Ah, the day before Thanksgiving. My parents are coming down to us soon to spend a few days. The house is reasonably clean. =) They'll help me fold my laundry mountain, and Mom is bringing the main dish. All is good.
Except that I'm having a hard time with my reading material lately. I got a couple of books from the library the last time I went, and I have read parts of two of them. They were recently written by authors that are still alive. I've said for a long time that basically the only fiction author I like is a dead one. I adore classics. I mourn that I've read so many of them already. So I thought that I'd give these recommended reads a chance.
One of them that I'm a third of the way through is the immensely popular T**me Tr*v*el*r's Wife. (Don't really want anybody googling it to come here.) It's billed on the front as "a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time." Hmmm. Lots of people love this book. I can understand why. It's well written, something I can't say about most Christian fiction, but that's a rant for another time. The plot is inventive and intriguing. I really want to like this book.
Why don't I like it? I don't like it because when I am reading fiction, I'm looking for an escape, something that will teach me or inspire me without making me slog through murky waters to reach my goal. I enjoy books where the characters have to overcome some hardship or crisis, and where they grow as a result. Most of us can identify with that. But I guess I'm learning that what I'm looking for in a book is not just this. I'm looking for evidence of a quest toward ultimate redemption.
Yup, I'm looking for redemption in the end. Though the characters struggle, I want to see them overcoming lust, stealing, swearing, materialism, emptiness, etc.... After all, I pray to overcome all of these myself. It's hard for me to take if the characters take their vices for granted as things that will never change. It's hard for me to feel that they don't see many sins as sins, though, since they never claim to be Christians, this is completely realistic. I don't want to hear early on in the book that at the end of their lives, the main characters will have decided that a God who cares for them does not exist. To me, that's the biggest downer of all. I guess I can't stand a book written from the perspective of a person who believes that God is dead or that, at best, He just doesn't care. To me, the emptiness of that book is harsh and sad and lacks ultimate redemption. And I want more for the characters. I want more for the author. I want to see, if not them all finding Christ at the end of the last page, (since our search for Christ is not often that neat and easy), at least a yearning or striving toward God, toward Him.
There are definitely some books that lack my kind of ultimate redemption that are worth reading. There are movies that lack that that are worth seeing. We need the lesson that the rest of the world does not think or act like those of us who sometimes live in a Christian bubble (or a stay at home mom bubble of diapers and Walmart.) But how much of that should I be ingesting? I guess I never want to get to the point where I don't want more for the characters. I don't ever want to get to the point where I don't notice anymore that they are sad and in need of a Savior. So I guess that means that I'm glad I am dissatisfied with my books lately. Hmmm.
If anybody knows what I'm talking about and has book suggestions for me that would provide a redemptive escape, please let me know. Maybe I'm looking for more dead authors... =)