Let’s face it, there are genres for nearly everyone’s taste. Books galore. Thousands of topics to choose from. Fiction. Non-fiction. Biographical. Textbooks. The list goes on and on. As readers, we can step into basically any world we want. While I personally choose romance (Regency or other historical varieties are preferred) for what I like to refer to as ‘mind candy’ (my mental equivalent of Jersey Shore) and read thrillers as continual ‘research’ for the Fates project, there are certain genres I stay well away from.
One of those is faith.
It’s rare that I accidentally purchase or download one these books, but when I do…meh. Literally, at the moment a character goes off to some special internal religious place or thanks God or Jesus for getting them through whichever rough patch they’ve been through, I immediately stop reading. If the book is romantic in nature, inevitably, the love interest with be a lapsed Christian who needs to find his way back into the fold. Through prayer or some minor miracle, he (or she) will regain a deeper sense of peace and self once they return to the church. Some authors are sneaky about weaving religion into the novel, and until they openly bring in faith, I feel suckered into having read further than I normally would.
I’ve tried. I’ve really attempted to get into a few of the higher ranked Christian fiction novels, but haven’t found any I’ve connected with. I suppose I should be more equal opportunity and give Judaic or Muslim centered fiction a shot as well, I’ve just never really run across any. Ultimately, the only religious book I’ve ever enjoyed was Herman Hesse’s Siddartha.
Is there something I’m missing? Or, is my mostly agnostic self never going to be able to connect to these characters and stories, no matter how well written they are? Overall, I could understand a character questioning their place in the universe and (fictional) spiritual development, but I just don’t think I’m ever going to find a book in the genre that speaks to me. Furthermore, I’m trying to think of any recent faith novel that’s crossed over to major success in publishing and coming up short. Readers speak with their money and in fiction at least, religion doesn’t seem to lead to the top of any chart.