Saturday, November 14, 2009

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday: Warning Labels

Amy is asking this week:

Do you recommend or lend your Christian fiction books to people who don't share your faith? If you do, do you tell them in advance that the book is Christian fiction? Why do you or don't you tell them?

It depends. I don't always 'warn' for the same reason. If a book is too didactic, or too preachy, or too something-or-other, then I'll warn readers. In that instance, I'm saying this one doesn't have much crossover appeal, and it may not be for you. After all, even among Christians, didactic literature doesn't sit well. Other times, I might provide a 'warning' because the book is oh-so-good and oh-so-amazing and I want to let people know that even if Christian fiction isn't something you usually read, you should really, really consider picking this up. Because it works. It really works. And you might just be surprised that yes, this is Christian fiction. So for books that I feel have definite crossover appeal, get 'warnings' as well.

Sometimes it depends on where I'm posting the review. If I plan to post a book review on both Becky's Book Reviews and Operation Actually Read Bible, then I'll usually mention it. If I review it just on Operation Actually Read Bible then I may not. After all, it's fairly obvious (I hope) that it is a Christian blog.

Why do I include a warning at all? It's because I want readers to know what they're getting or not getting. In the comments on Amy's post, there is some talk of whether or not it is "appropriate" to warn readers of if a book has bad language, graphic sex, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, etc. Some feel that it is very appropriate to warn readers if they're about to pick up a Christian book. A book that might suggest they need to get right with God. But very inappropriate to warn readers if they're going to encounter 102 mentions of the f-word.

On Becky's Book Reviews, I typically don't include warnings of the second type. Unless it is so over-the-top, so excessive, so offensive-to-me that it colors the way I read the book. (For example, I mentioned it in my review of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.) Instead of stating the obvious (since many young adult and adult books do include at least some of the above in varying degrees), I instead choose to mention the reverse. If a book I read happens to be clean and family-friendly or faith-friendly, I'll mention that. To me a warning isn't so much a "don't read this" or "don't read that." I don't see it always as being a judgment. You shouldn't read this or that. I see it more neutrally.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: