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God in the Stacks: The Scoop on Christian Fiction

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You can say it started in 1678 with the publication of John Bunyan's Pilgrim Progress. Then along came Hall Caine's The Christian (1897) and C.S Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia in the 1950s. Fast forward to the 21st century, major news magazines such as Time were talking about the Left Behind series. Yes, my interest was piqued when I read a 2002 Time magazine cover article titled "Apocalypse Now" about the popularity of the series. I checked them out of the library and read each one in order. I was intrigued and fascinated.

I decided to give a little more attention to the genre. My interest intensified over the last few years as I observed the genre really taking off and expanding into many sub-genres. I found various list of authors online and decided I would read at least one book by every author in the genre. It was an ambitious feat and I faced the challenge of new authors being published regularly and also, reading every book published by an author I particularly like.

I also discovered many authors not mentioned on the Internet by doing a keyword search in the catalog on "Christian fiction." Of course, I had to wade through all the Hans Christian Andersons, but the joy of discovery keyword search results produced was worth the effort. This was how I found the king of legal thrillers — Robert Whitlow.

Christian Fiction can be defined as follows, according to a Library Journal Book Buzz on Christian Fiction (2009):

"...Most readers would agree that there is a core of biblically-based attitudes, values, and actions, and likely there would be very little, if any, profanity, sex or violence. Generally, Christian fiction has religious themes infused into a regular genre story. ... Christian fiction gives readers characters and situations that demonstrate the growth of faith, depth and breadth of moral responsibility, the possibility of conversion and redemption, and examples of Christian living for men and women of all ages, races and cultures."

Christian Fiction are books written by primarily Christian authors with one or more of the following characteristics: an overarching Christian theme, embracing Christian values and behavior, characters who have faith in God. The Christy Awards and later on the Carol Awards were established to recognize best fiction published in the genre. Pilgrim Progress is an allegorical work of the journey of a Christian from this world to heaven. In the Chronicles of Narnia, Jesus is Aslan the Lion, the ever present guide. The Left Behind series is a fictional series based on Biblical prophecy and historical facts about events regarding the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus as King.

If you have read and enjoyed faith based fiction, here are some others you will enjoy. You can borrow them from the New York Public Library with a library card. If you are a digital reader, you can download and read library e-books for free. I have enjoyed many of them on my iPad while the MTA took care of the driving.

Amish Fiction

Beverly Lewis - The Rose Trilogy: The Thorn, The Judgment and The Mercy
Mary Ellis - Abigail's New Hope

Fiction

Jonathan Cahn - The Harbinger
Karen Kingsbury - The Bailey Flanigan Series: Leaving, Longing, Loving

Historical Fiction

Lynn Austin - All Things New
Kathleen Morgan - A Love Forbidden
Olivia Newport - The Pursuit of Lucy Banning
Janette Oke - The Damascus Way
Tracie Peterson - Chasing the Sun
Francine Rivers - Unashamed

Legal Thriller

John Grisham - The Street Lawyer, The Last Testament
Robert Whitlow - The Choice, The Sacrifice, Water's Edge, Deeper Water

Murder/Mystery/Crime

J. Mark Bertrand - Back on Murder
Davis Bunn - Rare Earth
Ted Dekker - Adam
Jerry B. Jenlins - The Brotherhood (Precinct 11)
Lee Strobel - The Ambition

Romance/Romantic Suspense

Colleen Coble - The Lightkeeper's Ball
Catherine Palmer - Finders Keepers
Lisa Windgate - Blue Moon Bay

Supernatural/Science Fiction

Robert Liparulo - The 13th Tribe
Frank Peretti - This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness, Monster, The Visitation and Illusion
Tom Pawlik - Beckon
William P. Young - The Shack, Crossroads

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