Do you typically read fiction books?

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Most participants on SI, I would think, frequently read Christian, Biblical, or theological books, many on a regular basis. Others clearly enjoy secular non-fiction books as well. But what about fiction — Christian or other?

What sparked this poll was recent news that people who read fiction books lived longer, and, it appears, reading fiction also improves health and social relationships.

So what about you? Do you like a good Who done it? or a western or historical fiction of some sort — or science fiction, the classics, etc.?

If you read at least two or three fiction books a year, that qualifies for “frequently.”

If you read one or one book every couples of years, that qualifies for occasionally.

Short stories or articles don’t count. Sorry old pals!

We need some sort of rubric, don’t we.

Share your thoughts, too, about what sort of fiction you enjoy. As for me, I like a good Who done it? murder mystery.

Poll Results

Do you typically read fiction books?

Yes, I frequently read a fiction book. Votes: 17
I occasionally read a fiction book. Votes: 8
I hardly ever read fiction, at least in recent years (or never). Votes: 6
I read fiction books by constraint only (as, for example, required reading in a class). Votes: 0
Other Votes: 1

(Migrated poll)

0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 0


I read only theology from the end of high school until I was in my early thirties (mid to late now). I started reading and mostly listening to fiction books and am really kicking myself for not starting earlier. I guess I enjoy classics in general. I seem to like the Russian novels. War and Peace was great as was Brothers Karamazov. A Tale of Two Cities was excellent. I also enjoy mystery but have only read Sherlock Holmes and a couple of Agatha Christie books.

My eventual revelation that fiction books were actually worth reading came through a funny set of circumstances. My son was always harping on me about reading an occasional fiction book instead of only theology. He challenged me to a pizza eating contest with the winner picking the other persons next book. We called it a draw at 14 and he had me read Murder on the Orient Express. Great book.

I suppose I’ll be lower-class and just say that I recently read Daniel Silva’s latest book The Black Widow, and enjoyed it very much. I’m also reading volume two from Schaff’s History of the Christian Church, if that earns me any style points.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

I read 2-3 fiction books a week. I listen to audiobooks as well, especially while doing chores and driving. Although I read as much nonfiction as fiction, I don’t feel like I have to ‘redeem’ my fiction reading with nonfiction. Plus, I read everything my kids read, so I’ve had quite the education in modern YA the last few years.

I’m partial to science fiction, but I’ll read just about anything, including the back of a cereal box if that’s all that’s handy.

I’m listening to Permission Marketing by Seth Godin and Cultural Literacy by Ed Hirsch. I’m reading Beyond the Ice Limit by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle.

I’ve read two books by them now, and they’re good enough to check out from the library, but not good enough to actually buy, in my opinion.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

I only buy fiction if it’s under $2 at Half Price Books or the thrift store. If it’s nonfiction I might pay $3 or $4 for a book I really want. The other day I found The Autobiography of Mark Twain Vol. 1 and Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan by Edmund Morris for $3 each at a discount bookstore called 2nd and Charles. Hurray for me!

I think the only Preston/Child I have is Relic, and it was a quarter at a library sale. Beyond the Ice Limit is the latest Preston/Child in the Gideon Crew series. I just remember loving The Ice Limit, which I read about 10-11 years ago, so I checked it out from the library.

I love to read fiction, and have read hundreds of novels over the years. When I became a pastor, I spent so much time reading books on theology, biblical studies, ministry, etc., that I kind of abandoned fiction for a while. I found that over time I struggled to read non-fiction as well. I think this was due to the fact that I simply enjoy reading fiction, and I needed to renew my love of reading for pleasure in order to maintain my reading for personal improvement. This year, especially, I have tried to read fiction alongside the rest, and I have seen a marked benefit. I just finished C. S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy and I’m working on Orson Scott Card’s Ender series.

During the school year, I love to read to my kids, ages 4-9. We read The Hobbit earlier this year, and they all loved it. Then we read Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and the children’s classic, Dr. Doolittle, among others.

I rarely read fiction:

  • Used to when I traveled on business … would pick up a crime novel and read it on the plane and leave it in the seat pocket for the next poor traveler (early book sharing): One memorable read was Blood Work (I liked the organ transplant angle … like the heart drove the detective) (later made into a film)

This year … about 50-60 books:

Homicide is a truly wonderful book. The mid-90’s TV series on NBC was based on that book.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.


Homicide is a truly wonderful book. The mid-90’s TV series on NBC was based on that book.

Interesting because it starts with a quote from Deuteronomy 21:1-9:

If one be found slain in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him:

2 Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain:

3 And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke;

4 And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer’s neck there in the valley:

5 And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the Lord; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried:

6 And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:

7 And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.

8 Be merciful, O Lord, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.

9 So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.

It’s a vile book with frequent uses of vulgarities … but ironically has a high view of the image of God.

Executor’s Guide, The: Settling a Loved One’s Estate or Trust

I will be mentioning in a future article

The day after my Mom’s death I ordered a copy to be sent to my sister’s house in Dallas. It arrived the same day we arrived in Dallas. That day I ordered a 2nd copy so my siblings and I would have as we worked through estate details.

We didn’t discuss it much until after the burial and then we dug into it for a week and worked about 80% of estate details.

Absolutely invaluable.

It’s a realistic view of what law enforcement investigators deal with on a daily basis. It is a truly cynical world that few others can really understand. For example, most people would think it was “weird” for two investigators to dispassionately watch a pathologist cut the top off somebody’s skull, chop their brain up and cut their chest cavity open with what look like massive shears, all while discussing whether they ought to go to Applebees for ribs when the autopsy was over. Yet, my partner and I did just that once …

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

What I am learning from The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture :

  • Deals with Postmodernity
  • Typical evangelism techniques are answering questions people are not asking like “do you want to go to heaven?”
  • We do “child evangelism” because it is easier - yet no real mention of “child evangelism” in the NT
  • “Stranger” evangelism is easier
  • Building relationships is much harder and takes much more time
  • We’ve given up on adult evangelism
  • The “invite someone to church” style used to work. Less so. Probably wrong headed
  • We’ve been isolationists …. separated from neighbors
  • Few in church even attempt evangelism

I typically have at least three books going at once. One theological, one history, and one fiction.

Currently that is: Lectures to My Students (a re-re-re-read) and The Message Bible, Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies, and a book of Maine humorous short stories by John Gould (The Jonesport Raffle).

My confession: a couple of years ago I read the entire Harry Potter series over the summer and found them quite entertaining. (I also turned my annoying neighbor into a toad.)

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

I re-read Books 1-5 this summer. They are excellent. Very well done.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

I love a good who done it. I exhausted Agatha Christie (and Perry Mason) a long time ago. Now I am reading the Cherringham mysteries (also known as Cosy mysteries). Two read so far. An occasional swear word, but pretty good (so far).

"The Midrash Detective"

I don’t have time to really read for pleasure. Maybe someday, but probably at that point, I will be dead and the need to read fiction would have been useless at that point.

This book - got me my first big promotion

REXX in a TSO environment

I mastered REXX and was a SME

Also read about JCL, TSO Utilities, PL/1, etc

Second big promotion was around HTML, CSS, Javascript, Cold Fusion

I had a technology library of several hundred books - (all given away when I retired)

Third major step was around BCP, servers, distributed systems, DASD farms. Never became an expert but books helped me to fool some