Collecting together non-controversial books for family time

Tonight or tomorrow morning, I’m headed back to my parents’ house for the Thanksgiving holiday. Saturday, my father and I will drive down to York to have dinner with much of the extended family. It’s a four hour or so drive, so I hope to do some reading on the trip. Of course, I suspect other members of the extended family will be joining us, so I need to be judicious in my selection of reading material.

For those who may not know, I am the religious oddity in my family. While I am a practicing witch, just about everyone else (at least on my father’s side of the family) is a conservative, evangelical, and even fundamentalist Christian. This means that sitting with them while reading such selections as Witch in the Bedroom or Anything But Straight would probably lead to all sorts of unpleasantness. And while part of me feels like I’m reaching a point where I need to assert myself around my family regardless of how they may react, the holiday season just doesn’t seem like a good time to do so. (Too bad it’s about the only time I seem to see most of them.) So I’ve started thinking through some choices that may be safe.

The first obvious choice is my new copy of Beowulf. (Special thanks to Pisco for bringing this particular translation to my attention.) I figure that no one can complain about me reading classic literature. And hey, they don’t need to know that I’m reading it for spiritual reasons in addition to literary ones.

As another option (because I always have to have multiple books available to read) is American Gods. Because even if it’s fiction that my family may not care for, fiction is still a relatively safe choice. As long as it’s not erotic fiction, of course.

In many ways I’m looking forward to the trip, too. Melissa’s wedding reminded me that I don’t spend nearly enough time with my extended family, and I need to change that to some extent. Of course, that means putting aside some of my own biases, as I’ve unfortunately come to expect time with my family to be unpleasant. (In reality, the unpleasantness only comes from one or two people, who often aren’t even there.) But in the end, I’m hoping it’ll be worth it.

In the meantime, I’ll be looking over my shelves for a third and possibly fourth choice in “safe” reading material.

4 thoughts on “Collecting together non-controversial books for family time”

  1. We have a certain amount of religious disparity in our family – I’m the only one of my siblings (there are 4 of us) who actively practices any kind of religion, let alone Christianity – but the spirituality of at least 2 of my sibs involves various aspects of Burning Man, New-Ageism, anti-deism, pantheism…kind of mix-and-match. All the rest of the extended family are Christian, and then I’m the Christian-ish universalist-ish anomaly.

    So anyhow, I wish you well during this time with your family. I hope, if these kinds of conversations do come up, you are extended grace and love.

  2. Thanks Erin. Rationally, I’m sure everything will be fine. Thing is, I’m not entirely rational, and have a tendency to expect the worst at times, unfortunately.

    Christian-ish universalist-ish, huh? I have to admit, I’ve never heard that discription before (at least not with the -ish’s thrown in).

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