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Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books [NOOK Book]


I love to read.

I hate to read.

I don’t have time to read.

I only read Christian books.

I’m not good at reading.

There’s too much to read.

Chances are, you’ve thought or said one of these exact phrases before because reading is important and in many ways unavoidable. Learn how to better read, what to read, ...

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Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

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I love to read.

I hate to read.

I don’t have time to read.

I only read Christian books.

I’m not good at reading.

There’s too much to read.

Chances are, you’ve thought or said one of these exact phrases before because reading is important and in many ways unavoidable. Learn how to better read, what to read, when to read, and why you should read with this helpful guide from accomplished reader Tony Reinke. Offered here is a theology for reading and practical suggestions for reading widely, reading well, and for making it all worthwhile.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“I read many books, but seldom do I enjoy one more than I did Tony Reinke’s Lit!. Many of my greatest childhood adventures, and much of my growth after I was converted as a teenager, came through reading imagination-expanding and life-changing books. Tony’s writing is thoughtful, perceptive, concise, and God-honoring. He upholds biblical authority, and offers helpful guidance, while allowing for a range of tastes. Lit! rings true to my own lifetime of reading experience. As a reader and writer of both nonfiction and fiction, I appreciate the breadth of Tony’s treatment, which includes a variety of genres. For book lovers, this is a treasure and delight. For those who aren’t book lovers, it makes a great case for becoming one.”
Randy Alcorn, Founder and Director, Eternal Perspective Ministries; author, If God Is Good and Heaven

“There is so much to commend about this book that it is hard to know where to start. The most obvious virtue of the book is its scope. On the subject of reading, Reinke covers every possible topic. Each topic, in turn, is broken into all of its important subpoints. With a lesser writer, this could produce a tedious book, but the opposite is true of this book. Reinke says just enough, but not too much. The effect is like seeing a prism turned in the light. There is never a dull moment in this book. Once I sensed that Reinke was going to cover all the important topics, and with unfailing good sense and Christian insight, I could hardly put the book down. What will Reinke say about THAT topic? I found myself asking. But to add yet another twist, Reinke has read so widely in scholarly and religious sources that I do not hesitate to call the book a triumph of scholarship. Reinke writes with an infectious and winsome enthusiasm. It is hard to imagine a reader of this book who would not catch the spark for reading after encountering Reinke's excitement about reading and his carefully reasoned defense of it.”
Leland Ryken, Emeritus Professor of English, Wheaton College

“If you don’t read books as both a discipline and a delight, then you should; and if you need help here, as in truth all of us do, more or less, then this is the book for you. Don’t miss it!”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“Christians are people of the Book, and books are a very important part of Christian culture and Christian life. One of the most important gifts God has given us is the ability to read and to communicate from one mind to another by means of the printed page. Throughout the history of the Christian church, books have become some of the most cherished friends, teachers, and companions along the way. But reading is a matter of spiritual discipline, not just a matter of literacy. Tony Reinke helps us to understand how to grow through disciplined reading, not only as readers but also as Christians.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“How to read, what to read, who to read, when to read, and why you should read—Tony Reinke answers all these questions and more in this very good and (surprisingly) brief book on reading. As he shows how reading can bring glory to God and growth to the church, Reinke encourages Christians to take up the discipline of reading widely and wisely.”
Trevin Wax, Managing Editor, The Gospel Project; author, Gospel-Centered Teaching, Counterfeit Gospels, and Holy Subversion

“This is the perfect book for someone who doesn’t like to read, or who likes to read but isn’t sure it’s a good use of their time, or who loves to read a little too much and needs to proceed with discernment. Tony Reinke has made a wise, theological, and edifying case for why words matter. I’ll mention Lit! every time someone asks me why in the world Christians should read fiction—a question that never fails to shock me. Now, instead of snapping, ‘Are you serious?’ and spouting opinions, I’ll just smile and slip them a copy of this book.”
Andrew Peterson, singer/songwriter; author, The Wingfeather Saga series

“You might wonder why you need to read about reading. Some of you have piles and piles of books on your shelves, or on your nightstand, but have no idea how to choose what to read, and when. Some of you are being altered in ways you don’t even recognize by digital technology such that you can’t see how you’re too distracted to summon the deep attention needed to read. This engagingly written book will make you think, but it will also provide practical, winsome advice on how to become the right kind of reader for the glory of God.”
Russell D. Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; author, Tempted and Tried

“Tony Reinke does not just read, but he reads well, and these are two very different things. If you are not much of a reader, consider Lit! a part of your education. Tony will teach you to read, to read widely, and to read well. If you are already an avid reader, consider Lit! an investment that will instruct you in how to read better.”
Tim Challies, blogger,; author, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment

“If you read one book a week for the next 50 years you'll read about 2,600 books. Not a lot when you think of all the books you could read. So should you include this book in your list? Yes. Because Lit! will help you read the right books in the right way. Tony Reinke sets our reading in a biblical framework and provides practical tips to make the most of books. I warmly commend it.”
Tim Chester, Director, The Porterbrook Seminary; author, You Can Change, A Meal With Jesus, and Good News to the Poor

“Since God decided ideas are best expressed in words, and that The Idea—the revelation of his Son as Lord and Savior—is to be learned through his timeless and matchless Word, Christians must dare not to lose sight of the primacy of books amidst the torrent of fast-moving, visual images of our culture. Tony Reinke argues from Scripture and life experience that ‘reading is a way to preserve and cultivate the sustained linear concentration we need for life.’ As an educator, I couldn’t agree more! Sustained reading must remain the heartbeat of any worthy educational program that seeks to produce Christian thinkers, leaders, and apologists. Homeschooling parents who are trying to craft reading lists as they raise Christian children will find gracious and principled guidance here. Moreover, Tony offers great ideas for parents to foster a love for reading, beginning with their own example.”
Marcia Somerville, president, Lampstand Press; author, the Tapestry of Grace homeschool curriculum

“With a discerning eye, Reinke captures the importance of the gospel story for our habits of reading, thus providing a worldview for reading. He challenges us to beware of how the carved images of the Internet can draw us away from the grace of reading for comprehension and simple delight. Yet he equally gives a proper place to secular literature among all types of works that those who love Christ should appreciate. This is the sort of book that I have longed to place into the hands of believers in order to help churches recapture a love for literature and literacy—both biblical and extra-biblical. Practical and enjoyable, Lit! is an outstanding and valuable gift to the church.”
Eric C. Redmond, Bible Professor in Residence, New Canaan Baptist Church

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433522291
  • Publisher: Crossway
  • Publication date: 9/9/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 763,404
  • File size: 843 KB

Meet the Author

TONY REINKE is a former journalist now serving as a theological researcher, writer, and blogger. He lives in Maryland with his wife and three children.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    As a Christian reader, I found this book to be extremely thought

    As a Christian reader, I found this book to be extremely thought-provoking. While I can see how some readers may want to skip right to the practical suggestions of the book's second half, the first half offers a lot of wisdom, particularly for those who value the Bible and/or Judeo-Christian thought. The first half encourages readers to consider the Bible's relationship to literature and to consider the books they read (Christian and non-Christian books alike, both of which have value in Reinke's opinion) in light of the Christian worldview. I found this first half to be a refreshing reminder of these deeper theological and philosophical matters in our there-is-no-Truth-so-if-it-feels-good-do-it postmodern culture. In this first section, Reinke puts forth many interesting ideas that I had never considered, such as the significance of God revealing himself through written word rather than the visual image, and Reinke places these many ideas in equally interesting and relevant social context. Personally, I would have bought the book for the first half alone.

    Because I read so many books on such a regular basis, I didn't think the second half of Reinke's book would have much to offer me in the way of new advice. Wrong! His practical ideas and suggestions in the second half of the book have been a huge help, as once again he offers ideas that I had never considered. As one other reviewer noted, his suggestion for readers to examine their reading priorities was a lightbulb, since (as Reinke points out) there are far, far more books published than any of us will ever be able to read in a lifetime. This, and other ideas, make the second half of the book a nice complement to the first half.

    Ultimately, the first half seeks to help readers establish the foundation of a strong, core Christian philosophy of literature, and the second half seeks to help readers build on that foundation with specific, helpful reading methods. Reinke's book has changed the way I read, and I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    Readers don't need this book.

    As one who reads regularly and a lot I was intrigued by the promotion of this book. But when I got it and read it I realized I really didn't need it. This book would be helpful for anyone who knows they should read more and need encouragement and direction to do so.

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  • Posted November 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Helps Set One's Priorities in Reading

    As a book-reviewing blogger, I found this book to be an essential read as I face daily the harrowing task of sifting through the innumerable options of books to find the right ones for me to read and review. Tony Reinke has offered in Lit! a thorough yet easy-to-read Christian guide for selecting and reading quality books of all genres, and I recommend it highly to anyone desiring to the ability to select higher quality books and read these books with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

    Perhaps the most profound portion of Lit! came in Chapter 7: ¿Read with Resolve ¿ Six Priorities that Decide What Books I Read.¿ In this section, Reinke shares many fascinating tidbits that have already affected greatly my own approach to book selection. For example, he states that if I were to read one book per week during the next fifty years (a time during which roughly 10 million English books will be added to the already voluminous 18 million housed by the Library of Congress), I will only complete 2,800 books in that time, which means that for every 1 book I select, there are 10,000 that I reject. With the information in mind, I was then soft to his next offering, a call for prioritization in book selection. Reinke states that what he reads must match his goals not only in his spiritual life, but also in his vocation, his hobbies, and pleasures. He then shares his own prioritization and encourages his readers to build their own:

    1. Reading Scripture
    2. Reading to know and delight in Christ
    3. Reading to kindle spiritual reflection
    4. Reading to initiate personal change
    5. Reading to pursue vocational excellence
    6. Reading to enjoy a good story
    (quoted from Location 1049 on the Kindle version of Lit!)

    Reinke goes on to describe each of these six priorities in detail, encouraging methods for how the reader can select his own, but I think it would benefit my own readers to check out this book for themselves. I found Reinke¿s book so full of useful tidbits (i.e. don¿t be afraid to skip entire chapters of book that interest you minimally; don¿t be afraid to leave books unfinished if you see them as a waste of your time; be willing to give a book of questionable interested to 100-pages-minus-your age test; etc.), that I am certain this is one non-fiction book I will be sure to read again in the future.

    Besides recommending this books to individually avid or or wannabe-avid readers, I also suggest this book to teachers of literature or language arts and to pastors. Reinke teaches so much information that would be taken as enlightening from teacher to student, from disciple-maker to disciple, that teachers and pastors could truly affect life-long change in young people who have never once found personal interest in or attraction to books. When God¿s method of communicating with His children is His own Word in book form, reading becomes a necessity of life, not something His people resort to only during blackouts.

    ©2011 E.T.

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  • Posted November 9, 2011

    Great Book!

    A number of my friends & I are reading & discussing this book! Reinke has good information & good application woven together in this book! 5-stars!

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  • Posted October 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting perspective

    The purpose of this book is to encourage non-reading Christians to read and to educate them on how to choose good books and to enjoy what they read.

    Part one is the theology of books and reading. I have to admit that this really bored me. I LOVE to read and I just couldn't get into it. Once I moved on to Part two - Some Practical Advice On Book Reading - it became easier reading and the advice presented was thought provoking.

    Some of the subjects that he hits on are how to find time to read, what books to chose and why, how to raise your children to be good readers and what the marks of a healthy reader are.

    I enjoyed the second half of the book and gained some insight into reading from a Christian perspective. But I doubt that a non-reader is going to pick up this book if they don't enjoy reading. Nor do I think they would enjoy it, if they did chose to pick it up. But it's a great book if you are a Christian reader.

    I received this book free of charge from Crossways in exchange for my honest review.

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