Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books
Do you love books?
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
April 23, 2012
Go to your local bookstore or if youÃ¢ÂÂre lazy go to Amazon.com and search for Ã¢ÂÂreading.Ã¢ÂÂ You will find an assortment of very good books about the topic of reading--organizing your reading, reading faster, or maybe increasing reading comprehension. What you will be hard pressed to find is a book that offers practical advise but first develops a robust theology of reading. Tony does just that in Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading.
A Theology of Reading
Tony begins by saying,
Even in its fallen condition, creation continues to emit the CreatorÃ¢ÂÂs glory, a glow that can be found in the pages of great books. (Kindle Locations 88 of 2479)
This truth is significant because many Christians would argue that no truth can be found outside of Scripture. Tony starts with the truth in Scripture and then uses the biblical worldview therein to critique read (or not read) all other literature. He goes on to assert,
Christian readers are illuminated by Ã¢ÂÂthe light of the gospel of the glory of ChristÃ¢ÂÂ (2 Cor. 4:4). Ã¢ÂÂIn him was life, and the life was the light of menÃ¢ÂÂ (John 1:4). Illuminated by the gospel, we now perceive and enjoy GodÃ¢ÂÂs truth, goodness, and beauty--whether itÃ¢ÂÂs in the blazing sun of the inspired Word of God, in the moonlight of creation, or in the starlight of great books. The Holy Spirit has opened our spiritual eyes, and our entire reading experience is not Ã¢ÂÂlitÃ¢ÂÂ by GodÃ¢ÂÂs illuminating presence. (Kindle Location 88 of 2479)
Tony boldly claims all truth, authority, and wisdom for Scripture. We should read Ã¢ÂÂthe deficient books in light ofÃ¢ÂÂ Scripture (Kindle Location 189 of 2479). And again he affirms the supremacy of Scripture when he quotes Spurgeon
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 (Kindle Location 210 of 2479)
He then proceeds to encourage us to use discernment when choosing our books by applying biblical principles. He recognizes this when he recommend we keep a close on what our children are reading encouraging parents to develop this crucial muscle (discernment) by reading with our children. He then concludes this section by arguing for the unique power of words over images and encourages us to have a robust, biblical worldview. These chapters really set the tone for all of Lit!i and are invaluable.
Organize Your Reading
One major result of reading Lit! will be a review of my own reading priorities. After some initial thought, I noticed my tendency is to read whatÃ¢ÂÂs new and neglect whatÃ¢ÂÂs old to a greater extent. An immediate results of this discovery will be planning on reading through older Christian literature to nourish my soul. I would also like to become more methodical with the way I annotate and highlight in my books. Finally, Tony hints at his procedure for cataloging quotations, passages, & paragraphs that are noteworthy. Prior to read Lit! I had already been considering how to catalog my own. I donÃ¢ÂÂt know for me if Excel would be a great option but I know I must nail down one solution that will work for me. How do you catalog your quotations?
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. As Christians the art of reading critically is paramount because God has communicated to us in written form. Even if your desire is not to read 75 books a year like Tony, you should have a desire to read Scripture. And reading is a muscle that is trained and exercised. I challenge anyone to faithfully and intentionally start reading through Scripture and see if the Spirit doesnÃ¢ÂÂt give you a desire to starting reading other Christian literature to help nurture and mature your faith. Last, thereÃ¢ÂÂs a clarity and depth in the writing style. He doesnÃ¢ÂÂt force metaphors but seasons his writing with them like salt. I could see Lit! being used in classroom settings, in discipleship settings, small groups, for personal enrichment, or a variety of other venues. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a must read!
April 8, 2012
Read for Your Life
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!
March 10, 2012
Helpful book on reading that points to Jesus.
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 itÃ¢ÂÂs 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 Ã¢ÂÂthe work of GodÃ¢ÂÂs grace in your life is the solid foundation that supports lifelong reading goalsÃ¢ÂÂ (Reinke, 16). The grid Reinke wants his readers to read through is Scripture. He notes that Ã¢ÂÂScripture is the ultimate grid by which we read every book. Scripture is perfect, sufficient and eternalÃ¢ÂÂ (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 IÃ¢ÂÂve highlighted. Reinke notes that he Ã¢ÂÂwrites in my books to weave them into my libraryÃ¢ÂÂ (Reinke, 149).
Using a highlighter while reading is something new IÃ¢ÂÂve done in the last year or so. Thus far itÃ¢ÂÂs helped me to slow down and think critically about what the author has written. Reinke encourages active readers to Ã¢ÂÂwield biblically-sharpened discernment.Ã¢ÂÂ 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 Ã¢ÂÂregardless of how many books we read, we cling to the old rugged crossÃ¢ÂÂ (Reinke, 185).
Dr. Russell Moore in his endorsement of LIT! comments that Ã¢ÂÂthis 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.Ã¢ÂÂ Maybe you love to read. Maybe you hate to read. Perhaps you donÃ¢ÂÂt think you have time to read at all or only read Christian books. Perhaps you think Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm not any good at reading, or there is too much to read.Ã¢ÂÂ 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, IÃ¢ÂÂm reading. If youÃ¢ÂÂre like me and read a lot then you need LIT! Even if you donÃ¢ÂÂt 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 CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255: Ã¢ÂÂGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.Ã¢ÂÂ
February 10, 2012