As the Christmas decorations go up, let's take one more moment to appreciate fall! (I may or may not be listening to Christmas music as I write this, I will neither confirm nor deny.) This neat blog tag comes to you courtesy of Ryan Elizabeth Writes--check out her answers to the tag and her cool website here: https://ryanelizabethwrites.com/2020/11/25/finally-fall-book-tag/
P.S. If you have a blog and are interested in participating, consider yourself tagged!
With formalities out of the way, let's begin!
1. In fall the air is crisp and clear. Name one book with a vivid setting.
You all had to know I'd bring this book up at some point. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes is one of my all-time favorite books and I recommend it to anyone and everyone. Some of the depth and the magic of this book is rooted in that vivid setting. Not only did she do such a creative and real job showing me 17th century London, but add in the color magic and the secret wars fought in its streets? Brilliant.
2. Nature is beautiful . . . but also dying. Name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.
*surveys shelves and cringes* I can think of quite a few, so I'm going to cheat and put down a couple. First off, Healer's Bane by Hope Ann. This little book is one of my very favorites, as it follows a girl gifted with mysterious healing powers as she attempts to save the entire world. The question it asked--"If you had a chance to take the pain of the entire world away, would you do it?--was so thought-provoking and really made me consider how I would answer.
I also want to mention Dust by Kara Swanson. Amidst the beauty and magic of Neverland, one still had to acknowledge the dark of London's streets. She addressed so many hard topics--depression, anxiety, suicide, self-harm--in a non-threatening way that pointed to the light.
And to finish it off, Roseanna White's Codebreakers trilogy handles those themes in all three in unique and meaningful ways.
3. Fall is back-to-school season. Share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.
Honors for this one will have to go to Better by Jen Wilkin. I'd never done any of her studies before, and her method of studying passages was very unique. It made me reconsider my studying methods and implementing them into my personal Bible study.
Honorable mentions to Love Riot by Sara Barratt and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. While they weren't so much teaching me something new, they reminded me of things I should have never forgotten. Things that could change my life.
4. In order to keep warm, it's good to spend time with people we love. Name a fictional family/household/friend group you'd love to be a part of.
The family of Roseanna White's Shadows Over England trilogy. Okay, well, I wouldn't exactly like to be a thief, but the way the various members support and look out for each other always makes me smile. Even though they are no blood relation. Even when hurt accosts them. Even when they themselves change. Their devotion always amazes me. The world could use more of it. (Reminds me of my own family. *grins*)
5. The nights are getting darker. Share a dark, creepy read.
Okay, so . . . I actually don't do creepy books. Because why? However, a fantastic series that I've read that could classify on the creepy side would be Dreamhouse Kings by Robert Liparulo. This. Series. Is. Epic. I mean, they can travel through time through doors in their house, people! Now if only they could go somewhere where there wasn't imminent death or danger waiting . . .
One of the best things about Dreamhouse Kings though, is that even though it has those creepy moments (and let's be clear--the villain is a creep), that's not the focal point of the series. It's really a story about two brothers growing closer together as they battle to save their mom. It's always pointing to the light, even when it's not immediately clear. (P. S. Frenzy is the best, but you have to read the rest of the series to get there!)
(Honorable mention to Jaime Jo Wright's books!)
6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireplace. Share a book wherein someone is telling a story.
Would you like to hear the story of how Anastasia Romanova actually escaped the Bolsheviks and saved her family name? Look no further than Romanov by Nadine Brandes. This is another of my very favorites--it's so beautiful and heartbreaking, all wrapped up in a magical Russian adventure.
7. The days are getting colder. Name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up someone's cold and rainy day.
Upon further perusal of my shelves, I have decided upon A Drop of Mercy by Becky McGurrin. While I haven't read this one in a while (*adds to reread list*), I remember it as a story that spoke volumes about forgiveness for its short size.
8. Fall returns every year. Name an old favorite that you'd like to return to soon.
You've heard of a lot of them! Fawkes, Romanov, Dust, Healer's Bane, Codebreakers, and Shadows Over England would all make that list. I'd also add Jocelyn Green's Between Two Shores, Lynn Austin's Where We Belong, and Melanie Dickerson's The Princess Spy to that list.
Now to tag some bloggers!
Allison Grace: https://allisongracewrites.com/
Hope Ann: https://authorhopeann.com/blog/
What about you? How would you answer these fun fall questions? Share your adventures in the comments!
I used to think there was something wrong with me. At least with my reading habits.
I could zip through any novel anyone handed me in just a few days’ time. I could enthuse about the characters, the story, and the writing until people went cross-eyed. I could understand what the author was trying to say through it and often thought about how it applied to me.
But even though I had a stack of wonderful nonfiction books that I so wanted to read, I had to force myself through them. Even when I developed a reading plan to study some of these books, I had to take it one chapter at a time. Sometimes only a half-chapter.
Why? How could I breeze through a four-hundred page novel, but drag myself through a forty-page nonfiction study?
Some of it may have been the different style of writing. Nonfiction tends to have a wider vocabulary and harder concepts. They take time to think on and understand before you move to the next chapter. By their very writing, much of nonfiction is something to ponder, not breeze through.
But can we also face it?—sometimes fiction writers get a bad rap. In movies (more so than books), we’re portrayed as ditzy idealists who spend our days in the clouds, out of touch with reality, and consuming far too much coffee. At best, we're misguided dreamers. At worst, we're hypocrites and liars. More often than not, it seems nonfiction works are applauded as world-changing books.
And they are. I could give you a list of nonfiction books right now that have been revolutionary to me (Crazy Love by Francis Chan, Love Riot by Sara Barrett, Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler, It’s Worth It by Macey McLain, and Priscilla Shirer’s books, for starters).
None of this is meant to bash nonfiction. There is a huge ministry there, and it is exactly what reaches some people. Some nonfiction authors have fantastic writing styles that make it easy to read.
But few people realize the powers fiction writers hold. Sometimes not even fiction writers themselves.
Few people realize that novels are world-changing books, too.
It took me years to decipher my problem with nonfiction. Here’s what I’ve noticed—a few things that prove that the novel you’ve been wanting to read might just be even more meaningful than your average devotional.
Life is tough. Really tough. Each of us have our own problems we’re trying to scale. Whether or not they’re “big” in comparison to things in the world or another person’s problems doesn’t matter. They are big to us.
I’m no exception. And when I’ve been going through the hardest things in my life, when I was hurt or angry or overwhelmed, I didn’t turn to a deep theological tome. I searched for an escape.
And I found that escape in fiction. I’d take a book off my shelf—maybe one I’d read a dozen times before, maybe one I hadn’t gotten around to reading. I’d pop in a movie. I’d lose myself in someone else’s world for a while. For a couple hours I’d travel the streets that connect London to Neverland, break codes in World War I, and explore revolutionary Philadelphia.
And as they battle pirates, race against opposite agents, and stop plots that could have changed the course of American history, I battle right alongside the characters. I return to my own world with a new hope that if they could solve their problems, then so could I.
Once I dive into a story, I become best friends with characters who have the same feelings I do, even though our situations are vastly different.
I’m not a codebreaker in World War I (never have been, either), but when Margot de Wilde cuts her hair to lash out at the snobby matron at the hospital, I understood. I understood that deep-burning anger that made me want to do something drastic. (The Number of Love by Roseanna White)
I’m not a girl with a mysterious healing powers, but I understood Kynet’s desire to protect those she cared most about and to make the most of the gift she’d been given. (Healer's Bane by Hope Ann)
I’m definitely not Anastasia Romanova, but as she struggled to forgive the people who had hurt her so deeply, I thought of those who had hurt me and struggled with her. (Romanov by Nadine Brandes)
Characters get angry. They get scared. They make mistakes. They cry. They feel overlooked. They keep things locked inside that they wish they could shout to the world.
My feelings are shown to be something valid, even if I feel like no one in my world hears them. Something real. And I realize that my feelings are okay. They’re normal. I’m not alone. I can work through them.
Anyone can spout off a string of colorful Christian-ese that means nothing. (Heads up: nobody beseeches anybody anymore. It’s a shame, but it’s true. Just saying.) I can’t count the times when we’ve read a family devotional and the author has said something along the lines of “You shouldn’t judge others” or “You must let God free you from your chains”—and there the devotional ends. Thanks for nothing! Even if they lay out exactly why we should do these things, there was no follow through. Being the logical, analytical person I am, I need practical, real-world examples of how these things work.
Fawkes showed me how to seek truth as a young person in a world full of diverse voices more than any sermon ever did.
How to Train Your Dragon showed me what it looked like to find your place in the world as you grow up better than any how-to book.
Big Hero 6 showed me it’s okay to hurt, and how it looks to hurt the right way better than booklet on grief.
Fiction drags us into the adventure even if we don’t have the hope to look for one anymore and shows us hands-on what victory looks like.
So, at long last, I’ve come to grips with my novel-istic tendencies. And I've learned that those who step into that world are not just naive liars. Fiction is a way to reach people who would never pick up a devotional as well as people who would.
Because deep down, we all long for adventure. And fiction serves it up beautifully right next to the answers we need.
Hi, I'm Rachel! I'm the author of the posts here at ProseWorthy. Thanks for stopping by!