry
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For many of us in 2019, Mr. Lewis may seem to be a daunting and iconic towering figure of literature. Although you may know of his works of fantasy, Christian thought, or literary essays, I suspect that many of us today might react to his name with a shrug. “Oh, his work is too deep for me; I can’t understand him.”

I suggest you take some time for yourself, for your soul, and give The Reading Life a try. This is a book to take to your garden. As you enjoy the sun, a light breeze, chirping birds,
Justin Wiggins
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I finished reading this book last night compiled by my friend David Downing from Lewis's letters, essays, books on literary criticism, and other works. I was reminded of when I first read C.S.Lewis, how powerful music, literature, and art is, rich conversations, connections, and memories I have made in Oxford, and the mountains of North Carolina because of Lewis's influence, and how all good things in this life reflect the glory, beauty, and agape love of The Great Artist. I highly recommend it. ...more
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c-s-lewis
I really loved this book. Several parts I had already read in other Lewis works but was happy to reread. And that's exactly what I plan to do with this small treasure - reread it. ...more
Tommy Kiedis
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-writing
"My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through the eyes of others." C.S. Lewis

Determined to break out of the prison of himself, C.S. Lewis' preferred to devote seven to eight hours of reading per day. This discipline, coupled with his prolific pen, helped ensure Lewis would have many thoughts to share with fellow readers. Gratefully, David Downing and Michael Maudlin have collected and arranged them in The Reading Life: The Joy of Seeing New Worlds Through Other's Eyes..

This collection
Alana Ellsworth
Everything, or nearly everything, C. S. Lewis had to say about reading in one volume. Yes, a lot of these essays and commentaries on the life of a reader can be found elsewhere, but compiled into a single book makes an excellent gift. Sometimes I don't want to read through the entirety of Lewis' other works, I simply want to dwell on the commonalities of all readers, and this book fulfills that. In The Reading Life are discussions on the physicality of books, the marks of a true literary person, ...more
Erik Rostad
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books
Fun, quick book containing all the awesome things my favorite author ever said about reading. Not sure it gets much better than that.
Robin Lee Hatcher
I love the writings of CS Lewis, and this book gave me so many wonderful excerpts to remember, highlight, and share. Oh, how sorry I am for those who do not enjoy the reading life.
Sam Crosbie
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gives great insight into Lewis’s view on literature and his personal love of books. Lewis argues his points for the value of all reading well and makes you want to do just that. Last third of the book is a bit choppy and not so enjoyable to read as it is a collection of very brief quotes.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful in terms of how reading can benefit our understanding of the real world as we see it through others’ eyes. One of my favorite lines I discovered was “read good books not to get through them, but so they get through you.”
Christine Norvell
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Perfect for beginners new to Lewis. Downing has captured the best of excerpts, making this an easy read. Lewis advises us to "read one old one [book] to every three new ones," which I think applies to our literary reading as well. Old or new to you, Lewis's essays are refreshing. ...more
Alex & Books
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 2/3 of the book were okay but the last third of this book was pure gold.

Part 3 has a ton of wonderful quotes about advice for reading books. The book also ends with some interesting and thoughtful journaling/reflection exercises.

Recommend this book for book lovers and CS Lewis fans.
Jill Crosby
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A collection of Lewis’ observations on reading, and it should not be missed by any serious bibliophile. Achieves being both vindicating and encouraging at the same time
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent collection of some of Lewis’ insights into the nature of reading, writing, literature, and myth. A short read packed with wisdom.
Emily Polson
Apr 19, 2020 added it
Shelves: essays
A delightful little volume of excerpts from works I knew as well as ones I likely never would have stumbled upon on my own (as in the passages taken from his letters). Among my favorite pieces was Lewis's review of The Lord of the Rings. ...more
Maria Rosati
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great compilation of C.S. Lewis quotes on reading and writing. I chuckled many times at his observations of human nature and I felt like I had let a friend into that secret place I enter when I read any good book, as he had been there too and observed all it's glory. ...more
Jessica Perteet
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So many good quotes in here! This was an audio book that was nice and short and pithy.
Laurel Hicks
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Selections on reading from the writings and letters of C. S. Lewis. Excellent, as expected.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
C.S. Lewis does indeed remind readers of the joy of seeing new worlds through others' eyes. This collection is a treasure trove of his wisdom and wit on the delights of reading. Immersing myself in them has inspired me to re-read old favorite books, to keep stretching my imagination, and to see the world with "a new dimension of depth." ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it liked it
As a reader who hasn’t read a lot of Lewis’ work, I enjoyed most of this book. Since it was a collection of writings around this topic and not one work, specifically on this topic, I would guess a lot of readers have read most of these in his other works.
Eustacia Tan
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nlb-ereads
When I first saw this, I thought it was a book written by C.S. Lewis about reading and got very excited. Unfortunately, my first assumption was wrong: this is a book about quotes from C.S. Lewis about reading, which is different from what I expected but still delightful.

Divided into two main sections, The Reading Life quotes C.S. Lewis on two main topics: “The Art and Joy of Reading” and “Short Readings on Reading”. By taking quotes from his essays and letters, the editors of this book show us j
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very delightful short collection of some of Lewis’ writings on books. I bought it at Barnes & Noble earlier this month because I hadn’t heard of it and it had an awesome title so I couldn’t pass it up. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that it wasn’t a book. Was I disappointed? Oh, no, definitely not. Yes, this is not a book, it’s a collection of sections from Lewis’ other books (Surprised by Joy, On Other Worlds, Mere Christianity, The Weight of Glory and Letters to Malcolm t ...more
Phillip Kang
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
The Reading Life is a timely attempt by the editors to bring together in one volume the wisdom of C. S. Lewis on the reading passion from his lifetime of writing. Here we find the fun and whimsical but also serious sayings. Lewis was, by profession, a classics reader but also indulged in fairy tales and fantasy novels such as The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. His reviews of these are in the book.

Being a voracious reader himself, Lewis is indeed qualified to answer questions like “Why We Read
Chris Via
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, of-reading
Look, if it's a book even remotely about the art and life of reading, I'm going to buy it--no question. Here we have a compendium of relevant excerpts culled from the vast and diverse corpus of C. S. Lewis. Overall it has some high points and eloquent quotes, but I think I'm persuaded to read the whole of An Experiment in Criticism . Also I feel somewhat compelled to take a stab at the work of Tolkien. So: A slim little volume that would make a great stocking-stuffer for your literary friends ...more
Anthony Segaert
I'm glad Lewis said readers are always free to skip chapters or sections, because I did a bit of it here. It's a slightly disappointing highly secularised collection of Lewis' works on reading, writing and literature.

I most enjoyed the short quotes in Part 2.

On Originality: "no man who values originality will ever be original. But try to tell the truth as you see it, try to do any bit of work as well as it can be done for the work's sake, and what men call originality will come unsought."

On ad
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wise, witty, and warm, this selection of readings and quotations from throughout C. S. Lewis's writings is another reminder of how Lewis has aged so very well. We find not only justification for fairy stories but the value of reading old books and the legitimacy of reading for entertainment. In addition, he happily grants us permission to skip paragraphs and chapters while reading. Also included are intriguing reviews of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings many years before they became classics ...more
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a short little companion book made up of snippets from his most famous essays. I have read some of his essays, but this is an easy read with some of his most famous lines on the theme of "reading." Lewis has so many iconic quotes.

"Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality...In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Clive Staples Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge

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