So, today I will tackle the fiction that I read during the past year. Like with non-fiction, there are people who choose to not read any fiction. Some people perhaps think that there’s too much important “real” stuff out there to bother reading “made up” stories. Some people possibly think that fiction is a waste of time, that it’s not worth reading. I recently was reading something about a clergyman during the period of Romantic writers who was lamenting the fact that people had novels in their homes…in his opinion, the only book people should be spending time on is the Bible. Apparently, some people think that nothing worthwhile or redeeming can come from a work of fiction.
Obviously, I beg to differ. I called today’s post “Truth” because I believe that works of fiction can contain tremendous truth for a person’s life. Obviously, different books speak to different people. Every work of fiction comes from someone’s heart, someone’s brain, and whether or not the story is technically “true”, doesn’t mean that there is not truth in it. I believe authors are speaking from their own experiences through the medium of fiction. People’s stories inform our lives, give us hope and courage, give us something to cheer for, to believe in. I don’t think this is any less true if the story is fictional.
Even though I consider myself a follower of Jesus, I have spent very little time recently reading the Bible. Due to my own personal spiritual struggles, the Bible has not been a source of encouragement (or much else besides frustration) lately. It has not been “speaking” to me, as it were. Now, I’m not saying that shouldn’t change, and I hope that it does. I hope to be able to find the Bible alive again one day. But I also have found that God is still speaking to me through the books I read. I think he gets it. I think he gets me. And I believe that I can and do find truth in fiction.
Now this is not to say that there isn’t crappy fiction. Can you say “Twilight”??? Of course there is. But hey, for lovers of schlock I am guessing they find something of value in there for them so who am I to judge? I mean I did read “Sweet Valley Confidential” last year…
So without further ado, and in no particular order:
1) “Little Bee”-Chris Cleave. Oh this book wrecked me. It was gorgeously devastating. I really enjoy his writing and style and the story was unusual and fascinating and just a killer. I read all 3 of his books this year…this was by far my favorite. I recommend the other two as well (“Incendiary” is even tougher to read but I still think worth it.).
2) “The Fault In Our Stars” John Green. Total tearjerker. Read it in like 5 hours. Amazing story. Beautiful and heartbreaking. Get the kleenex ready for sure. Very, very full of beauty and hope.
3) “The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection” Alexander McCall Smith. I live for No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books. Love love love love. Happy happy happy. These make my heart happy. When I am dying I will read them all again. Or have someone read them to me. I wish Precious Ramotswe was a real person because I want to sit and have a cup of red bush tea with her.
4) “When God Was a Rabbit” Sarah Winman. I read this close to the beginning of last year so I don’t remember a lot about it except that I just loved it. The story was really unique and funny and sad all at the same time.
5) “The Night Circus” Erin Morgenstern. Wow, this book was gorgeous. Totally unique and fascinating and the visuals it puts in your head are incredible. It totally stimulates your imagination. I wanted it to be real. Absolutely amazing.
Honorable mentions: “Silver Sparrow”, Tayari Jones, “IQ84”, Haruki Murakami (really fascinating, weird book. I don’t think I got it but I enjoyed it!), “The Language of Flowers”, Vanessa Diffenbaugh (definitely read this one!!!), “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”, Ransom Riggs
And one more thing…I know I was kind of proud of myself for reading so much last year. I still am. But don’t let that make you feel bad!! I know a few things about myself and some of them are:
- I am an incredibly fast reader. I have been since I was a little kid
- I had a job that basically allowed me to sit and read for 5 hours straight
- I am pretty good with organizing my time and so it is easy for me to find time to read
- I don’t watch a lot of tv
- My kids are older and not as needy as they once were. I definitely didn’t read this much when they were little.
Much of that is beyond my control, it’s just who I am. My job situation has changed this year, so I’m not so confident that I will reach my goal of 100 books for the year. We shall see. But whatever you can get to, just do it! Read! Don’t let all these great books pass you by. If you need a place to start, a lot of the books on this list in particular are short and quick. Read what you have time for and read stuff that will feed your soul.
Peace and enjoy reading:)