Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why I Read What I Read

I feel like when you publish a list of what you read, you are almost publishing your soul. I read a lot (okay, a WHOLE lot!). I read for education and for information - but mainly, I read for entertainment. Hence the long lists of murder mysteries. Now, acknowledging that I read murder mysteries and other fiction (not all of which is "Christian") does open me up to comments about whether or not a professing Christian should read fiction at all. There are some who say you shouldn't. There are others who think that their reading, ie, thought life (and what they watch on tv, etc.) has no bearing on their walk with the Lord.

I am going to disagree with both points. I think it is okay to participate in secular reading, based on my own convictions of the Holy Spirit. And I do believe that the Spirit convicts on these things. Case in point - I used to read what I call "gory murder mysteries" - Kate Scarpetta, Alex Cross, etc. The sex and violence were graphic. I didn't think anything of it - it is just fiction, right? About ten years ago, I was reading an Alex Cross mystery, and suddenly it just hit me - why would I put these images into my mind? I mean, why at all? There was nothing edifying about this book. There was nothing even fun - it was a bloody, gory murder. Since then, I have put them aside. I have done the same with "historical romances" that include graphic sex as part of the story - even if the characters are married. To me, it was basically soft-core porn. Some of it has been hard - I really LOVED the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. And it was really easy to make this decision not to read any more....once the series was over. And it takes years for her to publish a book.

Then the next episode came out. In defense, I will note that her books are exceptionally well-written, and the characters of Clare and Jamie can really suck you into their world. But....the books are sexually graphic. So, I got on the list for it at the library. No one would know but me and the librarians, right? And they won't tell. It was a long wait for it. And then I got the email that it was on hold for me. Planned my day around driving to the library (about 20 miles) to get it. And I....called the library and told them to give it to the next person. I couldn't do it.

Now, this is not a condemnation on anyone who does read Diana Gabaldon, or any of the other books I've mentioned. Each of us has to deal with that as individuals. There are certainly those who would say that I am stepping over a line by reading Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth mysteries. I can couch that by saying the murders are generally glossed over, and the focus is on the detective story, and they are usually funny (being set in small English villages). Or that I should not read anything where there is some profanity. Well, maybe. But right now I can enjoy a good story and my mind doesn't stay focused on an occassional cuss word. If I pick up a new author and find the book filled with profanity, then I will put it back. Generally that kind of writing won't hold my interest, anyway.

If you look at my lists, you'll see that I read a lot of family/homeschooling books, some years a lot about food, a lot of cozy mysteries, and quite a bit of "light" theology. I try to take time to spend in the Bible each day, I read a lot of Christian magazines, homeschool magazines and devotionals as well. And of course, I do read The Leader every week (gotta know what my neighbors are up to!).

So, this has probably gone way past the point where your eyes have glazed over, but if you have stuck it out this long, thank you and your comments are appreciated!

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