Trials of a Christian Book-Shopper
While as a writer/reader the bookstore is by far my favourite shopping setting, I definitely have a love-hate relationship with book shopping in general. Call me crazy, but with so many books, so many beautiful covers, and so little information on any of them, for me purchasing books just ends too often in potent buyer's remorse.
Maybe you can relate. Have you ever made a purchase based solely on the quality of the front cover or the intrigue of the blurb, only to read it and find- woah, I was not expecting any of that to be in there? Skim, skim, skim- yikes!
I find young adult fiction to be especially difficult, despite how beautiful and intriguing many of them are at a glance. It's a fact that teenagers lean toward romance that too often crosses the "clean" line, but how can you possibly tell how far the author will go when you're literally buying a book for its cover? How can you possibly know what the content is really like from a paragraph slapped on the back alongside a couple of raving accolades?
Every time I go book shopping, I'm frustrated by the sheer LACK of clean fiction out there for young adult readers. The Christian fiction section is an option, of course, but often very limited, and sometimes I just want to read a mainstream book without worrying about questionable content. Why can't romance stay within reasonable boundaries? Why can't authors get more creative with world-building instead of using dirty expletives? Why on earth does every teen fiction novel seem to be a recipe for sex and profanity?
That's an exaggeration, of course- I'm sure there are great options out there- but it's becoming harder and harder to find them beneath the growing pile of non-options.
Frustrating as it is, I always leave a bookstore with a renewed sense of purpose. There's a need in this world for clean, quality fiction, and I believe that God has called me to that need. I want to use the inspiration He gives me to provide bookstores and readers with riveting, powerful, inspirational fiction that steers clear of all the junk the world tells authors they need. And my book-buying policy? Don't buy it until I've read it. Not the most exciting way to shop, maybe, but there's satisfaction in knowing that it was money well-spent! (See photo of my fabulous new Screwtape Letters and Peter Pan for hard evidence. Success!)
To conclude, this world needs more of what is good, pure, and lovely, and God has given all of us gifts to use in meeting that need. If we have a problem with the options out there, God has equipped us to do something about it, so let's work together to take the world by storm and overcome evil with good!