A couple of months ago I wrote a post that partially dealt with the issue of the Christian Fiction section at Borders creeping into the allotted space of the Church & Theology section. After today’s visit to the same Borders store I’m convinced that Christian Fiction is no longer creeping, it is now gobbling up real estate and declaring the right of “eminent domain” in the process.
In other words, Christian Fiction has gained two more shelves, and Church & Theology has lost the same two shelves. Indeed, even what is left of the Church & Theology section appears to be growing thin, with more books than usual “faced out” rather than set normal (spine out?). I’m no expert on the strategy of marketing and shelf-space when it comes to bookstores, but I suspect this shift is a reflection of a growth of the market share of Christian Fiction and a reduction in the market share of Church & Theology. The shape of things to come, perhaps?
So why were we there?
For one, Borders functions, for us at least, as an up-to-date library. On top of that, Amy had a 40% off coupon, and that’s hard to argue with, even in the current recession. During our last few trips to Borders I’ve been drawn not to the Christian Fiction section, but to the Literature section, and sadly but realistically there is a significant difference between the two.
In my opinion much of the Christian Fiction section resembles a panorama of soap operas with a thin veneer of religion or spirituality faintly disguising the shallow banality that is its true essence. Note: that is my opinion, it doesn’t have to be yours and you don’t have to agree with it. [On second thought, many writing genres these days have their share of shallow banality. It just seems that Christian Fiction has more than its fair share.] The Literature section, on the other hand, gives space to classics such as The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, one copy of which was subjected to the 40% coupon and thus made the trip home with us.
Admittedly I haven’t read The Brothers Karamazov yet, though I had to read a small part of the book in a philosophy course in college. Not sure why I waited this long, but I’ve concluded that the time has come to open myself to Dostoevsky and The Brothers Karamazov and see what becomes of me on the other end.