Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

by Tony Reinke

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Overview

Sounding the call for Christians to reclaim the priority, privilege, and practice of reading, Reinke reminds us that God is the author of all knowledge, and it is his light we seek in our reading.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433522260
Publisher: Crossway
Publication date: 09/28/2011
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 1,207,547
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Tony Reinke is the communications director for desiringGod.org. He is the author of Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading BooksNewton on the Christian Life; and 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Paper Pulp and Etched Granite

Laying the Cornerstone of Our Theology of Books

Commit yourself to the serious reading of books, ands your life will be enlightened.

That's a pretty straightforward promise, but let's be honest, there is a warning as well: books will also complicate your life.

Consider the complexities we face by walking through a bookstore. Here's how it typically works for me.

First, I start out excited. I've been looking forward to this trip to the bookstore because I need a great book. Before I even swing open the doors, I'm greeted by clearance books — hundreds of them — daring me to look at their discounted tags. What should I do? Should I give attention to these unsheltered books that got kicked to the curb? I'm suspicious. I do my best to ignore them, and suddenly feel the urge to whistle, look to the sky, and comment on the weather.

Once I'm inside the bookstore, a greater challenge awaits: the new releases. These books draw the most attention from shoppers and apparently draw the most money from their wallets (full retail price). But the browsing is good, and there are a lot of attractive book choices.

After picking up a few books (then setting them down again), I free myself from the new releases and convince myself that an older (and more proven) book would be a better investment. So I snake my way through the maze of head-down statues and find open spaces in the Christian book section. Very few of these titles are new to me. I pick up one or two and flip through the pages.

Before long, my curiosity draws me to the rural reaches of classic literature on shelves that reach to the heavens (do shoppers buy many books that are shelved nine feet off the floor?). Here in classic literature, the crowds have thinned, but the browsing is more daunting and incriminating. Many of these books are classics that I should have already read. I am shamed for my inattention in school.

My hanging head notices an eight-hundred–page Russian novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The book cover is beautifully designed, the book was translated into English with great care (according to a friend of mine), and the novel is reasonably priced. My eye has caught the spine of this book many times before, and I've nearly purchased it on several of my frequent trips to the bookstore. But it's also a very thick book that asks me for a serious commitment. And I'm already married.

Now the questions are swirling in my mind:Which book should I buy? Should I buy a bargain book? A new release? A Christian book? A business book? A classic novel? Should I browse the entire bookstore? Should I buy one book or three for the price of two? Should I read only Christian books? Wait, did I just consider three books? What am I thinking? I hardly have the time to read one book!

Inhale. Exhale. Look to the ceiling. Reshelve Dostoyevsky.

Maybe I'll buy a DVD and a pack of gum.

I have been overwhelmed in a bookstore. Eventually, we will address the practical matters of how to select and read great books. But before we talk about how to pick the right books and how to read them (chaps. 7–15), we need to develop some biblical and theological convictions about books, reading, and bookstores (chaps. 1–6).

Our journey begins in the dust, at the base camp of a desert mountain.

Base Camp

Somewhere around 1450 BC, on a remote Egyptian mountaintop called Mount Sinai, an author wrote something so earth-shaking that the publishing industry has never recovered. It never will.

But to appreciate this moment in literary history let me set the backstory. Several weeks before Mount Sinai appeared on the skyline, God had redeemed his people from slavery. We call this event "the exodus." This exodus was so historic that it became the central salvation event in Old Testament history. Using an army of gnats, flies, locusts, and frogs — and with the help of widespread skin disease, hailstones, a bloodied river, the death of firstborn sons, and the divine power to split the sea — God pried his people out from the tight grip of the Egyptians. Israel was now a liberated people, on a mission to gather around a mountain and serve God together (Exodus 7–12).

The voyage to this mountain was not far, and the wait was not long. In three months Israel had packed up, bolted from Egypt, and arrived at the foot of the mountain — that mountain, Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:1).

This chosen mountain may have appeared like all the other mountains of the Sinai Peninsula — red, rocky, dry, and treeless — but it was not like all the rest. This mountain was chosen by God. It was holy. And under the threat of instant death, no man, woman, child, or red heifer dared touch it.

For two days, God's people were to clean house and to purify themselves from all defilements. They were to bathe and wash their clothes and consecrate themselves and prepare to meet with God. On the third day, God would descend, and there they would meet together.

All was calm for two days.

On the morning of the third day, God descended.

God's people rubbed the sleep from their eyes to behold a frightening sight. Tree-bare Mount Sinai was ablaze like a forest fire. The fire raged vertically into the heavens, and the heavens bombarded the mountaintop with thunder and lightning. The foundations of the mountain trembled and quaked. Loose rocks crackled and thudded down the mountainside. A thick, black cloud blanketed the scene.

God's people locked their eyes on the explosive storm. It was hard to look away. Their mouths were wide and speechless, and their desert-cracked skin burned from the heat of the golden flames. Lightning flashes blinked off their clean robes. Fear quickened their hearts.

As the day progressed, the mountain roared with even greater ferocity. The fire grew white-hot, the quaking grew deafening, and lightning continued pounding the peak.

It was the sound and fury of a collision between heaven and earth, "a decisive moment in human history when the celestial and terrestrial realms are brought into panoramic engagement," where "every sort of natural fireworks let loose, so that trembling seizes not only the people but the mountain itself."

Especially now, no one dared approach the mountain. God's people stood at the mountain base, iced with fear. But as the people stepped back in fear, Moses stepped forward in faith (Ex. 20:18). In the face of a blazing mountain covered in dark gloom, a mediator sounded like a very good idea. Someone could climb the mountain to represent the people. So Moses climbed into the "thick darkness where God was" (Ex. 20:21).

Moses climbed to meet with God, to worship, and to receive God's words. Moses later recounted the experience in his autobiography:

When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water. And the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words that the LORD had spoken with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. (Deut. 9:9–10)

Moses climbed back down to the people with two tablets of the Ten Commandments under his arms. These words were permanent, eternal, and etched in stone by the very finger of God.

The One who created the cosmos by the word of his mouth in the beginning, the One who invented human language in Eden, the One who spread languages across the land at Babel, now put pen to paper — or finger to stone — and wrote. To this day, those words can be found in any major bookstore.

Many thousands of books would later be devoted to talking about God — proving God, doubting God, explaining God. But these stone tablets held God's words. The day God ran his fingertip over the stone tablets was the day that he forever shaped the world of book publishing.

Written in Stone

In the world of books, the Bible is without equal. We see this in six of its qualities.

The Bible is inspired. God is the ultimate and final author of those two tablets, and every other word of Scripture has been breathed out from the mouth of God. The Bible is the product of God's will (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20–21).

The Bible is inerrant. It is true in everything it teaches. God's Word is like silver that has been smelted sevenfold and is free of all impurities (Ps. 12:6). God's words are always true, because God's words are self-validating. God speaks, and his words shape and resolve what is true and good (see Gen. 1:1–31 and John 17:17).

The Bible is sufficient. It provides everything we need for faith, salvation, and godly living (2 Tim. 3:15–16).

The Bible is living and active. The Bible is composed of living and active words that revive dead hearts, rejoice broken hearts, and feed hungry souls (Matt. 4:4; 1 Cor. 1:21–24; Heb. 4:12; James 1:21).

The Bible is supreme. It contains the highest expressions of truth. Combine every book from every culture in human history and pile all those volumes into one vast library, and it cannot trump the supremacy of the life-giving truth in Scripture (1 Cor. 15:3–5).

The Bible offers us a coherent worldview. The Bible explains where we came from, where we are going, our biggest problems, and our greatest need. The Bible interprets the realities that affect us — both physical realities that we can see and spiritual realities that we cannot see (see Rom. 4:23–25 and Eph. 6:12).

Scripture is unique. It is eternal. It never contradicts itself. It needs no editing or revision. It is perfect (Ps. 19:7). When all else has disappeared, God's word remains (Isa. 40:7–8). It lacks nothing. And it was all written by the same God who rocked Sinai.

Compost and Granite

The purpose of this book is to study reading from a Christian perspective. So how does Sinai change the way I scan rows of literature at the bookstore? What does a combustible mountaintop have to do with a classic novel by Dostoyevsky, a contemporary novel by Cormac McCarthy, the latest social insights by Malcolm Gladwell, the latest marketing book by Seth Godin, or the latest biography by David McCullough?

Everything.

Scripture is the ultimate grid by which we read every book. Scripture is perfect, sufficient, and eternal. All other books, to some degree, are imperfect, deficient, and temporary. That means that when we pick books from the bookstore shelves, we read those imperfect books in light of the perfect Book, the deficient books in light of the sufficient Book, and the temporary books in light of the eternal Book.

Man-made literature may be inspiring, but it is not divinely inspired — not in the way Scripture is inspired. Man-made literature may be empowered by the Holy Spirit to embody biblical truth, but it's not breathed out by God. Man-made literature may contain truth, goodness, and beauty, but it is also fallible, imperfect, and of temporary value.

We could say that in contrast to God's wordall other books are temporary.

All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.
Many authors are average (grass). Other authors are incredibly talented, fruitful, and colorful (flowers). But all authors (grass or flowers) are fragile. Every book that has ascended and descended from the New York Times bestseller list is as temporary in value as the green grass under the sweltering summer sun. Authors (including me) and their books (like this one) will return to dust. Man-made literature can help us live more wisely or grow spiritually, but only the God-inspired word is eternal.

Two Genres

Since Moses descended from the mountain withtwo looseleaf stones under his arms, all literaturecan be divided into two ge nres:

Genre A:The Bible. The Bible was written by God through human authors, but it is fully inspired in all its parts. It is the only book that is inspired, inerrant, authoritative, sufficient, and wholly consistent in its worldview.

Genre B:All other books. However "inspired" all other literature may be, no matter how "lit" it is with truth, goodness, and beauty, no other book is infallible. All man-made books are hindered to some degree by errors, inconsistencies, and insufficiencies.

These two categories were shaped when God broke into history and ran his finger across a stone tablet. All literature is now divided into two genres — and one soars above the other in importance.

Nineteenth-century preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon makes this point well:

All other books might be heaped together in one pile and burned with less loss to the world than would be occasioned by the obliteration of a single page of the sacred volume [Scripture]. At their best, all other books are but as gold leaf, requiring acres to find one ounce of the precious metal. But the Bible is solid gold. It contains blocks of gold, mines, and whole caverns of priceless treasure. In the mental wealth of the wisest men there are no jewels like the truths of revelation. The thoughts of men are vanity, low, and groveling at their best. But he who has given us this book has said, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8–9). Let it be to you and to me a settled matter that the word of the Lord shall be honored in our minds and enshrined in our hearts. Let others speak as they may. We could sooner part with all that is sublime and beautiful, or cheering and profitable, in human literature than lose a single syllable from the mouth of God.

Exactly. And if it ever comes down to a decision between losing a page of Scripture or losing a comedy by Shakespeare, we must preserve Scripture.

But of course we aren't forced to part with either of them. We get them both — the gold leaf and the gold bar. So we must ask more challenging questions: How do we rightly handle the gold leaf (man's literature) now that we have the gold bar (God's Bible)? Does the bar decrease the value of the leaf? Does the bar render the leaf worthless? Or does the bar increase the value of the leaf? Hold this thought, because in chapter 5 I hope to explain how God's sovereign influence can be found in the gold leaf, even in non-Christian books.

The critical point I want you to take from this chapter is this: Before we step into a fully-stocked bookstore, we must be determined to read the imperfect in light of the perfect, the deficient in light of the sufficient, the temporary in light of the eternal, the groveling in light of the transcendent.

Mount Sinai demands that we distinguish between temporary books and the eternal Book, between a decomposing paperback from the pen of a sinner and a smoking stone tablet from the finger of God. If we fail to make this distinction, if we fail to prioritize the eternal Word over temporary books, our reading will never be distinctly Christian.

CHAPTER 2

Wide-Eyed into the Son

How Personal Sin and the Gospel Shape Our Literacy

I used one Bible for my entire childhood. And by "used" I mean it provided marginal space for the doodles I sketched during catechism class.

But years later, after she slipped a gold ring on my hand, my wife convinced me to upgrade to a new Bible, one more suitable for an adult. I agreed. We scraped together what cash we had as newlyweds, journeyed to the local Christian bookstore, and walked out with a factory-sealed Bible. It was beautiful.

Within a few hours I was reading the clean Bible and marking all over the pages with a highlighter (a habit I'll explain in chap. 12). My plan was to read the entire New Testament and mark every command from God. It took two weeks. Having so much fun, I continued on to the Old Testament where I found even more commands — lots of commands.

Highlighting all those commands did not change my life overnight. But I did expect my life would begin to change a month later ...

Or six months later ...

Or a year later ...

But nothing changed. My reading did not make me godly. I was powerless to obey the commands simply by reading them.

My plan was clearly defective. I had a problem. And now I see that there was a problem — a big problem. But it wasn't a mis-manufactured Bible, or a failure to read diligently, or the wrong highlighting technique. No, my problem was that I was reading from behind a blindfold.

Blindfolded Saul

God etched words into stone with his finger, and Moses brought the handwritten tablets down from Sinai. But those words alone failed to change lives. The Law itself could offer a list of regulations and it could convict readers of sin, but it could not offer eternal life, it could not change hearts, and it could not generate God-honoring obedience. It was not intended to.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Lit!"
by .
Copyright © 2011 Tony S. Reinke.
Excerpted by permission of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword by C. J. Mahaney, 11,
Introduction, 15,
Part 1: A Theology of Books and Reading,
1 Paper Pulp and Etched Granite Laying the Cornerstone of Our Theology of Books, 21,
2 Wide-Eyed into the Son How Personal Sin and the Gospel Shape Our Literacy, 29,
3 Reading Is Believing Savoring Books in an Eye-Candy Culture, 39,
4 Reading from across the Canyon How a Biblical Worldview Equips Us to Benefit from Books, 51,
5 The Giver's Voice Seven Benefits of Reading Non-Christian Books, 65,
6 The God Who Slays Dragons The Purifying Power of Christian Imagination, 81,
Part 2: Some Practical Advice on Book Reading,
7 Read with Resolve Six Priorities That Decide What Books I Read (and Don't Read), 93,
8 How to Read a Book 20 Tips and Tricks for Reading Nonfiction Books, 109,
9 Literature Is Life Why and How We Do Good, both as Individuals and as Churches, 119,
10 Too Busy to Read What It Means and Why It Matters, 129,
11 Driven to Distraction How Internet Habits Cripple Book Reading, 137,
12 Marginalia The Fine Art of Defacing Books with Pencils, Pens, and Highlighters, 147,
13 Reading Together Building Community One Book at a Time, 155,
14 Raising Readers How Parents and Pastors Can Ignite in Others a Love for Book Reading, 165,
15 Happily Ever After Five Marks of a Healthy Book Reader, 177,
Acknowledgments, 187,
Notes, 189,

What People are Saying About This

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, author, Heaven; If God Is Good; and Hand in Hand

“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, 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, author, This Is Our Time

“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; Founder, The Rabbit Room

“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 Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

“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, Challies.com

“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, Pastor, Grace Church Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire; Faculty Member, Crosslands Training

“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, Founder, Lampstand Press; author, 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, Associate Professor of Bible, Moody Bible Institute; Pastor of Preaching and Teaching, Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, Illinois

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Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
nlaclaire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books, former journalist Tony Reinke offers a theology for reading as well as practical suggestions for reading. Using scripture and a great deal of additional research, Reinke provides Christians with a deep, multifaceted look at the topic of reading.Pastor C. J. Mahaney¿s foreword does a thorough job at setting up the book by describing the important part that reading has played in his life and Christian walk. Reinke then begins the book by explaining what the title of the book (Lit!) represents: while short for ¿literature,¿ it also reminds us that ¿the glow of God¿s creative power is all around us¿ (pg. 16) and, most importantly, emphasizes the fact that Christian readers are illuminated by the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4). Therefore, says Reinke, we see God¿s truth in all literature. The author then dives into the topic, covering everything from the biblical foundation for reading, to the benefits of reading non-Christian books, to Reinke¿s own formula for determining what he reads, to finding time to read. He ends the book with a look at the five marks of a healthy reader.If you¿ve read my blog before, you probably have already determined that this book covers a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I love to read, although I go through periods where I fail to set aside proper time to do so. I found the theological portion of the book enlightening. Reinke makes many excellent points for why to read a wide variety of literature and how our faith relates to our reading. I also found the practical portion of the book incredibly helpful. His tips on reading fiction, reading non-fiction, choosing books, setting aside time to read, taking notes, and many other topics are very useful.I urge you to read this book whether you enjoy reading or not. If you don¿t enjoy reading, perhaps it will help you to find enjoyment in the practice and to grow in your faith as a result of it. If you already enjoy reading, I think you¿ll walk away from the experience ready to grow your love of reading and with a new appreciation for the importance of it. I know I did.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advance reading copy of this book free from Crossway via netGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission¿s 16 CFR, Part 255: ¿Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.¿
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
The-Little-Man-in-China More than 1 year ago
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.
tmurrell2 More than 1 year ago
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.