Recommended Reading: Fiction Edition

In this series of posts, each of our pastors will be suggesting books that have been enjoyable to them on various topics. In this post, we hear from Brandon Clements, who oversees our pastoral care and Recovery. To find out more about our leadership, visit our Leadership page.

Reading good fiction has long been one of my most healthy outlets as a person, and there are particular books that have been incredible spiritual encouragements to me. I would argue that the books that follow fall into the category of character-driven, likely-spiritually-encouraging fiction for believers. They are not necessarily thrillers (so don't approach them looking for The Hunger Games), but rich stories that echo the heart of God in some fashion or another.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson Marilynne Robinson is probably my favorite novelist. Gilead won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2005 and is a moving story of an elderly preacher in rural Iowa going through his last years with his family. You probably won't read this book fast, but if you do finish it, I bet you'll enjoy it long after it is over. Robinson has a way of making words and characters sink into your bones that I am envious of.

Home by Marilynne Robinson I told you I loved her. This book is set in the same town and is a vague retelling of the prodigal son story. I think I like it even more than Gilead, if that's possible. Robinson also released another novel tied to the town of Gilead called Lila, but I haven't finished it yet.

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger This book tore a whole through me when I first read it. It's a moving story of a father's love for his children, and it wraps up with one of the most beautiful and compelling metaphoric depictions of heaven I've ever seen outside of Scripture. I will never forget the end of this story.

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor Flannery O'Connor is known for dark Southern fiction with religious themes, and this novel by her certainly hits the mark. Here you will find a character (a traveling evangelist) whose reactions to his own brokenness will haunt you and challenge you to think about the ways in which you respond to the darkness inside of you. If you've never read Flannery O'Connor, be prepared for weird. But life is weird, amiright? I also have enjoyed many of her short stories that she is more widely known for.

I hope these get you started and if you check any of them out, I'd love to know what you think!