A Christian guide to reading books [review]


Kelvin Macharia reviews Lit! by Tony Reinke:

Reading is not easy. It never has been, at least for me. And I know am not the only one. That’s why this book was written. It’s not a book for those heavy readers out there, no, it’s a book for people who struggle to read like myself. Tony Reinke has divided his book into two parts:

  1. A theology of book reading
  2. A practical guide to reading books.

It is necessary to understand why Christians should be readers, and so he addresses this in Part 1. He clearly puts the Bible in its right place. It is the no.1 book for all Christians, nothing should replace it for no book is superior to Scripture. The Bible shapes our world view, and everything else we read should be measured according to the truths of the Bible, without this truths we shall be tossed about by different arguments from the books on our shelves. It is after shaping our world view that we can then head on to enjoy non-
Christian books. Yes, non-Christian books do have something that you can gain from dear Christian! They can help to highlight common human life experiences, describe the world’s beauty and its realities, how it functions and how to subdue it, expose the human heart, teach wisdom and valuable moral lessons, echo spiritual truths and highlight the need for Christ in this fallen hopeless world. But you need to choose them wisely. There are books that you should consider reading and those that you should run away from. Some books will glorify sin and make it look attractive and satisfying, run away from these books.

In Part 2: Practical advice on book reading, the author addresses most of the weaknesses that hinder reading. Here there are tips on how to create time for reading, how to handle distractions and prioritizing the books you read (he has a very nice outline of how he prioritizes his reading – I copied it) have been well outlined. The art of writing on and defacing books with pencils and highlighters has also not been left out, as well as how pastors and parents can raise readers – which I found this quite useful and necessary.

This book is helpful. It has helped me emerge above the myth of reading only one book at a time. You can read two or three books at a go depending on the time of day and your mood, it helps you make good use of your reading time. This way you won’t have to read that very meaty book that requires a fresh mind in the evening when you’re worn out. It also exposed the hard truth about time, time to read has to be created and protected, something needs to go. Let’s face it, a day has always had and will always have 24 hours. Decide what you need to cut down on, for many of us it’s T.V. This will be your ultimate solution, not increasing your ‘words per minute’ speed (though that maybe helpful too). Having known this, go ahead and feed on knowledge as gladly as a deer on sweet corn dear Christian, not forgetting your compass (the Bible).


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