Saturday, January 21, 2006

Lite Reading

I received a gift certificate to a large Christian bookstore chain as a Christmas gift, so tonight my mom, dad, and I dropped by the bookstore while we were out and about. I've decided that I'm rather disappointed with the selection of typical Christian bookstores. I do have to give them credit for having a lot of books, I guess.

They had every type of Bible you could ever want (or not want). The WOW Worship Bible, the women's Bible, the African-American Bible, My First Bible, the Bible for teens, the camoflauge Bible (for the stealth Christian), the 1-hour Bible summary for the busy Christian, and the list could continue. Of course, each of these Bibles is available in the version (or paraphrase, or approximate summary) of your choice.

There were lots of other books to choose from as well. There was the book Finding a Guy Worth Keeping (I put it on my to-read list). And the book on false idols that American Christians struggle with - written by a fan and call-in voter of American Idol. I was tempted to purchase the newest Chicken Soup for the Miscellaneous Soul book, or the newest addition to the Jenkins-LeHaye saga. Left Behind: The Early Years. Of course, if all else failed, there were about 40 zillion swamp, er, Christian romance stories in the fiction section. Really, does no one write fiction that is not driven by a rather inappropriately detailed romance story? I don't like reading fiction that makes me feel dirty.

The Christian Living section could have been more aptly named Self-Help or Therapeutic Reading. Not finding the type of Christian Living book I was looking for in the section of that same name, I headed over to the Christian Classics section. I blinked and almost missed the classics portion of the store. It was one section of an aisle, and half of the section was taken up by Chronicles of Narnia. Now, I love Chronicles of Narnia, but half the (very limited) Christian classics section? Where were Edwards, Calvin, and Luther? I had already exhausted the Theology section of the store, mind you, all one-quarter of an aisle of it.


I finally decided to special-order something and exit as quickly as possible.


Mrs.B. said...

I sure can relate to what you described. I praise the Lord for the internet or I'd have a very hard time finding good and solid Christian books.

That's one of the reasons I'm such a big fan of the Keepers of the Faith website. I like fiction but nothing 'romancy'. Their fiction is mostly reprints from anywhere from the 1600-early 1900's. The stories, even though they're fiction, actually have elements in them that challenged me to be a better Christian. I like a book like that.

Esther said...

Yeah, there are a lot of cheesy books, least at the one I normally visit, they still have some great titles. I bought some wonderful books from there a couple weeks ago, and no, they weren't fluffy fiction! ;) Actually, two of them were excellent books on marriage. :) And one was Mere Christianity to give to a liberal friend because I think the book is just stellar.

Adrian C. Keister said...

I feel your pain. As Douglas Wilson would say, the Christian bookstores appear to be dominated by the Axis of Treacle.

In Christ.

Samara said...

Oh boy, do I ever know just what you mean. Most of the theology texts I've read has come straight off my dad's bookshelves for this reason; it's hard to browse through our local Christian bookstores and find anything that's not a "specialty Bible", fluff fiction or self-help.

I do like some of the Christian gift books, though- prayer journals/blessing diaries and the like. That's usually what takes me to these bookstores nowadays :)

Jessie said...

Of all the places you ought to be able to find worthwhile reading-- and then they make it so you leave depressed. Something's not right here. Let's start our own store somewhere! Or better yet, I've had a dream for years to open a Christian library. And my Christian Classics section would be the entire store!

zan said...

Oh, I know what you mean. Those books stores are so disappointing. You would probably find better books at Borders (they would be in the back, though, not on display, of course).

I remeber reading a few "Christian" romance books and could not believe the physical detail they went into. They were worse than a Nicholas Sparks book I read this past summer. Anyway, it always bothered me that in those romance books one of the romantic characters were not Christian and they came to faith through the romance with the Christian character. I remember one book where the guy actually accepted Jesus in his heart and then asked her to marry him. Right... I think, to be safe, she (the Christian character) should have waited a good year or two to see if his proffesion was real. However, it was just a book.

Susan said...

Yes, we should start our own store :). I love the idea of a library. Our homeschooling group had a library for years, but I found it odd that a lot of the books they bought were also in the public library. They should have used funds to buy books that couldn't be found in the library, to maximize usefulness.

Yes, I love romances - Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery, etc. - but not when they go into physical detail that makes me feel dirty. You hit my pet peeve - missionary dating. It always works out perfectly in the Christian fiction, doesn't it? Not a good idea in real life! For an amusing but depressing site on missionary dating, visit

Dean McConnell said...

Dear Susan,

From your blog you definatly seem like an intellegent and Godly young woman. Have you ever considered attending a Christian law school?

I am the dean of Trinity Law School in California. We are always looking for gifted believers who share our vission.

Please take a look sometime at our web site and my blog.

Best wishes.

p.s. You might want to try ordering a few books by Gordon Clark, C.S. Lewis, and Ronald Nash.