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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

This week's Booking Through Thursday asks the following question:

“What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?”

Well, I feel somewhat like a broken record here but the worst book I think I have ever read is The Shack. (You can see my review of The Shack here.) I know so very many people think that it's just wonderful but in my opinion it is theologically unsound. It has just enough things in it that appear to be true to be distracting. I really dislike books that I feel do not offer a firm foundation but that are able to sway people's emotions so wildly in any given direction. This is not the type of book that I feel generally charitable towards.

My ability to become riled over a bad piece of fiction and to come to the conclusion that something is just flat out awful depends most on what kind of theology is presented in the book. In my opinion, books have the ability to express a great deal of thought and are good tools for explaining someone's world view. I'm not going to care so very much if some one's world view is "benign" in the sense that the chances of one particular author being able to sway the masses are concerned. If an author is expressing a belief or opinion about the very nature of who God is, and if people are likely to be influenced by that thought, then I'm probably not going to like the book, unless the author's opinion is firmly entrenched in scripture. Accuracy on that particular subject is extremely important.

I would say that I would probably care about an author's opinion if it came to a social issue that had the ability to really change society. A good example of a book that was able to change society is Uncle Tom's Cabin. Abraham Lincoln, upon meeting Harriet Beacher Stowe, is reported as saying that this was the lady who managed to start the (civil) war. Books have power and I firmly believe that! So I'm going to naturally care about the message that they are communicating as I think anyone should. People read. People think. People act.

I'm going to tolerate/ignore/not mind any book that deals with policies that I don't think are detrimental but perhaps a bit unwise or not very well thought out. I'm going to loathe any book that suggests that something evil is really very good, or any book that says God isn't what He said He is.

This was an interesting question and it is helping me to clarify what I like and don't like about certain books. Obviously, I'm hashing this out for myself as I type. Still learning. Still thinking.

14 comments:

JoAnn said...

Oh, dear...this is the second mention of The Shack today, and my book club chose to read it for the April meeting.

Kaye said...

I haven't read The Shack so can't venture an opinion but I think I may have entered a contest for it at one time. Guess it's a good thing I didn't win, huh? Lol
I just posted mine here

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

The Shack is one of those books that I have no interest in reading no matter how good or bad the reviews are.

Book Lover Lisa said...

I wonder if you have read 'The Healing Power of Stories'. It has a system of classifying books as whole, healing, bent,or broken. The broken stories are those which show evil as good and good as evil. If you haven't read it I think you might find it interesting.

Carrie said...

Oh, I think I would find that FASCINATING! Thank you for the recommendation!

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

I feel that way about the Time Traveller's Wife. Almost everyone I know that read it loved it ... I could not get past the fact that if it was a movie, it would have been rated R for how explict it was. Blech. I still feel icky when I think about it.

Jess said...

I have heard such good things about The Shack ... it's good to hear an opposite opinion.

http://barneysbookblog.blogspot.com/

Mary said...

From what I've read on blogs, etc this is either a love it or hate it book. I haven't read it and don't plan to.

janet said...

I've had so many people tell me to read The Shack, but it didn't sound very appealing. Now I'm extra glad I resisted!

Kris said...

I read this as well on a recommendation by an older lady friend. I was ready for it to be some great book, but I found myself not satisfied by it. It was ok, but I couldn't grasp the author's point as much as I tried.

Nise' said...

I have no interest in reading The Shack even though many have said it is a must read.

Serena said...

Well said.

Barbara H. said...

I've thought about reading it just to see for myself what the fuss was about, but everything I've heard about it makes me not want to (plus the stack of books I do wanted to read waiting for me!)

I so agree that basic theology -- who God is -- is a major item in books. There are some things I can overlook, different opinions I can tolerate, but not professing Christians books wrong or unclear on that and other major topics.

Ronnica said...

I think I've told you before that I agree with you about this book. To be honest, I think it's one of the most dangerous books out there!

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