Friday, July 9, 2010

Faith and Fiction Saturday: Men and Christian Fiction

Faith n'Fiction button

Welcome to Faith and Fiction Saturday, a weekly discussion of the intersection of faith and fiction. To participate, simply leave your thoughts in the comments or write a post on your own blog and leave a link.

I have recently started a podcast with Nicole of Linus's Blanket. It's one of my favorite things to work on right now, because it's a new and fresh way for me to discuss my love for all things bookish. The episode coming up this week will be on the subject of writing the opposite gender. Until I started book blogging, honestly, gender is something I didn't think about a lot. What I mean is that I didn't think about how society places certain constraints on people because of their gender, certain expectations for behavior and almost approval and affirmation of one's personhood if they act according to what is perceived as correct behavior for their gender.

It's interesting to me that this is something I didn't spend a lot of time really thinking about when evangelical Christianity generally has definite gender roles. For a long time, this was just something I accepted, but I've been challenged a lot in the last year or so to really think about issues of justice, compassion, and mercy and then also what the Bible has to say and how to understand it.

In any case, when it comes to reading the gender issue comes up, because there are statistics to support that men buy less fiction than women. There is, of course, much discussion as to why this might be, and of course there are men that read fiction, and women who find fiction a waste of time. (There are also statistics that support more women book blog than men which might be a reflection of women reading more fiction and also women using social media and networking more than men)

But because Christian fiction is a smaller market it is so readily apparent that more women are reading it than men. Romance has to be a huge share of the market. And for the record, I have no problem with men reading romance--it's just that most men don't seem to do so. And from the men I know, there are several that won't read Christian fiction. In fact, I have a hard time finding men to participate in the Faith and Fiction Round Tables that focus on a contemporary Christian fiction book.

So I'm curious as to what you think about this...and maybe even what can be done. As you know, I'm always looking for ways to open up the Christian fiction market to even more people and hoping to see more kinds of books published. But I'm concerned the perception of Christian fiction is that it's all romance or apocalyptic work like Left Behind. (by the way, there are plenty of women who are Christians and won't read Christian fiction as well and yes I know not all women read romance--though I don't know why not. :P)

Why do you think men read less fiction and also less Christian fiction? How can we encourage more and different kinds of books to be published for the Christian marketplace?

Next week, we'll continue this discussion by discussing how men and women are portrayed in Christian fiction.


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