In the past few years I've been stretching myself to read more Christian Fiction. I noticed there was a gap in my reading in that particular genre. I went out and blindly looked through the Christian Fiction section and my local Barnes & Noble. I had no idea what I was looking for. The only author I had any idea about was Janette Oke and that was only because I had seen her movie adaptations. I wanted to try someone else, so I looked and looked, but could not decide on anything. Then I found With Endless Sight #3 in the series by Allison Pittman. I was not familiar with series #s. This is not to say I've never read a series, but for some reason I didn't think reading this particular book out of order would matter. The book was able to stand alone, but I wanted to go back and read #1 and #2. I did that and I enjoyed it very much. It was a mix of Historical and Christian Fiction, but I have yet to find anyone aside from these two women that captured my attention in this duo genre. The other Christian reads that I enjoyed were Believe by Dan Oran, Christ out of Egypt by Anne Rice and The Shack by William Young. And let's not forget the books of Richard Paul Evans!!
It dawned on me that there might be a sub-genre of Catholic Fiction. There are sub-genre's in movies so why not books. So I went on a search to see if there were actually any books I read or would want to read or at least heard of and didn't know they were considered 'Catholic Fiction'. My assumption is that most of these reads would revolve around Popes and Saints, so here is what I found:
- Everything Jane Austen is considered 'Catholic Fiction' - How did I miss this?
- The Diary of a Country Priest: A Novel by Georges Bernanos - Well of course by the title, you know it is a Catholic thing.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - I did not know that.
- Every book written by Fyodor Dostoevsky including Crime and Punishment.
- The works of Alexander Dumas
- Three of George Eliot's books: Middlemarch currently reading, Silas Marner (which I read) and Daniel Deronda.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scotts Fitzgerald - I had no clue when I was reading it.
- Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame - although when I think about it, I can see where it would be considered 'Catholic'.
- John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany - which I couldn't get through, but the movie adaptation "Simon Birch" I loved, but am not sure if I recall a Catholic thread.
- Thomas Keneally's Schindler's List (huh??) - Can you see it flying over my head?
- Stephen King's The Stand - which I am about to read, and Yes I can see this, and The Dark Tower Series which I can also see it.
- George Orwell's books Animal Farm and 1984
I will stop here because the list can get rather long. If you are interested in looking at the Full List please feel free.
Thinking on these books and what I know of them, why are they considered 'Catholic Fiction'? Is it because it talks on Catholic values? Not that I'm aware. Is it because it has something Catholic in it (like the main character is Catholic or a Nun walks through the street while two characters are talking)? What makes these books fall under the sub-genre Catholic? Most of them aren't obvious like "The Excorsist" or "The Scarlet Letter", so what is it? Well I don't know. But then again, most of the movies that are labled as 'Catholic' aren't very Catholic to me.
Will I go out of my way to read a book that is labled 'Catholic Fiction'? Probably not, I'll read it because I want to. Will I go out of my way to read a book that is labled 'Christian Fiction'? Probably. I really enjoy Christian Fiction. It is uplifting and all Christian's can relate.
I still love being a Catholic, I just won't narrow my reading to that tiny scope.