How did you start reading? Were you still in primary school, or did your love for reading come about much later? Have your reading preferences changed much over the years? When did you first discover Christian fiction?
For me, I’ve always loved books. I have a school report from when I was very young (about 7) that says if the teacher ever lost sight of me, the first place she would check for me would be the class library, and that’s always where I was. However, reading chapter books came about much later than my peers. I had difficulty with comprehension, and when I started to fully understand the words I was reading and imagine the story playing out in my mind, and not simply rely on the pictures, that was when my reading took off.
However, it was many years before I discovered the existence of Christian fiction. With being homeschooled for part of my teen years, I knew about the existence of children’s Christian fiction, as it was part of our curriculum, such as titles by Patricia St John (“Treasures of the Snow”, “Twice Freed”) and the Sugar Creek Gang series. But I didn't know about adult Christian fiction. At about the same time, I was introduced to Janette Oke’s “Love Comes Softly” series, and Frank E. Peretti’s “This Present Darkness” and “Piercing the Darkness”. Both polar opposite in genre, but wow, once I knew these books existed, I had a feeling there would be many more. And I was so right. Before long, I was reading Bodie & Brock Thoene’s Zion books, and many of Gilbert Morris’s titles. And of course, collecting every Janette Oke title I could find J
Fast forward a few years, and while I devoured as much Christian fiction as I could find from my local public library and church library, I also searched out Christian novels in the local second hand bookstore. I had a method of going along every shelf and book bin glancing at the publisher icons on the spine – the quickest way to find books published by Christian publishers. This was the only way I could afford to grow my personal library at the time. Over the years, my library has grown with both new and second hand purchased novels until it’s now an untameable beast.
Step forward a few years more, and the existence of eBooks on Kindle, read both via the Kindle app on my phone and my actual Kindle, has changed the way I procure books and read them. It’s also made my “library” more mobile, as wherever I go, if I have my phone with me and enough battery power, I can continue with my latest read if I’m waiting somewhere.
Yet, I still prefer an actual physical copy of a book. There’s just something about it that cannot be replaced by convenience. It’s also a wonderful thing to read a good book and be able to share that book with someone else – something that I haven’t been able to do with my Kindle library as the ones who borrow my books don’t have a Kindle for me to share my Kindle reads with them. I’m finding that there is a place for both physical books and digital editions in my ever-growing library. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, and I wouldn’t be without either of them.
How about you?
When did you discover Christian fiction?
Did you easily find more of it once you realised it existed?
Do you read both physical books and digital editions?
Do you have a preference for either?
The attached images are ones of my personal library in it's current chaotic state. The huge gaps on some shelves are where books normally reside, but are currently out on loan. As you can see, the majority of shelves are two rows deep...
ELLIE WHYTE is a long-time supporter of Christian fiction and is the founder and owner/operator of Soul Inspirationz // The Christian Fiction Site which relaunched after a 5-year hiatus in January 2013. Ellie also has aspirations for her own writing career, and has begun working on a project set in New Zealand in the 1850s.
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