What Passes for Literature these Days?
In doing research for study, building my library and browsing on Amazon and using CCEL, over the years I have become familiar with a wide range of literature both Christian and otherwise. CCEL only publishes those works or classics that have expired copyrights. These works have proven their value over time and we find many great books here. So that leaves the rest of Christian literature published in the last 100 years roughly. More recently, I have the impression that the standards for what gets printed have changed dramatically. The process for approval and publication goes through a sequence of things like: is it politically correct, can the average person understand it, will it sell, does it meet the criteria of contemporary evangelicals, is it short enough not to challenge the internet generation, and long enough to pass for a book, can its basic message be summarized in a few bullet points that become chapter titles; and so forth, you get the picture. None of the preceding has anything to do with the most important question: Is the book well written? By the time an author's works reach the market, they have gone through a series of hurdles and obstacles in editing and censuring and the end result is more often than not what I conclude as Christian fluff, not literature. What happened to the literary giants of the past? Does anyone actually read books anymore, anyway? The bottom line of a books worth: is the writing good? What happened to pioneers like Steinbeck and Hemingway whose works in reading are like listening to a beautiful song? You cannot tweet a work of art or communicate something like 'War and Peace' by posting it on Facebook. A good book is the highest art form of the printed word. Can you recommend any Christian literature that has been published in the last twenty years that compares with the Classics? Maybe I just do not understand the dumbing down of our culture and my standards are too high. Regardless, I really would like to read a great Christian book on Theology or even Fiction that has been published recently. Any suggestions?