I’m sure you’re all dying to know how my fast from fiction went during Lent, especially since Lent ended weeks ago and I haven’t written about it yet.
Did she survive?
The answer is yes. Mostly.
I had big dreams back in February that I was going to read all these wholesome, spiritually nourishing non-fiction books. I even took a picture of my goal.
So, yeah. Ambitious.
The truth is both better and worse than what that picture shows.
I started Lent with Rachel Wojo’s One More Step and it was slow going because I really wanted to digest the lessons and do the reflection activities at the end of each chapter. Then I moved on to Christie Purifoy’s beautiful memoir Roots & Sky. So far so good if you’re following along with the picture.
I finished reading Brennan Manning’s Souvenirs of Solitude, a book I used along with daily devotions. I didn’t start that book during Lent, but I finished it, so it counts, right? In its place, I started Love Does by Bob Goff, and I’m still working my way through that.
Then I got distracted by the new-book shelf at the library and picked up Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? Because I couldn’t read fiction, I needed a guilty pleasure kind of book, and this was it. It was funny but like most of the books I’ve read from comedy writers, there’s a lot of truth and wisdom included.
And then the library answered my request for The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine Aron. I’ve been hearing about this concept for a while, and if you have even the tiniest inkling that you might be a highly sensitive person, I can’t recommend this book enough. I read the library copy, but I want to get my own just to have as a reference.
Finally, as Lent drew to a close, I was finishing up Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. This was a fascinating read with a lot of good stories and information.
So, while I didn’t accomplish the goal I set out for, I don’t feel bad about what I did read during those weeks.
It wasn’t perfect, though. I did watch a lot of episodes on Netflix, which were technically fiction but not the same as reading because I didn’t watch them when my kids were home and I had to decide every 45 minutes if I was going to keep watching. With a book, it’s barely a question of whether I’m going to keep reading.
But I found the exercise helpful. It’s been difficult for me to get back into reading fiction after so many weeks away. I used to request any book I was interested in from a favorite author when it came up for review in the blogger review programs I’m part of, but I’ve not requested any new fiction since February. I’m choosier, right now, I think.
The first thing I read after Lent was Courtney Walsh’s Change of Heart. No regrets, there. Now, I’m on book six of the Harry Potter series. And I’m tackling Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird for the first time in 15 years.
Fiction isn’t bad. Please don’t let that be your takeaway from this. But I think I needed the break. I’m more intentional right now about what I’m reading and how many books I’m reading. (Confession: I have two from the library sitting on my counter waiting their turn after I finish my in-progress ones.)
I won’t give up fiction forever, but I think the break was beneficial.
Have you ever done something like this? How was it for you?