My sons and I love to read clean, wholesome books together. We especially ramp up our efforts in the summertime when homework is nonexistent.
Now that my oldest is a teen, we’re finding that some of the books aren’t so “innocent.” Since our reading time together is such an enjoyable tradition, I’m pretty picky about what we read. In fact, I’m picky about what I read, and the ladies in my neighborhood book club are too. Little to no swearing. No explicit sexual scenes. No graphic violence. Little to no drugs or alcohol. Some might argue that there’s nothing decent to read that fits our criteria. But there is. You just have to hunt a little–or know a few tools to help you find clean books that are worth reading.
Amazon: Search for swearing before you buy. At Amazon.com if you search for a particular book, many of them have “Look Inside” features. Click on the cover of the book and find the link that says “search inside this book.” You can type in questionable words to see if/how many times they appear in the book. Granted, you have to type the swear words to find out, but if you’re in a book club, perhaps the leader of the group or the host for the month could take turns finding out and reporting this information to the group. That way, everyone is given a heads up first about the content, so they can choose whether to read the selection or not. Or maybe another book could be suggested.
Online: Homespun Light is a blog maintained by Emily, a former BYU student. She has a small listing of clean adult books but features mostly reviews for children’s books, highlighting the moral or educational principles they teach. She also offers reviews of church literature. More Than a Review is a more extensive reference tool. The purpose of the site clearly states: “More Than a Review allows readers to search and rate books on the level of sex, violence, language and drugs. Be surprised by plot twists not content.” I couldn’t Friend them fast enough on Facebook! You can simply use the site to find books to your level of standards. You can also be part of the solution to the content problem by posting reviews of books. In other words, you can give a really great rating to a good, clean read or give a poor rating to a bad read and warn other potential readers.
The ever-popular GoodReads is another helpful way to find groups that might suggest clean reads. In the link shown, there are several LDS virtual book club groups. You can also use the site to connect to other Christian groups. Use the site’s search field to play around with different search words and see what you can find. This Clean Reads group on GoodReads looks very promising and has over 1500 members.
Christian Fiction Site looks like a wonderful resource as well. I just opted to follow them on Twitter and can’t wait to see their suggestions.
A quick search on Facebook showed a few potential groups for finding appropriate books. The first one I saw was another Clean Reads. The group has almost 700 members, and I noticed that a friend of mine belongs to the group. She has good judgment, so I joined too. Here’s another group featuring LDS Book Sellers and Friends.
As you can see, there are some readily available resources to find good reading materials. Still, asking friends is my best method. In my book club, one cute lady offered her copy of the monthly reading selection with all the swear words blacked out. I’m sure the author would have had a fit, but the loaner book was a huge hit in our group. My son and I continue to enjoy lots of books together, and I’m so glad I can screen them first through some of these methods mentioned. We like it when a book surprises us, but we’d rather not be surprised by trashy content.
How do you find clean books to read?