We chose our next book in the week following our meeting. We will be getting together again on the Saturday after Memorial Day to discuss C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, which should be a very interesting read. Anyone who is interested in joining our discussion, let me know and I'll send you details.
There were a couple of books I wanted to finish before I read The Screwtape Letters, though; and, this book being as short as it is, even I could manage in the allotted time. The first was Madeleine L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Over the past couple of months I have been re-reading her Time Quartet. Well, "re-reading" is probably the wrong term, because I have never read, Many Waters, the fourth and longest book in the series. I read the first three when I was very young and I remembered nothing about them other than that I enjoyed them immensely. My "re-reading" hasn't diminished my appreciation for them. I was afraid I would find them too "child-like." They are, particularly A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door, written in a very simple style suitable for kids' books, but they are enjoyable nonetheless. And I found the style and narrative of A Swiftly Tilting Planet far more mature and literary than I expected, especially compared to the previous books in the series. I am looking forward to Many Waters, perhaps in the next month or so.
The other book I wanted to read was Lewis' Mere Christianity. A couple of months back I bought "The C. S. Lewis Signature Classics," a boxed set of six thematically-related works: Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, and A Grief Observed. I neither nominated nor voted for The Screwtape Letters, but I have been wanting to read this for a while. However, the works in the boxed set were presented in a specific order and, although each book is completely independent of the others, I stubbornly want to read them in that order.
I am a little over halfway through Mere Christianity and am finding it eminently readable and thought-provoking. I wish I had the facility for writing lucid prose or constructing credible arguments that Lewis possessed! I seem to get a lot of questions from people who don't understand how my practice of my Catholic faith jives with their conceptions of Catholicism generally and Christianity specifically. But for perhaps one line (where I disagree with a statement that Lewis makes regarding homosexuality), I feel comfortable enough that I could refer these sorts of questions first to Lewis' general book on Christianity and then to Garry Wills' exploration of Catholicism. (I'm not very good at digesting complex answers into tidy little statements of belief when someone else has answered the same questions far more eloquently and thoroughly than I could ever hope to do myself.)
I am looking forward to The Screwtape Letters far more now. I think that having a better idea of Lewis' religious beliefs will give me greater insight into his satirical account of temptation's place in the world. And it will, no doubt, make for a lively, stimulating discussion. Again, if anyone wishes to join us, just let me know.