Rod Dreher is one of the more provocative Christian writers today. In fact, I don’t agree with everything Rod Dreher has written. But one of his books that I have found personally helpful is called How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher writes in a way that is semi-autobiographical. He’s going through a personal spiritual crisis of his own, so he talks about how reading Dante impacted him. He explains that Dante was going through his own own personal crisis while writing The Divine Comedy. Moreover, The Divine Comedy was more than a speculation about life after death; it was very much a political diatribe in which Dante settled scores, dealt with political issues of the day, and made profound spiritual observations. So if you’ve ever wanted to become familiar with Dante’s Divine Comedy but didn’t have time to read (or understand) the whole poem, this book is a great introduction. It’s approachable, edifying, interesting. Dreher draws out the spiritual lessons in a way I found very helpful.
2017 marked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting the 95 theses on the Wittenburg door. Many books about Martin Luther and the Reformation came out that year. One of the better books is Craig Harline’s A World Ablaze. If you’re interested in getting to know the history of the Reformation but you don’t have a lot of time to slog through the details, this book is for you. Harline is an academic, but he writes in the style and tone of a novel. The book is approachable, readable, engaging, and entertaining, but it’s also very informative. If someone is wanting to know about the Reformation or learn about the life of Luther, I don’t know of a better introduction than A World Ablaze.