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Old 05-04-2012, 05:35 PM   #16
jtdolphins
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As a Christian, I avoid any fictional Christian literature because the books that I have read are boring, preachy and just not interesting. It seems the arthors don't want you to think, just accept what they say as fact.

My wife and her friends are into Christian lit to the point they shun things that are not labeled Christian. I find this attitude to be close minded, much like the books that are labeled Christian.

I do like the Narnia books, but I didn't know they were Christian when I read them years ago. I didn't find them preachy, just a good, imaginative story.
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Old 05-04-2012, 05:38 PM   #17
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Quite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belfaborac View Post
..................those few I have attempted to read have been uniformly crap. Badly written and preaching so strongly and overtly that even a bishop would cringe in embarrassment.........................
Quo Vadis is one of the few, if not the only, exception I can think of. It's a wonderful book, one of the very first I read, and thoroughly deserving of its status as one of the great classics of literature.
My sentiments entirely.
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:30 PM   #18
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I would say that Ben Hur is certainly a Christian themed book, though like Quos Vadis a historical novel about early Christianity. I read a few novels by Lloyd. C. Douglas in my teenage years, The Robe being the most famous. I thought those I read were all pretty well written.

I don't know that I would enjoy these now though. I certainly have no interest in any novel that is out to change my atheist ways.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:08 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by ATDrake View Post
I'm an atheist and I've tried a couple of the freebie specifically "Christian fiction" specialty-publisher-imprint books, mostly because they had plot/setting that sounded kind of interesting and/or kind of cracktastic.

Admittedly, this is a very small, skewed sample because of said selection process. For the record, I read one "inspirational" historical romance on the grounds that apparently people complained about how racy it was (it wasn't unless you have really tame standards for racy), one story about modern Amish values coming into conflict with modern secularized Christian values after a tragedy forces two disparate branches of the same family together (which came with recipes), and one interracial chick-lit romance because I was kind of curious as to how faith depictions and would be handled with Asian characters who were apparently converts interacting with non-Asians.

It's definitely a mix-and-match.
I'd be interested in the titles if you have them close to hand. I buy/download a lot of the freebies, and I probably have these and I might dust them off, especially the second one.

Thanks
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:15 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by tlrowley View Post
I'd be interested in the titles if you have them close to hand. I buy/download a lot of the freebies, and I probably have these and I might dust them off, especially the second one.
All three are listed here, along with the other mostly-freebie e-books I read in 2010, so you have some kind of baseline comparison to my usual tastes and standards for rating things.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #21
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Thanks, appreciate the entire list.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:47 PM   #22
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As a Christian, if a book is marketed as a "Christian fiction" I tend to stay far away from it because, to me, something that is marketed as Christian fiction I view as aimed at the Christian Fundamentalist community, the folks who take the Bible literally. That's not my reality of my faith. I also tend to look at it as literary pablum, spoon-feeding readers themes and stories that aren't going to cause them to question any mental taboos their faith might have imposed. This is based upon some of the women's fiction that I've attempted that have been labeled as Christian.

Having said that, I did read a couple of mystery books in a series by Mark Mynheir that I enjoyed, and which were the exceptions to my rule. I had to do a review of the first book in the series, "The Night Watchman", and didn't realize that it was going to be marketed as Christian fiction. I was pleasantly surprised that the leading character, who has no belief in any god, wasn't converted by the end of the first book. I'm sure that somewhere along the line he's going to do a 180, but the author was charting a gradual change from disbelief to possibility of belief, which I though was much more realistic, given the circumstances of the character's life.

But because of my preconception of what Christian fiction is, I might not have chosen the book to review if I had know it was going to be marketed that way. Which would have been my loss.
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:13 AM   #23
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Thanks all for responding. I might keep my "Christian Filter" on for the moment then. Just to be clear, I'm not averse at all to reading books about Christians (Ben Hur, The Robe) or even books that have Christian themes (Narnia series) necessarily. I have a similar opinion about books involving other religions.

My question is more related to books which are clearly labelled Christian fiction as a genre.

I have other filters (Romance, Paranormal Romance and Erotica), but do turn them off for specific reasons on occasion. I would not have a problem with relaxing a filter on Christian fiction for similar reasons - strong recommendations from respected acquaintances being the most obvious example.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:28 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacir View Post
Such as "Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero", commonly known as "Quo Vadis", a historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz in Polish.(*)

DISCLAIMER: I have not read English translation, so I do not know how well it is translated, but the original and also the translation I have read is a very remarkable historical book.
Historical-flavored book - okay, but Sienkiewicz is very poor as a historian. Strongly biased, and twists facts to fit his agenda. Quo Vadis itself contained several fictional characters.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:47 AM   #25
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Was Quo Vadis written expressly to be an accurate historical account? I know Sienkiewicz did a lot of research before writing the book, but it was published in 1895... Any book written on the basis of historical knowledge anno 1895 will by necessity be very inaccurate today.

In any case, even at the age of twelve I didn't read it as a historical work, nor do I imagine anyone would today. I took it as a good story, very well told. Hence the criticism, if correct, is really of no consequence.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:36 PM   #26
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I don't think I'm athiest, agnostic, or pagan, probably leaning toward the pantheistic if anything, but still, a little fun could be had, were we so minded, with some light-hearted punctuation & structure typo-ing of the the genre description.....

Christianity - Fiction ?
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:25 PM   #27
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... a whole day and a half

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Old 05-06-2012, 01:49 PM   #28
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Surely it makes little sense to label a book "Christian" simply because it lacks potentially offensive content? I'm not saying you're not right, it just seems to me that most publishers/book shops would realise they're turning away potential customers by doing so.
Actually, it's the opposite (of your last sentence! ).

Christian Fiction has become a large and popular genre, and is a big money maker. Labeling things as "Christian Fiction" draws an audience, rather than turns an audience away.

I do not read Christian Fiction per se, though I have a very liberal view of what constitutes "Christian." That said, I know that the genre runs the gamut of being as mundane as non-explicit Romance novels, to the highly "preachy" novels with blatant thematic intention.

In terms of prosthelytizing, I know a lot of people who read Christian Fiction, and my impression is that it's primarily for people who already accept the Christian worldview. The books are generally not written to "convert," but to inspire.

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Old 05-06-2012, 01:58 PM   #29
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Thanks all for responding. I might keep my "Christian Filter" on for the moment then. Just to be clear, I'm not averse at all to reading books about Christians (Ben Hur, The Robe) or even books that have Christian themes (Narnia series) necessarily. I have a similar opinion about books involving other religions.

My question is more related to books which are clearly labelled Christian fiction as a genre.

I have other filters (Romance, Paranormal Romance and Erotica), but do turn them off for specific reasons on occasion. I would not have a problem with relaxing a filter on Christian fiction for similar reasons - strong recommendations from respected acquaintances being the most obvious example.
This is good reasoning. I, too, would be interested in reading some Christian Fiction if I could get some solid recommendations as to good books in the genre! Kind of like someone recommending The Hobbit to a friend new to Fantasy.

Pretty much every aforementioned book -- Narnia, Ben Hur, Quo Vadis -- don't sit solely in the "Christian Fiction" genre. They're famed works of fantasy and historical fiction, and would easily be found even if you were filtering Christian Fiction. Another example that comes to mind is The Bronze Bow, which is Newberry winner for Young Adult fiction, and AFAIK was never marketed as explicitly "Christian Fiction."

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Old 05-06-2012, 02:22 PM   #30
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Pretty much every aforementioned book -- Narnia, Ben Hur, Quo Vadis -- don't sit solely in the "Christian Fiction" genre. They're famed works of fantasy and historical fiction, and would easily be found even if you were filtering Christian Fiction.
I think there's a decided distinction between works which happen to incorporate Christianity-related history or themes or simply have such as a background, perhaps due to being written in a timeframe when public espousal of religious mentions was more common in otherwise secular fiction or perhaps because the author felt like exploring them*, and works which are written specifically for a particularly Christian audience†.

The former are more-or-less intended for general reading, so the themes, while there, may not be all that strong or "preachy" because they're really more about the storytelling potential in such, rather than reaffirming faith or guaranteeing a "clean" read for people looking for those things.

The latter have more definite boundaries due to the expectations the particular market audience has for at least a minimum adherence by the label (no on-screen sex, no swearing, "good" main characters should be in line with their religious viewpoint and not violate tenets of the faith, etc.), so the books can end up being rather different in tone sometimes, even if the overall quality and other story aspects may be roughly the same, just the same as someone buying steamy erotic romance in certain subcategories will have expectations of what should and shouldn't show up in the story.

* Such as Paulo Coelho's Brida, a mystical mashup of paganism and Christian scripture which I recently read.

† Not necessarily all modern: e.g. The Pilgrim's Progress, which the Little Women girls were reading.
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