Books to read before you go to Heaven

Ok, instead of reading novels which are mostly time wasters, with no lasting value, I am seeking suggestions for fiction books, either classics or should-be classics, which are enjoyable to read, but also will have a lasting impact. They don't necessarily have to have religious themes, but should be healthy for my moral compass.

Any suggestions?

Just a few thoughts off the top of my head:

The Bible (of course) ;)

Summa of the Summa (if you don't want to undertake the original Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquainas)

Anything by G. K. Chesterton.

I'm a reader, too! Would love to see others' suggestions.

Mimi

[quote="Mimi, post:2, topic:242108"]
Just a few thoughts off the top of my head:

The Bible (of course) ;)

Summa of the Summa (if you don't want to undertake the original Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquainas)

Anything by G. K. Chesterton.

I'm a reader, too! Would love to see others' suggestions.

Mimi

[/quote]

Mimi, thanks. I like Chesterton, especially Orthodoxy. I am mainly looking for Fiction at this point, any suggestions there?

My son and I loved The Chronicles of Narnia -- and we still refer back to them when he has questions about the faith, or questions about other things going on in life. The stories just really touched his imagination and stayed with him in a powerful way!

And as an adult, I loved them!

The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Truly beautiful works, and also possibly the only fictional series I can read over and over again with the same amount of enjoyment.

Any of the fiction by either C. S. Lewis or Tolkien.
Lewis wrote the Narnia series, the Perelandra trilogy,
The Screwtape Letters, Pilgrim's Regress.

I recall a modern novel I read:
A Philadelphia Catholic in King James's Court, by Martin de Porres Kennedy.

Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan. Yes, it's anti-Catholic, but only a few sentences. The rest of the novel is quite Catholic.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I've read it dozens of times. Never cease to find something new.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. If you haven't read this and the prequel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, these books should be at the top of your bucket list.

The March family trilogy by Louisa May Alcott. * Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys.* If you are a man, you will probably have a hard time getting excited about these novels. Well, read them anyway. Plenty of us women had to suffer through The Red Badge of Courage or *Call of the Wild * in school. I hated both of those novels, but I appreciate their influence on American culture.

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe. This novel has immense historical significance. It shows us how powerful the written word can be--Ms. Stowe essentially roused the abolitionists and got things stirred up in the U.S. with her novel.

I think you need to be careful about condemning novels as time-wasters. There are many novels that fit your definition of "having a lasting impact," and these novels are not necessarily famous or have literary status.

Also, the "lasting impact" will vary depending on the person. E.g., I have a children's novel called Black and Blue Magic, which I've read and re-read hundreds of times. It's just a simple story that has never been promoted or famous or made into a movie, but it has impacted much of my life because of the plotline about a father who isn't there.

Another example of a novel with a huge impact (too huge--at one point in history, it was banned) is Bridge to Terabithia, a children's novel by Katherine Patterson. The ending is a shocker.

I have read all of the women's novels written by Victoria Holt (a pen name). Time wasters? I don't think so. These novels are about strong women who face and overcome obstacles. There is no sex in the novels, but lots of romance. I feel that these novels have impacted me to look for adventure and to live every day with grace. I also think that these novels have helped me to be more appreciative of my husband.

Finally, any novel that helps us to relax and gain a new perspective has merit and is worthwhile. A lot of people enjoy reading Grisham's novels (I don't) or Siddon's novels (I do), not because they are high literature, but because they are R and R, something that is hard to find cheap in this technological and fast-moving culture.

I'm an elementary school teacher, so this list may not be of interest to everyone...

I like to look over the books that have won Newberry Awards and spend time reading those. The Newberry Award is given each year to an outstanding children's novel. Some are for very young readers. Others are about complex issues that are not appropriate for, say, my seven-year-old son.

From the Newberry Award winners, here are a few I loved:

The Bridge to Terebithia (it's nothing at all like the movie!)

Number the Stars

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Jacob Have I Loved

Johnny Tremain (hands down, one of my favorite books!)

Gertie

I loved Black and Blue Magic! Do you remember the author's name?

I will never tire of recommending Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!

Marcus Grodi (Coming Home Network) wrote a novel titled How Firm a Foundation, which is loosely based on his conversion experience... good read!

Louis de Wohl has written numerous novelizations of the lives of the saints... start with The Spear.

[quote="bluerose, post:10, topic:242108"]
I will never tire of recommending Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!

Marcus Grodi (Coming Home Network) wrote a novel titled How Firm a Foundation, which is loosely based on his conversion experience... good read!

Louis de Wohl has written numerous novelizations of the lives of the saints... start with The Spear.

[/quote]

I LOVE A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!!!

The OP is a man, so I probably wouldn't have recommended it, but thanks for reminding me. It'll be a nice summer read.

To the OP: Thanks for starting this thread! I am loving expanding my summer reading list :thumbsup: Sometimes I just need a break from the "heavy" stuff like St. Teresa of Avila and St. Josemaria Escriva -- know what I mean?

Gertie

[quote="turtleoompa, post:9, topic:242108"]
I loved Black and Blue Magic! Do you remember the author's name?

[/quote]

Unfortunately, my copy has the cover off, and the title page (it's been abused through the decades!). Maybe we can Google.

I like books by Randy Alcorn and Robert Whitlow. They are written from a Protestant perspective, but they make me think about the unseen world of angels and the power of prayer. And, they are good reads with great characters. With Randy Alcorn, you will get some of the born again stuff, but it's not overdone. Robert Whitlow is a little more fundamentalist. Frank Peretti has some good reads that could qualify as Christian horror suspense. He also delves into the supernatural world around us.

Another Christian series I like that is a good read, but not as well written is by Terri Blackstock. I like her last light series. The other series I can't quite read, but I really enjoyed this one.

Ok, I just ordered 3 books:

Pilgrims Progress,
Mr. Blue
Diary of a Country Priest

A good one that I have read several times is Silence, by Endo. It is a very interesting book about the persecution of the Japanese church centuries ago.

I like Michael D. O'Brien's novels. Eclipse of the Sun is my favorite (though you have to read Strangers & Sojourners and The Plague Journal before that as they are part of a trilogy).

I’d recommend In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden, one of my favourite novels. It weaves together the stories of three women in a Benedictine abbey in the 1950s and 60s: the first a successful businesswoman who enters in her early forties; the second a young musician who struggles with her mother’s opposition; the third, a quiet and self-contained nun who suddenly finds herself abbess.

It was made into a film in the 1970s (starring Diana Rigg), which was appealing but didn’t have the same intricate layering of stories as the novel.

My recommendations...

The Divine Comedy by Dante (In my opinion the single greatest work of art ever accomplished. If you are new to it I suggest a copy of the original Italian coupled with Allen Mandelbaum's translation printed by the Everyman's Library publisher of which features Botticelli's Dante-inspired drawings. :))

*The Collected Poems, 1920-1954 *by Eugenio Montale. (The most important yet most neglected of all 20th Century poets.)

To The End of the Land by David Grossman. (A truly terrifying depiction of war, the shadow it casts and the families destroyed in its wake. I've only recently finished reading it, but I agree with the chorus of reviews claiming it to be Grossman's best.)

Anything written by Alice Munro. (The most inspiring short story writer I have ever read. I recommend Open Secrets as a starting point; it features the terrifying 'Vandals', arguably Munro's best story.)

The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. (Of course. The Idiot isn't bad either. :p)

Anything Martin Kemp has written about Leonardo da Vinci.

Hope Against Hope *and *Hope Abandoned by Nadezhda Mandelstam. (My desert island books. Nadezhda's husband, Osip, was one of Russia's greatest poets. After writing an anti-Stalin poem he was put under exile and eventual death. In these two works, Nadezhda writes about him, her country and poetry, offering an unparalleled account of the hideousness of fascism. Tragedy does indeed hang over every single page, yet the eventual outcomes are hope and the solace found in the infinite impact of love.)

Oh, and read anything by Martin Amis in order to realize how bad literature can be. :p

Sorry if this reply was too lengthy! I'm new to this forum and perhaps I have not adorned to its etiquette :o

I would 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th A tree grows in Brooklyn!

Also, the Good Earth by Pearl Buck

there are more-will post again :)

My former spiritual director said there is not enough time to read good books, only enough time to read great books: books by or about a Saint…

that being said, I like Mere Christianity
The Brothers Karamazov
Don Quixote
etc…
Architects of the Culture of Death

The Hobbit
The Lord of The Rings
Walt Disney: Triumph of the American Imagination
The Reagan Diaries
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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