Fiction Writing Reading List

So I’ve promised my famous writer friend Jacqui Robbins that I will continue to read to the end of her 15 Classics in 15 Weeks challenge (no matter how long it takes; the challenge began in Summer 2008), and I’ve promised Fr. Tyler that I will read a favorite of his, Brideshead Revisited, next (especially since his first recommendation, East of Eden, proved to be perhaps the best thing I’ve ever read). And so I shall.

In the meantime, however, I’m diving headlong into fiction writing, because, quite frankly, it’s about damn time. Sorry, Coach Robbins, this isn’t the book you’ve seen parts of. This one requires more from me, but it’s already giving more in return. I’ll say no more, except that it’ll be like nothing I’ve every seen before, and I’ve compiled a reading list, along with a few flicks, to help guide this journey. (If you make it to the end of the list, I have a few questions for you.)

Books (in no particular order):

Goethe’s Faust (and other tellings)
The Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli
The Book of Job
The Book of Tobit
Genesis Chapter 32: Jacob wrestles the angel
The Book of Revelation
The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio
Silence by Shusako Endo
Shogun by James Clavell
Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
The Way of the Samurai by Richard Storry
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud

Movies and Television (also in no particular order):

Ghost Dog (1999)
Twilight Samurai (2002)
The Godfather series
The Departed (2006)
Scarface (1932)
Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
The General (1998)
Road to Perdition (2002)
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967)
Gangs of New York (2002)
Kung Fu (seasons 1-3)

That’s a decent hodge-podge of material, isn’t it? Now, the questions I have for you (all three of you):

  • Does anyone know of a solid (ideally non-fiction) account of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the mafia or Irish mob?
  • How about organized crime and the occult? (But I don’t want to go too far down the rabbit-hole.)
  • How about recommendations of books or films about saints, especially St. Nicholas (not Santa so much) or other saints and their intercessory roles after death?
  • Good explication of the biblical books and accounts above: Job, Tobit, Jacob and the Angel, the origins and history of belief around St. Michael?
  • Accounts of missionaries and martyrs in Japan (in addition to Silence)?
  • Does anyone have any of the movies listed that they would be willing to loan to me?
  • Other stories about ancient beliefs and codes colliding, sold souls, angels and demons in our world, evil appearing to be good, love and loss, fathers going to great lengths to protect their children? Recommendations?
Much of the material above is adult-oriented, but this book will not be. Basically, it’s a fantasy about a boy who is trying to regain his deceased mother and a distraught father trying to regain his lost son. With St. Nick and a samurai thrown in. As wacky as it all sounds, I think it’s gonna be deeply personal, even though it’s nothing like my life.
It’s going to be terrible, isn’t it? But you’ll still read it, won’t you?

4 thoughts on “Fiction Writing Reading List

  1. Of course I'll read it!! Jim, it will not be terrible!! In fact I plan to be first in line to purchase a copy & have you sign it, so don't waste too much time as you know I'm getting older!!



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