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Friday, December 5, 2008

Faith and Fiction Saturday: The Christian Fiction Lable

Amy from My Friend Amy's has again come up with a wonderful question. I had to miss a couple because I was away at the last Women of Faith Conference, but I am thrilled to be back. Thank you again, Amy for coming up with wonderful questions that really get our minds burning!



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Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying your holiday season. I have to admit I love it, I've been listening to Christmas music!Today's question is inspired by a conversation Lilly started over at Book Blogs. What do you think about labeling books as Christian fiction? As you know, the range of spiritual content in Christian books varies tremendously. Some books barely even mention God while others use a lot of Scripture. Do you think Christian fiction books should be in a separate section of the bookstore or library? Do you think this limits who might read these books? Do you have any idea of how they could be arranged differently? And a little off topic but do you have a preference about whether or not books have a lot of spiritual content or only a little?Please remember to add your permalink (the link to your answer and NOT your general URL) and to please link back to this post. Thank you!

My Answer: I too am thoroughly enjoying the holidays. I can't believe that we have but 19 days until Christmas!

I am glad that Christian fiction is in a certain section of the secular bookstores because honestly, I want to go there first. If I am patronizing a run of the mill bookstore, I still want to try to make my purchases speak. Often I find books in their Christian section or Inspirational section that I may not find in many Christian bookstores. This is sometimes a way that I can find a Christian author that I didn't know of. I would not have started reading Christian fiction if it weren't for the fact that I wanted to read more uplifting novels, and I knew that I would find it in the Christian sections. If I had to wander the shelves, I may never have found the books that I really needed to read. Now I can say I am aware of many more authors, and I would have a good idea who to look for, but without first having that signpost...I may never have found Kathryn Mackel, Virginia Smith, Colleen Coble, Ted Dekker, Francine Rivers, and countless others.

Placement in a Christian section may limit readers to a degree, but it is also a sign post to many others. Which is why I would like to see both a Christian/Inspirational placement and then regular disbursement among their genres. I do think that Christian books should also be featured in other areas of the book stores and libraries. After all, reading the back cover is still often the way we make a book choice. I think the stores should let the story speak for itself in that way. I understand there is so much space, but really, a book slipped in here and there would be great.

I do not have a preference on spiritual content in fiction for the most part. I think that fiction really is so varied just as Christians themselves. I have a friend who passes out tracks wherever she goes and another who does not. I don't think either one is any more Christian than the other. They are two different stories. If a story is heavy with spiritual content and it fits...great. If it is thrown in just to say "SEE I'M A CHRISTIAN BOOK!!!" and really doesn't work in the story I would rather it be more subdued. I do expect spiritual content in the more nonfiction types, because often those are to enhance our own walk. I may not be putting this right, but it is a book by book observation for me.

7 comments:

amye said...

Great answer Kelly! I like the idea of shelving them in both areas...great solution!

Smilingsal said...

Interesting post. I agree with almost all of your answers. I doubt, though, if a secular bookstore would place books in two sections with shelves being at such a premium.

ladystorm said...

hi Kelly,

Nice answers as always!

I wish it was as easy as just putting them in two different places, but with limited space that will probably not happen. :(

Stormi

Pam said...

Good answers Kelly. I like your answer on the spiritual content. I feel like some books just "try to hard" to be Christian and don't focus on the story.

Nise' said...

I would not have found some really great authors if they were not in a separate section as well! But I know many are missing these great books because they are separated.

Sunny said...

I also like to be able to find Christian fiction authors that I wouldnt have known otherwise. If they were mixed in I might not have found them.

Good point about the content. Sometimes it does feel forced.

Marvin D. Wilson said...

Good and comprehensive answer! Enjoyed your thoughts on this subject. Mine is up at: http://tinyurl.com/5lye4a