Thursday, November 9, 2017

Confessions of a frustrated reader

I've read more books this year than in any other year of my life. Exhausted, I've looked for easy, light reading. I've dropped every free women's christian fiction ebook onto my kindle.  I've read, or partially read most of them.

Confession 1. My phone is my favoured reading tool. (See pic on right) It's light, portable and convenient. It saves the page for me when I fall asleep.  I've read a few paperbacks but, when I'm tired, they seem heavy and ungainly.

Confession 2. Occasionally I've spent real dollars on a wanted book for my Kindle. The Captivating Lady Charlotte by Carolyn Miller and Carry Me Home by Dorothy Adamek are two examples.

Confession 3. I haven't written any reviews. This gnaws at my conscience a little, but not enough to try and string a few words together. This year I've been wordless...and reviews need words.

Confession 4. Some books I will never finish. Some are so bad I delete them before they infect my Kindle! I'm a generous reader and overlook a lot of flaws to skim through a story. However if there isn't enough connection to the characters, it gets dropped. Today I started a book but there was no hook. A quarter of the way through I closed it. Will her father suicide? Will she fall into a new age affair? Well...who cares? I have no connection to the protagonist so the book becomes meaningless.

Confession 5. I read one Amish romance, by mistake. I didn't realise what it was until I was hooked and then I wanted to know what happened. But it was so sickening, unreal and ridiculous that I won't make that mistake again.

Confession 6. I've read a lot of American authors. But mostly they aren't as good as our great Aussie authors. However I've been pleased to discover Caryl McAdoo's Texas Romance series  and Sharon Srock's Inspirational Women's fiction.

Confession 7. Most Christian fiction isn't- isn't Christian at all. Some of it is religious, relying on laws and rules for plot. Some books send their characters to church, or feature a preacher. Some start each chapter with a Bible verse that has no relevance. Very few present the person of Jesus, or a character that lives in relationship with Him. Every now and then a gem will shine through and present a person that fights against negative circumstances with the love and power of God.

I guess that is why I plow through so any books, for every now and then I discover a book that shines with real Christian faith, where God is real and helps characters with their struggles, where real life problems are tackled, where the ending is unexpected.

Jo Wanmer is a lapsed writer, a pastor, wife, mother, grandmother and the daughter of the King of Kings. She lives in Queensland with her husband Steve. Her book 'Though the Bud be Bruised' was published in 2012. Other books are coming when this season is over and she finds words again.

21 comments:

  1. What a well crafted post Jo. For one without words, you've done exceptionally well! :) I'm so sorry to hear of your exhaustion but glad you've been able to dip into lots of reading. Over the last few years, a gift of my own health issues (and exhaution) is that I've been able to do lots more reading than before. Read 50 books in the first 10 months of the year which is not too bad. Interesting that you find your phone your best reading tool. I find it way too small. I love the feel of books in my hands so am a very old fashioned reader. Neither am I a fan of Christian fiction - do read lots of Christian non fiction though and secular fiction. So we are a little different. Thank you for the insights gleaned through the year. Very helpful they are. Praying for full healing for you dear Jo and for a new season filled with words and much blessing. I found your post deeply moving. God bless you Jo and thank you.

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    1. Thanks Anusha for your encouragement. I enjoy reading on a device for fiction but much prefer books if non-fiction, esp Bible. Because it has to be underlined, marked, noted...

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  2. Thanks Jo for sharing.

    I particularly resonated with No. 6 I've read a lot of American authors. But mostly they aren't as good as our great Aussie authors. and No. 7 Most Christian fiction isn't- isn't Christian at all. Some of it is religious, relying on laws and rules for plot ... Very few present the person of Jesus, or a character that lives in relationship with Him.

    Yea for the Aussie authors who are writing real Christian fiction!

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    1. Hey Susan. Missed seeing you this year :( Thanks for dropping in.

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  3. Thanks for your post, Jo. I second Anusha's sentiment. For a woman without words, you've penned some beauties here. While at times harrowing, I loved you Though the Bud Be Briused. Praying that you will be refreshed and renewed in this fallow season.

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    1. Thank Jeanette. Hopefully the fallow season is nearly done. A different direction in the new season I think.

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  4. Thanks Jo. I'm sure you'll write some wonderful books in the future. As for reading - I feel much as you do. The Harp in the South trilogy I reviewed it in Goodreads) was one where the characters hooked me though in a different way from usual. Beautiful writing. Real living people in the stories. Looking forward to your next book!

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    1. I saw you placed that review. I will have to check it out. Thanks for stopping to somment.

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  5. Seven very good confessions Jo! Number 6 is my favourite!
    Thank you for your honesty. As with all the other comments I hope your fallow (thank you Jenny for that deliciously correct word!) season inspires and renews you.

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    1. Thanks for finding words to comment Di.

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  6. Well, that was pretty juicy. Appreciated your honesty, Jo. It was a refreshing post, and I am sure that many of us can relate to a few of those.🙏🏻

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    1. Hi Deirdre. I'm glad you found it juicy. I thought it was pretty dry myself so you have all been very kind.

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  7. A great, honest post, Jo--thank you. I hope this time will bring great refreshment of spirit, mind and body to you from God. Look after yourself!

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    1. Hi Jo-Anne. I am beginning to revive...its been a long journey. No doubt ti will end up in a book someday

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  8. Hi Jo - Thanks for those confessions. Sorry it's been a difficult year for you and that you're having a bit of a low patch with your writing, but I know those magnificent words will find their way onto the page again. As others have mentioned, they already have in this post :)

    I really resonated with Confession No. 7. I like reading Christian books, but it really annoys me if the characters are chatting about church or youth group on p. 2 before we even know them or what their story is. I've also read a few books where one of the characters is a preacher and it seems the only reason for having him there is so he can give a sermon every now and then. Somehow it seems forced and unreal. But when a book shines with a genuine relationship with God, it's so different.

    Good on you for voicing some of the things some of us are probably thinking, but haven't shared. Take care xx

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    1. Hi Nola. thanks for reading and adding a few words. Cheesy religion isn't christian in my book but I may be a bit radical! hoping words return soon.

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  9. I have a feeling you and I are (no longer) reading the same book...the one you mentioned in Confession #4. I used to be unable to not finish any book I started. Fortunately I eventually decided that there are I will never have enough time to read the many good books in the world, so it's foolish to waste any of that time on bad books.

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  10. Ah yes, Jo. I can relate to everything you've written here and particularly to your observation about Christian fiction. A bible verse here and there, randomly selected; characters who plant their bums on Church pews...do not a Christian novel make. It's so disappointing, isn't it? And yet...what a challenge for us. There's a whole genre out there...one that's incredibly important to God...to shake up, disseminate, study and ... improve on.

    Like you, I've tossed most Christian aside. It just doesn't work. Of course, I've tossed a whole lot of other fiction aside too, for so many reasons.

    Thank you for an insightful and honest post...one which is, in fact, very encouraging.

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  11. Hi Jo, I'm hearing you! When I first got my Kindle, it quickly filled up with cheesy Christianish freebies which eventually all blended in to one. Sounds like you're going through a bit of a fallow period, but I'm sure there's a purpose for these and you're being obedient. I am myself, as far as writing novels is concerned.

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    1. Hoping that means more novels Paula! Yes, I'm wordless it seems but this too shall pass. x

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  12. Hi Jo,
    like you, if a book doesn't grab, it gets the flick. Life is too short for terrible stories!
    I want to write quality so that my writing honours God, and that takes effort and lots of inspiration. I find that inspiration seems to come from living life.
    i haven't written much for a while either - i think God allows us to live some before we write. I know when i write, i want it to reach a wide audience who will relate to my experiences. And as Jenny says in the blog after yours, words don't fade like a performance.
    The time will come again - enjoy your Father and take pleasure in His company. He'll let you know when the time is right.

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