It's getting towards that time of year where we pile up our holiday reading lists. From classic novels to popular theology, there are always famous and popular books that we feel like we 'should' have read. Often, of course, those large-welling books are great and well worth reading.
What about some more neglected volumes, though? There are popular and influential authors who have great work which has been somewhat overlooked. Here we list some of the options you could add to the reading list this summer.
Lewis' popular apologetic books are almost as well known as the Narnia series. A perennial favourite with children and adults, the Christian convert's Narnia books weren't his first foray into fiction, though. Less well read, but no less intriguing, are his space trilogy. The final book That Hideous Strength is probably the best-known. Owing much to his friend JRR Tolkein, these books are less obviously Christian allegory, but contain exploration of moral themes throughout.
Yancey is most well-known for his contemporary classic What's So Amazing About Grace. But he has been writing on various Christian themes for his whole career with similarly simple yet profound results. The follow ups to his 1997 best-seller are well worth digging into, especially The Bible Jesus Read and A Skeptic's Guide to Faith.
Dorothy L Sayers
A prolific writer of novels in the 1920s and 30s Sayers' most popular books were detective stories. She decided to abandon these works and concentrate on non-fiction books about Christian theology. Creed Or Chaos? is an examination of basic Christian beliefs which came at a time when more academics were professing atheism. It is a useful summary of what Christians believe and why.
Martin Luther King
Primarily known for his activism and speaking, Dr King also wrote several books – sometimes recollections of his civil rights capaigns and sometimes colletions of his speeches and sermons. His most famous writing is probably the Letter From Birmingham Jail. A book which gathers many of his sermons on the civil rights struggle is Strength To Love, which features the theme of Christian love and solidarity across racial and class boundaries.
Warren, the pastor of Saddleback mega church is best known for his hugely popular Purpose Driven Life. Read not only by Christians but also secular leaders, it has become a modern classic. But Warren has written other books too. Sidestepping his Biblical diet book (The Daniel Plan) you can find much wisdom in Answers To Life's Difficult Questions. Written by a man who has known tragedy and pastored others through tricky times, it's a reassuring book.
Tragically, O'Connor died at only 39. Her work has been appreciated both by her fellow Catholics and other Christians as well as secular fans of the Southern Gothic style. While her short story collections are well known, her second novel The Violent Bear It Away is less widely read. Its title taken from Matthew's Gospel, the book deals with difficult themes but is shot through with profound Christian imagery.