The Image Top 100 Books of the Century


A central part of "Image's" mission is to showcase the wealth of "contemporary" writing that grapples in a serious way with religious faith. We hope that the following list offers but a glimpse of that wealth of talent this past century has seen.

A central part of Image's mission is to showcase the wealth
of contemporary writing that grapples in a serious way with
religious faith. But, of course, we are also always mindful
of Image's "patron saints" — T.S. Eliot, Flannery O'Connor,
Walker Percy, Georges Bernanos, Shusaku Endo, to name
but a few — authors and thinkers who have inspired many
of the writers who appear in our pages, and who inspire us
as we put those pages together.

We hope that the following list offers but a glimpse of that
wealth of talent this past century has seen — talent exhibited
both by those who laid the groundwork for the great works
now being written and by those whose compelling
narratives and lyrics are helping to bring us into the twenty-
first century with a renewed hope in the marriage of
religion and art.

In selecting books for this list, we decided to list an author
only once, so that we would end up with 100 different
writers. Moreover, only creative writing was considered:
fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction. The works
selected had to manifest a genuine engagement with the
Judeo-Christian heritage of faith, rather than merely use
religion as background or subject matter.

While we have made every effort to be diverse and global
in our selections, we've undoubtedly left things out
(including, of course, the masterworks that may yet be
written in 2000). We invite you to e-mail us with your
suggestions for inclusion on our
Recommendations Page
. Use the on-line form below to
send us your recommendation.
Click here to see our readers' recommendations.

In addition to the Image Top 100, we've rounded up some
individual, favorite books-of-the-century lists by
Scott Cairns
, Alfred Uhry, Warren Farha, William Coleman,
and Gregory Wolfe. Simply click on a name to see their list.

Finally, support some wonderful people and a great
bookstore: You can order any book from any of the lists
from Eighth Day Books. Just click on their logo beneath each list.

The Image Top 100 Books
of the Century

(alphabetical order according to author's last name)

W.H. Auden, Collected Poems
Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest
Wendell Berry, Sabbaths
John Berryman, 77 Dream Songs
Doris Betts, Souls Raised from the Dead
Leon Bloy, The Woman Who Was Poor
Heinrich Boll, The Stories of Heinrich Boll
Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons
Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes
George Mackay Brown, Selected Poems
Frederic Buechner, Godric
Scott Cairns, Recovered Body
Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop
G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday
Paul Claudel, The Satin Slipper
Elizabeth Dewberry, Many Things Have Happened Since He Died
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Andre Dubus, Selected Stories
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
Alice Thomas Ellis, The Sin Eater
Shusaku Endo, Silence
William Everson, Collected Poems (The Residual Years; The Veritable Years)
Horton Foote, The Trip to Bountiful
Christopher Fry, The Lady's Not for Burning
Denise Giardina, Saints and Sinners
Jose Maria Gironella, The Cypresses Believe in God
Julien Green, Diaries
Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory
Patricia Hampl, Virgin Time
Ron Hansen, Mariette in Ecstasy
Mark Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War
Oscar Hijuelos, Mr. Ives' Christmas
Geoffrey Hill, The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Peguy
Edward Hirsch, Earthly Measures
Paul Horgan, Great River
Andrew Hudgins, The Neverending
John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
Josephine Jacobsen, In the Crevice of Time: New and Selected Poems
Mark Jarman, Questions for Ecclesiastes
Elizabeth Jennings, Collected Poems
David Jones, The Anathemata
Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ
Thomas Keneally, Three Cheers for the Paraclete
William Kennedy, Ironweed
Wally Lamb, I Know This Much is True
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies
Denise Levertov, The Stream and the Sapphire
Philip Levine, The Mercy
C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
Torgny Lindgren, Light
Robert Lowell, Lord Weary's Castle
Paul Mariani, Salvage Operations
Francois Mauriac, Viper's Tangle
Alice McDermott, Charming Billy
Thomas Merton, Collected Poems
Vassar Miller, If I Had Wheels or Love: Collected Poems
Walter Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz
Czelaw Milosz, Collected Poems
Brian Moore, Black Robe
Robert Morgan, The Truest Pleasure
Malcolm Muggeridge, Chronicles of Wasted Time
Edwin Muir, Complete Poems
Les Murray, Collected Poems
Kathleen Norris, Dakota
Patrick O'Brian, The Aubrey/Maturin Novels
Flannery O'Connor, The Violent Bear It Away
Virginia Stem Owens, If You Do Love Old Men
Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved
Charles Peguy, The Mystery of the Charity of Joan of Arc
Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
David Plante, The Francoeur Trilogy
Chaim Potok, My Name is Asher Lev
J.F. Powers, The Presence of Grace
Reynolds Price, Three Gospels
Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory
Dorothy Sayers, The Mind of the Maker
Ignazio Silone, Bread and Wine
Louis Simpson, New and Selected Poems
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Collected Stories
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Muriel Spark, Memento Mori
Tom Stoppard, Hapgood
John Heath Stubbs, Collected Poems
Allen Tate, Collected Poems
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Anne Tyler, Saint Maybe
Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter
John Updike, In the Beauty of the Lillies
Peter de Vries, The Blood of the Lamb
Dan Wakefield, Returning
Walter Wangerin, Jr., The Book of the Dun Cow
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
Elie Wiesel, Night
Richard Wilbur, New and Collected Poems
Charles Williams, All Hallows' Eve
A.N. Wilson, Wise Virgin
Tim Winton, Cloudstreet
Larry Woiwode, Beyond the Bedroom Wall
Tobias Wolff, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs


"The Image Top 100 Books of the Century" Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion (2001).

Reprinted with permission of Image.

Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion explores the relationship between Judeo-Christian faith and art through contemporary fiction, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, film, music, and dance. Each issue contains high-quality four-color reproductions of visual art. In addition to original fiction and poetry, Image features interviews, memoirs, and essays. To order Image call 1-800-841-2541.

Copyright © 2001 Center for Religious Humanism

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Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.