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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Do not Judge a Book by its Genre (Part One) – Christian Fiction

Do not Judge a Book by its Genre (Part One) – Christian Fiction
Written by The Phantom Paragrapher

We have all heard the saying “Do not judge a book by its cover” but what I really think we should be drilling into readers and new ones mostly is “Do not judge a book by its genre”.


Working in a library, we are constantly surrounded by books and different genres, there is something for everyone but next time you are in a library or even a bookshop, mention briefly a genre that the person next to you might not be into and listen to the reaction you will get. It won’t even matter whether or not it is a really amazing book, the most amazing one you have read. If the person you are talking to doesn’t like that genre –they just won’t simply pick it up even after you have told them about it.

Gone are the days when you just had your basic genres like Romance, Christian, Mystery, Thrillers, Science Fiction and Fantasy. Nowadays each genre has about half a dozen or even more sub-genres stemming off it like a tree with lots of little branches. Over the next couple of musings I’ll be talking about each of the genres and their little subs –starting today’s musing with one that I am passionate about and have had a reaction too so I can share an experience and an actual example of judging a book by its genre.


When you hear the word Christian Fiction, what is the first thing that pops up into your head? Gone are the days when Christian fiction was just about God every single page and over-religious with nothing interesting happening.

She Walks in Beauty    Serendipity Maid to Match A Heart for Home (Home to Blessing, Book 3) The Jewel of His Heart: A Novel (Heart of the West)

Within the genre of Christian fiction , we have many sub-genres from Christian Historical Fiction which normally dates to being set in the early 1800’s to mid 1900’s and covers settings from Westerns to the Flapper Days and Courting Debutantes. Examples are Siri Mitchell, Cathy Marie Hake, Lauraine Snelling, Maggie Brendan, Kim Vogel Sawyer, and Tracie Peterson –just to name a few.






The Thorn (The Rose Trilogy, Book 1)Love Finds a Home Winter's Awakening: Seasons of Sugarcreek, Book OneThe Redemption of Sarah Cain Search, The: A Novel (Lancaster County Secrets)


To the fields of Amish Country we were presented with the life of an Amish Villager and their customs, law and religion and also of course their language. In this genre we see authors like Beverley Lewis, Janette and Laurel Oke, Shelley Shepard Gray, Suzanne Woods Fisher and many more. A couple of my favourite Amish titles include The Redemption of Sarah Cain by Beverley Lewis, Love Comes Softly series by Janette and Laurel Oke and Hidden/Wanted by Shelley Shepard Gray.






The Sweet By and ByFinding Hollywood Nobody (Hollywood Nobody Series, Book 2)Quaker Summer (Women of Faith Fiction) (2007 Novel of the Year)Tiger LillieBeneath the Night TreeAge before Beauty (Sister-to-Sister, Book 2)


We move slowly into the more Contemporary stories of Christian fiction which can relate to our journeys with authors like Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck “The sweet by and by” which if you go to www.youtube.com you can listen to the song by the same title which inspired the book, Lisa Samson, Nicole Baart, Laura Jensen Walker, Virginia Smith. These tales tend to have a bit of romance chucked into the mix of them and are sometimes classified as Christian Chick-Lit.




Coral Moon (Kanner Lake Series #2)Last Breath (The Rayne Tour, Book 2)Dead of Night (Hidden Faces Series #3)Forget Me Not: A Novel (Crossroads Crisis Center)Immanuel's VeinsThe Bride Collector




Then of course, you move into the more suspense filled and mystery ridden stories of the half-a branch called “Edgy Christian Fiction”. This is called half the branch as there is another side of it all completely different. In this sub-genre we have murder, mystery, intrigue and thrills and see authors like Brandilyn and Amberley Collins, Vicki Hinze, Noel Hynd, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.




Anything but Normal: A NovelDark Blue: Color Me Lonely (TrueColors Series #1)Forgotten: Seventeen and Homeless (Secrets)Finding AliceIn the Midst of It All




Then moves onto my second favourite part of Christian Fiction – the second branch of Edgy Christian Fiction. This is the part where authors touch base on some pretty controversial topics like Mental Illnesses, drugs and alcohol, sex and teenage pregnancy. Authors include Melody Carlson, Tiffany L. Warren, and Karen Kingsbury and I’m sure there are many more out there, I just haven’t found them yet.



Close Your Eyes/Without a Doubt/With This Ring (The Sierra Jensen Series 4-6) (Sierra Jensen Collection, Volume 2)Only You, Sierra (The Sierra Jensen Series #1)Christy Miller Collection, Vol 2New Girl in Town ('Nama Beach High, Book 1)Fault Lines ('Nama Beach High, Book 3)





My favourite strand of the Christian fiction tree is Teenage Christian Fiction, these stories tend to be more contemporary than historical and focus on day to day teen issues, that most face when being a Christian .We have authors like Melody Carlson, Stephanie Perry-Moore, Nancy Rue, Robin Jones Gunn and a new one that I have discovered lately is Kristin Billerbeck.




                                                      Divine      Unlocked                                





The example that got me thinking about this topic was I had just read “Unlocked “by Karen Kingsbury and it was about the subject of Autism and it was the most amazing, heartfelt and touching book. I recommended it to a friend and she was all keen on it, till she saw the cross symbol which symbolises Christian fiction. All of a sudden her attitude changed and she was all like “oh, it’s Christian Fiction” and that was the end of the conversation.


There are so many amazing Christian Fiction books out there, just waiting to be discovered and who knows when you pick one up, you may be surprised to find that you actually really enjoy it. If you are a fan of Christian Fiction and would like to recommend some favourite authors and books –feel free to post on this conversation. Stay tuned for more “Do not Judge a Book By its Genre” as I talk about other genres and their subs.

4 comments:

  1. Great post!

    I love Christian fiction. Some of my favorites have been Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist, and Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck.

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  2. I agree...very good post!! :o)

    Redeeming Love is, IMO, the all-time best Christian fiction novel there is. It would certainly fit in the edgy romance department, and it's wonderful!

    I also love authors like Deeanne Gist, Lynn Austin, Deborah Raney, and Cindy Woodsmall...anything they write is always guarateed to please. :o)

    One thing I noticed that might be an error in your post: The Love Comes Softly series was written by Janette Oke only. There are a couple of books that she and her daughter have written together, but this series was not. Unless I'm mistaken, they're not Amish in any way, shape, or form, and instead, more "prairie-like." The simple lifestyle was still there, as I recall, but it's been years since I read that series.

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  3. At Christy, I think now reflecting on the Series as I own 1-8 on DVD I think you might be right. I Love Redeeming Love and The Scarlet Thread are my fav Francine Books. Have you read Divine by Karen Kingsbury, if you love Reedeming Love thats a good one to read.

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  4. Agreed! Christian fiction is so underrated. I've just finished reading The Shack written and self-published by William P. Young, and I was so surprised at how brilliantly compelling the story was. It's not 'great' literature, but it's definitely thought-provoking and poignant.

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