The 30 Most Important Books I’ve Ever Read (2): Fiction
By “most important” I simply mean the books that I have enjoyed the most. These are the books that reward endless re-reading. Here we go:
16. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – voted the book of the 20th century by 4 separate polls, the most epic example of modern myth-making. Filled with holiness. Can’t say enough about it. The movies don’t do it justice.
17. Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky – Dostoevsky paints the most beautiful and haunting characters I’ve ever encountered.
18. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky – see above.
19. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis – my current favorite book by Lewis, his story of a field trip from hell to heaven.
20. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – by far my favorite books growing up. I have read each of the seven books at least 20-30 times. Somehow Lewis makes you feel towards Aslan what you feel towards Christ.
21. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – just read this series last summer. Could not put it down. Wonderful storytelling. (I know it’s cheating to put the whole Narnia and HP series here, but it’s my list.)
22. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis - Classic retelling of the Cupid/Psyche myth, Lewis’ best answer to the problem of God’s apparent absence in the world.
23. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Best inter-character dialogue in print. Don’t you wish every conversation was this witty?
24. Hard Times by Charles Dickens – my favorite book by Dickens, an expose of what happens when we begin to worship efficiency.
25. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas – Story of revenge and redemption, of learning to wait and hope.
26. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – I love the book, the musical, and the movie because all of them absolutely drip with grace.
27. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan – I first read this as a child and didn’t catch the allegorical significance, even though the main character was named Christian.
28. Paradise Lost by John Milton – Brilliant re-telling of the Genesis story. Could talk about this one for awhile too.
29. The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton – the kind of mystery that only Chesterton could have written. The last 30 pages are astounding.
30. A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor – shocking, Christ-haunted stories with endings that hit you like a train.