Wrestling with the Angel: 5 Books of Spiritual Gravity

by sophie

The Angel and The Demon – Ed Hirsch- a non-fiction semi-historical study that assumes the spiritual is inherently linked to creative inspiration, whether or not we know or like it.

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ – Jose Saramago: from the master Portuguese novelist comes a narrative that follows the life of Christ from conception to crucifixion. Blanks in the New Testament get filled in by a vision of Christ as a naïve, deeply flawed character. Look forward to the pages where God, Jesus, and the Devil have a long conversation in a rowboat.

Jesus’ Son – Denis Johnson: In these linter-linking short stories, our protagonist (given only the nickname of “Fuckhead”), wanders through the wilderness of drugs, relationships, and Chicago in a vague haze of spiritual and existential crisis. Will he be redeemed? Will he keep fucking up?  Are these states really mutually exclusive? 

Gravity and Grace – Simone Weil: an essential read for anyone concerned with the spiritual. A book of profound, provocative, and unsettling fragments of philosophy.

Concerning The Book That Is The Body Of The Beloved – Gregory Orr: a collection of short meditative poems full of questions on existence, loss, and beauty: “To be alive: not just the carcass / But the spark. / That’s crudely put, but…/If we’re not supposed to dance, / Why all this music?” 

(book list put together for the Boldface conference where I’ll be teaching in a few weeks )