Fictional Works that Every Christian Should Read
Many serious Christians, while understanding the value of reading non-fiction, history, and even biographies, dismiss fiction as a waste of time or strictly for those who are less serious-minded. But there are a lot of fictional works, particularly classic literature from previous centuries, that are worth the time and effort to read.
Collin Hansen with The Gospel Coalition had this to say about reading classic fiction:
Every year I read That Hideous Strength.Why? C. S. Lewis warns me that no “inner ring” is worth my soul. Jane Eyre teaches me that duty is the best and surest path to a grand passion. Wuthering Heights reminds me that love can be corrupted and do great evil. The Lord of the Rings gives me hope that small people can do great things for the Good. Pilgrim’s Progress points me to spiritual adventures and reminds me that the world is not my home. Finally, Crime and Punishment gives me hope that some pain is redemptive and that God will make sure that treatment is available…
Such reading sanctifies my imagination and nourishes my love for beauty. It also helps me to be more effective in my teaching, preaching, and exercising spiritual leadership. At the most practical level, reading great writers gives me a better feel for the rhythms of written and spoken English. More importantly, it gives me insight into the human condition, including my own soul.
With that in mind, I commend the following works of fiction to every Christian.
Note: This list is a “work in progress.” Watch for new titles to be added in the future!
Titles are listed in chronological order.
1320 The Inferno by Dante Alighieri; for more ambitious readers, continue with
1516 Utopia by Sir Thomas More
1612 Plays by William Shakespeare; Consider: Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, or The Merchant of Venice
1668 Paradise Lost by John Milton
1678 Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
1719 Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe
1847 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
1850 The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
1852 Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
1859 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
1866 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
1880 “The Grand Inquisitor” from The Brothers Karamazov (Bk V, Ch. 5) by Fyodor Dostoevsky
1880 Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ by Lew Wallace
1884 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
1942 The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
1942 The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
1945 Animal Farm by George Orwell
1950 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia) by CS Lewis
1953 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
1954 The Fellowship of the Ring (LOTR, #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien
1955 Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
1955 A Good Man is Hard to Find and other stories by Flannery O’Connor
1960 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2001 Safely Home by Randy Alcorn
2005 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
- C.S. Lewis on why you should read fiction (www.thegospelcoalition.org)