When asked if he'd like to write a guide for book group readers, editor Gary Schmidt thought, 'nope,' but the question niggled its way toward a more interesting proposition: why not gather some friends to read and talk about contemporary novels. Ironically, the result is The Emmaus Readers
, a guide for book group readers that introduces twelve novels from some of the best contemporary fiction writers working today. It's a good list and a great place to turn when you're looking for a meaty spiritual (though never overtly religious) read. Among others, the group read Ron Hansen, Ian McEwan, David Guterson, Frederick Buechner, Olga Grushin, and Leif Enger. They covered a range of genres-historical fiction, science fiction, realism, mystery, thriller, the saint's life, graphic novel, contemporary western, and fantasy-from a variety of religious perspectives (Anglican, Catholic, Jewish, Presbyterian, and agnosticism). Each selection includes a synopsis, biographical information about the author, overview of themes for discussion and discovery, detailed discussion questions, and recommendations for like-mattered novels. The book's title is animated by the disciples on the road to Emmaus who listened, and in doing so, were given the spiritual insight that comes from paying close attention.
An Eighth Day View:
"Stories matter. Sometimes it's a story that can best tell the truth."
When an eclectic group of nine friends--fiction-readers and professors at Calvin College in Michigan--came together weekly to wrestle with great contemporary novels, they were surprised to discover how much spiritual meat they found. Together, the self-described Emmaus Readers read P.D. James, Ron Hansen, Ian McEwan, Yann Martel, Oscar Hijuelos, Frederick Buechner, and several others, across a variety of genres: historical fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, science fiction, and mystery.
Each novel is given a thorough synopsis, biographical information about the author, a substantive overview of the issues to be discussed and discovered, detailed discussion questions, and recommendations of other great novels of similar importance. Designed for reading groups, book clubs, librarians, and any individual reader who simply loves novels that explore spiritual issues relevant to daily life, The Emmaus Readers offers to help you listen for God in contemporary fiction.
The Emmaus Readers includes experts from the English, Spanish, French, Sociology and Library Science departments at Calvin College. Editors Susan M. Felch and Gary D. Schmidt and are both professors of English. Schmidt is the author of critical books such as A Passionate Usefulness: The Life and Literary Labors of Hannah Adams, and novels for middle grade readers such as Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, a Newbery Honor Book. Felch has written on sixteenth-century women authors including Elizabeth I and Anne Lock, and is co-editor, with Schmidt, of a series of "spiritual biographies" of the seasons of the year. They both live near Grand Rapids, MI.