Thursday, January 05, 2006

Essential novels for theologians

Ben Myers posted this awhile ago but for some reason it just now came up on my news reader. Since I really liked this post I thought I would make my own list, strictly from books that I have read.

1. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

2. Sea Wolf - Jack London

3. Watership Down - Richard Adams

4. The Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

5. Cats Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut

6. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupery

7. Barabbas - Par Lagerkvist

8. Old Goriot - Balzac

9. The Sybil - Par Lagerkvist

10. Martin Eden - Jack London (especially for those who have not published but would love to)

11. The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov

12. The Life of Pi - Yann Martel

I should have added something by Graham Greene, or Robertson Davies, but I couldn't choose. And to be fair I am only half way through The Life of Pi but it so fascinating that I thought it warranted a spot, so perhaps it made the list by way of freshness. My list is very different than the one Ben posted, that may be a testament to the theologians we are? What would you add or subtract from this list?

UPDATE: Ben's post was a new post yet my news reader dated it 12-12-05.


J. B. Hood said...

Great blog, great title (I just learned about metalepsis from some reading for my dissertation).

I'd want to add that this lists of such books should generally be culturally specific. I'm in the Deep South, and I think Walker Percy, Flannery O'Connor, Harper Lee might need to be up there somewhere. (Percy and FO'C could apply universally, IMO.) Dostoevsky should contribute something. In certain traditionalist/imperial settings, something like All Quiet on the Western Front might be appropriate.

metalepsis said...

Thanks J.B. for the kind words, and thanks for commenting. Are you any relation to the Civil War General John B. Hood? What is the subject of your dissertation?

The list is certainly limited to the books in which I have read, which is no small limitation, mind you! I think I would add Harper Lee now that you mention it. I almost certainly would add O’Connor too, except that I have yet to read her (shame I know). Perhaps I would add Three Penny Opera, by Brecht. I don’t like either Dostoevsky or Hemmingway that is why they did not make my list.


Ben Myers said...

I like your list, Bryan. I'm glad Harper Lee has finally been mentioned -- I was surprised that no one mentioned her sooner.

J. B. Hood said...

The dissertation is on Matt's genealogy, esp. the annotations and structure as they shed light on the "theodrama" that is Matthew's Scriptures.

I'm still churning through the methodological issues involved, but one might be able to argue that the annotations/structure are metalepses for the reading/hearing community. That's one possible piece of the puzzle.

I'm pretty sure I'm not related to John Bell Hood, but there's no telling. I live in the South, so I get that question (from white people) a lot.

Matt Waymeyer said...

East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
The Promise (Chaim Potok)

metalepsis said...

Thanks Matt, I have been meaning to read some Potok.