Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis – A Book Review

Originally a series of talks given over the radio to the people of England during WWII, this collection of said dialogue explains in laymen’s terms what Christianity is and why C.S. Lewis, originally a non-believer, eventually came to Christ.  It does not give his personal story, mind you, but rather is a mixture of philosophical lectures and entertaining anecdotes as to why Christianity is a valid belief. 

Beware, this is not a light reading romp.  I found myself concentrating diligently to follow his ideas and contemplations.  In the end, I thought he did a superb job of explaining why he believes what he believes, and why everyone else should as well.  Never does he take a condescending tone, and always he appeals to the heart as well as the intellect. 

C.S. Lewis has long been considered one of the most highly respected Christian writers of the last few centuries and I’d have to agree.  However, I have a great deal of trouble believing the “common man” followed his talks on an intellectual level during the time period it originated, but perhaps I’m looking at that from a 2005 perspective.  Perhaps people were more willing to listen to complicated lectures then than they are now.   

If you are a Christian needing a contemporary view on your beliefs to serve a purpose much needed, or if you are a non-Christian just wanting to know what it is all about but without the usual stories and Scripture, then I highly recommend this book.  Put your thinking caps on though, ladies and gentlemen, this one requires intense focus.

The Final Solution by Michael Chabon – A Book Review

You don’t know how difficult this is for me, but I really and truly did not care for this book.  You must keep in mind that I’m a big Michael Chabon fan, I’ve even gone so far as to say he IS America’s greatest contemporary author.  But, The Final Solution simply did not ignite a spark for me on any level.

The Final Solution is a mystery story set in the United Kingdom during WWII, but I found the mystery about a missing parrot and a murdered traveler rather uninteresting and unimportant.  Furthermore, Chabon’s characters, which usually jump off the pages at me and shake my hand, did not inspire a connection whatsoever.  His two main characters, an old, retired detective, and a young, mute, boy who escaped the Nazi’s, while dynamic in concept, did not translate onto the paper like other Chabon characters have done in the past.

The Washington Post, New York magazine, and the New York Times all gushed over this novelette (among many, many more), but it didn’t do much for me.  I didn’t even find myself interested in structure or style, which is usually something I can find redeeming in any work I read.

So, while I urge you to check out Michael Chabon if you have not done so already, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this book.