I’ve been asked to teach a Religion and Literature course next semester. I cannot tell you how much this excites me. Seriously, I’m quite amped. The only thing difficult about this course, thus far, is trying to narrow down the list of possible books. It’s overwhelming. The question revolves not so much around what I include, but what do I not include?
So, help me out. Below are some books, graphic novels and plays that are definitely in the running. Let me know what books you would add to this mix and then we can start weeding some out. List only those books (or plays, poems, short stories, comics, etc.,) that you think are absolute must-reads.
(Note: I believe everything below is fiction. You can, and should, include non-fiction as well–even textbooks.)
Franny and Zooey (J.D. Salinger); Survivor (Chuck Palahniuk); Silence (Shusako Endo); Deep River, (Shusako Endo); Wise Blood, (Flannery O’Connor); The Violent Bear it Away, (Flannery O’Connor); The Dispossessed (Ursula LeGuin); The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky); Frankenstein (Mary Shelley); Pinocchio (Carlo Collodi); American Gods (Neil Gaiman); A Contract with God (Will Eisner); Antigone (Sophocles); Hard Times (Charles Dickens); Siddhartha (Herman Hesse); Paradise Lost (John Milton); The Power and the Glory (Graham Greene); Life of Pi (Yann Martel); Beatrice and Virgil (Yann Martel); The Town Beyond the Wall (Elie Wiesel); Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk); Sparrow (Mary Russell); A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter Miller); Waiting for Godot (Samuel Beckett); The Damnation of Theron Ware (Harold Frederic); The Moviegoer (Walker Percy); Love in the Ruins (Walker Percy); J.B. (Archibald MacLeish); The Tempest (William Shakespeare); My Name is Asher Lev (Chaim Potok); Monkey (David Kheridan); Four Quartets (T.S. Eliot); The Fall (Albert Camus); The Wine of Astonishment (Earl Lovelace); The Watchmen (Alan Moore); Till We Have Faces (CS Lewis); The Ball and The Cross (GK Chesterton); For the Time Being (Annie Dillard); Beloved (Toni Morrison).
Okay, I can’t think beyond the above at the moment. Oh, and, of course, there are a billion short stories that need to be included (ranging from Dubus to Bradbury), so feel free to definitely include the most crucial short stories you can imagine. That would be very helpful.
All right, your turn!
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.