Most thought-provoking books you ever read besides the Bible?

What’s the most thought-provoking book you’ve ever read, besides the Bible?
I think the following ones are good:
Flowers for Algernon
Fahrenheit 451
any C.S. Lewis book

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
Friedrich Nietzsche, Also Sprach Zarathustra
Johann von Goethe, Faust
Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones (and everything else)
Franz Kafka, everything
Gene Wolfe, Book of the New Sun (aaaaand everything else)
Bocaccio, Decameron
William Gibson, Neuromancer (set the stage both for modern science fiction and a lot of real-world stuff… and he’d never used a computer until after he wrote it!)
Hermann Hesse, Siddartha
Peter Vos, De 100 Reigers (crazy Dutch art-book with lots of herons… no, I don’t speak or read Dutch, and good luck finding this; I got it for a few bucks at an antique store and have never seen another copy. It’s not, perhaps, as ‘thought-provoking’ itself as some of the others, but in its own visionary way it meets the standard)
Ted Chiang, Tower of Babel (and yeah, everything else… like Borges and most Kafka, it’s all short)
Luigi Serafini, Codex Seraphinianus
unknown, the Voynich Manuscript (look these two up, they’re weird, and as yet totally indecipherable)

I guess that’s enough for now… there’re more, but I can’t think of them, and I’ve already stolen a good part of Nepenthe’s list :stuck_out_tongue:

In no particular order:


Donne, John, “Holy Sonnets”, especially.
Shakespeare (plays and sonnets)
The Triads, selections, St. Gregory Palamas.
Philokalia (have only read sections of it so far though)
Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Knight’s Tale” and other tales.
The Epic of Gilgamesh.
The Inferno (first book of Divine Comedy), Dante
O’Connor, Flannery, short stories
Luther, Martin, selected works.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater, de Quincey, select chapters.
Gogol, Nikolai, short stories
The Song of Roland
Twain, Mark. Life on the MS. Roughin’ It, et al.

Just Non-fiction:

Alexander of Macedon, Brian Greene (I think)
Chalcedon Re-Visited, V.C. Samuel
Tortured for Christ
The Histories, Herodotus
The Athenian Expedition, Thucydides
Father Arseny: Prisoner, Priest and Spiritual Father.
Father Arseny: Cloud of Witnesses.

I’m sure there are others, but I’m downstairs and too lazy to walk upstairs and look in my room. :o

Originally Posted by Mirdath:
the Voynich Manuscript (look these two up, they’re weird, and as yet totally indecipherable)

Thanks for reminding me of the Voynich Manuscript. I nearly had forgotten all about it. :slight_smile:

Let’s see,

Peter Kreeft’s Everything you ever wanted to know about Heaven…all of his books really.

The Neverending Story

Moby ****

Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom

GK Chesteron’s Orthdoxoy, and pretty much everything else by him

Dune 1 2 and 3

Deman and Steppenwolf and Siddharta by Hesse

Beyond Good and Evil, Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche

All the things I have read about Jim Morrison’s life and his own poetry and lyrics…Nobody Gets Here Out Alive and Break on Through Bios…

All of Anne Rice’s books have made me think, particularly about beauty, character, family and detachment.

Probably what started me on the search for spirituality when I was really young was Christopher Pike’s books. His spirituality is hinduistic…but it did start me thinking and searching, at least at a really conscious level.

Anyway, that’s a few. :slight_smile:

LOL the censor thing wouldn’t let me print the full title of Moby ****. That starts with a D and ends with a K there. LOL

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig.

It won the Caldecott Medal back the 1970s.

On the surface, this is a book about a foolish donkey who misuses a magic pebble. But the story has many layers, and it’s obvious why it won the Caldecott Medal.

This book made me think hard about what really happens to kids who “disappear,” and also to kids and adults who are autistic or “locked-in.”

It’s also very thought-provoking for people who are in a place in life where they would rather not be (terminally ill, poor, abused, etc.).

It is a very hope-filled story.

It’s also a great “sanctity of life” book.

Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis
Confessions, St Augustine
Paradise Lost, John Milton
Inferno, Dante

and I agree wth those who said:
Farenheit 451 and Neuromancer

Imitation of Christ


started re-reading Dostoyevsky this summer, now there is a Christian writer.

Bingo :thumbsup:

*]Richard Wurmbrand - The Answer to Moscow’s Bible
*]do. - In God’s Underground
*]The Divine Comedy (in the translation by Dorothy Sayers & Barbara Reynolds)
*]Albert Schweitzer - The Quest for the Historical Jesus
*]Fionn mac Colla - At the Sign of the Clenched Fist
*]William James - The Varieties of Religious Experience
*]Ralph Venning - The Sinfulness of Sin
*]Thomas Brookes - Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices [a sort of Puritan precursor to “The Screwtape Letters”]
*]Leopold Schwarzchild - The Red Prussian [a biography of Karl Marx]
*]L. Ott - Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma
*]Rosalind Murray - The Good Pagan’s Failure
*]M.V. Hay - A Chain of Error in Scottish History
*]C. S. Lewis - The Narnia Chronicles
*]do. - Till We Have Faces
*]do. - The Pilgrim’s Regress; & just about anything else by him
*]The Lord of the Rings
*]The Silmarillion
*]R. A. Knox - Enthusiasm
*]do. - On Englishing the Bible
*]James Barr - Fundamentalism
*]The Lives of St. Philip Neri by Louis Bouyer & Meriol Trevor :)[/LIST]

The Complete Collected Short Stories of H.P. Lovecraft, by H.P. Lovecraft.

The most thought-provoking book I’ve read was Natural Right and History by Leo Strauss. I first read this as a sophomore in college and it showed me that philosophy was possible in an age of historicism and relativism. It showed be that the Ancient thinkers were not obsolete curiosities refuted by modern thought. It can be a bit technical. If that is the case, try Political Philosophy ed by Hilail Gildin which is a collection of some of the key writings by Strauss. By the way, ignore the nonsense that his students became the dreaded neo-cons because of his “hidden teachings.” It just isn’t so.

Mog and the Christmas Tree by Judith Kerr

I was a poli sci major and I had to read that book and Henry Jaffa and others. It was difficult. But my prof was awesome a Mormon with catholic sympathies. He assigned Aquinas as one of required readings. He saw Natural Law as a valid secular argument.

I just saw a post about the manuscript today so searched to see if it is being talked about in these forums.

besides the Bible…

*]The Unsettling Of America: Culture & Agriculture (1977) - Wendell Berry
*]Johnny Got His Gun (1938) - Dalton Trumbo
*]Brave New World (1931) - Aldous Huxley
*]Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854) - Henry D Thoreau
*]Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism (1939) - Bill W.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit