Recommended Reading

Do you have any books the Faculty doesn't particularly recommend?

This cartoon is from a collection by Flannery O'Connor, about to be published for the first time. Better known for her short stories, O'Connor is one of those writers, like Simone Weil, who is on my to-read list because of the other authors who've recommended her; she was even, ironically, on my reading list in first year uni. I've come across her name and repute in various places, most often in arguments for the possibility of a Christian literature, distinct from the kind of genre fiction (usually romance) peddled by Christian bookshops. Like Simone Weil, and Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, and now Marilynne Robinson, she's taken seriously by secular readers, and her work, infused with religious sensibility, meets every test of intellect and art. Perhaps as proof of this, I've also come across her in accounts of the American short story, and of Southern literature, and of writers who stand out from their time and place. By all accounts she's worth attention.

She was lonely and sickly, and like Simone Weil, she died horribly, young. A Georgian, and a Catholic, she's known for keen observation, moral acuity, and sharp irony.  Though she lived almost reclusively, she had a gift for seeing and sketching folks in all their flawed glory. She's proof that writers can reach greatness without going too far from their own front door. And she comes highly recommended.