Erin McCole Cupp, the brilliant and witty author responsible for a top-notch novel you really ought to read if you haven't already, titled Don't You Forget About Me, recently blogged about how fed up she is with everyone and his brother warning readers and movie-goers about the dangers of the whole 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon, but seldom offering their recommendations for better, more spiritually uplifting entertainment choices. She has challenged her fellow Catholic writers to "hashtag show us your list" on this celebratory day before the start of Lent--that is, to give a list of novels and/or movies they would recommend instead, and to use Twitter, Facebook, and every form of social media to spread the word that there is a wealth of wholesome and entertaining fiction out there just waiting to be discovered. Erin has invited a whole bunch of peeps to participate in a Mardi Gras #showusyourlist media blitz.
Like most of the writers who will be participating in this hashtag movement, I haven't even read 50 Shades of Grey (a trilogy which I've heard that, on top of every obvious reason to avoid it, isn't even particularly well-written and features a cast of one-dimensional, unlikeable characters). But I don't think I need to do so to understand just how dangerous a dark and twisted book (and now movie) that glorifies kinky and abusive sex is--and how scary it is that "mainstream" readers ("soccer moms," even) have devoured these books and are now flocking to the theater for more. I'm trying to wrap my brain around this; and no matter how hard I try, I can't understand this phenomenon. I can't understand the appeal. The woman who created 50 Shades is a millionaire many times over...but at what price, I wonder?
Some say it's just harmless escapism; but who would want to escape a world where good and evil can still be seen clearly in black and white, and therefore true goodness and beauty are still alive, and live instead in a world where all is just some murky shade of grey? Once you start down that path of moral relativism, it's a slippery slope; if no one can distinguish good from evil anymore, all will be chaos.
So when I heard what Erin was doing today, I decided, "I'm in!"
My list includes some wonderful contemporary Catholic authors whom I've gotten to know in the past few years, since I've shyly joined their ranks--some just on-line (so far) and others in person. They are using their talents as evangelization tools, but making sure that readers are entertained in the process--without having to endure any of those cringe-worthy romantic scenes so prevalent in modern literature! (Some are writers of YA fiction; but keep in mind that among even adult readers, YA is the fastest-growing market!)
By Erin McCole Cupp:
Don't You Forget About Me
By Kaye Park Hinckley:
A Hunger in the Heart
By Cheryl Dickow:
Elizabeth, a Holy Land Pilgrimage
Miriam, Repentance and Redemption in Rome
By Nancy Carabio Belanger:
Olivia and the Little Way
By Rosemary McDunn:
The Green Coat: a Tale from the Dust Bowl Years
By Amy M. Bennett:
End of the Road
No Lifeguard on Duty
By Kari Burke:
The Life I Dreamed
By AnnMarie Creedon:
By Ellen Gable:
In Name Only
A Subtle Grace
By Michelle Buckman:
By Therese Heckenkamp:
By Kia Heavey:
By Katherine Grubb (not Catholic, but Christian):
Falling for Your Madness
By Laura H. Pearl (because my husband convinced me that I should add his favorite author):
I am so thrilled to be part of the "New Evangelization," using fiction as a tool for helping to spread the Good News. I came to the writing profession rather late in my life, beginning Finding Grace in 2007 at age 49 and seeing it published by Bezalel Books in 2012, when I was 54. I was a SAHM for decades, and then shortly after I became a grandmother, I became a published author, too. (Still pinching myself here.) I seriously thought Finding Grace would be my one foray into the world of fiction; but then in 2014, Bezalel published my second YA Catholic novel, Erin's Ring. One of my biggest motivators for writing these novels was the urge to provide wholesome and edifying fiction choices for young readers (hoping that they would be enjoyed by the parents of those readers as well). After watching the way things had progressed over the years during which my five sons were growing up, I felt it was vitally important to do whatever small part I could to fight the forces working against the purity and innocence of the young--especially because they have become increasingly vulnerable to those forces, now that there are so many pervasive forms of social media at their disposal. It's already such a different world than it was in the 80's and 90's, when I was a young mother. And I think parents who are wondering what the world is coming to nowadays need to know that there are better choices out there than 50 Shades and its ilk.
I have one more title to add to my list, for a movie I have yet to see but just know I will LOVE. It's called Old Fashioned. I've heard such good things! Check out the trailer.