After reading two straight novels about priests and the Catholic Church, I thought now is as good a time as any to take a look at some of the more impactful faith-based works of fiction over the years.
I think the most successful novels that deal with spirituality are the ones that don’t beat you over the head with it. If they have a point, they make it subtly and still leave the story open for interpretation. Nobody wants to feel like they are being preached to while reading a novel.
Death Comes for the Archbishop would fall into this category. But since I just reviewed it recently, I thought I’d take a look at 5 other novels. All but one of them are on the Time list.
It’s time for another death match!
If you’ll remember, Infinite Jest took out Gone With The Wind in the first death match. Today’s battle features two literary superstars: the fierce, intimidating God-like lion, Aslan, from C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, versus the evil, manipulative and propaganda-spewing pig, Napoleon, from Animal Farm.
A lion versus a pig? Come on, right? The King of the Serengeti versus the King of Boone’s Farm? Is it a no brainer?
Well, let’s break it down.
This was a tough call.
Immediately, I ruled out The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as one of my top two. So, then, I’m left comparing it to Blood Meridian, currently the third book in my rankings.
Everyone I have told about this project goes through the Time Magazine list and counts how many books they have read. In my first post, I mentioned that I had read 12 of the 100 books (13 if you count Ulysses).
Here’s the list of books I’ve already read, but will have to re-read to complete the list, with a brief comment on each.
- Animal Farm: I think I read this in middle school/high school. Looking forward to it.
- A Clockwork Orange: Trippy book. It takes several chapters just to get the hang of what the narrator is saying and what’s going on.
- Beloved: Classic.
- The Crying of Lot 49: Short book, but dense. Pynchon is not an easy read.
- The Grapes of Wrath: Love it! Excited about reading this again.
- The Great Gatsby: I’ve read this four times. Probably my favorite book. Another read can’t hurt.
- Invisible Man: Great book about a black man in a white man’s world. Insight into racial stereotypes in the 1950s.
- The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe: Doesn’t get much better than Narnia.
- The Lord of the Rings: I’m putting this on here because I’ve read Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, but I haven’t read Return of the King. This one is going to be tough because the trilogy counts as one book.
- On the Road: I read this book about a month after returning from a 3 month drive across the country. I thought I might become a beat poet. Doubtful.
- The Sun Also Rises: I’ve always loved Hemingway’s style of writing.
- Their Eyes Were Watching God: Read this in college but I honestly don’t remember much about it.
Of course, that list doesn’t include The Catcher in the Rye, which I recently finished as the first book in this challenge, and To Kill A Mockingbird, which I’ll be posting about it next. It also doesn’t include Ulysses, which I have already read and am adding on to Time‘s list as book number 101–just because it’s Ulysses and, screw the rules, it deserves to be there!
Revisit the list and tell me–how many of the 100 have you read?