Written By: Theresa from TheCalicoBooks
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Hey everyone! So, I don’t know about you, but I LOVE books! When I was little, one of my favorite things to play was library. I would be the librarian and I would set up books all throughout the living room and make my parents and siblings come to me to “check out” the books. Looking back, I realize how cute and, admittedly, a little strange that was, haha. From a young age, though, it was clear, that God had blessed me with such a passion and thirst for literacy!
As I got older, I realized how, as a Christian, it can be hard to find books that align with my convictions and figure out where to draw that line between books that are and are not beneficial for me. As a bookworm now in her mid-twenties, I feel like I have gotten a pretty good hold on figuring out how to choose Christ-honoring books. It wasn’t always so easy for me though! It was never as simple as just going to the bookstore or library and picking out a book with a cool cover. I have really had to learn discernment on the topics and styles of the books I want to fill my mind.
Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life,” (HCSB). As Christians, we need to be reading books that guard and protect our hearts. Our hearts are “the source of life”! How we spend our time determines the type of life we are living. So, we should be reading life-giving, God-honoring books. It is SO important to realize that the books we read stay with us and affect how we live our lives long after the last page has been read.
I want it to be clear that I’m not trying to tell you which books you should and should not read. The beautiful thing about Christianity is that we have freedom in Christ to follow our own convictions. So, for some, they may choose to only read books under the “Christian Fiction” genre, while others may read from many different genres, both Christian and secular. I am, however, going to share with you all a few tips that help me decide which books to pick up and which books might be better left on the shelf.
What is it about? The first thing I do when deciding to read a book from a new author or publisher, is figure out what the book is about. The synopsis of a book can usually give me a pretty good idea of what type of story this book is going to be and the type of themes that may show up. I also pay attention to certain keywords. If the words “sexy” or “steamy” appear anywhere in there, chances are, that is not a book I want to pick up.
What does the Bible say? Next, I run that synopsis through what the Bible says I should be filling my mind with. Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things,” (NIV). If it is clear a book is going to be filled with a ton of sexual content or an overabundance of curse words or senseless violence, it’s clear that this won’t be the book for me.*
What do other people say? Another thing I do that helps me determine if a book is God-honoring is checking out different reviews and opinions. Before buying a book, I always check out its Goodreads page and see if any of my friends on there have read it and what they thought about it. If you don’t have many friends on there who write reviews you can trust, I’d recommend checking out reviews from Plugged In and Books for Christian Girls. Both of these sites do an excellent job sharing the type of content that will appear in any given book.
*I do want to clarify here, though, that I am not talking about books that happen to include a difficult topic. There are many important and necessary books out there that may feature difficult or “inappropriate” content, but it is used to teach and inform. I am, instead, talking about books that glorify such behaviors.
I know how difficult it can be to find God-honoring books. That’s why I’m also including some of my favorite books that center themselves on principles found in the Bible!
The Coronation by Livy Jarmusch
This book has a little bit of everything! There’s action, romance, mystery, adventure, and royalty! Livy is such a talented author and the entire Tales of Tarsurella series is so amazing!
No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky
This is an historical novel. It is filled with such amazing, memorable characters! This one will definitely pull on your heart strings, but also fill you with such hope!
House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo
This is the first book in a thrilling and mysterious series. It is perfect for those who love suspense and fantasy! Once you start reading this one, you are not going to want to stop!
Summer Promise by Robin Jones Gunn
I feel like I would be remiss not to include the first book in the Christy Miller series on this list! This series is a Christian girl classic, in my opinion! The characters and storylines are so relatable and there’s a book for every phase of life. I’ve been reading this series since I was in high school and it’s been so neat to “grow up” with Christy and the gang!
Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore
This book, and the entire series, is so perfect for fans of paranormal romance who are looking for a Christ-centered alternative. Angel eyes has mystery, romance, ballet, and paranormal elements. I was utterly captivated reading this one!
I hope you all enjoyed reading about what’s been on my heart about Christianity and literacy. Thank you so much for reading!
Theresa is a twenty-something bookworm and blogger. Her favorite book is Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. She is currently studying Elementary Education Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in biblical studies from Liberty University online. When she’s not reading, she’s probably either knitting, eating pizza, dancing, or snuggling her two pet rabbits, Violet and Gilbert.