Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Harrison Bergeron Factor




I read Monday’s post carefully. And read the comments over and over. I want to ask our readers to consider another tack.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote a short-short story I read when I was a teenager, which greatly affected me, called “Harrison Bergeron.” Read the whole thing here.
What I read in ten minutes has stuck with me forever. It’s about a future society in which all talented or beautiful or otherwise exceptional people are deliberately handicapped: The best dancers must wear cumbersome weights, the most intelligent must have their thinking disrupted with electric shocks.
Some years ago when I had a monthly book review column for a Christian bookstore national publication called Release, I mourned the fact that there was so little high-quality CBA fiction to review. If novels didn’t offend people, and had a formulaic plot or genre markings, people snapped them up. But the world scoffed.
And scoffs. And some wouldn’t read them if they were on a desert island with nothing else to read.

I don’t pretend to know all the factors that led to that state of affairs. But Eric Wilson’s comments set me to thinking about why, and I thought of Harrison Bergeron. I wondered if this might be a factor that no one talks about, but which has an effect on the whole situation.
I’ll take it a bit further than Eric did in his post. Here’s how I see it:
In the beginning, Christian publishing as an industry bought and paid for a reputation for overall mediocrity in fiction that it is trying to dig itself out of. For years, bookstore patrons financed and encouraged this by continuing to buy innocuous books. Safe books. (I know some of the reasons why: We don’t cuss and we don’t chew, and we don’t read those books that do.)
Here’s the thing about trying to write books that aren’t innocuous. In a Christian culture that believes in the priesthood of all believers and the inherent equality of each person’s soul, those who want to dance in the desert and kiss the ceiling and take literary risks of style and content are often considered presumptuous. Hoity-toity. Even reckless.
And if they set their goals high and don’t reach them, others are afraid to fail too: a cautionary tale.
If you’re reading this NovelMatters blog, you are probably interested in upmarket fiction. The kind of writing that hopes to endure regardless of genre. What we admire and yearn for, to be used as examples in classrooms and instruction books of the future. More reach read than beach read. Writing that is so expert, so crafted, so winsome it can carry the aroma of Christ even as it convicts.
Enduring. Literature. Excellence. What we aim for; and no matter how spectacularly we miss, some are at least trying.
Oh, but aiming for those things implies judgment on other Christian writers, someone might say. Is it right to extinguish—or diminish-- the smoking wicks of safer books, those that do not wrench the soul?
What do you think about this? Two questions:
1) In our laudable attempts to affirm the gifts and efforts of all, could there be a Harrison Bergeron factor (HBF) affecting what we call Christian fiction?
2) And in a rapidly-changing industry atmosphere, what do you see will be the result of the collision of the HBF and self publishing?




41 comments:

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Love this line: "More reach read than beach read."

And the idea of carrying the aroma of Christ while at the same time convicting. Excellent.

I write what I like to read. It comes down to personal taste.

Brilliant thought about the Harrison Bergeron factor. Wish I had all afternoon to discuss this. I'm going to think on this and I hope to be back later to join in what I know will be a powerful dialogue.
~ Wendy

Wendy Paine Miller said...

FYI: I just ordered Let the Great World Spin per comments on last post. Looks like a great read!
~ W

Kathleen Popa said...

My personal taste runs toward those novels that attempt the miraculous, because I believe in miracles. Even if such a novel fails spectacularly, I still walk away having read something spectacular.

It's like dancing. You don't stick your arm out. You reach for the horizon. You will never touch it, but the reach makes all the difference in the line.

Eric W. Trant said...

Ever heard of the band Creed?

Their songs are Christian rock songs, but they're not face-smack with their delivery.

Their lyrics are clean. Their message, if you listen, is clear.

Their audience, though, is different than you might get from other Christian rock singers. They didn't go for the Christians and exclude all the sinners and non-believers -- they aimed for the mainstream listeners and hit em dead-on with a Christian message.

I don't think there is any hobbling of Christian writers, either. I just think there is a distinct lack of Christian writers who aim for the mainstream.

- Eric

Lynn Dean said...

Brilliant short story. Reminds me a bit of Ayn Rand's novella, Anthem. There's so much here and in your post that it will take some time to unpack it.

Bonnie Grove said...

Lynn: You've hit on my thoughts exactly. There is so much here it will take time to unpack it.

I confess, I'm one of those people - those ones who feel called to reach for something I know is beyond my grasp. A sort of excellence I cannot even define. As for failing, I've done that too. Over and over. Yet I get up and try again, because something is calling me over and I have to reach the voice. I need to know what it is that's calling.

Chris Jager - Baker Book House-fiction buyer said...

Interesting post. I really liked the short story.

Eric- I love Creed, I heard them many years ago at a little music festival called Cornerstone music festival in IL.

Does everything I read have to teach me something? Can't I just read something for the fun of it? I love books that make me think, but I also love the total get away books. I think we need both.

There is a mew book comimg out soon called "when Mettalica came to church" It is by a pastor who finds great pleasure in finding God in everything. I guess that maybe what I look for in a book, Christian or not. It is all His and He will use any and all of it to get our attention. Interesting thought with fiction.

Sometimes God wants us to "Be still." It does mean just sitting still and listening for Him, but it does sometimes mean just resting ourselves. I have heard God in the quiet of a funny little book that really had nothing to do with Him.

Kathleen Popa said...

Chris, your comment hit me like a splash of cold water. No, no no - I don't think fiction's best function is to teach us things.

It's to show us things - like the world through another's eyes. Like God's Grandeur flaming out like shining from shook foil.

The best thing I got from The DaVinci Code was the Fibonacci sequence, the series of numbers that show up again and again in nature to form that beautiful spiral. I'd never heard of it, but once I did, it seemed like deep magic from before time, like God was winking at us from every drop of dew.

It's like Tolstoy said:
"If someone were to tell me that it lay in my power to write a novel explaining every social question from a particular viewpoint that I believed to be the correct one, I still wouldn't spend two hours on it. But if I were told that what I am writing will be read in twenty years time by the children of today, and that those children will laugh, weep, and learn to love life as they read, why then I would devote the whole of my life and energy to it."

Bonnie Grove said...

"Does everything I read have to teach me something?"
Chris, I love the question. And I understand what you mean - not everything has to be a lesson (Hello - I read THE NANNY DIARIES - twice). There is a time to kick back with some good ol' fun.

But.

There is a fear that we've become a culture that over indulges in what should be occasional mind candy. It has become (the fear is) a steady diet.

Recently, I was looking over a list of required reading that students of C.S. Lewis read over the course of a year. Foundational literature designed to form pillars in the minds of these young men and prepare them to begin to think and judge for themselves. I was slack jawed, both by the heft of the list and my own sorry lack of foundation.

It's important the readers and writers pay attention to the function of literature in a culture.

Latayne C Scott said...

Wendy, I'm always glad for your comments, especially because you've read my novel. So you know how earnestly I want to write the kind of things that will be remembered.

I saw a picture frame in a store today. Carved in the wood were the words, "In a hundred years, it won't matter..."

And I really wanted to buy the frame and smash it. Until I saw the price tag.

Latayne C Scott said...

Katy dearest, you are my role model for unabashed joy, the one who not only writes about dancing in the desert but does it.

Eric, I love your Creed example. And I don't think Christian writers are hobbled deliberately. What I meant (and mean) is that book buyers vote with their checkbooks. One of our recent columns recounted how an award-winning literary fiction writer has won numerous awards from Christian and nonChristian entities for her superb work -- and yet did not earn a dime in royalties the entire last year.

Latayne C Scott said...

Lynn and Bonnie, I'm grateful for your comments and for your appreciation for Vonnegut's work -- and the heritage we have in the English language of provocative, excellent writing. Oh, the high bar they set for us....

Latayne C Scott said...

Chris, you don't know how much I look forward to your comments, because what you say carries so much influence with us here at NovelMatters. You have your pulse on the industry as much as anyone I know personally.

I agree with you completely that we need a variety of genres and "weights" of Christian writing. In the last couple of weeks, I've read (or listened to) a James Patterson novel, a Tony Hillerman, a short story collection of mysteries, a book of Southern humor from Southern Living, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Talk about variety!

One point I was making in my post was that literary fiction isn't financed by the Christian community to the extent that other genres in a Christian bookstore are, just looking at copies sold. Is that something you'd agree with?

Eric W. Trant said...

Latayne,

Are you asking ~why~ people don't buy Christian fiction, or simply pointing it out?

I'll say that Creed is the only Christian band whose music I've bought in many years, though I used to listen to it quite a bit, especially in high school and college.

For me, I quit listening to it not because I disliked the music, but because I disliked the variety. It was (or seemed to be) the same song with a different beat, over and over and over.

I answered on this topic because you hit a chord with me.

See, I'm not a Godly-God man. I'm one of those sinner-Christians. You know the type.

My online handle is Saul. Who was Saul? He was the disciple Paul, before he converted, and he was the most prolific of the disciples. Saul was the pre-believer version of Paul, the doubter, the questioner, the one who needed to see for himself.

Do you see what I mean?

In one book I dealt with the occult. In another, I presented how God crafts angels out of broken people, a book called Evander's Forge.

I have a ton of angel-demon stories, none of which are what I would call classic religious stories. My "first" short story was a Christian short story.

But I am not a Christian writer. Not at all.

I am pithy. I am crude. My characters match that attitude, as do my stories. Evander curses to God's face and stomps and although he's a good man, he's neither perfect nor judgmental, and he's full of doubts on one hand, and cursed with undeniable belief on the other.

Yes, I said he was cursed with believing.

Anyway, I sent some work to Christian publishers and it got kicked back, likely because of that crassness and cheekiness and because it was abnormal to the Christian genre, or maybe I'm just a stinky-pooh writer. ;)

Maybe mine aren't the right books, and maybe my approach is off-target, but I do believe -- FIRMLY -- that if you want to write a Christian book that SELLS to the mainstream, you'll need to be as crass and uncouth as the mainstream in your delivery.

I believe that sort of book, if done correctly and with a pinch of taste, will fly off the shelves even in a Christian bookstore, though here's the irony: The Christian bookstore would probably ban it.

- Eric

Latayne C Scott said...

Eric, I'm one of those sinner-Christians too. I really appreciate your insights. Surely some of us can get the message of redemption out to people who haven't already heard it so many times they're numb to it.

christa said...

When I walk into the bookstore there are two reasons I head to the Christian fiction section:
1) to see my novel because it feeds my ego
2) to buy a novel recommended to me or written by a friend

Otherwise, I do not cruise the Christian fiction section in search of a novel. There, I've said it. Most of what I buy/read is not CF.

So, why did I choose to purse publication in the Christian market you ask? Because I think the topic of addictions and a novel that focused on alcoholism and recovery needed to offer hope and redemption. And alcoholism needed to stop being the elephant in the room that many Christians pretended not to see.

Am I a literary elitist? Definitely not. I devoured the Twilight books. As for content, well, I can't be lead down any path I don't want to go.

My students read "Harrison Bergeron" before reading Fahrenheit 451. Here's a quote from Bradbury's F451 that haunts me:
“Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that!… Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did.” — Captain Beatty

Should books entertain? Sure. But even knowing what makes us laugh and feel happy is a way of learning something about ourselves.

I don't advocate sensationalism or gratuitous scenes. But I do believe in what Flannery O' Connor called the "total effect" of a piece. Try pulling a few snippets out of the Bible and inserting them in a manuscript without referencing the source---

Maybe our voices aren't being heard by publishers. Maybe when publishers take a risk and release a novel that's on the fringes, and it's one that we value, we need to let them know. To thank them and ask for more.

Latayne C Scott said...

Wow, Christa. I haven't read your debut novel Walking on Broken Glass, but if your honesty and articulateness in this comment, and the rave reviews on Amazon, are any indication, you've got a heckuva literary punch.

Thank you so much!

Kathleen L. Maher said...

Incredible that you should quote the Vonnegut short story. I have used this in my own comparisons to Christian culture in general. Tonight on Facebook, I just posted a question. Do we follow an ism, or did we respond to a man who said "Come, follow me?" Is being "a Christian" in the churchianity culture the same as following Christ? If you stray from proper thought or godforbid use colorful language to make your point, you must not be a Christian. Rules, handicaps and weights, indeed. Great questions.

Stephanie Reed said...

"Here’s how I see it:In the beginning, Christian publishing as an industry bought and paid for a reputation for overall mediocrity in fiction that it is trying to dig itself out of. For years, bookstore patrons financed and encouraged this by continuing to buy innocuous books. Safe books."

This makes a lot of sense. It's the second time today that I've come across the concept that safety versus innovation can have long-term detrimental effects.

I grew up in Dayton, OH. My dad has always said that everything good in Ohio goes to The Three C's--Cleveland, Columbus. and Cincinnati. I wondered why, and today during research for my third book, I think I hit on it. Dayton played it safe.

It goes back to travel. The other cities had trains before Dayton. In the mid 1800's you could get from Dayton to Cincinnati via the canal. In 24 hours! That's a 50 mile trip. At the same time, you could travel from Cincinnati to Xenia in about 3 1/2 hours, and that's 64 miles. Dayton balked at train service--"The canal is good enough for us!"--because 20 mph train travel was not as safe as canal travel.

Dayton never really recovered from being a stick in the mud city. I love Dayton, but I live near Columbus. Dayton is in a downward spiral today because they've always played it safe.

For Dayton, canals were good enough. But I don't want the books I write to be 'good enough.' I want them to be great. Hopefully there are many people in Christian publishing who share the same goal. I'd rather not swat mosquitoes on a canal boat if I can travel in style on a fast train.

Latayne C Scott said...

Kathleen, I have wondered if there's a correlation between churches which do not have elaborate hierarchies -- and thus stress equality-- and the HBF. What do you think about that?

Latayne C Scott said...

Stephanie, that is a great analogy about safety. I think we forget that Jesus Himself presented Christianity as the least "safe" of all alternatives: taking up a cross, alienating/losing relationships, being willing to die.

Kathleen L. Maher said...

As soon as we allow someone to assign our place among the cogs in the system, whether in writing or any other worship expression, we cede our integrity and the integrity of whom we represent. If we are pitching to the market, aren't we selling out already?
We accept Harrison Bergeron's hobbles and red rubber nose the minute we write to a formula or seek to please man. We're not only playing it safe, we're perpetuating a distorted picture of Christ.
We, who are charged with conveying The Message, have hawked mere entertainment, while every other godless agenda has its heralds and artists firmly established. We've given ground and made a laughingstock of our great commission when we package fluff in the name of our Lord. What does "Christian" mean anymore?
Keith Green once wrote an essay in Cornerstone Magazine about marketing Christ. Jesus ashtrays, Jesus kitchen witches, Jesus frisbees. . . but the message itself? Fiction has all the potential of the parables Jesus used. Some books have achieved this masterfully. But to define Christian fiction, have we really reduced it to stories that don't swear, don't drink, don't gamble, and don't offend the old guard? Does anyone else wonder if that is all there is to reflecting Christ? Is it possible to entertain and deliver a profound story at the same time? Raise the bar. The market will respond. And might actually grow.

Meg Moseley said...

The Vonnegut story gave me goosebumps. That's bold writing. "That one was a doozy," says Hazel.

Honestly, I had forgotten about this blog. I'm so glad I rediscovered it somehow via Eric Wilson's FB post. Thanks to all of you for the encouragement to stop playing it safe and to aim high.

Latayne C Scott said...

Meg, welcome back. We are so glad to hear from you again. (And some of the phrases and images from the Vonnegut story became part of my vocabulary ever since I read that story. I remember thinking during labor, "that was a doozy....")

Kathleen, your vehemence reflects the way I feel much of the time. I think of the finite number of minutes and hours I have left on this earth and I want them to count for something eternal.

Of course the ultimate goal of all this discussion here isn't to point the finger at other writers, but to stir ourselves up to love and good works. For a Christian author, that means raising the personal bar that each of us has.

Patti Hill said...

I'm stirred.

Chris Jager - Baker Book House-fiction buyer said...

Latayne - Thanks for the words of encouragement. First to answer your question. Yes. :-) but also no. :-) I know that my perspective on this is a bit different as our stores supports a large fiction dept. I am given pretty free rein in what I carry. We also target churches whether the pastor or the librarian's it doesn't matter we try hard to help both.
Fiction is actually one of our busier dept. But that is hard earned and my reades read all kinds of books. Inspirational and more literal. I actually believe that Christian fiction would do better if more independent stores had a fiction person to sell there books and were more willing to buy outside the norm.

Does that answer the question for you? I blame the bookstores more than churches/christians. You can only buy what is available to you. If your local bookstore refuses to carry a book because it goes past what they believe then it doesn't matter what is out there. That is true about publishers also, but.. ( I am afraid that is a different post.:-)

Stephanie Reed said...

Read Nathan Bransford's blog post here: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/08/you-tell-me-is-literary-fiction-losing.html His question is whether literary fiction is becoming obsolete. Food for thought. It would be ironic to dash for the train, just make it on board, and then have it pull into the station for the last time.

Latayne C Scott said...

Chris, thanks so much for that insight. It confirmed what I had perceived about the marketing of books being limited in bookstores to the ones who actually make the decisions of which ones to stock. When I was in your store in April, I was impressed with the emphasis that you put on novels that seemed to at least to try to reach high.

Stephanie, thank you so much for pointing me to Nathan's post. Very chilling. And instructive: some of the commenters did indeed see literary fiction as elitist. So I'm not just paranoid. :)

One commenter in particular though addressed the #2 question of my post. Mira said:

For one thing, the wonderful thing about e-books is that nothing can be blocked from publication, and everything can find an audience.

People create. Literary writers will create. And those who love literary fiction will read it.

Marcia said...

Whoa, this blog is stretching me further than I've been stretched in a long time! I appreciate the discussion by each contributor. There is so much I agree with. And so much more I want to READ!

In speaking of what we want to write, LaTayne, you described it as “Enduring. Literature. Excellence. What we aim for; and no matter how spectacularly we miss, some are at least trying.”

I'm trying! Thanks to all of you for the encouragement to keep on keeping on.

You also wrote, “If novels didn’t offend people, and had a formulaic plot or genre markings, people snapped them up. But the world scoffed. And scoffs. And some wouldn’t read them if they were on a desert island with nothing else to read.”

I wonder—what drives this market? The Christian bookstores buy books that people will read. So apparently there are a lot of American Christians who have a taste for bland stories... shallow stories, “nice” stories, stories that don't force them out of their comfort zones. Will the market really change until the people themselves change? And will they change on their own, or will God Himself have to change them?

Can God use writers who are willing to go out on a limb to challenge the Milque-Toasters? I hope so. It looks like He is raising up a new generation, if what I see and read on this blog is any indication. (LaTayne, I read Latter Day Cipher a week or so ago, and Bonnie, I read Waking the Dead recently. Both books, I'm happy to say, had tangy elements of pith and power to them! I'm looking forward to reading works of all the authors on this blog.)

In addition to authors responding to the call, I think God can use difficult circumstances (which may be on the U.S. horizon in short order) to shake us up a bit and cause us to want something more solid and meaty than mere non-threatening entertainment.

As to the scoffing of the world, we know there will always be scoffers until the day Christ returns. Unfortunately, we—and I include myself in this indictment--have often given the world good reason to scoff.

In his book "Unchristian", David Kinnaman writes, “Our research shows that many of those outside of Christianity, especially younger adults, have little trust in the Christian faith, and esteem for the lifestyle of Christ followers is quickly fading among outsiders. They admit their emotional and intellectual barriers go up when they are around Christians, and they reject Jesus because they feel rejected by Christians.”

Ouch.

I'm reading "Unchristian" even though it is making me feel sick to my stomach because I believe there is a divide in our society between believers and unbelievers that we (I) may have unwittingly caused. I want to hear what the world is saying so that what I write to it will make sense when it falls on their ears.

If others are looking for a way to get inside the mind of one of your “unbelieving” characters, might I suggest this book?

Incidentally, another good book from an opposite view is "The Antichrist", by Friedrich Nietzsche. This has the potential to make you sicker than sick; sometimes his ravings rival that of a lunatic. Still, I think there is value in looking at the opposite side of things. Gives us contrast instead of blandness.

"The Antichrist" is now in public domain and can be downloaded without cost. If you dare to take the plunge, plan on reading something that will lift you up at the same time you're reading it.

Marcia

Megan Sayer said...

I read an AMAZING book the other day - "I Dream of Magda", by Stefan Laszczuk. Not a Christian book, but an incredibly written story of loss and redemption, with vivid and engaging characters on a powerful emotional journey. Within 24 hours I'd finished it, which is a record for me at the moment. I was so blown away that I posted a short update on facebook saying I'd read it.

An hour later there was a comment from one of the ladies at church saying she'll have to look it up, she enjoys a good read. I VERY quickly replied that the book comes with a massive language warning, and it covers some rather questionable topics - not a book for the fainthearted.

Anyway, it made me think. I'd recommend the book to most of my un-churched friends, but if I'd really thought about it (obviously I wasn't thinking on facebook) there's no way I'd mention it to my Christian friends.

Why? Well, I used to belong to a little church that probably would have excommunicated me if they knew I read books like that (although apart from the language there's nothing in it that isn't in the bible). But there's another factor at play too; we as a church tend to gravitate towards the middle ground, non-offensive content. Even when so many of us will watch movies and read books that present new and beautiful stylistic and artistic forms we don't talk about them except in the secret, safe places, because we may offend people.

And yes, there's wisdom in that - looking after those whose faith is weak - but the "viral marketing" thing falls down here. How many other "literary readers" are in my church that I don't know about, because I'm scared to recommend the really challenging books? Are we marginalising excellence because we're afraid of what people think of us?

Latayne C Scott said...

Marcia, I appreciate your thoughtful comments, book recommendations, and -- from Bonnie and me!--your reading our books. I urge you to read Debbie's and Patti's and Sharon's too -- provocative and timely messages, excellent writing.

And Megan -- boy, can I identify with you. I would not volunteer, to the church membership at large where I worship, what literary books I am reading. I know some of the members seek me out because I write literary fiction; but to be honest I think a great many of them don't read Christian fiction at all and would feel a bit put upon if I talked about it in a group setting (that they couldn't escape from :)

Kathleen L. Maher said...

I regret some of my "vehemence". I am sorry if I offended anyone. The fact that all of my brothers and sisters are trying to write for Him is enough for me to want to applaud you. Only you know in your hearts what God has asked you to write, and no one--especially me--should question your obedience. Write on!

Meg Moseley said...

I'm gonna try to cover a few unrelated points here, quickly.

1. I just requested "Let the Great World Spin" at my library, but there's a long waiting list. That's encouraging, in a way.

2. I love reading the variety mentioned in the comments: Gerard Manley Hopkins, Hillerman, Keith Green, Flannery O, etc. What a healthy mix.

3. Christa, thanks for being honest about not usually reading CF. That says a lot.

4. This discussion reminds me of Dave Long's old Faith in Fiction forum. Katy, I think that's where I first "met" you.

5. I'm another one who isn't comfortable sharing my reading list with all my church friends. I might have to get over that.

6. Latayne, when I read your "Latter Day Cipher," I was struck by how much courage it must have taken to write something that might draw fire from the LDS church. Thanks for being bold.

And thanks, everybody, for such a soul-stirring discussion.

Kathleen Popa said...

Kathleen, I understand your vehemence. I really do rejoice in the wide variety of Christian fiction. My passions rise, however, when I perceive a threat to my own part in that variety, to the stories I love best. I don't like it that people are asking whether literary fiction is obsolete (thanks, Stephanie for the link). I don't like it that I, like Megan, I hesitate to share some of the books I love best. Let the Great World Spin is an easy one to misunderstand. I hear Hermione Gingold's voice from The Music Man: "It's a smutty book."

Meg! Another F*i*F'er! You couldn't have given Novel Matters a better compliment than to say we remind you of Faith in Fiction. It really was a special place, wasn't it? I'm so glad you've joined in with us here.

Latayne C Scott said...

Kathleen, no need for apologies. Iron sharpens iron, you know. And I've said things much more forcefully to writing companions!

Meg, thank you for the affirmation. Cipher was a book that bubbled up from within me -- I didn't think much about it being risky except from a literary sense!

Nikole Hahn said...

As a youth, I hated when my English teacher would ask us to find the message in the story. I was an avid reader and still am and I love a good story. Stories take us places.

Whatever our opinions (and they will differ) on what we consider good, steller Christian fiction or fiction, it doesn't matter because it won't affect what we love to read.

I feel like this is like arguing over whether we should have hymns in church or contemporary music.

Personally I'd support and review and blog tour any Christian book that stays true to the story and is written well without causing our Christian brother or sister to stumble. There are alot of good books out there and not enough time in the day to read them. LOL

Nikole Hahn said...

How do we know CBA books don't make a difference? How do you make the assumption that Christian books aren't being read by the secular?

Latayne C Scott said...

Hmm. Anyone want to tackle Nicole's question?

I don't know how to measure how many nonChristians read CBA books. But I think -- and Chris will need to affirm this -- nonreligious people don't usually go to Christian bookstores to make purchases for themselves....

Nikole Hahn said...

I like nice stories. I like raw and honest stories. I like stories. But I hate it when someone insults the stories I enjoy. I can't be the only one who feels this way, can I? There's a time and a place for everything. Let's just write the story.

Nikole Hahn said...

I hope no one is offended by my words. I'm trying to keep them as gentle as possible. However, I can't help after following and commenting on four blogs regarding Eric's letter and then hearing about Anne Rice that we're just shooting ourselves in the foot to non-believers.

Nikole Hahn said...

I hope no one is offended by my words. I'm trying to keep them as gentle as possible. However, I can't help after following and commenting on four blogs regarding Eric's letter and then hearing about Anne Rice that we're just shooting ourselves in the foot to non-believers.