The Irish-born English author Clive Staples Lewis is one of the twentieth century’s most influential writers.
He was an English scholar and a close friend of the famous writer J.R.R. Tolkien. Times has also included him in 50 greatest British artists since 1945.
Lewis is famous for his works of fiction that include fantasy, sci-fi, and children literature. He is also known for his non-fiction works on Christianity and philosophy.
His works contain worlds of imagination and wisdom with universal themes on good, evil, sin, redemption, and humanity.
Lewis wrote more than 30 books, which were translated into many languages. Right here are the best C. S. Lewis books of all time.
Best C.S. Lewis Books
1. The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia is Lewis’s most famous series. It’s considered one of the classics of children’s literature. Yet, it goes under lots of other literary genres such as fantasy and classics.
The series sold millions of copies and was translated into many languages. It also had multiple adaptations on radio, stage, TV, and cinema.
It was written between 1949 and 1954 and was published illustrated by Pauline Baynes. Lewis wrote it with the influence of Greek and Roman mythology in addition to British and Irish fairy tales.
The Chronicles consist of 7 books published in seven consecutive years. Each book, except the last, was dedicated to a child of his close friends.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The first book introduces us to the world beyond the wardrobe’s door, the world of Narnia. Lucy is the first child to find this enchanted world of eternal winter.
She takes her siblings to discover Narnia to find an evil white witch who has enchanted the land a long time ago.
Their adventure begins when they meet Aslan the lion with whom they try to rescue Narnia from evil.
Later on, this book turned out to be the most famous book of all Lewis’s works. It’s the one that hooks adults and children fans alike.
Its movie adaptation in 2005 has also added to the popularity of the book. And now, a highly anticipated Netflix adaptation is bringing more eyes towards the adventure.
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia
The story continues with other connected adventures every time Lucy and her siblings: Edmund, Susan, and Peter are summoned back to Narnia.
In Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia, the 4 children are back on the quest of helping prince Caspian take his rightful throne.
They go for another adventure to help him defeat his evil uncle Miraz for peace to prevail.
This book was published in 1951, a year after the first one, thanks to the positive feedback Lewis got.
It was also adapted in 2008 into a movie directed by Andrew Adamson.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
King Caspian builds Narnia’s first ship ever, the Dawn Treader. Lucy and her partners go on another adventure on the Dawn Treader to the far eastern lands.
The voyage is on a mission of finding seven noble lords previously banished by Capsian’s evil uncle.
The ship takes them to places they didn’t know existed towards the end of the world where Aslan’s hometown lies.
The Silver Chair
The story continues decades after Caspian became a king when his only son and heir goes missing.
Two boys from England, Jill and Eustace, must go to Narnia and leave their boarding school to rescue him from the evil witch.
The Horse and His Boy
In Narnia, a boy called Shasta travels north from his homeland Calormen with the talking horse Bree.
Their plan changes on the journey when they know about the attack Calormen’s prince is planning on the land of Archeland.
The boy and the horse decide to go for an adventure to warn and help the king of the kingdom of Archeland in the south.
The Magician’s Nephew
The Magician’s Nephew is considered the next famous book of the series after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
It’s also recommended as the first book when reading the series by the chronological order of the events.
In this book, Digory and his friend Polly are “mistakenly” sent to Narnia by Digory’s uncle. In their journey back home, they get to face Jadis, an evil sorceress, before they can finally return.
A lot of Narnia’s secrets and strange details are explained in this book. It goes with more depth into the core of what makes Narnia the way it is and how the world came to be.
The Last Battle
In the seventh book, a huge conflict emerges between the true and the false Narnians. There’s also another battle brewing between Narnia and the people of Calormen.
The Last Battle is the last book of the chronicles published in 1956. It’s also the only book that Lewis didn’t dedicate to a child.
Though the series was published in the previous order, there is another controversial order that arranges the books according to the chronological flow of events. It goes as follows:
- The Magician’s Nephew
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- The Horse and His Boy
- Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- The Silver Chair
- The Last Battle
2. The Space Trilogy
The Space Trilogy is Lewis’s series of science fiction novels. Its main character is a Cambridge academic called Elwin Ransom.
Interestingly, this man was partly based on J. R. R. Tolkien.
Unlike the Chronicles of Narnia, this trilogy is intended for an adult audience. It includes aspects of cosmology, language, and even mythology combined in a mystical advanced world.
Out of the Silent Planet
In the first book of Lewis’s trilogy, Elwin Ransom was kidnapped by a spaceship headed to the red planet Malacandra or Mars.
In order for his kidnappers to reach the planet’s treasures, they’re going to sacrifice Ransom to the planet’s residents in return. In his stay there, Ransom discovers hidden truths about his own planet.
He learns how the Earth is excluded from the solar system. It’s known as the Silent Planet, among other planets because of its tragic history that everyone knows.
Out of the Silent Planet is one of Lewis’s early books that was published in 1938. It reflected the power of his imagination as a writer at an early time.
The second book is set on Perelandra planet or what is also known as Venus. This planet is invaded by a dark force that Elwin Ransom has to fight alone.
The evil force threatens Ransom’s planet Earth. It aims to destroy it in order to build a better and more beautiful civilization.
The whole planet’s fate lies in Ransom’s hand before he can go back home.
The Hideous Strength
The last battle in this trilogy takes place on planet Earth. Ransom is not the main character of this book but he’s still important.
This book tells the story of Mark Studdok, a sociologist who discovers that the organization where he works aims to control human lives.
His wife starts having prophetic dreams that affirm the organization’s evil plot.
Next, the married couple seeks Dr. Ransom’s help. Later, the three have to find a way to get into the headquarters of the organization and save the fate of humanity.
3. The Screwtape Letters
The Screwtape Letters are messages sent from the senior demon Screwtape to his junior nephew Wormwood.
From his work in the administration in the bureaucracy of Hell, Screwtape was giving advice about how to tempt a British man called “The Patient” to ensure his damnation.
He gives him the methods with which he can undermine the Patient’s faith. Still, they both fail to understand humans’ defending methods such as virtues.
Written in the epistolary form, the book consists of 31 letters. It’s one of Lewis’s works that has the format of a fictional story but tackles Christian themes and issues in an almost direct way.
The book gained popularity during Lewis’s life and after. There were many literary sequels that followed in addition to many adaptations.
Among these adaptations is a comic work by Marvel Comics that was published in 1994. There were also lots of stage adaptations with a bunch of remakes throughout the years.
4. Mere Christianity
Mere Christianity is one of Lewis’s main classics and famous books about Christian apologetics. It’s where he talks about the power of the Christian faith as he sees it. The book includes a lot of his previous writing about Christianity as well.
In the book, he tackles his journey from being born in a Christian family to becoming an atheist at an early age. Later, he tells how he converted back again to Christianity.
Much of the book’s content was also taken from his famous BBC broadcast during World War II.
The book was well-received during Lewis’s life and continued to be one of his most influential works of non-fiction after his death.
5. The Great Divorce
The Great Divorce is one of Lewis’s works of fiction. This book is written as a novella about a bus ride in the afterworld. The residents of Hell have taken this ride to Heaven to get to meet people living there.
Upon arriving there, the visitors are asked by the shining figures of heaven to repent and stay. A request many refuse by giving excuses to return back to their “grey town”.
The narrator, who was a writer when alive, chooses to remain. He meets another writer, George Macdonald, who guides him through heaven and explains to him the truth of both worlds.
The book represents one of Lewis’s dream visions of the afterworld which affected his realization of good and evil.
The title is meant to refer to William Blake’s work The Marriage of Heaven of Hell, yet it’s written in a way that opposes its ideas.
6. A Grief Observed
As the title indicates, this is a book about grief that Lewis wrote after losing his wife Joy Davidman to cancer in 1961. It’s among one of his appreciated works for the way he dealt with grief openly, angrily, and violently in thoughts and words.
Lewis wrote this book in longhand in notebooks at his home. In his writing, he boldly doubted his beliefs about life, death, god, justice, and marriage in his phase of mourning.
He wrote this work as “a defense against total collapse” as a part of healthy grief that many fear to reveal or talk about.
The Complete List of C. S. Lewis’s Books
C. S. Lewis was a one-of-a-kind writer that flooded our world with lots of unique works. Unfortunately, reviewing all of his books in one article would be rather absurd. You can, however, find a complete list of his works below.
● Spirits in Bondage: A Cycle of Lyrics (1919)
● The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933)
● Out of the Silent Planet (1938)
● Perelandra (1943)
● That Hideous Strength (1945)
● The Screwtape Letters (1942)
● The Great Divorce (1945)
● The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
● Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951)
● The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
● The Silver Chair (1953)
● The Horse and His Boy (1954)
● The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
● The Last Battle (1956)
● Till We Have Faces (1956)
● The Abolition of Man (1936)
● The Problem of Pain (1940)
● The Case for Christianity (1942)
● Miracles (1947)
● The Weight of Glory (1949)
● Mere Christianity (1952)
● Surprised by Joy (1955)
● Reflections on the Psalms (1958)
● The Four Loves (1960)
● The World’s Last Night (1960)
● Studies in Words (1960)
● A Grief Observed (1961)
● Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (1964)
C. S. Lewis books have impressed children and adults alike. His imagination, satire, and themes united his fans worldwide in appreciation of his works.
It isn’t only his works that grabbed people’s attention, but also his life as a scholar and a writer. That’s why two works were made to represent Lewis and his journey.
The first work is a 1993 movie called Shadowlands. Anthony Hopkins creatively starred as Lewis. The second is the 2017 play The Most Reluctant Convert starring Max McLean.
Share with us; what’s your favorite book from that exceptional writer?
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