Spoiler alert for my top ten books – both CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien will make an appearance. But if you want to know who influenced them (and GK Chesterton), go back to the 1800s and meet George MacDonald. MacDonald wrote some wonderful fantasy stories (The Princess and the Goblin, for one) that clearly point ahead to Tolkien. He also wrote fiction that meditated on deep religious themes (Phantastes, Lillith). For me though, it was his reflections on theology in Unspoken Sermons that blew me away. Be warned though, if you believe traditional evangelical Christian theology, MacDonald will confront your beliefs. Of course, Lewis will too. The more Lewis I read, the more I am surprised how highly he is held by some in America. But if you like Lewis, it is definitely worth your time to check out MacDonald. He’ll make you think, and also deepen your faith.