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THE C.S. LEWIS CHRONICLES
by Colin Duriez. (Amazon site)  Biography, September 2005.  306 pages.  Blubridge Publishing. In his aptly subtitled work, “The Indispensable Biography of the Creator of Narnia; Full of Little Known Facts, Events, and Miscellany,” Colin Duriez delivers exactly that:  A book teeming with trivia about the amazing thinker and writer, Clive Staples Lewis, otherwise known as, C.S. Lewis.
  
The biographer, Colin Duriez, is well-educated in the life and times of C.S. Lewis. Having previously written the exhaustive reference book, The C.S. Lewis Encyclopedia (March 1996), as well as, written about Lewis‘ friendship with another famous writer, J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings), in Tolkien and Lewis:  The Gift of Friendship (October 2003), Duriez  once again “chronicles” the events in Lewis‘ life  profiting from any interest generated by the movie.
   The C.S. Lewis Chronicles reads like a Cliff‘s Notes about Lewis‘ life. The book gives a synopsis about his entire life from the year he is born, to the year he dies (and a little beyond).  Chapters are short.  The book is divided into eight sections. These chapters are further broken down into years.  Each year begins with a list of births, deaths, and other significant events which have occurred around the world during that year.  Years are broken down into a series of dates, each with a highlight about that moment in time in Lewis‘ life ranging from the historic to the trivial and mundane.
   Duriez really outdoes himself in the miscellany department.  Duriez details Lewis‘eating habits, excerpts from letters to and from family and friends.  Duriez‘s inclusion of 2 year old Lewis‘ countless days at the beach shoveling sand along with his reading lists at the age of twelve, though interesting, are really, just... trivial.  Though the book is also filled with nuggets of titillating information about how Lewis lived, the sad death of his mother, the upbringing by his father, and the lasting friendships with his brother and Tolkien, at times the book offers, what could only be read as, excruciating detail into Lewis‘ day to day life. 
   Among the biography‘s pitfalls are not only what information is provided as the way it is provided.  Dates, though chronological, are not written day by day or even week by week.  You‘ll get one passage that will be about January 22nd, the next about June 1st and the following one will read from June-July. This proves to be very annoying.  One constantly has to check and recheck dates to make sure one understands the timeline.     The C.S. Lewis Chronicles is a great resource for the MTV generation sort who likes to get their information in sound bite sizes.  It‘s also a great little read for those who like to learn about folks but just don‘t have a lot of time.   It is short and can be read from any page as easily as the first.  If you have a love for throwing out odd bits of trivia that know one knows (or really cares) about, this book might have your name on it.  Bottom line:  not a waste of money if you‘re a C.S. Lewis fan. -Michelle Lemaster

 

 

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