Continuing our five-part follow-up to the essay “Forming Adults in Faith Through Fiction,” here are the next ten recommended books for use in adult faith formation.
31) C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
This children’s series unfolds largely in the land of Narnia, where four human children from England find themselves charged with a noble task, where all the created world lives in relationship and communication with each other, and where the great lion Aslan is king. It is a rich allegory of the Christian story that can be powerful for adults and children alike.
32) C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
A senior devil, Screwtape, writes letters to his nephew, Wormwood, instructing him in the work of drawing souls away from God, and offering a reinterpretation of many modern considerations (or lack thereof) of temptation and sin.
33) C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
An interpretation of the myth of Cupid and Psyche as seen through the eyes of Psyche’s sister Orual. The novel looks profoundly at questions of transformations—both positive and negative—caused by love and by love’s absence or superficiality.
34) Flannery O’Connor, Complete Short Stories
O’Connor’s short stories communicate the prevalence and power of grace which—as many people forget or fail to notice—frequently must wound in order to heal. Readers may find it helpful to read O’Connor’s essays and/or letters in conjunction with her short stories in order to understand the radically faithful perspective out of which she writes.
35) Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
Set in twentieth century New Orleans, this story’s central narrator persistently turns to movies and books to experience the engagement and immediacy he finds lacking in his day-to-day life. One Mardi Gras, he seeks to break out of this monotony by embarking on a spiritual quest of self-discovery.
36) Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
A classic and highly imaginative children’s novella, The Little Prince is the story of an encounter between the narrator, whose plane has crashed in the middle of the Sahara desert, and a little prince who has traveled throughout space visiting tiny worlds. Through their conversation, the two approach essentially human questions about the meaning of life.
37) Henryk Sienkiewicz, Quo Vadis
This work of historical fiction describes an early Christian community that faces the persecutions of Nero and the richness of the individual lives that are given up for the sake of faith in Christ.
38) Anne Rice, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and
Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana
Like Holmes’ Two from Galilee and Three from Galilee, these novels are imaginative retellings of the early life of Christ.
39) Marilynne Robinson, Gilead: A Novel
Gilead: A Novel takes the form of a memoir of a dying minister to his young son. His attempt to communicate that which will be important for his boy, who will be robbed of the opportunity for in-person father–son conversation for most of his life, provides heartfelt and probing reflections on the good, the true, and the beautiful.
40) Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow
This work of science fiction depicts the space mission of eight Jesuits to a new world, where encounters with another race of beings provide an opportunity for reflection on that which is essentially human.