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Friday, June 10, 2011

Why I Don't Feel Guilty Reading Fiction

Years ago, I had a love/hate relationship with fiction. Every time I picked up the latest Christian fiction novel, a little voice in my head would inevitably chime in saying,

“Don’t you have anything better to do with your time? You should be reading something more intellectually stimulating or spiritually challenging, not some silly unrealistic romance.”

The thing was, deep thought provoking books often took me months to read, as opposed to the day or two I spent devouring the stories of a young Amish woman or prairie wife. I simply did not want to commit that much time or brain power to a “textbook” I would never pick up again.

I have finally learned how to balance the fiction/non-fiction scale and now enjoy reading both genres, but the real breakthrough occurred when I decided to release the guilt building up inside me about my bookcase full of fiction novels. 

1. I realized fiction was my mini getaway from life; a time for me to sit back and not worry about the dishes, the laundry, etc. There were times when I needed that break from the mundane, not only to keep my sanity, but also so I would not burn out too quickly. Reading a few chapters during an afternoon lull was enough to keep me physically and emotionally charged so I could tackle the rest of my routine.

2. A unique way to learn history can be through a fiction novel. Arrays of fairly accurate historical stories have been published throughout the years, which provide a realistic view of life during various time periods. That makes this history buff very happy. :)

I need to point out though that there are just as many inaccurate versions as there are true. Nevertheless, you can turn these stories into a stepping stone for personal research and still discover some rich history for yourself. 

3. Fiction can be life-changing. Authors, such as Karen Kingsbury, write novels that are inspiring, heart-wrenching, and end up bringing you closer to God through the entire story. They are not your happily ever after type of fiction, rather, they are often stories sparked by real people who have real problems and need to rely on their faith to pull them through. She covers issues of adoption, autism, 9/11 tragedies, and broken marriages

Even though I have given three good reasons why I think you and I can read fiction and not feel guilty, I still believe a steady diet of Christian fiction will consequently turn your brain to mush. Take a balanced approach, vary your genres, and always be reading with a Biblical filter, no matter which book you choose.

Disclosure: All product links are affiliate links.

For further reading, check out the article Why Romance Novels Aren't Emotional Porn by Her.meneutics.


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