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Monday, October 29, 2007
Recommended Fiction
I know as Emerging Women we have created lists of our recommended reading for each other (see sidebar). These have been helpful for others as they seek to understand what Emerging Women are reading. But those lists contain mostly non-fiction. There is nothing wrong with that, but I was recently asked what sort of fiction would Emerging Women recommend. So since I had no idea, I thought it would be most appropriate to open that question up to the group here. What sorts of fiction books would you, as a woman involved in the emerging church conversation, recommended to others (especially other emerging women)?

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posted by Julie at 4:25 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 10/29/2007 07:17:00 PM, Anonymous sonja

    Hmmm ...

    The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant

    Til We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis

  • At 10/29/2007 08:10:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd
    A wrinkle in time by Madeline L'engle

  • At 10/29/2007 08:37:00 PM, Anonymous jessica

    I personally really enjoyed The Mermaid Chair and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd for their honest questioning and the sense of journey. Also, I found Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose quite theologically/historically interesting. A few others that come to mind are Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk, The Birth House by Ami McKay, Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (as Sonja already mentioned), and The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler. Margot Livesy, Alexander McCall Smith (some mystery some regular fiction), Madeleine L'Engle (she has children's books as well), Frank Herbert (of the famous Dune series) and Dorothy Sayers (mystery writer) are all writers that pose really good questions regarding religion and spirituality in their fiction. And for something slightly more fun... try Small Gods by Terry Pratchett! A hilarious commentary on organized religion set in the fantasy/satire genre. :]

    Most of these books are not "emergent" per se, or even basically religious, but all of them jive with or provoke thought on various emergent themes of social justice, community redemption, of respect for early spiritual tradition, of reinterpretation, of finding hope in a disconnected and ambiguous world, of questioning the status quo and thinking for yourself. And most of them are just plain good stories too!

  • At 10/29/2007 08:46:00 PM, Blogger Sensuous Wife

    Frank Schaeffer's books offer a biting commentary on religion and a poignant look at spirituality. His POV as Francis Schaeffer's son is certainly an inside look and his post-evangelical worldview definitely comes across in his art. I really enjoyed Baby Jack and Saving Grandma. They are also darn good laugh-out-loud stories.

  • At 10/30/2007 09:36:00 AM, Anonymous sonja

    Dune, by Frank Herbert is really, really good. He mixes up Muslim and Christian theology in a unique way. Not many people see that ... and his strongest characters are women!

    Another book that came to mind because I saw the movie ad. I read it a long, long time ago.

    Love In the Time of Cholera by Gabriela Garcia Marqueza (I think is the author)

  • At 10/30/2007 03:12:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    For me I am a huge fiction fan, but I usually read fantasy/sci-fi and not "religious" fiction. But there are a few books that I've read with fantastic religious elements.

    Byzantium - Stephen Lawhead (a story of an Irish monk whose journeys take him through a loss of faith and back again)

    I echo the recommendations for Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose and C.S. Lewis Til We Have Faces. And Dorothy Sayers' fiction especially Gaudy Night.

    I have to throw in The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien.

    And then Jacqueline Carey's Sundering series (Banewrecker and Godslayer) which are a retelling of the Lord of the Rings from the "bad guys" perspective which is a brilliant exploration of truth and morality.

  • At 10/31/2007 12:09:00 PM, Blogger Lisa

    A colleague recommended a book recently, and I can't help but pass along the same recommendation.

    The book is called "The Shack" (theshackbook.com) and it's self-published so it could definitely benefit from a strong edit. But the author has done such a great job presenting God in a whole new (and much more accurate, if you ask me) light.

    It's a quick read, but one of those that sticks with you long after you put it down.

    I'm guessing this one will get picked up pretty quickly by a big publisher...and once it does, I think it will really create a buzz.

  • At 10/31/2007 01:32:00 PM, Blogger dsrtrosy

    I can recommend The Science of God by Gerald Schroeder, any fantasy book by Guy Gavriel Kay and a fascinating oldie but goodie I just finished called being digital by Nicholas Negroponte.

    I'm also back blogging at my personal site--and working on a book! I'd love to have visitors when people have time to stop by: jesusworshipculture.wordpress.com.

    So great seeing you at Gathering! I'm looking forward to what comes next for Emerging Women.


  • At 10/31/2007 01:32:00 PM, Blogger dsrtrosy

    Oops! I just realized I recommended two NON-fiction books! SORRY!!!

  • At 11/01/2007 02:51:00 PM, Blogger Christy

    I've gotten most of my theology from novels. I love Toni Morrison - pick anything, really - but particularly Sula, Love, and Paradise.

    Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros is good too. Shusaku Endo's Silence is brilliant. I like Frederick Buechner's fiction a lot. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok is particularly good if you grew up hard-core fundy. I like Dorothy Allison a lot, particularly Cavedweller.

    If you are feeling open-minded, Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible by Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet is a good read that grapples with religion.

  • At 11/02/2007 09:40:00 PM, Blogger Nancy

    Well I third the SMK books...she has a clear method to her writing and they will transport you.

    "Ahab's Wife: The Stargazer"...one of the only fiction books I have underlined parts of.

    Julie mentioned Stephen Lawhead..."Byzantium" was great and is part of a whole series of books that I highly recommend. Also he wrote "Patrick" about St. Patrick. I'd describe his books as fictionalized religious history and well worth the read. (ALL of them)

    Jim Harrison has written some great books with strong female characters, in particular "Dalva" and "The Road Home".

    I have always enjoyed Anne Rice...the Vampire Chronicles are an interesting reflection of her own spiritual journey. She has written some wonderful books that do not relate to vampires, especially, "Feast for All Saints" that are fantastic reads.

    Classics like "Pride and Prejudice" and "Wuthering Heights" stand up even though I have not read them in a looong time. Also, try F. Scott Fitzgerald for some good reading.

  • At 11/05/2007 03:11:00 PM, Blogger PrincessMax

    I definitely recommend "Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It's portrayal of the patriarchal expression of Christianity pushing out the more gender-balanced paganism of the British Isles is heart-breaking and thought-provoking. All of her independent (not Darkover) echo this theme buy Mists is absolutely worth the time it takes to learn the names of all the characters.

    Also, I add my vote to the Dorothy Sayers' novels and to Dune.


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