Book Triads

Posted: March 2, 2012 in Inkspots

For someone who likes fiction, reads quite a bit of fiction, and really  prefers fiction to non-fiction, something rather interesting has happened in the past year. Other than some favorite authors, I’ve quit reading fiction.

It’s not that I don’t still enjoy it, I do! Currently I’m reading a  fiction short story and a full length novel I got as an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy for those who don’t know  though I think most of my friends knew what it meant long before I did) and am working on reviews of them as I read.

I always tried to balance my “readers diet” with a good dose of  non-fiction.  Biblical Archaeology and Biblical Sociology are two of my perennial favorites.  Histories of Israel, Ireland, Germany, and the United States have captured my imagination too. I got heavily interested in Apologetics starting three years ago, but I’ve always been fascinated by it.  It has a practical application too, and one that I’ve needed recently.

I enjoy reading autobiographies, and real life adventures too, but always for as long as I can remember, I have gone to the fiction section before the non-fiction section in a bookstore or library.

Until this year. 2011-2012, has been the year of the non-fiction book for me. I can count on one hand, the fiction books that I have  read.  I don’t know if it’s a change in tastes, or if something else is going on, but I just can not get into a fiction book.

What I am getting into, is triads.  It goes like this.

I read one book on a subject, like the nature of worship. I enjoy it, I glean ideas out of it, and then the next book that attracts my attention, is also on worship. And then usually but not always, I read a third book on the subject.  They aren’t necessarily connected and they don’t often agree with one another.  They all do, however, revolve around the same subject.

Right now, I’m reading the three books pictures above.  In and of themselves, they really aren’t alike.  

Divine Commodity is a beautiful book (this is the second time I’m reading through it) that weaves pieces of Vincent Van Goghs’ life throughout  a poignant and rather convicting look at the commercialism of Christianity.   Vincent Van Gogh was a “holy discontent” not willing to swallow down the prefabricated relationship that the Church had meted out for its followers of his time. He was passionately in love with Christ, and at the same time, thoroughly upset with the religiosity of the Church that bought and sold his Jesus.  Vincent had issues, he really did, but after reading this book, I felt closer to him than to some of the people I sat next to in my church.

Strange the way that like recognizes like. It is a book that haunted me when I finished it the first time.

Prodigal God is about the overwhelming, self-emptying, lavish way that God redeems us.  It is not connected to Divine Commodity in subject, other than to make this ‘commercial Christianity’ ring like a  faulty bell. It has helped me to see that somehow here in the 21st century, especially in the United States, we’ve gotten badly off course. We aren’t running around like mini prodigals, spending everything we have to see our neighbors and family members saved. This is another book (I’m not done with it yet) that seems to have gotten under my skin.  I’m not learning anything new, but I feel like I’m hearing it for the first time. Or maybe the same thing I heard in Divine Commodity,  only louder this time. I don’t know.

Why Jesus?  Looks at Christ against the neo paganism and buffet-style religiousness happening in the West.  I love Ravi Zacharius’ books, I think there’s only one or two I haven’t read. I love the Eastern way of thinking he has, and how he can poke holes in the secular humanism of the west to show what’s really underneath. He can  also talk circles around the new age gurus that are peddling old eastern mysticism as the ‘brand new and improved spiritualism’  of the West.  He talks in the book  about the beguiling that is going on, the lukewarmness, the apathy that has slipped into the bloodstream of the Church in the west. Like a man who bangs pots and pans together to rouse the people overcome by the smoke in their house, and tells them to “Get out, get out before it is too late and the flames have consumed you” Ravi is sharpening the Biblical, Historical Christ in the minds of those that read this book. More than that, he is  challenging them, now that they are awake and can really see Him, to do something about how they were living before.

Somehow, these three books are fitting together, dovetailing inside my soul. I’m not exactly sure how, or what they’re going to build inside of me. I know this, reading non-fiction has never been this much fun.

What about you? Do you have a triad of interlocking  books you are reading too? Or are you a dodecahedron  kinda reader? Let me know in the comments.

  1. Here’s to hoping my NAF friends don’t see this, cause I may be dooming myself to a new nickname, but the analogy I’m about to use just works so well. I read like a hummingbird. I have these spurts where I’ll hop onto a type of book and get into a book for a bit then neglect it for a week or two or, somewhat until further notice. Usually I get into it some though, flipping pages fast like a hummingbird beats its wings. But then I’m off to another ‘flower’, another type of book. I do anything from books on computer coding, to science fiction of Timothy Zahn, to books on the Christian life and current events (currently kinda in this one with The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion, although I’ve only gotten a few chapters into it, and they all at once. Pepper a page or two of an old Zahn SW book once a week or two) to fantasy, to historical fiction, to anything that happens to strike my fancy. My biggest problem nowadays is that I have to read it in one sitting, or I may never finish.continued

  2. The best way to get me to finish though, is to hang a deadline over me. For example, I just picked up the first book of Chuck Black’s Knights of Arrethtrae series. (read all the other ones but couldn’t get at this one) I only have 2 weeks max through InterLibrary Loan and my siblings will be wanting to read it so I just sat down and read it. It’s the first fiction book I’ve finished in several months. If I think about it, the decline in fiction reading really started when I began to proofread and beta read other authors and aspiring authors’ books. 2010 was a good fiction reading year for me I think, so I may have exhausted it for a bit for the most part. I do a lot of things fast and intensely before burning it and going to the next. who knows what’s next. maybe Ravi Zacharius. Loved to hear his radio broadcast. 🙂 You never know though. I’m currently in limbo I think. xD

    • Humming Birds are fantastic! Fast, loyal, feisty, clever, and very maneuverable, they are the Shepherd Boy David’s of the bird-world. 😀 Everyone’s a Goliath to them.

      I usually flit from topic to topic too. That’s why this triad is interesting. It’s like a waltz reading. 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 that kinda thing. It’s not intentional. I’m not seeing out three books on the same topic. I just go “WAIT A MINUTE” when I’m reading the 3rd one.

  3. Kaleb says:

    I’m not a book triad (or a computer triad. I may have a secret life, but I’m American you know, I don’t buy these Eastern crime rings…).

    The books I have from the library right are the following: The Errant King by Wayne T. Batson (Which I don’t even remember requesting, but the librarian’s interested now), To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson, and Steampunk! edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant as a research book for a project I started.

    For non-fiction, everything really depends.

  4. @kaleb’s response to mine: …. @Kaleb’s response to Michelle, good job on getting the librarian interested sir! 🙂

  5. Kathy Black says:

    You sound like me. I use to read three non-fiction books at a time too. But I started out with non-fiction for many, many, years and have just recently returned to enjoying fiction again. There are non-fiction books that have deeply changed my character or helped me along life’s pathway to a better place. I have friends in heaven that don’t even know me, but I know them by what they have done in my life through their non-fiction books. I think some books will actually have eternal life because they give biblical truths and I believe that eternal truth will live on. I believe these books will be in heaven with us…Oh well, I guess I am a bit of a romantic after all.

Be brilliant, be peculiar, be peculiarly brilliant.

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