The physical landscape of Ireland was unquestionably one of the influences that shaped Lewis’s fertile imagination. Yet there is another source which did much to inspire his youthful outlook – literature itself. One of Lewis’s most persistent memories of his youth is that of a home packed with books. Albert Lewis (father) might have worked as a police solicitor to earn his keep, but his heart lay in the reading of literature.
In April 1905, the Lewis family moved to a new and more spacious home that had just been constructed on the outskirts of the city of Belfast… The Lewis brothers were free to roam this vast house, and allowed their imagination to transform into mysterious kingdoms and strange lands. Both brothers inhabited imaginary worlds, and committed something of these to writing. Lewis wrote about talking animals in “Animal-Land,” while Warnie (brother) wrote about “India”…
As Lewis later recalled, wherever he looked in this new house, he saw stacks, piles, and shelves of books. On many rainy days, he found solace and company in reading these works and roaming freely across imagined literary landscapes. The books so liberally scattered throughout the “New House” included works of romance and mythology, which opened the window of Lewis’s young imagination.
Alister McGrath, C.S. Lewis: A Life (2013) p. 14