Written by Georgianne Bordner, University Librarian
Are you looking forward to Christmas break, when you’ll have time to read something that’s not required for your classes? Be sure to check out the Library’s Popular Collection, now located at the top of the stairs near Room 213. This small collection contains a wide variety of books that are perfect for leisure reading, including a few popular non-fiction books such as The Purpose-Driven Life and a number of Christian biographies, in addition to the Christian fiction that forms the bulk of the collection.
Those who enjoy classic Christian fiction might be interested in the works of Scottish Victorian novelist and clergyman George MacDonald, who influenced C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkein, G. K. Chesterton, and other popular authors. Some of his best-known works are his fantasies Phantastes and Lilith, both located in the Library’s general collection, but he is also recognized for his realistic “theological novels,” which are well represented in the Popular Collection. Most of the editions found in the Popular Collection have been updated for modern readers by editor Michael Phillips. These include The Curate’s Awakening, originally titled Thomas Wingfold, Curate, which may be one of MacDonald’s best-loved novels. Like most of his works, this story of an agnostic clergyman who eventually comes to faith through a series of dramatic events contains many spiritual truths as well as a good story.
Those who prefer something more contemporary may enjoy Terri Blackstock’s suspense novels, which weave themes of faith and interpersonal relationships into exciting mystery stories. For example, in Private Justice, the first volume in the Newpointe 911 series, a fireman and his wife work to save their marriage and renew their commitment to God while trying to catch a serial killer. In addition to this title, the Library holds the rest of this series, the popular Restoration series, and other titles by this popular author.
Finally, fans of historical fiction might like the works of Michael Phillips and Judith Pella. If you are interested in Russian history and culture and are looking forward to the events surrounding the Big Read of Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, you may be interested in Phillips’ and Pella’s series The Russians. Set in pre-revolutionary Russia, this series follows the saga of two families, one aristocratic and one peasant, setting their fictional stories in the true historical framework of the period. You’ll want to start with volume one, The Crown and the Crucible, and continue reading all seven volumes of the series.
If none of these suggestions appeal to you, don’t worry – The Popular Collection contains a wide variety of other popular titles from which to choose. Come see for yourself!