Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review: Lit!

Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading BooksIf 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!

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