I haven't read as much of C. S. Lewis's literary criticism as I have of his theological and fictional work, but I always enjoy a dip into it. And though I haven't yet read Paradise Lost
, my book club may read it this year, so this was helpful preparation. As always, Lewis's work was lucid, deeply insightful, and a pleasure to read. I did find myself occasionally disagreeing with his religious points, though, which is rare for me. Let's just say that, when Dorothy L. Sayers used to say that Milton had a bit too much influence on Lewis's views of the battle of the sexes, she may have been on to something. Let us all thank heaven that Joy Gresham came along and opened his eyes to a few things. :-) Four out of five stars.
I also worked a belated Christmas present into the schedule, Why Shoot a Butler?
by Georgette Heyer. This is my second Heyer mystery. I liked it, but at the same time I couldn't help noticing a marked similarity to my first Heyer mystery, Behold, Here's Poison.
Heyer seems to have a weakness for conceited young lawyers with carefully concealed hearts of gold who mock the police, solve the crime, and get the girl. I rather hope this doesn't turn out to be a trend in her work. Two such characters are all right, but a whole mess of them would seem a little formulaic. That's why I had to stop reading the Brother Cadfael series: similar characters, similar romances, and even similar plots kept showing up until I felt like I was reading the same book over and over again.
Getting back to Heyer, probably her greatest weakness here is the tendency to lapse into telling instead of showing -- especially in places where she summarizes conversations instead of giving us actual dialogue. Conversely, though, when she does give us dialogue, it's one of her greatest strengths. The plot is original and strong and the characters, despite the hint of the formulaic, very good. Three-and-a-half out of five stars.
I've now started Jasper Fforde's eagerly awaited Shades of Grey
. I also happen to be on the last day of Operation Book Binge. One more book in one day -- can I do it? We'll see!