Reading Priorities {What I Learned in 2013}


What did you learn in 2013?

Do you review your year for lessons in how to live the next?

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Taking note of what I learned in 2013 has motivated me to set reading priorities for the future.  I realized, came to understand, started listening, what have you, during 2013 that much of what I was reading was not good enough.  Time to raise the bar.  No reason to continue reading books and authors which are below my standard of quality.

By quality I mean clean writing, minimal language, and no ‘raw’ content.  By ‘raw’ I mean that sinful situations are described more than is necessary.  Certainly there will be situations in every story, but there is a vast difference in writing styles which describe such scenes in detail, and ones that leave the details to the reader’s imagination.  Tact goes a long way in my book.

Likewise with language.  I recently finished Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, which is all about sailors, with the exception of Jim, the main character, who is a young boy.  Now we all know that sailors are rough and they use rough language.  But Stevenson portrayed this well without using the exact language.  Tactfully done.

An example of an author I am, with some difficulty, deciding not to continue reading is Elizabeth George.  I love her Inspector Lynley stories.  I love watching them on PBS.  I love the characters of Lynley and Havers.  They are morally upright and their relationship is as proper as any working relationship can be.

But George’s books have too much language in them, and she dwells too much on the rawness of life.  That doesn’t come through in the PBS series.  Her writing is beautiful, tight, wonderful.  I am amazed that an American can write from a British perspective so well.

And yet these good qualities do not outweigh the bad, and I am simply giving in to the conviction that I should not be reading her books.  It annoys me to have to do so.  I don’t know why it should.

The Christian fiction authors whom I read, for the most part, do not write as well as George.  Their stories are not as complex, and their writing is not as tight, but their quality is far superior.

Therefore, beginning in 2014, I commit to read only from my ‘approved’ list of authors of fiction.  Next week I will share with you the list of specific titles by these authors that I plan to read in 2014.  Please know that I am not sharing this in order to endorse or not endorse specific authors. This is purely my own personal list, and you will have yours.

I’m excited to see what a difference it makes in my thinking and state of being.  When we ask God for wisdom, He always gives it, does He not?  But how often do I ignore what He says to me?  Let’s make 2014 the year of listening, shall we?  {I speak mostly to myself}

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4 thoughts on “Reading Priorities {What I Learned in 2013}

  1. Elaine says:

    Thanks for your comment on my blog-I am exploring color this year and stepping out of my “safe” zone-last year I would not have chosen those colors either. Interesting that you should mention Elizabeth George. I loved the series when I started but it seemed that with each book she got more graphic and I felt I had stepped a little into the sewer when I was finished. However, i wanted to find out about the characters because they were so beautifully crafted that I had connected with them. BBC was the answer. The characters were almost as good as the written ones and no garbage to taint the air.

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