(Review) The Reading Life: The Joy of Seeing New Worlds Through Others’ Eyes by C. S. Lewis, edited by David C. Downing and Michael G. Maudlin

Publisher and Publication Date: HarperOne. 2019.
Genre: Nonfiction.
Pages: 192.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of C. S. Lewis. Readers who enjoy reading about the joy of reading.
Rating: Very good.

Link @ HarperOne
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Clive Staples Lewis, 1898-1964

The Reading Life is a collection of pulled material from C. S. Lewis’s books, essays, reviews, and letters. They all have the subject of his reflections and views on reading.

The book is divided in two sections:
Part One: On The Art and Joy of Reading.
Part Two: Short Readings on Reading.

The pulled material for this book is from several sources. I have all the references listed and the number represents how often it is used: An Experiment in Criticism (4), Of Other Worlds (5), Present Concerns (2), God in the Dock (2), Surprised by Joy (4), George MacDonald: An Anthology, Studies in Worlds, On Stories and Other Essays on Literature (2), The Four Loves, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (2), Selected Literary Essays (3), “Letters to Arthur Greeves” (10), The Weight of Glory (2), Christian Reflections (2), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (2), “Letter to Ruth Pitter”, The Four Loves, The World’s Last Night and Other Essays (2), Mere Christianity (2), “Letter to Warfield M. Firor”, “Letters to Rhona Bodle” (2), “Letter to Sarah Neylan”, “Letters to Dom Bede Griffiths” (2), Rehabilitations and Other Essays, and Reflections on the Psalms.

My Thoughts:
I feel it is important to list all of the references for two reasons.
1. The Reading Life doesn’t have an index or notes section. The source is given with each reference at the quote, but it is not in complete for a one stop reference .
2. It is important for the reader to know if the book uses too many references from the same source and not enough from others.

I feel The Reading Life has complied a solid collection for the single volume book. I see a few repeaters, but not heavy with them.

My favorite take-away from the book is learning Lewis had a fantastic memory. If a student began to say lines from Paradise lost, Lewis picked up where the student stopped and continued by memory. It didn’t matter where in the book the lines were spoken, Lewis knew the book in its entirety by memory. He also had a strong memory from all the books he’d read. So, not only was he an avid reader and writer, but had a strong memory.

“Why We Read” and “How To Know If You Are A True Reader” are my favorite chapters. These are actually the first chapters in the book.
I know the reasons why I read, but I enjoyed Lewis’ wordy explanation of why I read. It sounds much better coming from him.
I already know I’m a true reader, but one of the reasons has never dawned on me. I re-read books. Lewis states this as the first reason for a “true reader.”

A funny chapter is on murdering words. “Verbicide, the murder of a word, happens in many ways.” Page 81.

And, because I am a Tolkien fan. I enjoyed reading Lewis’s reviews of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

The Reading Life is small, and I dislike. I’d prefer a large volume on Lewis’s quotes on reading.


(Review) Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures & Transforming Power of a Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson


Publisher and Publication Date: Tyndale Momentum. September 4, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. Books. Reading.
Pages: 288.
Source: Library.
Rating: Very good.
Audience: People who read books about reading!


Blog for Sarah Clarkson

I love books about books and reading. A book loving person will be drawn to a book like this!

Book Girl is a personable, entertaining, revealing look about a life long love of books.
Book Girl has chapters with themes. For example: classics to read, poetry, praying, brave women, spiritual classics, and biographies. Clarkson explains why the books are on each list.
Book Girl shares why reading books creates a different view of life, as opposed to those who do not read. The world a book reader understands is vast and varied.
I love it that Clarkson helps me understand why books have brought her growth, meaning, and joy.
A strong point Clarkson brought up is how social media is distracting. It is distracting in how it keeps the eyes busy with enticing visual activity. Reading is a solitude activity requiring the disciplined reading of words.

A short list of books recommended:
God Smuggler by Brother Andrew
A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot
Christy by Catherine Marshall
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Knowledge of God by J. I. Packer
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer through Robert Frost by Harold Bloom

(Review) I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights And Dilemmas Of The Reading Life by Anne Bogel


Publisher and Publication Date: Baker Books. September 4, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction.
Pages: 160.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Baker books, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Recommend. Very Good.
Audience: People who love to read.


Anne Bogel is the originator of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and the podcast What Should I Read Next? Also, the author of Reading People.

Baker Books is a Christian publishing group. I’d Rather Be Reading is not a Christian book.

This book is about the topic of reading. From the type of literary carnivores we are, to how to organize the books on the shelf, to what our favorite books say about us.
Not all readers plan out their next book to read, but some readers do plan and organize. Bogel tries to give a broad brushstroke to all types of readers.
I’d Rather Be Reading is an entertaining and satisfying look at the activity of reading.

My Thoughts:
Bogel begins by listing different types of book readers. For example, people who are English teachers but have never read a classic work beyond college. People who dislike certain series books or people who binge read certain series books. There are all types of readers and Bogel shares their perspectives.
One of my favorite chapters in the book is how reading is a solitary activity, but when one book reader asks another book reader, “hey, what is your favorite book?” This question breaks the ice to become a perfect conversation starter. The book lovers I know recite a long list of books and might give lists for individual genres.
The focus of the book is page 11 through 145. This is a small digestible book for a bibliophile. It does not dig deep in the topic. The chapters are short-an intro and 21 chapters in all.
Bogel inserts a variety of books in the chapters. For example, from chapter eleven: “The Readers I Have Been.” She refers to Madeliene L’Engle who wrote A Wrinkle in Time. This book “won” her over at a young age. She also enjoyed reading books by L’Engle at older stages in life. For example, The “Irrational Season.”
I enjoyed reading I’d Rather Be Reading.
It is a great gift for a reader. It is a great book for a book discussion group. It is a great book to read on a cold afternoon with a cup of your choice.

(Review) Reading People: How Seeing The World Through The Lens Of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel


Publisher and Publication Date: Baker Books. September 19, 2017.
Genre: Nonfiction, reading, personality types.
Pages: 226.
Source: Complimentary paperback copy from Baker Books. I was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Very good.


Anne Bogel is the creator of the popular blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and the podcast What Should I Read Next? Her popular book lists and reading guides have established Bogel as a tastemaker among readers, authors, and publishers. Bogel lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Introduction: When we talk about someone’s personality, we’re referring to those characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make that person unique. Page13.

When I read any book it is always cover to cover. This includes reading the preface, foreword, and introduction. The introduction in Reading People is insightful, applicable, and engaging. Bogel points out, “we truly want to know about ourselves.” This is why we take those silly tests or surveys on Facebook. But truly understanding out personalities requires us to dig a little deeper than what social media offers. When we understand ourselves, we know why we act and react the way we do in certain situations. It helps us to understand other people and respond to them.

Bogel’s goals in this book:
“1. provide an overview of the frameworks that have been the most helpful to me;
2. make this important information a lot more accessible and a lot less intimidating; and
3. highlight the kind of valuable insights that come from understanding personality.”

My Thoughts:
One of my favorite types of nonfiction books is reading about personality types. It’s been a few years ago that I read Quiet by Susan Caine. It was then I discovered I am an introvert. Through a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, my personality type is INFJ. Another site to take a free test is 16 Personalities. I’ve actually taken a few of these tests. All tests state I’m an INFJ. INFJ means Introversion/Intuitive/Feeling/Judging. AKA the Advocate. I wish I’d known this information when younger. It would have helped to make decisions about college and career. It helps me to understand why I react the way I do in certain situations. I now have a reply when people tell me I’m weird.

What I love about Reading People:

1. The writing style is relaxed, transparent, informative, and engaging.
2. In taking a personality test, it is important to take it based on what I am really like and not what I wish I was like.
3. Bogel encouraged me “to make peace” with who I am.
4. Chapter 3 is on highly sensitive people. That’s me. I certainly dwell on things longer than I should. Experiences seem to effect me more. And I notice things other people miss.
5. Chapter 4 is on the love languages. Personalities need and respond to certain love languages. This is a perfect chapter for those in a new relationship or for any person wanting to understand this aspect of life.
6. Bogel teaches what the personality types are strong at and what they need to work on. For example, “Judging types are in danger of missing new info because they’re too focused on closure, on achieving the goal.” Page 121.
7. The last subtopic is moving past the education of our personality, and on to how to grow positively in our personality.