“A Christian Guide to Reading Books”
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 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 would only complete 2,800 books in that time, which means that for every 1 book I select, there are 10,000 that I must reject. With that 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 his pleasures. He then shares his own prioritization and encourages his readers to build their own:
- Reading Scripture
- Reading to know and delight in Christ
- Reading to kindle spiritual reflection
- Reading to initiate personal change
- Reading to pursue vocational excellence
- 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 interest the 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 book to individually avid or wannabe-avid readers, I also suggest this book to teachers of literature or language arts and to pastors. Reinke gives 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.