Thanks so much to the folks at The Broke And The Bookish who week after week challenge bloggers to think, sometimes way outside the box. This week, bloggers are sharing the Top 10 Reasons They Love X. In my case, X is Christian fiction. To find out what other bloggers love, click HERE.
When I saw this week’s theme it got me thinking. Just what do I love in my reading life? Genres, authors, settings, bookstores, etc. Well I came up with Christian Fiction. For the last 15+ years I have been reading Christian fiction almost exclusively. Oh sure, I read the occasional general market bestseller or even a non-fiction title, but the majority of my reading is spent in the pages of inspirational fiction. What happened years ago to bring me to the point now where my shelves are brimming with CBA titles? I was diagnosed with MS after a bout with optic neuritis. I temporarily lost the sight in my left eye and then a few months later had sight deficits in my right eye. For a committed bookworm, this was devastating. The loss was indeed temporary and though I need corrective lenses due to genetics and
old age maturity, I can see pretty well. My new glasses are helping a lot too! As I faced a future of uncertainty regarding my health, I decided that time was too short to fill it with books that do not encourage or inform or entertain with God in mind. My blog’s subtitle is Reviews, Discussions, Etc. . . . All In The Light of God’s Word. As I state in my About page, I choose fiction based on Philippians 4:8 — books that explore what is noble, beautiful, right, lovely and pure. Although life as seen through a Christian worldview is often as ugly, gritty, or heartbreaking as through a secular worldview, the underlying message declares that there is redemption, hope and peace through Jesus. I have the added bonus that if my preacher comes to call, I don’t have to hide the books! 😉 Seriously, though, here are the reasons I Love Christian Fiction.
Top Reasons I Love Christian Fiction
No excuses, no hiding, no guilt. I jokingly said I don’t have to hide my books if my preacher should pay me a visit. He does live across the street so it could happen! But really it goes much deeper than that. Years ago I found myself engrossed with some Scottish time-jumping books. You know the ones. I was really into them; reading each book in the series in quick succession. Well, the content, for me, was inappropriate. I said for me. I am not judging anyone else’s book choices. I just know what my weaknesses are and so does God. So He has directed me away from books that fill my mind with images I just don’t need. Christian fiction generally has none of these pitfalls. I can enjoy great fiction without regrets!
Committed authors. I am sure that general market authors, some of them Christians, are committed to their writing craft. So are authors who write for the Christian market. I have also found, through interactions with these authors, they are committed to following the direction of God in their writing. They listen to what He says and then they try their best to communicate it through their books. I have found words aptly spoken, like apples of gold in settings of silver, that were meant just for me. Authors committed to God + committed to their craft = wonderful books for readers!
Genres galore. If it is a genre, you can find it in Christian fiction. I read everything, including cereal boxes, so I am thankful that Christian fiction has expanded over the years. Some may think that End Times or Amish are the only genres available, but I have found tons of books in many other genres. If you like light-hearted romance or deep literary fiction, or suspense, or horror (yes even horror), you can find great Christian fiction to fit the bill. Here are some examples:
Fantasy — A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr (book 1 in a fabulous series)
Mystery — Miranda Warning by Heather Gilbert
Romance — The Discovery by Dan Walsh
Supernatural Suspense — The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey
Legal Drama — Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales by Randy Singer
Historical — The Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert
Community. I love talking about books and I have found a great big group of others who do too. Locally, my book club, By The Book, has been discussing Christian fiction for almost 14 years. We meet every month to discuss a fiction title we have all read. We’ve learned so much about the world and ourselves in the course of reading Christian fiction. On the interwebs, I’ve also discovered a bunch of people who are passionate about reading Christian fiction — bloggers, authors and other devoted readers. If you are interested in what’s going on in the Christian book world or finding your next best read, then check out the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction FB Group.
Real life. Real stories. As I mentioned above, the books I read often have something just for me. It is rare that a book I read does not speak to something I am struggling with or an attitude I need to adjust or an insight into the world of another person. Sure Christian fiction is fiction, but when an author is following God’s leading, the stories they tell are real and relevant for their readers. One of my most recent reads was an historical novel set in a monastery in 14th century England. Relevant for today? Why, yes! Written specifically for me? I think so! Of course Jesus was the Master storyteller, and His people create in His image and produce stories that will speak to the heart of the reader. Whether I am riding the seas with a pirate, crossing the dessert on a camel or enjoying a small town visit, Christian fiction has a message for me. And please understand I am not talking about a sermon or an evangelistic tract, but a heart-warming or soul-touching tale that speaks truth while entertaining.