Hello, readers! Welcome to another #5OnMyTBR update. The rule is relatively simple. I just have to pick five books from my to-be-read pile that fit the week’s theme.

This week’s theme: Faith

Now, this week’s prompt is kind of interesting. While I am not religiously devout, I do believe in the power of faith. I do believe there is a Supreme Being that watches over us but I am not into organized religion. Reading-wise, I have read a couple of books about faith. Earlier this year, I read James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain. I have also previously read Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, Shūsaku Endō’s Silence, and Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. Even Sheil Heti’s latest novel, Pure Colour, dwelt on faith. Anyway, here are five books on my to-be-read list that grapple with faith. Happy Monday and happy reading!

5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!


Title: The Shack
Author: WM Paul Young
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publishing Date: 2008
No. of Pages: 246

Synopsis: “Mackenzie Allen Philip’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment, he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant, THE SHACK wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him.

Title: The Last Temptation of Christ
Author: Nikos Kazantzakis

Synopsis: Hailed as a masterpiece by critics worldwide, The Last Temptation of Christ is a monumental reinterpretation of the Gospels that brilliantly fleshes out Christ’s Passion. This literary rendering of the life of Jesus Christ has courted controversy since its publication by depicting a Christ far more human than the one seen in the Bible. He is a figure who is gloriously divine but earthy and human, a man like any other—subject to fear, doubt, and pain.

In elegant, thoughtful prose Nikos Kazantzakis, one of the greats of modern literature, follows this Jesus as he struggles to live out God’s will for him, powerfully suggesting that it was Christ’s ultimate triumph over his flawed humanity, when he gave up the temptation to run from the cross and willingly laid down his life for mankind, that truly made him the venerable redeemer of men. (Source: Goodreads)

Title: Gilead
Author: Jodi Picoult

Synopsis: In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames’s life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He “preached men into the Civil War,” then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.

Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father–an ardent pacifist–and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend’s wayward son.

This is also the tale of another remarkable vision–not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames’s soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten. (Source: Goodreads)

Title: My Name is Red
Author: Orhan Pamuk

Synopsis: At once a fiendishly devious mystery, a beguiling love story, and a brilliant symposium on the power of art, My Name Is Red is a transporting tale set amid the splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul, from one of the most prominent contemporary Turkish writers.

The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a great book celebrating the glories of his realm. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed. The ruling elite therefore mustn’t know the full scope or nature of the project, and panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears. The only clue to the mystery–or crime? –lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex and power. (Source: Goodreads)

Title: The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books
Publishing Date: 2004
No. of Pages: 216

Synopsis: “The Scarlet Letter, America’s first psychological novel, exploded society’s view of Puritanism upon its initial publication in 1850, and today – perhaps more than ever – it holds the power to change the way we think about human relationships, punishment, and the status quo.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel is a dark tale of love, crime, and revenge set in colonial New England. It revolves around a single, forbidden act of passion that forever alters the lives of three members of a small Puritan community: Hester Prynne, an ardent, fierce, and ultimately ostracized woman who bears the symbol of her sin – the letter stitched into the breast of her gown – in humble silence; the Reverent Arthur Dimmesdale, a respected public figure who is inwardly tormented by long-hidden guilt; and the malevolent Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband – a man who seethes in an Ahab-like lust for vengeance.

The landscape of this classic novel is uniquely American, but the themes it explores are both timeless and universal – the nature of sin, guilt, and penitence, the clash between our private and public selves, and the spiritual and psychological cost of living outside society. Constructed with the elegance of a Greek tragedy, The Scarlet Letter brilliantly illuminates the truth that lies deep within the human heart.

Title: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Author: Yukio Mishima

Synopsis: Because of the boyhood trauma of seeing his mother make love to another man in the presence of his dying father, Mizoguchi becomes a hopeless stutterer. Taunted by his schoolmates, he feels utterly alone until he becomes an acolyte at a famous temple in Kyoto. He quickly becomes obsessed with the beauty of the temple. Even when tempted by a friend into exploring the geisha district, he cannot escape its image. In the novel’s soaring climax, he tries desperately to free himself from his fixation. (Source: Goodreads)