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So I simply haven't read most of the currently-popular issue books. But here's a list of well-told stories that provide beautiful and redemptive coverage of some of humanity's deepest difficulties.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee). I love it for its immense compassion toward the vulnerable, and it also shows a heartbreaking picture of human injustice.
2. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky). Here, there is hope and redemption for the murderer and the prostitute, and therefore all of us.
3. Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling). If this series doesn't make you consider your own heart and make you want to be braver, kinder, more loving in the face of weakness and need and death, I don't know what will.
4. Speaker for the Dead (Orson Scott Card). The man who unintentionally destroyed a race of sentient beings shows understanding to an abusive husband, an angry and faithless woman, a family of desperate children, and a species that murders its honored citizens. And he searches for a way to right his own wrong in the process. It's beautiful.
5. If You Love Me (Patricia M. St. John). Amid war, hatred, and loss, an Arab Christian girl finds healing through self-sacrifice, forgiveness, the love of a Muslim baby, and her murdered brother's best friend.
6. Kristin Lavransdatter (Sigrid Undset). The consequences of Kristin's sexual wrongs as a teenager have a startling reach into her relationships and outlook as she ages, yet she still finds redemption.
7. Christy (Catherine Marshall). A seventeen-year-old city girl chooses a missionary life teaching in deep Appalachian poverty, and learns a very active form of faith and love.
8. Till We Have Faces (C.S. Lewis). Lewis lets his main character wrong others again and again through her all-too-powerful jealousy, controlling nature, and insecurity. All the while, of course, walking her toward grace.
9. That Hideous Strength (C.S. Lewis). While the world shudders under threat of cold totalitarianism, Ransom and Mark and Jane deal with gender roles, loveless marriage, the use of magic, and the various temptations of power.
10. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo). All right, Hugo does soapbox way too much. But I'm letting him into this list for his exquisite pictures of justice and mercy.
What do you recommend?