Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Middle of the Week and Reading

It's Wednesday, the middle of the week! How's it going so far? We're finally through the holidays, Sam's back at school, Wes has finished some church paperwork that was necessary to get done ASAP, Beth's and my babysitting job is over, so now we have a "normal" few days to finish out the week. Of course, normal is just a setting on your dryer, so who knows what else will happen this week?! ;)

My dad is doing better. Mother said the swelling has gone down and he appears to be on the mend. Praise the Lord that it didn't seem to be all that serious. I bet he got lots of ribbing at church on Sunday, though! ;) He really did look funny.

After keeping the nursery at Metro Baptist last night, I was talking to the pastor's wife, and the subject of books came up. We both love to read, so we had lots of conversational fodder available. We both agreed on one thing: some Christian fiction authors write some things that we won't let our teenaged daughters read. Some of them we won't even read ourselves! We won't read "Christian" romance novels that have love scenes in them that are basically Harlequin novels with a Christian spin on them. One of the most well-written books I've ever read is Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. Excellent writing, but if you've read that book, you know that there are quite a few scenes in it that, if they were on TV or in a movie, you would turn it off (at least I hope you would). So why read it if you wouldn't watch it? Your imagination works as you read, making pictures of the scene in your mind, just like you would see the movie on the screen; it's the same thing as watching it. I told Mrs. Mackay last night, "While I was reading that book, I was afraid Wes would pick it up and wonder what on earth I was reading." I have no problem with reading romantic fiction - as long as it's clean. I also prefer that it not just entertain, but that it inspire me to live better, be a better Christian, wife, or mother.

Some authors that I enjoy and would recommend as a pastor's wife or as a mother for my teenaged daughter are Janette Oke, Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter, and Al Lacy. I also love Francena Arnold, but she wrote many years ago and her books were more contemporary for her time. Women and girls now would not identify with a lot of the settings, but if they get past the setting and get the theme of the books, they are excellent, more than just entertainment. Another clean, godly author was Grace Livingston Hill. My high school advanced composition teacher scoffed at Mrs. Hill's books, saying they were not true literature, but I enjoy them very much. They were also written years ago and in a different time, but the timeless values are there - modesty, hard work, honesty, loyalty, love of home and family. She wrote beautiful descriptions of home life made beautiful in the midst of poverty. Her books are very predictable, some of the characters a little unrealistic, but wholesome reading anyway. Which is hard to find now. I can recommend Lori Wick's novels set in older times, but I don't care for the ones set in more modern times.

So, I'm a stick in the mud when it comes to fiction! LOL I do love to read though, and I've been trying some new authors. I hope to find some that I love and that I could wholeheartedly recommend. Do you have some that you love? We have a limited variety of Christian authors at our library here, but I'm always on the lookout for those I haven't read before. Please share your recommendations!

13 comments:

  1. Hi Susan,

    I'm a frequent reader but I don't know if I've ever commented before! Anyway, I really enjoy reading about your life and ministry. I wanted to share a few favorite Christian authors--I LOVE to read, though I don't have as much time to do it anymore with 2 little ones! One of my favorite series is the Gresham Chronicles, by Lawana Blackwell. I've read a few other books by her, but this series is my hands-down favorite. There are 3 books: "The Widow of Larkspur Inn," "The Courtship of the Vicar's Daughter," and "The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark." They are so enjoyable and very well written. Some other favorites are the Mitford books by Jan Karon, and most anything by Beverly Lewis. I also enjoy many of the authors you mentioned.

    I look forward to seeing what others share on this topic!

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  2. I have also read the Blackwell books that Carrie commented on. Cindy Woodsmall is another author I just recently discovered. I'll have to go find the titles and pass them along. They're also Amish books similar to those written by Wanda Brunstetter and Beverly Lewis.

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  3. Hi Susan! I have recently read a few books by Tracie Peterson. She has written a lot of books, and I've only read 2 of her books, so I can't say that they are all good, you know? But I did enjoy the 2 I read!

    I love GLH, and Francena Arnold. It is hard to find Francena Arnold's books, at least it is for me!

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  5. I also like Jan Karon's Mitford Series books (set in the mountains of NC!), Janette Oke and Lori Wick. My daughter's name is Lori and she read Lori Wick's books when she was a late teen/early twenty something. I usually just stick to non fiction self help books because I need all the help I can get. (grin)

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  6. I like most of the authors you have mentioned & have read some of their books. I used to have a book by Francena Arnold but lost it yrs ago. I haven't seen any of her books in yrs. I wish I could afford to buy more of the Christian fiction novels...

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  7. I really enjoy Jaime Langston Turners books. They are very enjoyable and spur me on to good works.

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  8. Two authors I enjoy very much are Jan Karon (as was listed by other commenters) and Melanie Jeschke (The Oxford Chronicles).

    An author who is not a "Christian writer" is Laura Childs whose Tea Shop Mystery books are lots of fun to read. I recommend them highly, even to other Christian women. However, I've heard her Scrapbook mystery series is not one I'd appreciate as much so I've stayed away from them.

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  9. I know just what you mean about finding good Christian writers; it's so difficult these days as everyone is trying to add that something extra that really isn't necessary! I've lately cracked down on what I'm reading myself, as the mind is very powerful, and we just don't need to be planting impure thoughts... so you're not the only "stick in the mud" LOL!

    I've just recently discovered Bodie and Brock Theone. I received one of their books from a family member, and I haven't finished reading it yet, so I don't know how it is... but so far, I am hooked, and I'm only in the prologue!!! If it's any good, I'll let you know, and I'll even pass it along to you. :~)

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  10. For years I didn't read Christian fiction because it seemed to me either too worldly, too improbable, or not well written.

    I am happy to say that I have finally found an author who meets my standards of good Christian writing -- Jamie Langston Turner. Unfortunately she has only written 6 books so far, but they are quite lengthy books. I must hasten to add, however, that her books are definitely for adults, not teen girls. They are marvelously well written and -- as someone else has said, will challenge you in your Christian walk. But some of the themes are, in my mind, too adult for teens.

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  11. I've been enjoying your blog for awhile now. I see you recommended Wanda Brunstetter. I hadn't read any by her before and just this week picked up one from the library! I'm about half way through and it is really good. I'm going to pass it along to my daughter when I'm done, as I think she too will enjoy it. It's nice sometimes to just read something light like this, as so often I'm reading more challenging ones that take time to get through. Thanks for sharing your blog!

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  12. Elizabeth3:33 PM

    Susan -
    As an early teen, I began reading the Elizabeth Gail series by Hilda Stahl. I have every one she's written, and I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to read them. The entire series is hard to find these days, but you can still get a condensed series. Those books have such a tremendous emphasis on truly trusting God -- God used that series, though fiction, in a great way in my life. As an adult, I read her adult books as well. Mrs. Stahl is now with the Lord, but I was able to correspond directly with her prior to her passing -- what a wonderful lady she was! I absolutely recommend her books.

    Another author that I have greatly enjoyed in the past is Carol Gift Page. They are very good reads that are God-focused as well.
    -Elizabeth

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  13. Thank you for sharing your take on Redeeming Love. I have that book, but never read it (I've never read anything by Francine Rivers--I know! Gasp! LOL). I'm not a huge reader of fiction, but I'd have to say my favorite authors are Beverly Lewis and Jan Karon.

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Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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