Five Stories Every Catholic Should Read?

There are so many lists in the internet that one stops paying attention after a while, yet recently we were intrigued to discover, through a reader’s recommendation, that the website St. Peter’s List had put together a post titled “5 Short Stories Every Catholic Should Read.” Go check out their list and then tell us what you think. Are all these stories really must-reads? Or what alternative list would you propose?

We’re strongly tempted to suggest several more by O’Connor, so we’re instituting a rule that any proposed list can only have one short story per author mentioned. Perhaps something by the much neglected J.F. Powers?


  1. MGC says

    OK, I’ll bite. I haven’t read all the stories mentioned, but I did love “Leaf by Niggle.” It has a very beautiful view of the artist’s vocation. I think I should read it again.

    I’m guilty as charged by the post of never having read George MacDonald, even though he’s been on my reading list since I read C.S. Lewis in college. I need to bump him up in my queue, I think. I also have not read that particular Chesterton story, so I guess I’d better get to it.

    As for “Revelation,” that really is a magnificent story, especially the amazing, beautiful, surprising scene at the end.

    I think the list is very good, but let me make an addition:

    “The Enduring Chill” by Flannery O’Connor – again, a brilliant and striking ending. It really sent a chill down my back when I read it, and is one of those great examples of grace irrupting violently into the world that O’Connor always talked about. I see it’s been discussed in two essays in the current issue of DT, with good reason.

    Also, what about more contemporary writers? I admit that most of the fiction I consume, outside of DT, is in the form of novels, so I’m not quite sure what else to suggest, or at least to suggest specifically for the Catholic reader.

  2. says

    “Eli the Fanatic” by Philip Roth or, not as fine a story but still quite brilliant, “The Conversion of the Jews” from the same volume, Goodbye Columbus.

  3. MGC says

    I’ve read a story from that book, which I liked, though I’ve forgotten the title. Why do you think “Eli the Fanatic” is particularly a must read for Catholics? Just curious since Roth is Jewish, though I’m not in anyway implying that he doesn’t speak to a universal audience.