There is simply no one else who can explain the Christian faith as clearly and concisely as C. S. Lewis did. This book is truly THE book to read, especially for intellectuals who are still struggling to understand the Bible, which can sometimes be unfathomably obscure.
The Screwtape Letters
A most interesting series of letters, written from the perspective of an experienced "tempter", a senior devil giving advice to a junior devil on how to corrupt a target human. I sincerely applaud Lewis's creative angle, which serves as a vivid reminder of how easily we can be tempted by the devil no matter what situation we are in. As long as we are alive, there will always be a way for the devil to slip in, so we must be vigilant.
I had a difficult time understanding this part. I'm probably not alone - miracles ARE difficult to understand. I think I'll have to return to this part in a few years' time, maybe more than once. I hope I can be enlightened then.
The Great Divorce
This short fantasy describes what it is like when we are at the crossroads of Heaven and Hell - which is to say almost every moment in our life. If we put Heaven above earth, we will find that earth is not very different from Heaven itself. If we put earth above Heaven, we will find that earth is part of Hell all along. Heaven and Hell are irreconcilable extremes, and we make our own choice here on earth.
The Problem of Pain
Like the Miracles section, this one is quite difficult to comprehend as his theology is beyond my grasp. I have vague understanding of individual points but not the grand picture. I'll have to return to this later.
A Grief Observed
The preceding books in this collection give me an insight of Lewis's intellectual prowess and amazing reasoning ability, but none can compare with this short but intense account of his own grieving on his wife's death. In this book I get to see the real man, a raw, personal look at a wounded giant who can be as weak and irrational as the rest of us. He rambles and digresses, and at times even expresses doubts towards his God, but this always happens when one's emotion is at its purest and truest. Nothing is held back by one's rationality. I can empathize - no, I can feel his angst, his confusion, his bitterness, throughout the pages, as he progresses from being at a total loss to a satisfied peace. To the reader, it is not just a grief observed. It is a grief shared.
The Abolition of Man
This last book feels a bit out of place in the collection. Instead of talking about theology, Lewis spent much time criticizing a certain book or dogma advocated by a certain Gaius and Titius (pseudonyms). I suspect it was quite timely in that era, but reading it now, in 2010, one just doesn't feel the connection. Who is still talking about how science and technology are "conquering" nature? Hopefully not many.