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Reading secular books - rosh hashanah

 
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LO




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 11:06 am
Hi all! I don't know if this belongs here or not, but I was hoping to get some advice from all of you. I am an avid reader. I don't have much time to read but when I do, I love to escape into a book. My favorite is historical fiction with a little bit of romance (I am being honest here Wink ). The problem is that I really don't want to be reading romance. It's not good for me, it makes me compare my wonderful (but very human) husband and have unreasonable expectations. I also don't want to have books laying around that I wouldn't want my teenagers to pick up - I feel like it's hypocritical (to an extent, I know there is such a thing as adult reading) and practically not so good.

The other problem is that it's very hard to find good books that I like and that would be completely clean. I have come to this site many times to look for suggestions and I keep trying, but very often I find that the cleanliness isn't what I expected.

I also can't really get into non-fiction or Jewish magazines - it's interesting, but it's not the same as a good novel. Unless the non-fiction is really a very good true story, which I haven't found too often....

Because of all this, I have been struggling to give up non-Jewish books for a while now, and I keep going back to them because I find the writing to be better than most Jewish novels, and the the topics a bit more varied than the typical shidduchim/FBI/kiruv stories. But I would really love to be the type of person that is careful about what she reads.

So here is what I am asking here - have any of you dealt with this, and if so, how? Do you have a better way to screen your books so that you are reading only appropriate stuff? Did you manage to give up non-Jewish books and are reading something else instead? Did it get better with time?

If you can please share your experience on this, and some encouragement, I would really really appreciate it! Smile
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Esty 4




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 11:13 am
following
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amother




Anemone
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 11:16 am
Hi sister! I relate a lot!

I read kid books that my kids read - Harry Potter, Gordon Korman books. I can't get into the sci fi fantasy stuff so dont bother with that. I also read cookbooks and non-fiction. I forced myself to do this, it was hard at first - I have similar reading interest to you! But I didn't want my kids seeing that stuff around the house and so I concentrate on non fiction now. I read WWII stuff too but I have to be in the mood to explore it and handle it. Sometimes I'm really into books about it, and sometimes I just can't.

I'm not the hiding type so I just don't read what I can't bring home, because I feel it will backfire on me but I guess it might be possible for others. Its just more important to me to be straight-up with my kids and to make the choices that I'm comfortable with in terms of what is secular... But yes, it was a pretty significant challenge until I made this choice.
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amother




Tulip
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 11:26 am
What's the problem with reading secular books? Why change that?
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amother




Amber
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 11:45 am
I stopped reading it Jewish books cold turkey when I was much younger. I am no rebbetzin or even close to one but the change I felt spiritually from not reading them is what motivates me to keep going. I’ll read a book here and there but overall I feel different and I like it. I did the same with not Jewish music.

It’s definitely a struggle since I love to read but I’m trying to hold strong with it.

Perhaps for you slowly ease it out or ease out the ones you feel are not so great for you and see if you feel different. If you do, hold onto that feeling and try to push a bit further but slowly.
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LO




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 12:38 pm
Thank you so much for that encouragement, it really gave me a push to try and do it!
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YochevedTh




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 1:45 pm
I read secular books. Like you, I also enjoy historical fiction sprinkled with a bit of romance. It brings me great joy to read and learn about all different kinds of history. As far as I know there is no halacha against reading these books. I know a very frum woman who enjoys reading the same books I do. I also know another frum woman who writes romance novels.
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LO




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 1:51 pm
Thanks for your replies, everyone! Smile While I definitely can hear it both ways - that is why I have been reading non-Jewish books until now....But I feel like, for ME SPECIFICALLY, it's not the right thing, so that is why I am looking for encouragement and tips for how to do it.

I would also love to hear how people screen their books to make sure they are really clean. I know there are lists for kids, but don't know of much for adults.

Also, if you have really interesting non-fiction that you can recommend, please do! Smile
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amother




Indigo
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 2:08 pm
Ive always loved to read and can not see myself giving up secular books. However, I decided many years ago not to read them on shabbos and Yom tov, and that is a commitment I've been able to maintain.
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amother




Skyblue
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 3:30 pm
I would read books that were written a long time ago like the scarlet pimpernel. They’re a lot tamer and classier.
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 3:30 pm
Hatzlacha! I want to mention some wonderful biographies that you might want to try to read:

Reaching to Heaven about Rav Yaakov Edelstein, zt"l, by Sivan Rahav Meir and Yediya Meir
Rav Gustman by David Page
To Remain a Jew by Rav Yitzchak Zilber zt"l (autobiography)
Living Legend about Rav Yitzchak Dovid Grossman shlita was a really fun read.

And I read Greatness in Our Midst, the biography of Rav Simcha Wasserman, zt"l by Dr. David Fox years ago. I don't remember it well; I remember having to get into it but the writing was elegant.

Have you read Short Changed by Etka Gitel Schwartz? Freefall by Miriam Zakon? Leah Gebber's books? They're (IMO) quality Jewish historical fiction.
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amother




Burntblack
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 4:19 pm
On this note- is there anything wrong with reading non Jewish clean books on rosh hashana?
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Sep 19 2022, 6:09 pm
amother Burntblack wrote:
On this note- is there anything wrong with reading non Jewish clean books on rosh hashana?


Wrong? I don't know. I would only read quality non fiction if I had to.
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