Charles Finny once said "I cannot believe that a person who has ever known the love of God can relish a secular novel" and denounced many great writers. I'm sure many Christians, past and present, share this view. Charles Colson, however, provides and excellent response to that statement in his book The One Year Devotions for People of Purpose.
Many writers of secular books weave profound Christian themes into their works, and interestingly enough, these works have brought people to Christ when the Bible didn't. This was the case with Louise Cowan, coauthor of Invitation to the Classics. After reading numerous theological works and the Bible, she did not return to the faith. It was eventually the works of Shakespeare and The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that allowed her to see the truth of the Gospel. Colson shares another story of a Russian girl who was converted by reading literature when she was not allowed to read the Bible.
Is it possible that we as Christians have put God in a box, thinking that he only speaks through His Word and His children? Although this is very often the case, by the above stories we can also see that God works way outside of that. He can reach the lost through the work of unbelievers, who may not have intended to bring glory to Him whatsoever. I have found no indication that Dostoyevsky was a Christian, (although he may have been) and God used him to bring souls to Himself.
There is power in story. I have often found that novels can teach me just as much as a book out of the Spiritual Growth section. Jesus Himself often used parables to teach people spiritual ideas. Louise Cowan explained how literature brought her to where she is. "Not until a literary work of art awakened my imaginative faculties could the possibility of a larger context and reason alone engage my mind. . . . I had to be transformed in the way that literature transforms--by story, image, symbol--before I could see the simple truths of the Gospel."
Don't underestimate the power of story and literary works. They can teach us much about our world and lead others to their Creator.