Two things, possibly more, are wrong with the world.
- The great majority of all the stories I enjoy—by word or picture—reflect our society’s mushiness about life, death, eternity, hope.
- Most of the stuff I see coming from a Christian perspective is a little too nailed down, a little too pre-packed, a little too buffed with certainty.
Enter Jesus, who told open-ended stories about massive themes (forgiveness, prayer, the overturning of injustice) and then walked off, leaving people free to explore further, talk amongst themselves, or go home.
I think we need a bit of that.
The books I love the most are:
- Driven by plot, character, wit and ideas.
- Hopeful and fun rather than depressed, nihilistic, pretentious, violent or pornographic.
- Usually about big issues, even if they anesthetize them with comedy.
Underlying it all is this idea:
Novels say something. They’re about something big. Beyond the fun is a passion to take part in a project:
- Re-imagining the Christian faith in the cultural languages of the 21st century
- And so helping to shape these same cultural languages.
Here’s a list I’m building of 99 books not to miss.
Between 2009 and 2013 I had a strange period in my life when I nearly died three times, in three separate ways. I had my heart re-started numerous time. I spent two weeks in a coma and two more weeks hallucinating my way out of it. At least once the doctors told my wife to prepare for the worst. I saw the critical or intensive care wards in three different hospitals.
Each crisis was followed by a lengthy convalescence, plenty of time to think.
At the end of the third and worst illness I started a project while on holiday which somehow grew into the non-fiction title More than Bananas. I wanted to try to say something about how faith can sustain you through difficult times. The only way I can do that helpfully is to say how such faith as I have sustained me. More than bananas was possibly the most fun I ever had writing a book. It’s only little (100 pages), light, and if the initial feedback is to be believed, is being well received. It’s for sale on the internet bookshops, orderable from bricks-and-mortar outlets and buyable in bulk from this very site.