Literary Evangelism

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This is one of my favorite quotes about literature. It’s an odd quote at one level because that’s how I feel about TFIOS. As far as I’m concerned, y’all need to go out and read The Fault in Our Stars like yesterday and the only way that we’re ever going to make the world a better place is if y’all do that. I love that book so, so, so much.

But that quotation doesn’t just apply to TFIOS for me. It applies to several books (Brideshead Revisited, The Ordinary Princess, Emma, and The Brothers Karamazov to name a few.) I just finished reading two books over the past few days that left me with that feeling.

In the past two days, I finished reading In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex and Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Each of these books is a skillfully worked piece of nonfiction. (Sidenote: Don’t tell my high school self this, but I really like reading nonfiction now. It especially helps me when I can picture one of the main characters looking just like Chris Hemsworth.) Each of these books left me longing for me. I enjoyed the books and felt that they were well-written, and they left me wanting to read more books like them. They left me wanting to read more books and experience more intellectual, emotional, and psychological fulfillment.

And that’s what I want from the books I read. I want to read books that fulfill me, that show me more of the world, and that feed my soul. I want compelling stories. I want to be nourished and motivated by the literature I read. The books that I’ve referenced in this post do that for me. And they are books that I believe that everyone should read.

What books do that for you? What books do you think that I need to read?

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