“It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” - Mark Twain
How are you doing on your new year’s resolution? More importantly, how goes your progress in the Read-venture? If you fell a little behind, no big deal. Finish your current book and move on.
“What about the other books on my January list?” you might ask. Well, in the words of Tony the Italian mob-boss Tiger, “fuggedaboutit, because ain't nobody got time for that!” We have to keep trucking along and I am here to announce February the month of FICTION! Hoorah!
“A whole month of fiction?” First, why are you so whiny? Yes, a whole month of fiction. Second, of course there’s a perfectly good reason why we would dedicate a whole month to one genre of reading; I just have to think of one.... Ah, thought of one, here we go:
Dan DeWitt recently shared a post on ‘Why C.S. Lewis Didn't Write for Christianity Today’ . In that article he shared that Carl F. H. Henry, founding editor of the magazine, had in 1955 invited Lewis to contribute to the magazine's first issue. Lewis declined. Carl Henry wanted more 'Mere Christianity' and direct theology. Lewis didn't. As Lewis told Henry, “If I am now good for anything it is for catching the reader unawares—thro' fiction and symbol. I have done what I could in the way of frontal attacks, but I now feel quite sure those days are over." Lewis felt that through the medium of fiction, he could best flesh out not only Christian doctrines but the Christian worldview in its entirety.
This is the part where I would typically set out to explain to you why I see value in reading fiction. Instead, I will share with you six points listed by one of my favorite undiscovered theological thinkers, Marc Cortez (does that make me a Christian hipster?).
- Fiction reveals truth. A good story makes us experience truth.
- Fiction strengthens the imagination. Imagination is the skill of seeing the world as it could be.
- Fiction manifests beauty. Soaking up a good story can be like watching a beautiful sunset – a reminder that there is still beauty in this broken world.
- Fiction expands horizons. Fiction expands my window on reality, letting me see reality through another’s eyes.
- Fiction makes better writers. One pragmatic issue to consider is that reading fiction makes you a better writer. Fiction authors use language differently than non-fiction writers.
- Fiction is fun. Enjoying yourself is simply part of being who God has created you to be. And reading good fiction is fun. Enjoy it.
Enough of that, let’s get to the list. This is what I’ll be reading over the next month. I hope that you’ll join me!
WHAT WE ARE READING:
- Calvin/Mcneill. Institutes 2 volumes (1822 pg.) – (http://goo.gl/LB6zQ, $53) yearly reading plan – http://goo.gl/YmYMf
- Lane. Reader’s Guide to Institutes (176 pg.) – (http://amzn.to/TfJhGA, $15)
- Peterson. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (304 pg.) – (http://amzn.to/TiE1Rg, $10.19)
- Peterson. North! Or Be Eaten (352 pg.) – (http://amzn.to/TiE6En, $10.19)
- Peterson. The Monster in the Hollows (348 pg.) – (http://amzn.to/TiEcMf, $11.19)
- Orwell, 1984 (384 pg.) – (http://amzn.to/TiEgvE, $16.32)
HOW WE WILL DO IT:
Ok, I know it sounds scary, but wait a second. Yes, while we may have more total pages than last month, there are less total books. Not only are we reading less total books, but we are only reading in the genre, fiction. “No Duh, Dave, you already declared February a month of fiction.” Why are you so rude? If you caught my last post no excuses you will remember that I said, “you don’t have “a” reading speed...you read varying types of literature at differing levels of vehemence.” Well, reading a month of fiction is like coasting downhill on a road bike: fast, furious, and Vin Diesel.
Like we did last month, let’s rationalize this fear by crunching some numbers. Not counting Calvin’s tome and reader’s guide, there are approximately 1388 pg. to read this month. Again, say we only wanted to read on weekdays: there are 20 wkd. in the month of February.
1388 pg./20 wkd.= 69.4 pg./wkd
See! It’s not that bad...kinda. I understand that this may sound like a lot, but boys, this is the equivalent of watching three duck dynasty episodes or one half of a football game. Ladies, it shouldn’t take you more than one and a half episodes of your coveted Downton Abbey to read that much in one day. If you follow my guide, you will have read another 4 BOOKS THIS MONTH! You can do this (probably)!
*I should mention that Calvin’s Institutes (as well as the Reader’s Guide) will be read over the course of the year. Ergo, you will see it on every month’s breakdown. I put the link for the reading schedule alongside the book.