Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books  -     By: Tony Reinke
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Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

Crossway / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

I love to read. I hate to read. 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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Crossway
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1433522268
ISBN-13: 9781433522260
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Sounds 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 all our reading.

Author Bio

Tony Reinke is a staff writer and research for He is the author of Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books and Newton on the Christian Life.

In Tony Reinke's Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books, he helps Christians answer such questions as, "Should I put down my Bible to read this other book?" "Is reading non-Christian books sinful?" “Where should I draw the line on what is too worldly?” His slang term, "lit," stands for three things: literature itself; the light of the "glow of God's creative power;" and the fiery conviction as Christians that we should shine for Him.

"Books will complicate your life," Reinke says in his first chapter. He goes on to explain that there is much that books will add to your life. At the very least they provide different experiences and worldviews, as well as the understanding of how to minister to people. He tries to convince his readers of the need for reading and the vitality of a life of words.

Reinke writes in an extremely intellectual way, digging deeply into theology and literary criticism. Whereas non-readers may not be inspired to become avid devourers of literature, he gives many helpful suggestions on how to fit reading into a busy schedule.

The only point of controversy is Reinke's belief that Christians should read non-Christian books as well as Christian. Readers who might disagree with this belief are encouraged to follow their convictions and draw their own conclusions. Just as 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 says, Reinke encourages his readers to not destroy themselves or others by reading if the material is too difficult to handle.

Overall, the book is well written and formatted in a way that is easy to read. Lit! is a great addition to any reader's personal library. Thus, as Reinke says, "We press on, reading and thanking God for the light we do see in books, and for his illuminating grace that lights our way." - Katelyn S. Irons,

Product Reviews

4.8 Stars Out Of 5
4.8 out of 5
4.8 out Of 5
(4.8 out of 5)
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 9
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  1. United States
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Do you love books?
    April 23, 2012
    United States
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    For a lover of books, this book was filled with excellent information. Ever wonder if you should be reading a certain kind of book? What if you are reading books but not understanding the message? Have you been taught to never mark up a book? You will learn the answers to those questions and more in the information filled chapters in this easy to read book.

    The tone the author sets in this book is loving in nature and not judgmental at all. His helpful guidelines to keep you reading every day are excellent. Not sure what to read? The author offers many different categories to try reading and ways to make that reading meaningful. I thought I knew all about reading but I learned quite a bit from the book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading. I gave this book 4/5 stars because some of the information went pretty far in-depth and may be a little boring for some readers.

    I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read
  2. Eastern USA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Read for Your Life
    March 10, 2012
    Eastern USA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    If you had a goal of reading a book a week for the next fifty years of your life, you would be able to read approximately 2,600 books in your lifetime. That's a lot of books! However, compared to the number of books already in print and current publishing trends, this means that "For every one book that you choose to read, you must ignore ten thousand other books simply because you don't have the time (or money!)" (Reinke, pg. 94, emphasis added). I don't know about you, but I'm not reading a book a week...nowhere close. This means that there are A LOT of books that I will not be able to read in my lifetime. I want to make what I read count for all it's worth.

    One resource that has been instrumental in shaping my reading goals for 2012 is Tony Reinke's new book Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books. Reinke spends the first half of the book building a distinctly Christian, Gospel-centered worldview for reading books. He spends the second half of the book going over practical application points such as how to decide what to read, how to find time to read, how and why one might consider marking up a book, how to build community by reading, how to raise readers, etc.

    Overall, I found Reinke's book very helpful and thought-provoking. I appreciate that he included plenty of Scripture references but is not legalistic and does not lay the burden of the "law" where there is none. Although there are many authors which Reinke esteems throughout the book, you will not find a recommended reading list per se. He does, however, recommend and explain the benefits of establishing reading priorities in order to determine how different types of reading material should fit into our diet. Again, Reinke does not legalistically prescribe reading priorities for his readers but guides them into thinking about what priorities would be most God-honoring for them. I found this extremely useful.

    Through Lit!, Reinke helped me to grow in my understanding of the value of various types of fiction, including fantasy. He also helped me to consider the benefits of secular literature in a way of which I had not previously thought of it. While there are parts of the book that probably could have been fleshed out more, Reinke expounds on the most important concepts and gives his reader much to ponder. This is a book to which I will be returning regularly as I seek to ensure that the few books I choose will be the books most likely to benefit my life. Readers and non-readers will likely find this book an asset to selecting books wisely.

    *Many thanks to Crossway for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!
  3. Caldwell, Idaho
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Helpful book on reading that points to Jesus.
    February 10, 2012
    Dave Jenkins
    Caldwell, Idaho
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    As soon as I learned to read as a young child I began devouring books of all kinds. In my early teenage years, the focus of my reading shifted from reading only my Bible to beginning to read theology books of all kinds. Whether it's reading commentaries, books on a variety of theological topics, or biographies, I have a huge passion perhaps even leaning to an addition to reading books. It was with great excitement then that I read LIT! A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke.

    LIT! is broken up into two parts. In the first part of the book Tony lays out a theology of books that emphasizes how the Gospel should inform our reading. He points out that "the work of God's grace in your life is the solid foundation that supports lifelong reading goals" (Reinke, 16). The grid Reinke wants his readers to read through is Scripture. He notes that "Scripture is the ultimate grid by which we read every book. Scripture is perfect, sufficient and eternal" (Reinke, 26).

    My two favorite chapters in this book were chapters twelve and fifteen. In chapter twelve, Reinke explains the fine art of defacing books with pencils, pens and highlighters. This chapter intrigued me because for Christmas, I asked and received a huge box of highlighters. I love to use highlighters and highlight important points in the book so whether I am reviewing books, or going back to the book later, I can quickly leaf through the book and find the important points I've highlighted. Reinke notes that he "writes in my books to weave them into my library" (Reinke, 149).

    Using a highlighter while reading is something new I've done in the last year or so. Thus far it's helped me to slow down and think critically about what the author has written. Reinke encourages active readers to "wield biblically-sharpened discernment." Reading quickly through books will mean that you read more books in a given year, but the goal of reading is not who reads the most, but who reads the best. The goal of reading well is to grow in the grace of God. Using a highlighter while reading has helped me slow down while reading and highlight the important parts of the book.

    Tony in chapter five gives five marks of a healthy book reader: 1) Mature readers prize wisdom, 2) mature readers cherish old books, 3) mature readers keep literature in its place, 4) mature readers avoid making books into idols, and mature readers cling to the Savior (Reinke, 177). Reading good godly Christian authors can help Christians grow in their understanding of the Word of God and the Gospel of God, but Tony is spot on when he says "regardless of how many books we read, we cling to the old rugged cross" (Reinke, 185).

    Dr. Russell Moore in his endorsement of LIT! comments that "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." Maybe you love to read. Maybe you hate to read. Perhaps you don't think you have time to read at all or only read Christian books. Perhaps you think "I'm not any good at reading, or there is too much to read." Reading LIT! will help all types of readers to become better readers. LIT! is more than just a book about how to read it is a book that combines knowledge of the Word of God, and theology with a desire to help people enjoy God through reading widely and reading well to the glory of God.

    Reading has always been a passion of mine and will continue to be so until my last breathe. In reading LIT! by Tony Reinke I was helped in a variety of ways, but most importantly with the reminder to slow down and enjoy each book, I'm reading. If you're like me and read a lot then you need LIT! Even if you don't read or think reading has no value then you also need to read LIT! I recommend reading LIT not only to learn to read better, but to gain a biblical/theological understanding of how reading can help you grow in the grace of God.

    Reading this book will help you to enjoy reading books, but more importantly than that it will point you to cling to the Cross of Christ. At the end of the day I can think of no greater compliment to extend to a Christian author than to point out that Tony has done a great service to the Church in writing this book by pointing his readers to cling to the Cross. Reading LIT will guide you into reading better, but it will also call you to look not to books for ultimate satisfaction but rather to look to, mediate upon and run to the Cross.

    Title: LIT! A Christian Guide to Reading Books

    Author: Tony Reinke

    Publisher: Crossway (2011)

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. 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."
  4. Tauranga, New Zealand
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Every Reader should Have One
    February 9, 2012
    The Phantom Paragrapher
    Tauranga, New Zealand
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Do you love reading ? Well, I guess if you don't then you wouldn't be reading this review for starters :). Are you a Christian ? Now that's the big question - Do you follow God or are you of the worldly ways ? As a big reader and I do mean BIG , I tend to read alot of everything, I have a very eclectic taste in books. The other thing though about me is that I am a Christian, I go to church most sundays , I read my bible every now and again, I listen to worship music on my Ipod, I read Christian fiction and non-fiction books. This brings up my main question - Am I still considered Christian-like because I read books that are wordly like e.g Dystopian Novels, Erotica Fiction, Supernatural and Paranormal Fantasies and because on my Ipod amidst the Christian music is Pop, Rock, Alt.Rock, Punk etc . I believe that in a way as long as you have given your heart to the lord and follow in ways that are Christian-like then it really shouldn't matter what you read or listen too as we do have to put into the perspective , that we are living in the WORLD and are surrounded by worldly things every single moment of the day.

    Lit ! by Tony Reinke is the Christian's Guide to Reading Books , it was an interesting guide to flick through and one that will be sitting on my shelf as a vade mecum - which I found out yesterday was the latin word for ready reference. In Lit ! Tony talks to us about different genres of books and the theological discussion about them . This book will challenge what you read, how you read, and how much time you set aside to read. It will also inspire you to read books you might not normally read; for me that is more classic fiction, more poetry, and more of the Christian classics. If you are an avid reader like me, this book will deepen your passion for good books. And, if you are not a big fan of reading, this book may inspire you to crack open a few more books.

    Once again, Lit ! by Tony Reinke is a book that I recommend all avid readers - Christian or not to read through and have on hand.
  5. Poland, ME
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An excellent book
    November 8, 2011
    Poland, ME
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    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."
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