IF CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING has a patron saint, it is probably C.S. Lewis. The man is revered for both his non-fiction writing and his fiction. His Mere Christianity has been read by millions of devotional readers; his Chronicles of Narnia has thrilled millions of fiction readers; and his The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition is still used in academic study.
Years ago when I wrote Postmarked Heaven, a series of letters penned by four believers in heaven to people still living on earth, the bookstores didn’t know on which shelf to place it. The letters were devotional in nature, but they were written by fictional characters. Should the book be placed with the devotional books or in the fiction section? I said, “In a way, it’s similar to C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters. On which shelf do you place it?” Their reply? “On the C.S. Lewis shelf.”
To what does C.S. Lewis attribute his prodigious output of writing?
In a word: Reading.
He said of his childhood: “I am a product of books. There were books in the study, books in the drawing-room, books in the cloak room, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents’ interests, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons I took volume after volume from the shelves.”
Of fairy tales, he wrote: “When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
And one of my favorite quotes from Lewis: “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
To that, I say, “Amen.” Only, make mine coffee.