Advanced search

vaguely religious

(40 Posts)
DoctorGilbertson Mon 16-Dec-13 20:57:34


I like fiction with religious settings or references - not books about religion just religious contexts. (like Chaim Potok or Patrick Gale)

Any thoughts?


OP’s posts: |
Hassled Mon 16-Dec-13 20:59:21

Brideshead Revisited? There's religion all the way through that - the "twitch upon the thread" that pulls key characters back to their faith.

MamaMary Mon 16-Dec-13 20:59:21

Can I ask why? <curious>

Have you read Marilynne Robinson? Housekeeping, Gilead and Home.

DoctorGilbertson Mon 16-Dec-13 21:16:42

Ah now, I have Gilead as a gift from my sister sitting unread in a pile of books so I probably should dig it out.

Why? Well, I'm not very good at getting going with books - I mostly read stuff like David Baldacci, John Grisham, Katie Fforde, but kind of want to read stuff that is a bit more substantial.

But - I'm not very good at getting going with books so I thought a bit about what I have read and religion is a theme in the more substantial stuff that I have stuck with (teen fiction is another I re-read Diana Wynne Jones, KM Peyton, Cynthia Voigt over and over) so I kind of wondered if there were recommendations of books that I might have a chance at sticking with

Re: Brideshead revisited - interesting - I very seldom stick with "classics" so don't often investigate but I might try it

OP’s posts: |
Takver Mon 16-Dec-13 21:18:43

Have you read the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - seems to be enjoyed by a very wide range of people

DoctorGilbertson Mon 16-Dec-13 21:20:30

Ah yes, have read and enjoyed - should have thought of it as an example ...

OP’s posts: |
Shakey1500 Mon 16-Dec-13 21:21:32

Patrick Tilley- Mission

highlandcoo Mon 16-Dec-13 21:22:49

You could look at the Starbridge series by Susan Howatch - novels which trace the development of the Church of England in the 20th century.

Also, the first Shardlake book by C J Sansom, Dissolution, is set in a monastery in Henry VIII's time.

And Karen Maitland writes medieval thrillers with strong religious content.

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Mon 16-Dec-13 21:25:47

Don't do yourself down for reading Grisham, Baldacci etc. just because none of it is Booker prize winning material. Reading should be for pleasure, not a chore. That said there is nothing wrong with reading to develop yourself either if that's what you want to do. smile

marceline Mon 16-Dec-13 21:28:20

Stephen Lawhead - Song of Albion, the Pendragon series, and more. He is one of my favourite writers. He writes beautiful Celtic historic fantasy - there is a Celtic/Christian theme running through his books, they are utterly gripping and masterfully written.

ancientbuchanan Mon 16-Dec-13 21:29:46

The Father Brown stories? The innocence if Father Brown. Being a priest is important but not critical to the resolution of the stories.

Shallishanti Mon 16-Dec-13 21:31:10

We had Gilead in our book group, it was brilliant, very moving and a real insight into what it means to have a deep faith (irreligious person here)

joanofarchitrave Mon 16-Dec-13 21:32:04

Rumer Godden? Black Narcissus?

How do you do with George Eliot?

DoctorTwoTurtleDoves Mon 16-Dec-13 21:33:49

Try the Charlie Parker series of books by John Connolly. There's bags of religious symbolism in there along with action and terrific writing that even an atheist like me can love.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Mon 16-Dec-13 21:35:22

King's, 'The Stand' isn't religion as such but it is good v evil, with characters representing angel and devil figures (have put that v simplistically, so as not to spoil etc).

Philip Pullman's Dark Materials series.

Liz Jensen's, The Rapture (but it is a bit daft at times)

Douglas Coupland's, 'Life After God'

DoctorGilbertson Mon 16-Dec-13 21:36:58

Oooh thanks for all the replies, and Patrick Tilley Mission I have never come across before so brilliant, thanks.

Susan Howatch - yes I think that I have read all of them - I only own a couple so have read these more often than the others, but unless there are much more recent ones I think that I have read them all.

CJ Sansom - I read Winter in Madrid and it was so sad - I'm not very good at reading stuff when people are unredeemed.

Grisham, Baldacci - no, I very much enjoy (and the library had a new Baldacci book which I would have borrowed today if their computer system hadn't gone down grr, I also have a Theodore Booone book on request which is taking far too long to arrive ...)

Karen Maitland/CJ Sansom historical religion - probably the same problem as Brideshead revisited _ I'm not very good at getting going with historical stuff. I did read the Name of the Rose, but it is not something that I have ever reread.

OP’s posts: |
DoctorGilbertson Mon 16-Dec-13 21:53:11

Thanks again. Stephen Lawhead. Mmm, yes, possible, will investigate
Father Brown - have read a book of short stories, not sure I would look to read more. Maybe
Rumer Godden, how interesting - my sister read Greengage summer, but I never did. Will investigate
George Eliot, probably not.
Stephen King - I read a couple, possible.
Philip Pullman - yes - read and enjoyed the Dark Materials but haven't got on with any of his other stuff
Douglas Coupland - irrationally think I may not get on with, but life after God does look interesting
John Connolly - yes, looks good - will investigate, thanks.
Liz Jensen's, The Rapture - also looks good.

Thanks everyone - some great suggestions. Will get on with ordering from the library!

OP’s posts: |
Shakey1500 Mon 16-Dec-13 21:58:10

I'd be interested to know what you think of Mission smile

It blew me away to be honest (especially the end). The middle was a bit of a trawl but it's not a heavy tome by any stretch, so doable with perseverance. I don't know of many people that have read it, though I hear it's become (ing) a bit of a cult read.

<hangs on to copy in the hope it'll be worth squillions>

DuchessofMalfi Tue 17-Dec-13 08:01:24

A little bit more than vaguely religious - The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin - a very short novel, can be read in a couple of hours, or The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman. I've read both, and liked them.

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 18-Dec-13 16:26:49

Quarantine by Jim Crace which is sort of about Jesus and the 40 days in the desert.

The 19th Wife - which is very interesting on the Mormons.

Flight Behaviour, which isn't actually about religion as such but there is an interesting interplay with the local church throughout it.

Gilead and Home are just wonderful, as is Poisonwood Bible.

lucysnowe Fri 17-Jan-14 13:16:20

A lot of Connie Willis' books are vaguely religious.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Fri 17-Jan-14 17:36:06

Iris Murdoch's The Bell is set in a religious community. Some others of hers might also be relevant - I'll have a think.

Antonia Fraser's Frost in May?

I've got The Poisonwood Bible in my heap of books to be read. Glad to hear others have enjoyed it.

SarahAndFuckTheResolutions Sun 19-Jan-14 13:42:14

The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follett. The first one is about a group of people who want to build a cathedral (and another group who want to stop them) and the second is a follow on of sorts but tells the story of the first books ancestors a couple of hundred years later.

They do cover some big historical events as well though, but they aren't really hard work to read even though they are big books.

The Red Tent by Anita Diament is inspired by Dinah, briefly mentioned in the bible (genesis?), who is the daughter of Jacob. It's a look at the lives of the women of the time and I was asked to read it by my book club. I was dreading it but it turned out to be quite good.

Solaia Sun 19-Jan-14 13:53:12

I was going to recommend The Red Tent by Anita Diamant but Sarah has beaten me to it. I really enjoyed it.

MrsAMerrick Sun 19-Jan-14 14:43:10

knowledge of angels by Jill Paton Walsh is brilliant. I loved Gilead and raved about it to loads of people, most of whom hated it!

I really enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible . Hated The Red Tent. I've just read The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin which was good.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in