Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Search for meaning in literature (1 Viewer)

Cipher2

Senior Member
What novels would you reccommend that have a strong theme of searching for meaning in spiritual values. Not neccessarily with religious themes, but books with some spiritual worth or that reveal human nature?
 
Hi Cipher!

Have you read "The Secret Life of Bees"? That has some wonderful, spiritual elements within it.

The Alchemist is another that comes to mind. I just read it and loved it.

A couple classics - simple reads, alleghorical, really - are "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" and "The Little Prince".

Enjoy!

With Passionate Gratitude,

Julie Jordan Scott
 

Cipher2

Senior Member
Thanks for the suggestions. I feel like I should have suggested something myself but for some reason I find it hard to bring anything to mind.

I can think of many novels with insights into human nature but none with the protagonist seeking meaning. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough! I've not read any of the suggestions but will have a look, thanks.
 
J

JLimer

Personally, while most may disagree with this novel being referred to as spiritual, I'd say "Atlas Shrugged." Though, admittedly it should be apparent from my sig that I really love that book.

Jon
 

evadri

Senior Member
For that criteria, you MUST read 'Of Human Bondage' by Somerset Maugham. It's a strange, big book, semi autobiographical. It's considered a classic, and I often have trouble with 'classics' but I picked this up and just read it non stop unitl I'd finished it and I was devastated when I did finish, because I thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted it to continue. I literally could not put it down. If you want something about searching and every state of human life there is, this is the one for you.
 

americanwriter

Senior Member
Well, I just finished reviewing a biography of William Faulkner. His books pretty much focused on the darker side of life, but with an underlying search for answers about human nature. They're fiction.

If you're just looking for a general, nonfiction "searching to know one's self for better understanding," kind of read, you might look at Jon Katz's "Running to the Mountain." It's great. On a deeper intellectual note, though they have somewhat of a religious theme, largely catholocism, but not only that, you could try The Ascent to Truth by Thomas Merton (or any of his books); I'm not sure that Montaigne would be what you're seeking, but his work is definitely fascinating and he was a mover and shaker in the humanist movement.

The essential one for spiritual truths via an academic type of objectivity and research, but still personable, though would be C.S. Lewis. You can find a lot of his essays online if you search. I had his book Mere Christianity (I think is the title) but I gave it away.

These books, though, are not "fast reads." They're quite a challenge and you'll want to take them on a section at a time. Save for Katz's book. It's more modern and it reads easier. It doesn't profess to spirituality just a man seeking to understand something.
 

Cipher2

Senior Member
americanwriter, thank you for your suggestions. I don't know why I hadn't thought of CS Lewis. I'm not bothered about having to take some time to read as I don't usually read for excitement or suspense anyway. This thread is an interesting resource to me as people have come up with books I could never have thought of.

Someone who might be interesting is Hubert Selby JR who wrote Requiem for A dream. Although, in an interview on the DVD film adaptation, he says that he focusses on the dark side of life. Certainly, this was shown in the film to repugnant extent and I might pass on his books if they are as bad. I would be interested to hear anyone's opinion of him if they have read any.
 

americanwriter

Senior Member
Well, then you probably want to pass on Faulkner, because he too deals with the seedier side of humanity.

I like reading Twain's nonfiction and some of his fiction as well. He was a man who spent much time in pondering life, humanity, etc. He has a sarcastic wit (something we Missourians are prone to) but underlying all of it is a sincere faith that was at times challenged. Thankfully, he put those struggles to paper. Other writers of his time period and those writing during the Great Awakening in America would also be works to look for, though that will require some time doing research.
 

Cipher2

Senior Member
I've not read anything from that period; nearly all from the 1900s but Twain is definately worth a look and qualifies in this context. As for the others, as you say it will take some research.
 
Top