The best books about clerics

Who picked these books? Meet our 50 experts.

50 authors created a book list connected to clerics, and here are their favorite cleric books.
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What type of cleric book?


Book cover of Death Comes for the Archbishop

Ernest Hebert Author Of Whirlybird Island

From the list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers.

Who am I?

For me, writing novels is an attempt in metaphor to clear the ledger of unfinished business in my crazy, contradictory, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always messy mind. All the books I've written have long and often intensely personal backstories. All of us live two lives, a life in the world of things, relationships, and time (needs), and a life in the world we create in our minds (wants). When needs and wants come into conflict we have the elements that make a novel. I see my job as a novelist to provide an exciting story and plot that carries a reader through the material world.

Ernest's book list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers

Discover why each book is one of Ernest's favorite books.

Why did Ernest love this book?

I read Death Comes for the Archbishop when I was fifteen. It was my first encounter with literary prose that was not assigned by a teacher, and it changed my life for the better by giving me a better understanding of myself and the human drama. I thought at the time: This is the best book I ever read. I re-read the novel in 2017 and thought: This is the best book I ever read. There’s no sex in it, but it’s a love story between two men. Cather’s novel has guided my work as a writer for more than sixty-five years.

By Willa Cather,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Death Comes for the Archbishop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of the most highly acclaimed novelists of the twentieth century—"a truly remarkable book" (The New York Times),an epic—almost mythic—story of a single human life lived simply in the silence of the southwestern desert.

In 1851 Father Jean Marie Latour comes to serve as the Apostolic Vicar to New Mexico. What he finds is a vast territory of red hills and tortuous arroyos, American by law but Mexican and Indian in custom and belief. In the almost forty years that follow, Latour spreads his faith in the only way he knows—gently, all the while contending with an unforgiving landscape,…

Murder on Black Swan Lane

By Andrea Penrose,

Book cover of Murder on Black Swan Lane

Amy M. Reade Author Of Cape Menace: A Cape May Historical Mystery

From the list on mysteries that make you wish you had a time machine.

Who am I?

I’ve been a lover of historical mysteries ever since I realized it’s possible to read mystery fiction and learn history at the same time. Every time I pick up a mystery set in the past, whether it’s the ancient past, the more recent past, or somewhere in between, I know I’m going to be intrigued and challenged by a great story and come away with a greater understanding of the people, culture, customs, and events of that time period. It’s a win-win. I write historical mysteries because I want to share with readers what I’ve learned about a particular time or place in a way that’s compelling and engaging. 

Amy's book list on mysteries that make you wish you had a time machine

Discover why each book is one of Amy's favorite books.

Why did Amy love this book?

This first-in-series book is set in Regency London, a place I would love to see via time machine (but only to visit—not to live there—because I like my creature comforts way too much).  

The two main characters, Charlotte Sloane and the Earl of Wrexford, are from different sides of the tracks, so to speak, but there is some evidence that Charlotte may have experienced affluence at one time. Charlotte and Wrexford team up to solve a murder for which Wrexford stands accused. Their witty dialogue, disparate strengths, and willingness to overlook the other’s shortcomings make this a great read. 

And the cover is gorgeous, isn’t it? 

By Andrea Penrose,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Murder on Black Swan Lane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Regency London, an unconventional scientist and a fearless female artist form an unlikely alliance to expose a cold-hearted killer . . .
The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behavior. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back. As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself…

The Small House at Allington

By Anthony Trollope,

Book cover of The Small House at Allington

Alice McVeigh Author Of Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation

From the list on for readers who like a varied book diet.

Who am I?

I’ve been “big-five-published” in contemporary fiction, Indie-published in speculative thrillers and I – only last year – rejected several publishers in favour of self-publishing books Jane Austen herself might have loved. A Jane Austen fanatic from an early age, I know most of the novels by heart, and appear to have succeeded (to some extent) in understanding her style. My Susan – a unique imagining of Austen’s Lady Susan as a young girl – is both award-winning and bestselling and my Harriet – an imaginative “take” on Austen’s Emma, has just been selected as "Editor's Pick - outstanding" on Publishers Weekly.   

Alice's book list on for readers who like a varied book diet

Discover why each book is one of Alice's favorite books.

Why did Alice love this book?

The delight of this book is in the characters of the two sisters, and the character development/coming-of-age arc of the hero.

We have two sisters in a little village (living in the Small House at Allington). They are very different, but both delightful - one sought by a cousin she can't care for, the other jilted by a casual gallant.

As I've written elsewhere, the plot is Austenesque and the writing not far inferior - the dialogue instantly transports one to the period, to the village, and every character is cleverly drawn. It was first published in serial form, so there are no boring bits. There's a satirical portrait of high society, too, and the men are much better-developed than is generally the case in the period. There's a HEA, but not necessarily the one expected!! Highly recommended!

By Anthony Trollope,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Small House at Allington as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'She had resolved to trust in everything, and, having so trusted, she would not provide for herself any possibility of retreat.'

Lively and attractive, Lily Dale lives with her mother and sister at the Small House at Allington. She falls passionately in love with the urbane Adolphus Crosbie, and is devastated when he abandons her for the aristocratic Lady Alexandrina de Courcy. But Lily has another suitor, Johnny Eames, who has been devoted to her since boyhood. Perhaps she can find renewed happiness in Johnny's courtship?

The Small House at Allington was among the most successful of Trollope's Barsetshire novels,…

Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes

By Thomas P. Doyle, A.W. Richard Sipe, Patrick J. Wall

Book cover of Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse

Barbara Hand Clow Author Of Revelations of the Ruby Crystal

From the list on finding your soul and discovering ancient knowledge.

Who am I?

I completed a Masters in Theology where I studied early Church theology (Patristics) and Jungian analysis. Next, I wanted to pursue a PhD in Patristics to discover how and why the Catholic Church had banished true spirituality for stifling dogma and randy sexual abuse, but I was the mother of four children and had to go to work. I became an acquisitions editor for a Catholic publishing house, which enabled me to continue my research on the building deviation from real spirit in Catholicism. I wrote the Revelations Trilogy instead of doing a thesis in graduate school. This trilogy is very hot and controversial because nobody could control me.

Barbara's book list on finding your soul and discovering ancient knowledge

Discover why each book is one of Barbara's favorite books.

Why did Barbara love this book?

The main author of this book, Father Thomas Doyle, served at the Vatican Embassy in the 1980s and became an expert in the canonical and pastoral dimensions of priestly sexual abuse.

He has worked with the victims and their families, the abuser priests, the bishops, and superiors, and has developed policies for dealing with cases of sexual abuse by the clergy.

His advocacy work for the victims has resulted in large settlements for many of them, and his exposure of this ugly problem has caused huge financial and psychological stress for the Catholic Church worldwide.

At this point, most people in the world realize priestly sexual abuse is a critical threat to the integrity of Catholicism, and this book is the best source on this deep-seated problem.

This deep book reveals the Church has grappled with this devastating internal problem from its earliest years.

By Thomas P. Doyle, A.W. Richard Sipe, Patrick J. Wall

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by Catholic clergy burst onto the American scene in 1984. Revelations about such abuse since then have confirmed that this tragedy is not limited to the U.S. Catholic Church, nor is it a new phenomenon that grew out of so-called secularizing trends of the late twentieth century. The Doyle-Sipe-Wall report clearly demonstrates a deep-seated problem that spans the Church's history. This collection of documents from official and unofficial sources begins its survey in 60 CE and concludes with the contemporary scandal. It reveals an institution that has tried to come to grips with…


By Hilary Mantel,

Book cover of Fludd: A Novel

Devorah Blachor Author Of The Feminist's Guide to Raising a Little Princess: How to Raise a Girl Who's Authentic, Joyful, and Fearless--Even If She Refuses to Wear Anything but a Pink Tutu

From the list on satire that makes you laugh and cry.

Who am I?

I’m a writer, journalist, satirist, and novelist. I’ve written humor and satire for McSweeney’s, The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts, The Belladonna, and other publications, often about subjects that make me angry, sad, or both. Sometimes I write as a way to process, to vent, and to make fun of myself. I wrote a humor piece called "Turn Your Princess Toddler Into a Feminist in 8 Easy Steps." The New York Times published it, and it went viral. There was so much interest in the piece it prompted me to start researching the topic of princess obsessed girls. That research became my nonfiction book – The Feminist’s Guide to Raising a Little Princess

Devorah's book list on satire that makes you laugh and cry

Discover why each book is one of Devorah's favorite books.

Why did Devorah love this book?

No living writer rivals Hillary Mantel in terms of sheer accomplishment and talent, so it might be annoying for us mortals to learn that on top of it all, she is also very, very funny. Fludd was a wonderful surprise for me after reading her previous works. A mysterious curate joins the parish of a small, bleak British and Catholic town whose priest has lost his faith and whose parishioners are wallowing in superstition. What could possibly go wrong? Mantel elegantly satirizes the eccentricities and harsh judgments of the religious townsfolk, while giving us a thoroughly pleasurable read about faith and love.    

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fludd as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A novel featuring Fludd who investigates what happened to Lazarus, after he was raised from the dead. To follow up his search he impersonates a Roman Catholic priest. It is not immediately apparent that he is an impostor and he receives a curiously hostile reception.

At Home in Mitford

By Jan Karon,

Book cover of At Home in Mitford

D.V. Stone Author Of Kisa: Shield-Mates of Dar

From the list on with a war between humans and shifters.

Who am I?

My passion for books began at a very early age. My mom will tell you I never played with toys but toddled around, always with a book in my hand. From the Little Golden books of childhood, I grew into children's literature like Heidi and Black Beauty. Then came the horse books. Seabiscuit and War Admiral. Misty of Chincoteague was a particular favorite. Animal books have always been one of my go-to genres. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot started me on a series that I still return to from time to time. J. R. R. Tolkien is one of my inspirations as a fantasy author, along with C. S. Lewis.

D.V.'s book list on with a war between humans and shifters

Discover why each book is one of D.V.'s favorite books.

Why did D.V. love this book?

This book is a bit different from my other recommendations. It’s not a fantasy. What it is is a series of books to make you laugh, cry, think, and most of all, want to go live in the imaginary town of Mitford, North Carolina. This is a small town where the phrase “Mitford takes care of its own” is sometimes hard but always rewarding. Reverend Tim Cavanough is a flawed man with a heart of gold who is in the mid to later stage in life and takes care of his flock of often eccentric, lovable townsfolk with a heart of love. I was with a friend one time walking through a little town in West Virginia, and we had both finished Ms. Karon’s books. The town and its folks reminded us of Mitford with its quaint charm. 

By Jan Karon,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked At Home in Mitford as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel in #1 New York Times bestselling author Jan Karon's beloved series set in America's favorite small town: Mitford.

It's easy to feel at home in Mitford. In these high, green hills, the air is pure, the village is charming, and the people are generally lovable. Yet, Father Tim, the bachelor rector, wants something more. Enter a dog the size of a sofa who moves in and won't go away. Add an attractive neighbor who begins wearing a path through the hedge. Now, stir in a lovable but unloved boy, a mystifying jewel theft, and a secret that's…

Then They Came for Me

By Matthew D. Hockenos,

Book cover of Then They Came for Me: Martin Niemöller, the Pastor Who Defied the Nazis

Kevin P. Spicer and Rebecca Carter-Chand Author Of Religion, Ethnonationalism, and Antisemitism in the Era of the Two World Wars

From the list on German Protestantism in Hitler’s Germany.

Who are we?

Kevin P. Spicer is a historian of twentieth-century Germany who investigates the relationship between church and state from 1918-1945. I'm fascinated by the choices of Christian leaders as they negotiated the challenges of living and leading under National Socialism. I seek to understand the connections between Christian antisemitism and National Socialist’s racial-based exclusionary ethnonationalism and antisemitism. Rebecca Carter-Chand is a historian of twentieth-century Germany who focuses on Christianity during the Nazi period. I'm particularly interested in the smaller Christian churches on the margins of the German religious landscape, many of which maintained ties with their co-religionists abroad. I seek to understand how religious communities navigate ethical and practical challenges of political upheaval and fascism.

Kevin's book list on German Protestantism in Hitler’s Germany

Discover why each book is one of Kevin's favorite books.

Why did Kevin love this book?

This engaging and accessible biography cuts through the mythology surrounding Pastor Martin Niemöller and his famous but often misunderstood confession, “First they came for the Communists….” Despite spending seven years in Nazi concentration camps, Niemöller is presented not as a stalwart opponent of Nazism but as a flawed individual who underwent significant transformation only after World War II, from a nationalistic, anti-democratic, militaristic Protestant elite to an internationalist, ecumenist, and pacifist willing to reckon with Germany’s past. Understanding the well-known statement as a confession is key, for as Hockenos explains, Niemöller did not remain silent about the arrest of socialists, trade unionists, and Jews because he was timid to speak out—he was silent because, at the time, he also disapproved of them. This is a book for those who want to read about individual transformation rather than heroic leaders presented on a pedestal. 

By Matthew D. Hockenos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Then They Came for Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out-Because I was not a Communist..."
Few today recognize the name Martin Niemöller, though many know his famous confession. In Then They Came for Me, Matthew Hockenos traces Niemöller's evolution from a Nazi supporter to a determined opponent of Hitler, revealing him to be a more complicated figure than previously understood.
Born into a traditionalist Prussian family, Niemöller welcomed Hitler's rise to power as an opportunity for national rebirth. Yet when the regime attempted to seize control of the Protestant Church, he helped lead the opposition and was soon…

The Thorn Birds

By Colleen McCullough,

Book cover of The Thorn Birds

Cheri Krueger Author Of Thanks, Universe

From the list on strong women and the difficult choices mothers face.

Who am I?

I wrote this book to give my mother an alternate life. She was a mother at age fifteen, mother of five by twenty-seven, and a grandmother by thirty-three. Being a parent defined her life, but she did not enjoy motherhood and was very frank on the subject. Thanks, Universe is my way of giving Mom her freedom and even though she never read anything I wrote, I like to think she would have approved of Pauline and the choices she made.

Cheri's book list on strong women and the difficult choices mothers face

Discover why each book is one of Cheri's favorite books.

Why did Cheri love this book?

I adore sweeping family sagas with strong women characters and with tragedy, romance, and heartache set in Australia, The Thorn Birds is a beautiful example of the genre.

Meggie is rebellious and headstrong and makes questionable choices, but we empathize and root for her. All the well-rounded characters each come with their own secrets that will keep you turning pages.

By Colleen McCullough,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Thorn Birds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A phenomenal worldwide bestseller since 1977 THE THORN BIRDS is a robust, romantic saga of three generations. It begins in the early years of this century when Paddy Cleary moves his wife and seven children to Drogheda, an Australian sheep station, owned by his autocratic and childless older sister. For more than half a century we follow their fates, particularly those of Meggie, the only Cleary daughter, and the one man she truly loves, Ralph de Bricassart - stunningly handsome, ambitious, and a priest. As background to the Cleary family's lives there is the land itself: relentless in its demands,…

Book cover of The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

Curt Brown Author Of Minnesota, 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State

From the list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter.

Who am I?

After more than 30 years in daily journalism in Minnesota, I moved to a trout stream near Durango, Colo., to stage a second act. Editors at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where I worked for 26 years, gave me a freelance contract to write a Minnesota History column every Sunday. It’s morphed into a popular crowd-sourcing of history with readers feeding me delicious family stories. I’m the lucky one who gets to weave these stories—enriching my knowledge of what being Minnesotans is all about.

Curt's book list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter

Discover why each book is one of Curt's favorite books.

Why did Curt love this book?

Picking out one of this master storyteller’s plethora of great reads is nearly impossible, but this 2002 novel features Father Damien Modeste, a woman who has lived as a man on the remote Ojibwe reservation of Little No Horse. The gripping plot takes a turn amid an investigation into a potentially phony saint named Sister Leopolda.

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerfully involving novel from one of America's finest writers, and winner of America's prestigious National Book Award for Fiction 2012

Sister Cecilia lives for music, for those hours when she can play her beloved Chopin on the piano. It isn't that she neglects her other duties, rather it is the playing itself - distilled of longing - that disturbs her sisters. The very air of the convent thickens with the passion of her music, and the young girl is asked to leave. And so it is that Sister Cecilia appears before Berndt Vogel on his farm, destitute, looking for…


By Stephen King,

Book cover of Revival

Lillah Lawson Author Of Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree

From the list on Southern Gothic with a heart.

Who am I?

I am the author of three novels (with two more set to release next year); Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree; The Dead Rockstar Trilogy; and I'm happiest when straddling literary genres. I have published works of historical fiction, as well as southern gothic, horror, speculative fiction, dark fantasy, and literary fiction. My debut, Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree was nominated for Georgia Author of the Year in 2020. In addition to writing, I am a genealogist and recently went back to school to obtain my history degree. My love of writing, history, and family all intersect to inform my writing and I always set my characters in good old Georgia.

Lillah's book list on Southern Gothic with a heart

Discover why each book is one of Lillah's favorite books.

Why did Lillah love this book?

This novel is the perfect blend of historical fiction and horror, and King perfectly captures small-town rural life among people who hold a little too strongly to both tradition and stereotypes. The novel invokes that particular dread that can only be raised by those philosophical questions that one can’t seem to answer; the horror of the unknown. Plus, given my own book, I have a soft spot for traveling preachers who aren’t what they seem. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Revival as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A spectacularly dark and electrifying novel about addiction, religion, music and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister, Charles Jacobs. Soon they forge a deep bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity.

Decades later, Jamie is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Now an addict, he sees Jacobs again - a showman on stage, creating dazzling 'portraits in…

Elmer Gantry

By Sinclair Lewis,

Book cover of Elmer Gantry

William Breedlove Martin Author Of Expense of Spirit

From the list on the allure of wealth, status, and illicit romance.

Who am I?

I was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1942. My father was a druggist and my mother a housewife until his illness put her to work as a newspaper reporter and eventually as a school teacher. After spending four years in the U.S. Air Force I earned a B.A. and a M.A. in English. After teaching English for thirty-one years, I retired in 2006. My wife and I live in Savannah and have two daughters, five grandchildren, and a black Lab. Among the many novels that I taught during my years as an English professor, the five on my list were invariably the ones to which my students most actively responded.

William's book list on the allure of wealth, status, and illicit romance

Discover why each book is one of William's favorite books.

Why did William love this book?

In 1927, Sinclair Lewis struck with Elmer Gantry, a richly researched and powerful satirical indictment of religious hypocrisy whose eponymous central character is an amoral preacher enthralled by his power in the pulpit and by the allure of a beautiful female evangelist, Sharon Falconer.

By Sinclair Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elmer Gantry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Universally recognized as a landmark in American literature, Elmer Gantry scandalized the generation in which it was written, causing Sinclair Lewis to be "invited" to a jail cell in New Hampshire and to his own lynching in Virginia. His portrait of an evangelist who rises to power within his church - a saver of souls who lives a life of hypocrisy, sensuality, and ruthless self-indulgence - has been called the greatest, most vital, and most penetrating study of hypocrisy that has been written since Voltaire.

Scenes of Clerical Life

By George Eliot,

Book cover of Scenes of Clerical Life

Pamela Erens Author Of Middlemarch and the Imperfect Life: Bookmarked

From the list on George Eliot books to start with.

Who am I?

I’m a lifelong fan of George Eliot and other classic psychological novelists such as Tolstoy, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. I read their fiction over and over again. It deepens my understanding of the way people think and feel, how relationships and communities function, and what makes for a good life. Through these books I sort out my own muddled experiences.

Pamela's book list on George Eliot books to start with

Discover why each book is one of Pamela's favorite books.

Why did Pamela love this book?

For a long time, I assumed that I would find these three novellas about churchmen and parishioners in the English countryside of the late 18th and early 19th centuries sleepy and dull. They’re anything but. Eliot depicts the presence of alcoholism, spousal abuse, loneliness, and life-damaging gossip in her fictional communities. But her signature empathy and wit, already on display in this early work, make it invigorating, not a downer.

By George Eliot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Scenes of Clerical Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'the only true knowledge of our fellow-man is that which enables us to feel with him'

George Eliot's first published work consisted of three short novellas: 'The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton', 'Mr Gilfil's Love-Story', and 'Janet's Repentance'. Their depiction of the lives of ordinary men and women in a provincial Midlands town initiated a new era of nineteenth-century literary realism. The tales concern rural members of the clergy and the gossip and factions that a small town generates around them. Amos Barton only realizes how much he depends upon his wife's
selfless love when she dies prematurely;…

The Power and the Glory

By Graham Greene,

Book cover of The Power and the Glory

Leigh Russell Author Of Fake Alibi

From the list on wanting to read about murder.

Who am I?

An avid reader when young, I made the transition from reading to writing relatively late in life. It happened unexpectedly, but once I started writing I found it impossible to stop and have had twenty-eight novels published so far. Fortunately I found a publisher within weeks of completing my first novel, which was shortlisted for several major awards. Currently I am writing the 20th novel in my Geraldine Steel detective series, which has sold over a million copies in the UK alone. As well as writing detective novels, I also support up and coming crime writers as chair of judges for the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger Award.

Leigh's book list on wanting to read about murder

Discover why each book is one of Leigh's favorite books.

Why did Leigh love this book?

Graham Greene creates a completely convincing scene in just a few words, deftly transporting the reader into a different world. His characters are credible, and tension underlies every word he writes. The Power and the Glory is a master class in demonstrating how a writer can ‘show’ not ‘tell’ the reader what is happening in the world of the book. Although the novel doesn’t fall into the conventional crime genre, Greene writes about people’s ability to treat others with both inhumanity and humanity, exploring the depths and also the best of human potential. 

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Power and the Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During an anti-clerical purge in Mexico, a priest is hunted like a hare. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the little worldly priest is nevertheless impelled towards his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.

The Warden

By Anthony Trollope,

Book cover of The Warden

Janet McNaughton Author Of Flame and Ashes: The Great Fire Diary of Triffie Winsor

From the list on Victorian novels for complete beginners.

Who am I?

In my childhood in the 1960s, girls still read novels like Jane Eyre and Black Beauty, and one of my grandmothers was a Victorian herself, born in Scotland in the 1880s, so my connection to that time feels organic. Even today, a new Victorian novel is my idea of vacation reading. Victorian writers looked deeply into the hearts of their imagined characters, leaving us with a vivid record of a world that is now gone. These novels help us understand the past with all its flaws and problems, giving us a way to think about how far we have come, perhaps, even, how much farther we need to go.

Janet's book list on Victorian novels for complete beginners

Discover why each book is one of Janet's favorite books.

Why did Janet love this book?

A short book even by our standards, The Warden was Trollope’s first novel. He went on to write forty-seven more, as many short stories and nonfiction books as well, all while working as an important official with the Royal Mail. I love Trollope’s books because he was a master at creating life-like characters who may be filled with flaws, but are always portrayed with loving humour. While The Warden is about a controversy over how the Church of England manages a poor house, the story is carried by the complex people and relationships at the centre of the squabble. This is the first book in the Chronicle of Barsetshire series which spins out the lives of these characters across decades.

By Anthony Trollope,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Warden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Warden introduces us to the lives of some of the most beloved characters in all literature.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition has an introduction by Margaret Drabble and illustrations by F. C. Tilney.

Scandal strikes the peaceful cathedral town of Barchester when Septimus Harding, the warden of charitable foundation Hiram's Hospital, is accused of financial wrongdoing. A kindly and naive man, he finds himself caught between the forces…

The Wounded Healer

By Henri J. M. Nouwen,

Book cover of The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society

Barbara Mariconda Author Of After the Diagnosis...A Guide for Living

From the list on transforming suffering.

Who am I?

From darkness, light. From death, life. I believe this, passionately. When emptied by love, by suffering, by life, it’s possible to fill that space with something greater than ourselves – and that something is God. None of us gets through life without suffering. For me, it was growing up in an alcoholic home and later going through a divorce. The question is, will our suffering destroy us or transform us? Co-author Fr. Tom Lynch and I started Journey of the Soul Ministry to help others transform their suffering into an ability to live more freely and love more deeply. That’s what our book explores, as do my other recommendations.

Barbara's book list on transforming suffering

Discover why each book is one of Barbara's favorite books.

Why did Barbara love this book?

Whether you’re a person of faith, someone who identifies as spiritual, but not religious, or one who simply strives to approach the world in the most loving way, this book is for you! Nouwen explains, in straightforward terms, that until we can acknowledge, accept, and embrace our own shortcomings, failures, and woundedness, we cannot ever really be compassionate toward others. By wearing our vulnerability on our sleeves, we can stand in solidarity with others, empowering them to better face their own challenges. As a parent and as a friend, acknowledging rather than hiding my wounds and shortcomings has opened my heart to become more of a “wounded healer” to those I love the most.

By Henri J. M. Nouwen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wounded Healer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hope-filled and profoundly simple book that speaks directly to those who want to be of service in their church or community, but have found the traditional ways often threatening and ineffective.

In this book, Henri Nouwen combines creative case studies of ministry with stories from diverse cultures and religious traditions in preparing a new model for ministry. Weaving keen cultural analysis with his psychological and religious insights, Nouwen has come up with a balanced and creative theology of service that begins with the realization of fundamental woundedness in human nature. Emphasizing that which is in humanity common to both…

The Revisionaries

By A.R. Moxon,

Book cover of The Revisionaries

Scotto Moore Author Of Wild Massive

From the list on SFF that take an improbable premise and go nuts.

Who am I?

I’m a former playwright, current novelist, future designation unclear but maybe something like really committing to being the person that always carries one of every kind of charging cable, just in case. I’m old enough to be properly jaded about our media landscape, not simply to “fit in” with “people” who are “theoretically out there somewhere” but because I’ve genuinely seen so much and I’m just like, I mean, whatever. But sometimes a novel forges a new path across the imagination with such an unexpected angle on worldbuilding or a blatant assault on the propriety of common plot structure that I literally swoon with excitement. I’m about to tell you about some of those novels.

Scotto's book list on SFF that take an improbable premise and go nuts

Discover why each book is one of Scotto's favorite books.

Why did Scotto love this book?

My new book features the classic “book within a book” trope as a key plot mechanic, but I think Moxon is going for the gold medal in the category of “books within books within books,” with multiple competing characters claiming to be authors and demonstrating unnatural control over their domains, while bemused but frequently baffled readers attempt to decipher what nested reality is foregrounded and what the hell it all means regardless.

It starts off as a spiritual quest for inner-city redemption, starring the inmates of a forgotten asylum and the local parish that tries to tend to them; then an inmate reveals a deeper story of solipsistic villainy that blows away their current problems, and then at least one if not multiple authors involved throws all the cards up in the air and reshuffles them into a multiverse-spanning road movie.

All this, plus the prose is dense and thoughtful…

By A.R. Moxon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Revisionaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A modern-day classic."—Ron Charles, Washington Post
“A spectacular invention.”—The New York Times
"Compulsively readable."—NPR
Things do not bode well for Father Julius. . . A street preacher decked out in denim robes and running shoes, Julius is a source of inspiration for a community that knows nothing of his scandalous origins.
But when a nearby mental hospital releases its patients to run amok in his neighborhood, his trusted if bedraggled flock turns expectantly to Julius to find out what’s going on. Amid the descending chaos,
Julius encounters a hospital escapee who babbles prophecies of doom, and the growing palpable sense…


By Julie Garwood,

Book cover of Heartbreaker

Bobbi Smith Author Of The Lady & the Texan

From the list on great hunks for heroes.

Who am I?

I love romances because the stories always end happily, and also because of the heroes! They are my ideal men—handsome, of course, but always strong and honorable. They always do the right thing, even if it requires hardship and sacrifice, and at the end of the story, when they pledge their love to the heroine, we know that love will be forever. I sold my first book back in 1982, and in every one of my stories I feature this kind of hero.

Bobbi's book list on great hunks for heroes

Discover why each book is one of Bobbi's favorite books.

Why did Bobbi love this book?

I got soooo hooked on Julie’s contemporary suspense books. In Heartbreaker, as the story opens, we learn our hero agent Nick Buchanan has just saved a young boy’s life by taking out a serial killer who held him captive. Nick then gets to take some time off for a vacation, and as he’s on the plane waiting to depart, he stops an armed man from trying to free a prisoner another lawman has on the plane. He is definitely the white knight showing up at just the right time. When he meets up with his best friend, he learns a serial killer is after his friend’s sister. I couldn’t wait to see how he was going to protect the heroine, Laurant, from the psychopath and bring him in. This is my kind of hero—courageous, up for anything, never afraid to put his life in danger to right a wrong.

By Julie Garwood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heartbreaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a serial killer reveals the identity of his next victim--a beautiful woman named Laurant Madden--FBI agent Nick Buchanan steps in to protect her, but quickly finds his mission complicated by his feelings for her. Reissue.

Oscar and Lucinda

By Peter Carey,

Book cover of Oscar and Lucinda

David Wharton Author Of Finer Things

From the list on to immerse you in another time and another place.

Who am I?

As a novelist, I get a lot of praise for my immersive recreation of time and place – even though I have complete aphantasia. That’s a condition affecting about 0.8% of the population, and it means I can’t form visual mental images. Ask me to close my eyes and visualise an apple, and I will see… darkness. Nothing. I suppose it’s why I’ve always loved novelists who create a picture with words. But truly great descriptive writing is about so much more than just what you can ‘see.’ These writers give you the sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of their worlds too. And they’re all wonderful storytellers.

David's book list on to immerse you in another time and another place

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

This is another modern venture into Victoriana, with a love affair straight out of Thomas Hardy, ruined by mutual misunderstanding. Its characters are heartbreakingly real and utterly original, and it closes with one of the most memorable set-piece scenes I’ve ever read. I won’t spoil the surprise because it occurs about 400 pages into this long, seductive novel, but it’s a stunningly sensory and dramatic moment.

By Peter Carey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oscar and Lucinda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Peter Carey's novel of the undeclared love between clergyman Oscar Hopkins and the heiress Lucinda Leplastrier is both a moving and beautiful love story and a historical tour de force set in Victorian times. Made for each other, the two are gamblers - one obsessive, the other compulsive - incapable of winning at the game of love.

Oscar and Lucinda is now available as a Faber Modern Classics edition.

Clothing the Clergy

By Maureen C. Miller,

Book cover of Clothing the Clergy: Virtue and Power in Medieval Europe, C. 800 1200

R.I. Moore Author Of The War on Heresy

From the list on the real Middle Ages.

Who am I?

I am a historian primarily of western Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. My leading interest has shifted over many years from the people who were persecuted as heretics at that time to their persecutors, as it dawned on me that whereas scepticism about the teachings of the Roman (or any) church was easily understandable, the persecution of mostly rather humble people who presented no real threat to that Church or to wider society was not, and needed to be explained.

R.I.'s book list on the real Middle Ages

Discover why each book is one of R.I.'s favorite books.

Why did R.I. love this book?

By exploring how their sumptuous ritual vestments were designed, manufactured, and cared for, Maureen Miller shines powerful new light on the key social transformation of the European middle ages - how the clergy emerged as a distinct and dominant order of society in the eleventh and twelfth centuries - and how the process was shaped by their essential, intimate and contradictory relationships with the women who discharged these tasks.  

By Maureen C. Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Clothing the Clergy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After initial ambivalence about distinctive garb for its ministers, early Christianity developed both liturgical garments and visible markers of clerical status outside church. From the ninth century, moreover, new converts to the faith beyond the Alps developed a highly ornate style of liturgical attire; church vestments were made of precious silks and decorated with embroidered and woven ornament, often incorporating gold and jewels. Making use of surviving medieval textiles and garments; mosaics, frescoes, and manuscript illuminations; canon law; liturgical sources; literary works; hagiography; theological tracts; chronicles, letters, inventories of ecclesiastical treasuries, and wills, Maureen C. Miller in Clothing the Clergy…

A Month of Sundays

By John Updike,

Book cover of A Month of Sundays

James Y. Bartlett Author Of The Majors Collection: Hacker Golf Mystery Box Set

From the list on golf fiction.

Who am I?

I started writing about golf years ago… I went from freelancing to working for Golfweek and pretty soon had a career! I thought I had a brilliant idea: a series of mysteries with a golf theme! Then I learned there were about 267 other golf mysteries already out there, starting with Dame Agatha’s Murder on the Links! Oops.  I eventually wrote seven Hacker novels, finally getting my golf-writer-turned-sleuth through all four majors. I also published a historical novel set in Scotland (sorry, no golf) and just launched the new Swamp Yankee Mystery series, set in a small Rhode Island town remarkably similar to the one I live in!

James' book list on golf fiction

Discover why each book is one of James' favorite books.

Why did James love this book?

John Updike, writing about golf? Well, why not? This novel, from one of America’s greatest writers, is something of a riff on Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, in a story about a disgraced minister sent off on a sabbatical. He keeps a daily journal, which is what makes up the novel.

Naturally, this being Updike, there are stories about his affairs, his drinking, his family relationships, and more. But there are also wonderful passages about his golf game. Like much of Updike’s work, this book is thought-provoking and an interesting window into the American mind of the 20th century.

By John Updike,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Month of Sundays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Updike's seventh novel concerns a month of seven days, a month of enforced rest and recreation as experienced by the Reverend Tom Marshfield, sent west from his Midwestern church in disgrace.