I had to take a book back to the library the other day, barely read.
I didn’t want it in the house. I didn’t want any of our voracious young readers to pick it up.
It was recommended by a friend when we were comparing good reads, and so I got on the library’s wait list for it. It was an intriguing premise: a love story of a man who travels through time, randomly and not of his own choosing, and the woman he keeps coming back to.
*sigh* I should have realized that a “love” story on today’s list of “good reads” is most likely a s** story, full of titillating details. But I read so little of modern fiction these days, I had forgotten. (s** is a euphemism, obviously, not because I’m afraid to say the word, but because I don’t want web-crawling robots to pick up on this post for the wrong reasons)
(I picked up a book by a popular Christian author recently, and it was too explicit for me… refining fire has been at work over the past few years, I think, even though I wasn’t noticing…)
There’s something about the act of s**– it’s difficult to discuss on this G-rated blog, but when you look at origins, there’s the Biblical principle that the two shall become as one. That is in the context of a proper helpmeet (who became mother of all the living), made for the Man because in all the world, in all of Creation, no suitable helpmeet could be found for him (no surprise, actually — it was all part of the Plan) until God took a rib from the man’s side and fashioned Woman. Their union was part of the beauty of creation. Man was incomplete without her, but when they came together it was as if his missing part had been restored, and together they made a perfect Whole. They were truly made for each other.
The physical act was meant to be a part of a whole, part of a relationship of two becoming one, in spirit, in vision, in common purpose. In an ideal world, people would not be self-destructive, and so if your mate is as a part of yourself, you would look out for the other person’s best interests, and the other person would be looking out for yours. (I’ve heard it said by strident modern voices that marriage should be a 50-50 proposition, and they’re darn well determined to make sure their partner gives every bit of 50 percent; but the marriages that I see working are the ones where each half of the whole strives to give 100 percent.)
Since the Fall and the corruption of Creation, the physical act has also been corrupted into many things: an expected culmination to a casual encounter, a way to hurt someone else, often a way of using or being used to fill some deep craving that, only temporarily satisfied (if you can even call it that), keeps coming back and demanding more.
Pick up almost any romance novel and you’ll likely find yourself immersed in p*rn, not so many page-turns away. Even in Christian books, if you’re not already desensitized to it, you’ll read thoughts and actions that stir your own feelings, a sort of virtual adultery (yes, for the Lord said if a man even looks on a woman with lust, he’s guilty; that’s how serious this is).
In the classic books that we’ve been reading the past decade or so, certainly there are romances, and love stories, and even implied immorality. Notice the key word: implied. Not in your face, blow by blow, thought-by-thought, sensation by intimate sensation as you find in today’s books. It’s as if people just cannot get enough; like addicts, they need more and more to approach that all-elusive feeling of satisfaction.
This modern book, so highly recommended by a friend, was so much more explicit than I’d want to read, or want our teens to read. I forgot to consider the source, you see. The friend and I have a touchpoint, a small slice of common ground, a place where our taste coincides, but I did not realize how different our tastes in literature could be, until I picked up this book, opened it at random, and began to read.
It makes me sad, because good books are hard to find, and she had thoughtfully given me a list of her favorites to consider for summer reading leisure. Now I must consider carefully before bringing any of those books home, for even if I have the discipline to put down a book I find unwholesome or damaging to my inner thought life, I don’t need the girls to be filling their heads with such thoughts. (Ah, I sound such a prude, but on second thought is that such a bad thing to be? Its derivation is from the French for “virtuous woman” or so The Free Dictionary says. “Prude” could also be short for “prudent” which, rather than the “overly” and “excessive” modifiers attached to “prude” has instead a connotation of wisdom and sound judgment. Why is it so common in our fallen world to taunt people for trying to walk the narrow path instead of the broad way that leads to destruction? Rhetorical question, the Bible has a number of passages that address this.)
So, do you have any book recommendations, whose authors hold to higher moral standards, or at least show consideration for their reader?
Just off the top of my head (and I’m in haste, so this will be a short list), these are some we’ve enjoyed:
– anything by Jane Austen (except Northanger Abbey, didn’t like that one)
– just about anything by Miss Read (yes, there is some impropriety expressed by some characters, but “crime doesn’t pay” in her world, just as is true in the real world)
– Jan Karon’s Mitford series
– hobbity fanfiction posted on the web by an author with the pen name Dreamflower
– C.S. Lewis’ works
– J.R.R. Tolkien’s works
– Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter series
– Ellis Peters and her Cadfael series
– Cornelia Funke’s Ink- trilogy