Should I read these books?

Over the past while I have gained an interest in reading books. Indeed, this led me to buy books. I purchased a book by Stephen King and the book game of thrones, however, the former contained sex outside of marriage and I read a bit of game of thrones but stopped reading due to the sexual content. I was also interested in reading books by Tom Clancy, but was put off when I saw that a character in one of his books took the Lord’s Name in vain. It seems that when I find a book that I would perhaps be interested in there is something that I find problematic in it. Opinions please.

Thrillers are like candy. Fun for a short while, but don’t leave you with much of value, and in large quantities harmful. There’s nothing wrong with a little entertainment now and then, but if you are really interested in reading, why not invest in some classic literature which has stood the test of time. It doesn’t have to be flowery. There are some great old novels which teach us about other times and places and often contain good insight into human character. It could be something as simple as The Adventures of Huck Finn, or more complex like The Brothers Karamozov. There are so many titles out there which are infinitely better than the brain candy best-sellers.

But sometimes you NEED brain candy.

A priest once told me: Garbage in, garbage out. In other words, as St. Paul said, “In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.”

I admit that I get offended reading something blasphemous against Our Lord. It feels like an attack on a close family member. I think it’s a good sign that this bothers you too.

Reading is a wonderful relaxing hobby. There’s nothing wrong with the suspense or drama genre if that is what you prefer. If it gets twisted and dark, consider replacing it with something else.

Everyone has the right to choose what they want to read. Thrillers are great escape from the real world. Reading as an escape is great but one also has to be careful that the thriller one is reading doesn’t prevent them from spending time with God. I believe it is also important to read theological books that discuss the faith so that one can also learn what our faith teaches us. We are all called to Evangelize the world and to do that, one must know their bible and what Christianity teaches both from the Catholic tradition as well as the others as well. It’s a delicate balance that one has to manage.

You’ll find a lot of questionable stuff in Stephen King’s books. It always comes to mind, where the female character, a teenager, engages in group sex with some boys “to calm them down”. Having said that, I do enjoy reading his novels and find them positively frightening at times, which is fun. :smiley:

As for Tom Clancy, don’t really read much of his stuff, but he is a Catholic, apparently.

I stopped being able to read King after ‘From A Buick 8.’ It’s not that I recall anything ‘bad’ from that book. To the contrary, it was a tour-de-force.

But other authors claimed my interest, and I’d never been able to finish ‘The Stand,’ and never read ‘It.’

My squick factor is getting sensitized, evidently. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s not necessarily sinful to read about characters engaging in sinful acts. Sometimes such acts are necessary to show character development or to demonstrate the harm that evil actions bring.

Are these books an occasion of sin for you?

Yeah, nothing has ever been offensive in that one! :eek:

Humans are imperfect, so human literature will reflect imperfect behavior. If you expect all characters in a book to behave perfectly, you will never read any books. Do you refuse to read the bible because some characters in the bible had premarital sex?

I have read Game of Thrones, and I thought it was good. Some stephen king books are good. The Eyes of the Dragon is one of my favorite books.

I don’t think that is quite what the OP meant…

Obviously, like a previous poster noted there are books in which the author is intending to show imperfect human traits. It isn’t necessarily sinful to read literature in which sinful acts are taking place in and of itself. In fact, it may be necessary in order to demonstrate a point in why such behavior is not okay, if the author shows the impact such behavior has on the character or other bit players. It can also serve to show how that character developed into a better person or how other people triumphed over an injustice done toward them.

However, there are some books/ authors that glorify in the obscene. You also encounter this in movies, magazines, etc…

I don’t think the author needs to make a moral point out of every problem a character has. Real people have real problems. All literature is a reflection of real life. Characters in a book have feelings that correspond to reality. They behave in ways that often correspond ro reality. Problems are part of any real person, so why wouldnt they be part of the characters in a book? If all the characters were perfect, I doubt the book would be worth reading. There is nothing to sympathize with if all the characters are free of flaws.

If it was a sin to read about people engaging in sin, we couldn’t read past the second page of Genesis. :slight_smile:

That’s a better question.

I don’t think the examples I mentioned said that a moral point neccessarily has to be made by the author. In fact, I said that it’s acceptable if an author chooses to portray imperfect human traits. Of course the characters will have feelings that respond to reality. People sin, so for the sake of accuracy, characters in books sin. However, there is a difference between an author who writes books that you and I are describing. (I think we’re actually saying the same thing), and books that trashes anything remotely good. We all know that there are authors who glorify smut. Those are the books I’m referring to. If the OP thinks that the books they are reading falls into the second category, then they might want to read something else.

I agree completely. I normally don’t come across books that are like that, but once in a while I do. The sword of truth series by terry goodkind is an example. The first couple books were pretty good, but as the series progressed it became more and more a diatribe against faith. The last few volumes were complete trash. Not only was the philosophy trash, the writing style was trash. It turned out to be a bunch of monologues by the main character espousing the ***** philosophy (objectivism) of the author.

to the OP, you might like Dean Koontz’ books. They are mystery, terror and suspense, and he is a Christian I believe. His villains can be pretty villainous, enough that I have to skip some of those scenes, but the rest is good.
There are other good books which aren’t offensive: classics like The Prince and the Pauper, Jane Eyre, C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy. I get some of my books out of the Young Adult section, because some of them are pretty good and tend to be cleaner. For some reason people think a novel for adults has to have sex and swearing in it.

Koontz is Catholic, in fact. His more recent books show a more mature understanding of the Faith, or maybe he’s just rich enough to not care what the editors think, I don’t know! I actually find a lot of good in his books: protagonists with Downs Syndrome or Autism, flawed characters whose flaws are admitted humbly and very very little sex of any sort. In fact, seems like its always a brief mention and within an actual marriage.

Kings characters have little to no redeeming qualities. I’ve only read one book of short stories…it was last year…forgot the title…and that horribly long drawn out novel on the island. Obviously forgettable to me. I felt almost ill and in despair after reading those.

Some of King’s stories do have redeeming qualities. It’s been many years since I read “Needful Things” now, but I remember it as an interesting story about the drastic consequences of temptation, covetousness, etc.

If you know DK, you’ll know his books have indeed changed and that this DOES mostly fall under the ‘more mature understanding’ banner. :thumbsup:

If you want good reads that are also wholesome, you may have to go to older books. Among my favorite authors are Neville Shute (tho On the Beach is pretty depressing) and James Hilton. Among modern authors my favorites are Pat McManus & Terry Pratchett. Pratchett can get a little racy, but not explicit. Discworld with its multiple gods might offend some.

For some rather old-fashioned thrillers, Charlotte Armstrong is great!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit