Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Why books are dangerous, A readers perspective.

By Jenny Blake

After last week’s posts by Iola and Andrea dealing with a recent article in the Eternity newspaper titled Why do we read Christian romance? I got to thinking. The general content was that reading Christian fiction is bad because it sets up unrealistic ideals. I read the article and was left with a few thoughts but I am not going to concentrate of them here but instead tell you why reading fiction can be dangerous.

I can hear a few people wondering where I am going with this, and I hope you will bear with me as I explain. Christian fiction is dangerous but not in a bad way. Back in the 80’s I hadn’t read anything much for several years. I went from being a huge reader as a child and then as a teen to leaving school and not reading at all. A dear older lady, who passed away a few years back gave me a book called “When Calls the Heart” by Janette Oke. This book ignited my passion for reading as well as my love for both Canada and Mounties. Did the book make me want to marry a Mountie no but it did want me to meet a man with the qualities of this sort of hero. A man who honours God. I finished this book and wanted to read more. The lady who gave me the book was planning to give me the second for my birthday and gave it to me early.  I loved the series and the bought the rest in the series. These books ignited my imagination and my thirst for books.

I became an avid reader and books took me to places I may never see. I don’t just read these books, I often will then research some of the areas to learn more. I have seen books evolve to stronger characters with real issues. When I was going through a tough patch as a carer for my mother, I read Sincerely Mayla by Virginia Smith; she had a secondary character who was Mayla’s Aunt Louisa. She was a carer for her mother. I identified with her and how Virginia portrayed her gave me hope.

Another time I was reading Sister Chicks do the Hula by Robin Jones Gunn. When I finished the book I said I have to go to Hawaii. I told mum and got told you are not going anywhere which really deflated me but I held onto my dream to visit Hawaii. It came to pass about six years ago when I was able to spend a few nights in Hawaii and then had some time in Canada. This past year I was able visit America and some of the historical sites on the East Coast and many of them I had wanted to see after reading about them in Historical Fiction.

Gilbert Morris writes books that make me feel like I am in the era he is writing about. His series about the civil war explains both sides of the war so well that I felt I was learning history as I read the books and fell in love with the characters. Seeing some of the sites like Gettysburg were all the better because I had read about them in books. Many other books I have read, including Australian books, have left me wanting to know more or to see the area.  One was a book by Meredith Resce, Cora Villa, I want to visit Corio House. On the other hand having visited some of the places it makes a book more real also, one example is Robin Jones Gunn’s book Under the Maui Moon where I could identify with places she mentioned because I had visited them or knew where they were.

So yes, Christian fiction is dangerous, at least to this reader. It has opened doors to my imagination and it has made me want to visit places and it has helped me in times of trial. One thing I didn’t mention is often books especially Love Inspired books feature a bible verse and many times that verse has ministered to me. One example was a Jillian Hart book from 2012 where she used the verse from Deut which was my mother’s life verse. I am paraphrasing like Mum would. “The Eternal God is my refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms” that verse sustained mum through many trials and pain and it was a real blessing to me at the time.

Yes books are dangerous but in a good way.


Does anyone else have books that have resonated with you in some way or made you want to visit somewhere or want to do your own research?

JENNY BLAKE (aka Ausjenny) is an avid reader. When not reading she enjoys watching cricket, in fact you could call her a cricket fanatic, and jigsaws. Her book blog is where she reviews books and interview authors. Her goal is to help promote new books and encourage authors. Her blog is at http://ausjenny.blogspot.com and is Co-Founder of http://acrba.blogspot.com

15 comments:

  1. Jenny, I agree wholeheartedly. It's one of the special wonders of great fiction, it transports us to another place.

    Earlier in the year I read Tosca Lee's Iscariot which was written from Judas' perspective. Tosca took us into his mind as he journeyed with Jesus and his fellow disciples. It was fascinating to ask ourselves the question what would we have done?

    I'm currently reading Matthew Reilly's The Tournament. It's set in the 1500s which was such an incredible time in history with Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Luther and the Reformation and the power of the Sultan in Constantinople. I've been transported back to that era and it's been a revelation for me.

    Good joyful post, Jenny. Thanks for sharing your passion with us.

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    1. Thanks Ian for sharing. Books have transported me right back to as a child with the Snow Queen and then The magic Faraway tree. I will always be thankful to this lady who gave me that book and brought me back to reading. She is another dear lady around mum's age who I lost in the past 4 or so years and at the moment I am missing them all dearly but I have memories and this is a special memory.

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  2. Thanks Jenny, I agree books often leave a lasting impression and change in us. I was forever changed by Francine Rivers Mark of The Lion trilogy. It sparked my passion for history and fascinated me - that people continue to make the same mistakes centuries later.

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    1. Thanks Catherine, I have heard a lot about this series but haven't read it yet. I got excited I read about 5 pages on the kindle 2 nights ago and its given me hope I can read a little on the kindle now on larger font.

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  3. Books are dangerous? Totally agree! I'm a bit like you - I read something and have to find out more about it. I'm very grateful that Google came along - research is so much easier. The number one reason why books are dangerous for me? Because they are a major distraction. I can lose myself in them for hours on end. What a wonderful problem :)

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    1. I have actually read a book and gone no way that happened then and had to check and sure enough it did.
      With my new condition I struggle to read for long or do anything for long and just want to be able to use reading as a distraction from the pain.

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  4. Lovely to hear how books have helped you in your journey Jenny.

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    1. Thanks Dale they are such a help and they haven't given me any false expectations of romance (Hey im still single).

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  5. Jenny, lovely post :) Thanks for sharing with us how Christian fiction books have touched your life. I love travelling to exotic location and different worlds through fiction. And I agree with Andrea, fiction can be a major distraction and leave us bleary-eyed the next morning when we couldn't put the book down and had to read to the end :)

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  6. It sure is dangerous in a good way. I first discovered Christian fiction back in the 80s when I saw the "When Calls the Heart" series in the Christian bookshop. Janette Oke was the first Christian fiction author I'd ever heard of, and I remember thinking, "What a fantastically good idea."

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  7. Hi Paula, I have to say that book is still special to me. I am hoping to get the dvd for christmas. Books have evolved a lot since then.

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  8. Hi Jenny.. what a wonderful fisrt post!!

    I met Janette Oke in 2010. Her books taught my mum to read English. We loved them all, especially this Canadian series. :)

    You know what's dangerous for me? A very much desired trip to Prince Edward Island, Anne of Green Gables country! Even more dangerous for my Beloved who will have to visit with me. :)

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  9. Wow what an honour Dotti, Yes I want to go to Prince Edward Island also. Im sure your beloved will love it.
    One author wrote about national parks and I want to go to Shiloh National park in Tennessee I even looked up how far it was from my friend I stayed with and it was to far for a day trip. I still want to go there.

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  10. Awesome post, Jenny. Thank you so much for sharing. Janette Oke is a favourite of mine as well - I can't count how many times I've read and reread them.

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