Sometimes Christians feel guilty about reading novels. Sometimes they should, if the novel encourages unhelpful fantasies, glorifies unbelief or leads them into sin. But there's also a (wonderful, glorious) place for reading novels in the Christian life.
The last of Tony Reinke's six categories for reading is reading for fun. He says,
Christians should not blush when they read for pleasure, for escape, or ‘just for fun’. Provided that this is not a form of escapism – and assuming the book does not glorify sin – the practice is enjoyable and honors God.
Truly, many Christians today measure their reading success with nothing more than a purely utilitarian gauge, either by how many book pages they can burn through, or by the amount of information they expose themselves to in the process. Too often we fail to read simply for pleasure.
...Reading for pleasure does not mean we cannot be educated at the same time. Robert Frost once said that a good poem begins by delighting the reader and ends by bringing wisdom and clarity to the reader’s life. That’s a great way of saying it. …Good literature instructs the reader as it delights the reader, because thoughtful readers are ‘putting together what should never be split – excitement and knowledge, joy and truth, ecstasy and value’.
So sometimes I read just for pleasure. But it’s not an easy pleasure...
Reading is a difficult pleasure because it requires discipline, diligence, and focus. But like in any pleasure, it is a pleasure that can be done for God’s glory.
Tony Reinke Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books page 103-04.
image is by Tololy Tutunai at flickr