Tag: Book Chat

Bookish Question #93 | Where is your favourite spot to read in the summer?

Where is your favourite spot to read in the summer? And is that different to winter?

I have two favourite spots for reading in summer: the front deck and the back garden, depending on where the sun is. In the morning, the sun hits our front deck. I can sit in a hanging chair, reading my book and admiring the view. In the afternoon I prefer the back garden, as it catches the afternoon sun.

I prefer to be inside in winter.

It doesn’t get as cold in my corner of New Zealand as it does in some countries, but it’s still cold enough that I wouldn’t choose to sit outside when I have a favourite chair by the fire for reading. Although sometimes I do read outside … in the spa pool (hot tub) on our back deck.

What about you? Where is your favourite spot to read in the summer? And the winter?

Do you have a book budget? Do you stick to it?

Bookish Question #92 | Do you have a book budget? Do you stick to it?

No, I don’t have a book budget, although perhaps I should.

However, I don’t spend a lot on books because most of the books I buy are Kindle versions, especially when it comes to fiction (which is most of what I buy). The only novels I regularly buy in paperback are those I’ve edited (when the authors don’t gift them to me). I like owning the paperback when it’s something I’ve worked on!

I do buy non-fiction books in paperback or hardcover. They are reference books, and I find it’s easier to read and highlight paperbacks, or to search through physical copies of style manuals.

My enormous to-read pile means I try not to buy books (try!) because I already have so many I’ve bought and haven’t read. And it seems wrong to buy more books when I haven’t read the ones I already have.

What about you? Do you have a book budget? Do you stick to it?

Should Christians read fiction? Why ... or why not?

Bookish Question #91 | Should Christians read fiction? Why … or why not?

Yes, some people honestly believe Christians shouldn’t read fiction. After all, they say, fiction is made up and Christians should be focused on truth. Christ’s Truth.

I agree Christians should focus on truth.

But Christ told stories—the parables. Preachers often tell stories—they call them sermon illustrations. Non-fiction writers often tell stories to make a point.

Writing instructor Lisa Cron says this is because our brains are wired for story. As Christians, we believe God wired our brains, not evolution. So if our brains are wired for story, why would listening to or reading stories be wrong?

So, yes, I believe it’s all right for Christians to read fiction.

But not all fiction. And perhaps not all Christians.

The Bible tells us “whatever is right, whatever is pure” (Phil 4:8). I believe this should apply to our reading. What we read can influence what we think and what we believe, so we need to be sure we’re not subconsciously adopting unChristian values and beliefs based on what we read. We may also need to be wary of the sexual content of the fiction we read (Song of Songs), or excessive violence.

Also, not all things are good for all people.

Paul tells Timothy it’s all right to take a little wine occasionally on account of his stomach, but that’s not a license for Christians to get drunk. Indeed, those who are susceptible to alcoholism or addiction would be better to avoid wine or other alcohol, because they can’t stop at “a little”.

Equally, people with some health issues shouldn’t drink alcohol, either because alcohol makes the problem worse, or because the prescribed medication shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol. But that doesn’t make “don’t drink alcohol” into a blanket rule for everyone.

In the same way, there may be some Christians who shouldn’t read fiction—whether that’s general market fiction, Christian fiction, erotica, romance, violent thrillers. But that doesn’t make it a blanket rule for all Christians. The key is to listen to God and be obedient to His calling. If he calls us to not drink alcohol for a year or for life, we should give up alcohol. The same goes for coffee, or chocolate. Or books.

I suspect some of the Christians who say Christians shouldn’t read fiction are those who’ve had a personal directive from God, but who have mistakenly thought it applies to all Christians, not just to them. They shouldn’t read Christian fiction, but that doesn’t apply to everyone.

What do you think? Should Christians read fiction? Why, or why not?

Bookish Question: Do you have a Top 5 list of favourite reads in 2018?

Bookish Question #86 | Do you have a Top 5 list of favourite reads in 2018?

Top five? Are you kidding? Maybe I could come up with a top five list if I didn’t read so many books each year. But probably not (maybe I could do it if I only read six books …)

Anyway, I’ve decided to cheat a little. I posted five new favourite authors for 2018 a couple of weeks ago. I’m posting my Top Ten Reads for 2018 over at Australasian Christian Writers in a couple of weeks. So this post is my completely biased top five romance reads.

Cheating? Probably. #SorryNotSorry.

So here are my Top 5 romance reads for 2018:

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Despite the fact I’m a little over writers as main characters (it’s taking ‘write what you know’ a little too far), I still loved The Saturday Night Supper Club. It was probably all the yummy food … and the fact the ending was unexpected.

Click here to read my review.

A Song Unheard by Roseanna M White

Yes, there is a good number of books set in England. There is a good number of books set during World War I or World War II. But this is the first one set in Wales, in the (small) university city of Aberystwyth, where I was born.

Click here to read my review.

More than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

A heroine with two different colour eyes, and a pet pig. And a hero who tries to rescue her from the pig. It could be stupid to the point of ridiculous, but it’s actually a funny and touching historical romance featuring a wonderful makeshift family.

Click here to read my review.

Made for You by Kara Isaac

Yes, this is a completely biased recommendation, given I edited Made for You and Then There Was You. But I loved it, even though I’m not a reality TV fan (and I especially don’t watch shows like The Bachelor). If you’ve read and enjoyed any of Kara’s earlier books, you won’t want to miss this one.

Click here to read Fiction Aficionado’s review because it says what I would have said.

A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal

I’ve always been fascinated by ballerina stories (isn’t everyone?) A Season to Dance has plenty of ballet, but that’s actually secondary to a beautiful story of love and redemption.

I somehow haven’t reviewed A Season to Dance, so click here to read a review from Narelle Atkins, who recommended it to me.

Do you have a top 5 list of favourite reads for 2018? Which books are on your list?

Bookish QUestion: Have you planned a summer reading list?

Bookish Question #82 | Have you planned a summer reading list?

Umm … No 🙂

My reading plan is generally which books I have in my reviewing pile.

Beyond that, it’s which book in my Kindle to-read folder takes my fancy, or which book on my actual reading pile catches my attention.

I do have a pile of books I’ve mean meaning to read for a while, but I suspect many of them are too deep and serious to read over summer (e.g. Francine Rivers or Lisa Wingate). I’ll probably read a mix of light contemporary romance mixed in with the occasional historical romance (especially Regency), and a few romantic suspense or cozy mysteries for good measure.

What about you? Have you planned a summer reading list? What are you planning—or hoping—to read?

Where would you like to "visit" in a novel?

Bookish Question #81 | Where would you like to “visit” in a novel?

I’m lucky in that I’ve travelled to over 25 countries, and around 20 US states … which means I’ve already visited many of the places I’d otherwise like to visit in a novel. But there’s also places I’d like to visit again in fiction …

Here are three places I’d like to visit in a novel:

Iceland

Iceland is a beautiful country, but it’s cold and dark for a lot of the year, and it’s a long way from New Zealand. I’d love to visit Iceland. One day! In the meantime, it would be great to read a Christian novel set in Iceland. Any suggestions?

India

I’ve read a few novels set in India (e.g. the Silk trilogy by Linda Chaikin, and the Twilight of the British Raj trilogy by Christine Lindsay). It’s a fascinating country, and I’d like to know more about India. Have you read any great Christian fiction set in India?

Wales

My father’s family are Welsh, as is my name (Iola means valued by the Lord). But I rarely come across Christian fiction with a Welsh setting, and I’d like to see more. The ones I have read have had Welsh settings but haven’t featured Welsh characters—that’s something I’d like to read. Do you have any suggestions?

What about you? Where would you like to visit in a novel?

Which lesser-known Christian authors do you wish more readers knew about?

Bookish Question #80 | Which lesser-known Christian authors do you wish more readers knew about?

It’s easy to find out about the big-name authors in Christian publishing.

Think Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury. It’s not hard to find out about some of the middle rank—the authors whose books you see reviewed, or you find on the shelf of your local Christian bookstore.

But, as a reader, it can be harder to find out about the lesser-known Christian authors.

It’s equally hard—or harder—for those authors to find readers.

I try and feature some lesser-known Christian authors on my blog, either through book reviews, author interviews, or First Line Friday posts. But I still have to find out about them somehow, and that’s often through them contacting me to request a review or interview.

Anyway, here’s my completely biased list of ten lesser-known Christian authors I suggest you watch out for:

What do you think? Which lesser-known Christian author do you wish more readers knew about?

Do you participate in online reader groups?

Bookish Question #79 | Do you participate in online reader groups?

We’ve all heard of book clubs, but did you know there are also online versions?

I’m a member of several online reader groups, but the two I follow most closely are both Facebook groups: Avid Readers of Christian Fiction, and Inspy Romance. As you’d expect, both specialise in Christian fiction (however published).

I’m also involved in a couple of reader/writer groups: Australasian Christian Writers (which posts a book review each Thursday), and International Christian Fiction Writers. Both are open to readers and writers from anywhere.

Some of the groups (e.g. Avid readers) also have a nominated book of the month, and an author-hosted discussion towards the end of the month. But I haven’t actually participated in any of the discussions … There are also a lot of reader groups on Goodreads. Again, many have books of the month which they discuss, but I haven’t participated.

This is sometimes because I’ve either already read and reviewed the book, or because it’s not a book I’m interested in. More often, it’s because I forget, or because I already have so many books on my reviewing pile that I don’t want to add another.

What about you? Do you participate in online reader groups? Which groups?

Bookish Question: Do you treasure autographed copies of books?

Bookish Question 77 | Do you treasure autographed copies of books?

Do you treasure autographed copies of books?

I have a few autographed copies of books, and I do treasure them.

Some are books I’ve won in online contests, like A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal. Others are books where I’ve edited as a pre-publication beta-reader, like Close to You by Kara Isaac or The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky. And some are books I’ve edited, like Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon, or Then There Was You by Kara Isaac.

What all these books have in common are that they are great stories, stories made more special because the author has taken the time to leave me a personal message.

What autographed books do you own? Do you treasure them? Leave a comment and let me know!

Have you been to an in-store book signing?

Bookish Question #75 | Have you been to an in-store book signing?

No, I haven’t.

I do have some books which have been autographed by the author—some I won in online giveaways, some I was given or sent as a thank you for editing the books, and some I have purchased from the author at writing conferences. But none I bought at an in-store book signing.

Why have never attended an in-store book signing? This is mostly because I’ve (almost) never been in the same town as a favourite author when they’ve held a book signing.

Almost? There was one time … I was in Brisbane to attend the Omega Writers Conference, and one of the authors (Jo-Anne Berthlesen, I think) was holding a book signing that morning in the local Koorong store. Well, I had a map, but after completely missing the correct motorway exit twice, I gave up and headed for the conference venue. So I missed my chance to attend an in-store book signing.

What about you? Have you been to an in-store book signing? Who was the author, and what was the book?

Leave a comment and let me know!