Christian Themes in Literature discussion

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments I'm so glad to find this group. I'm a huge fan of Lewis, Greene, Chesterton, Dostoyevski, & O'Connor. There are others listed here I want to explore. Let me add a few names, too: Fredrick Buechner, Dorothy Sayers, Gerard Manley Hopkins (his poetry is amazing - google "As Kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame" to read one of his sonnets).
Susan


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Can anyone recommend a favorite work of nonfiction by CS Lewis?


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Sure! (With a year since the last comment, I'd be thrilled to hear just about any comment! :)


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Sure! (With a year since the last comment, I'd be thrilled to hear just about any comment! :)


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Susan wrote: "Sure! (With a year since the last comment, I'd be thrilled to hear just about any comment! :)"

I realize I worded that poorly. What I wanted was for someone to recommend a book for me to start with. I've been wanting to read CS Lewis, other than Narnia, but I'm not sure where to start. I've purchased Surprised by Joy and Mere Christianity. I'd appreciate any suggestions.


message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Kathleen wrote: "Susan wrote: "Sure! (With a year since the last comment, I'd be thrilled to hear just about any comment! :)"

I realize I worded that poorly. What I wanted was for someone to recommend a book for..."


Kathleen,
Sorry about my spastic response. Yes, you have several options. I really liked Surprised by Joy;it provides a good understanding of the man, especially regarding how he came to faith. Mere Christianity is a theological text. Lewis's ability to communicate complicated and difficult ideas clearly is a hallmark of this book. Another book on Christian apologetics is God in the Dock.

On a darker note, there are two nonfiction books that deal with pain, The Problem with Pain which I began years ago and didn't finish. At the time it was more philosophical than I was looking for. A Grief Observed is a kind of formalized version of his journal (his thinking) as his wife was dying of cancer and so it is a very moving and subjective wrestling with the topic that PwP deals with analytically and philosophically.

One short book, now that I think of it, would be a great entry to Lewis's nonfiction: The Weight of Glory. It's a collection of essays, short, easy to read but full of insight, wonderful, really. I've seen the title, Of Other Worlds, another collection, but haven't read it. If you read it let me know what you think.

Also, there's quite a bit of Lewis literary criticism - he was after all a medieval specialist. A quick very general intro there is An Experiment in Criticism.

Lewis was pretty prolific, so there's tons more out there. Hope this helps get you going. Let me know what you think.

Susan



message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for such a thoughtful response, Susan. I'll start with Surprised by Joy.
Kathleen


message 8: by Wes (new)

Wes Kelley (weskelley) | 4 comments The Problem of Pain and a Grief Observed are both excellent, but I would also recommend the Four Loves. If you want something a philosophical, and a topic touched on in Mere Christianity, check out The Abolition of Man.




message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Wes,
Another world heard from! and a Lewis fan! What other Christian authors do you like?



message 10: by Wes (new)

Wes Kelley (weskelley) | 4 comments I enjoy novels that touch on Christian themes, but are not identified specifically as Christian books. Walker Percy is a good example of this. Also, Graham Greene's work, The Power and Glory, has always spoken to me. These writers were brutally honest about the world, but they hinted that there was more to it than what the purely scientific/rational folks would have you believe.


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments I also am a fan of Greene. Really liked The Power & the Glory, also his The End of the Affair. I've heard Percy referred to as you do, but have yet to read him. Would you recommend any one of his books over any other? Also, I 'm curious what you think of Flannery O'Connor.


message 12: by Wes (last edited Nov 21, 2009 04:15PM) (new)

Wes Kelley (weskelley) | 4 comments Susan wrote: "I also am a fan of Greene. Really liked The Power & the Glory, also his The End of the Affair. I've heard Percy referred to as you do, but have yet to read him. Would you recommend any one of his b..."

Percy won the National Book Award for his first work, The Moviegoer, but I prefer his second novel, The Last Gentleman. This book his riddled with existential Christian themes. All of his books touch on Christian topics (though obliquely). His forth book, Lancelot, delves into the problem of evil. It is the most gothic of his novels. All of his novels are great. His non-fiction collection of essays, Signpost in a Strange Land, is my favorite.

Percy was my gateway author who opened my eyes to the power of the novel.


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Perhaps I'll have a shot at Gentleman over Christmas break. I'm adding it to my "To Read" list. You mentioned Percy's essays. Have your read Marilynne Robinson? Wonderful novels, especially her first two, but she has a great volume of essays - Death of Adam.


message 14: by Wes (new)

Wes Kelley (weskelley) | 4 comments Susan, I have not read any Robinson yet, but Gilead is next on my list. I am looking forward to it. Thanks for the tip on her essays.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Can any of you recommend a book by Francois Mauriac?


message 16: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 26, 2010 05:53AM) (new)

PS Saw your comments on Graham Greene, who is quickly becoming one of my top favorite authors. The Power and the Glory is my favorite of his so far. I've also read Monsignor Quixote (twice) and The End of the Affair; loved them both. I'm currently reading The Heart of the Matter.

I just finished listening to Mere Christianity and Orthodoxy in my car. I prefer Lewis to Chesterton.

Read one of Percy's books years ago and recently tried The Moviegoer. Oddly, the feel of it reminded me a bit of Camus' The Stranger. I've put it on hold but will try again.

I'd love to hear your suggestions regarding these and other writers on the list, particularly Mauriac.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

PPS Also recently read some of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, which were masterpieces but a little creepy.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Susan, I saw your note about Hopkins. I recently read The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark, which features The Wreck of the Deutschland. This may be a stretch for some of you, but I think much of Spark's fiction contains Christian themes (Memento Mori and The Only Problem come to mind.) She was a convert to Catholicism, heavily influenced by John Henry Newman.
She is my all-time favorite. Greene liked her. She is can be dark as well as quite funny.


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Kathleen,
I'm not familiar w/ Mauriac, or Spark for that matter. I'd be interested to know more about them. I can understand why Wreck of D. might appeal to a Catholic author. It's one of Hopkins very early poems. I'm more familiar w/ his sonnets - he really made major contributions to that poetic form.
Susan


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Wes & Kathleen,
Here's a link to a Hopkins poem that I really like.
http://www.bartelby.com/122/34.html

It's one of his more upbeat ones. He tends to be a bit bipolar in his writing - either euphoric or despairing. But that line from "No Worst There Is None" sticks w/ me:

"O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne’er hung there."

How's that for capturing the isolation and fear one feels in a deep emotional challenge! Anyway, check out the other poem and see what you think.

Look forward to hearing what else you're reading.




message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks. I'll have to check that out. I'm terrible with poetry. In the meantime, I just read a review of one of Mauriac's books, Viper's Tangle, by another friend on Goodreads. I saw Mauriac's name on this group's summary/description, which is why I'd asked.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Susan,
I just realized that it was you had recommended the Lewis books to me a few months ago. Thanks. I am going to read Surprised by Joy next. As I said above, I just finished Mere Christianity. Too bad this group isn't more active. It's a good one.


message 23: by David (new)

David | 1 comments Hello everybody, I'm glad that I discovered this group. Dostoevsky and Chesterton are two of my favorite authors. In particular, Dostoevsky's characters are my favorites. He seems to capture and depict human weakness and the need for the Gospel better than any other author.

I also am an author,I've just released a futuristic Christian novel, Future Hope and have several articles on my blog.David Gelber

Future Hope: Book 1 of the ITP Series


message 24: by Craig (new)

Craig Davis | 5 comments Hi folks. I found this group by doing a search for C.S. Lewis. I love Screwtape Letters and Till We Have Faces, and I also especially like the works of Frederick Buechner, Flannery O'Connor and Dostoevsky. I have three Christian-themed books myself. Please feel free to check out my author page and take a look at the excerpts.
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/...


message 25: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Welcome, Craig! I love all the authors you mention. Last year I was given a Lewis reader; it had a brief excerpt (from a variety of Lewis works) for each day of the year. That was fun! I'll check out your author page.


message 26: by Craig (new)

Craig Davis | 5 comments Thanks Susan. Sorry to see this thread has not had much traffic in a while. I've been involved in Christian threads on the Kindle boards, and the same thing happens there -- there doesn't seem to be much lasting power. With so many great Christian authors to read, you'd think there'd be more discussion.


message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Couldn't agree more! But maybe we could scare up a discussion - who knows. I just finished a class that looked at Ecclesiastes (at least in part) as poetry. I'd never studied a Biblical book from a primarily literary view before and it was really enlightening. Otherwise, I'm not reading any "Christlit" books at the moment. BTW, I did look at your link. Interesting!


message 28: by Craig (new)

Craig Davis | 5 comments Coincidence -- my current project is a series of related short stories based on Ecclesiastes. Mixing up Christian, humor, Southern Gothic, literary fiction all together, all the least popular genres.


message 29: by Meg (new)

Meg | 1 comments I have been searching the groups on Goodreads to find readers who enjoy books with Christian themes. I found an article about 15 years ago called, "I read myself into Catholicism" that included many of the authors named above but others as well. This past month I finished "Godric" by Fredrick Buechner and "The Power and the Glory" by Graham Greene. I loved Godric (except for one small part), and liked the Power and the Glory. I was left with the feeling that the Power and the Glory was filled with symbolism that I didn't really "get". I read some of Walker Percy's books and had the same feeling.

I am always looking for good books that inspire me, so I will list some I have read in the hope that others will do the same.

Kristin Lavrensdatter by Sigrid Undset-- won the Nobel Prize
He Leadeth Me by Walter J. Ciszek
The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton


message 30: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Welcome, Meg!
I've read both "Godric" and "The Power and the Glory" and really enjoyed both. (It's been years, though for both.)

Buechner has a trilogy centering around the character Bebb, but I never could get into them. Besides Godric, I enjoyed his non-fiction more.

Graham Greene is great. As I mentioned above, I recommend "The End of the Affair," if you haven't already read it.

I keep hearing people mention The Seven Story Mountain, but haven't read it. Maybe you could post a review. I'd love to learn about it!

Susan


message 31: by Craig (new)

Craig Davis | 5 comments Just like everyone to know I've cut the prices to all my ebooks to 99¢. The new prices may take a while to show up in the Kindle and Nook stores, but they're in place at Smashwords. Please give them a look!
http://www.smashwords.com/profile/vie...


message 32: by Craig (new)

Craig Davis | 5 comments Susan wrote: "Welcome, Meg!
I've read both "Godric" and "The Power and the Glory" and really enjoyed both. (It's been years, though for both.)

Buechner has a trilogy centering around the character Bebb, but I ..."


My two cents: If you liked "Godric," give "Brendan" a try. It's similar but different, and shows what a brilliant technician Buechner is. Also, his volumes of memoirs are great reading.


message 33: by Randy (new)

Randy Attwood (randyatwood) | 3 comments Any Walker Percy fans out there?


message 34: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Craig, I love Buechner's memoirs, too. Wizard's Tide especially.

Randy, keep meaning to read Percy but haven't yet.


message 35: by Randy (new)

Randy Attwood (randyatwood) | 3 comments Here's the post that will show the scan of the note Walker Percy sent to me: http://www.randyattwood.blogspot.com/...


message 36: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (sandratrevinob) | 1 comments Is this book still alive? I'm a great fan of Chesterton, Lewis, Dostoyevsky and lately also Tolkien... It's always good to discuss with other fans :)


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