Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke
This book is a gem! And to be honest, I only unthinkingly opened this one seeing it on the shared shelf I have on my Kindle with my husband; I could never be so happy about being so unmindful!
Well, where do I start then? I have too many things on my thumbs up list for this book. But let me begin with the author’s reader-centered writing.
1) Reader centeredness.
It is obvious that he values the reader’s time that he goes straight to the point the whole time. He knows this is not a novel or poem where beating around the bush is valued, so makes everything as brief and as direct as possible.
2) Author raises reading to the level of essentials and not merely as a hobby, especially in relation to our Christian Faith.
Secondly, he makes a very good theological breakdown of how Christians should value reading because God’s value, after all, is found in The Word! He has spoken, He has written, He has come as the fulfillment of the Word; God is for words, texts, language!
3) Author shows that the tension between image versus word or text as a longstanding war, of human tendency to valorize image and drop the word in favor of it, while using Biblical evidence to back up the claim. (Very strong argument: MUST READ.)
His discussion on how from time immemorial, as seen in the Bible, image hasn’t been as helpful as the word, image being subject to idolatry, enables laziness, and disables the opportunity to be sharpened when struggling with texts.
“As Christians living in an image-saturated world, we must guard our conviction about the vital importance of words and language that best communicate meaning,” warns Reinke.
4) The author’s balanced views about image versus word, and Christian to Non-Christian literature.
The good thing about Tony Reinke is that he is able to assert what is more valuable without vilifying the other. He does not say to drop watching TV altogether, but merely showing us where we may get more and why. To a reader who believes the same thing Tony is our champion!
The other thing is about reading non-Christian literature which can be a touchy subject among Christian communities and families. Well, I loved how he simply addressed it. “Choosing what books to read is often not a yes/no decision but a now/later decision.” Yup, and this means while some books may be right off the bat you see as trash, there are some that can be read given the maturity needed to process complicated concepts within the book is already present.
Reinke uplifts non-Christian authors and Literature as exposing truth and beauty which can only come from Our God, and so there is nothing wrong about appreciating it. He also believes that even dark pieces are not a “NO” right away as these are also very reflective of our falleness and current situation- the age of the ear, and not the eye, he says, where our sights still aren’t flawless as one day they would be.
5) But author is also self-reflexive, attuned to what his primary readers might say and discloses his stand that nothing comes before the Gospel and His Word.
Christians better not panic about these statements because Reinke does not forget to remind that all these things come only after the supremacy and lenses of the Gospel and Scripture. Should at any point we have to choose, we shall pick those two over everything else. In fact, he proposes that a good grasp of the Gospel and Scripture is the starting point, as it serves as good lenses by which to curate our reading materials.
5) The author’s own struggles when it comes to reading makes it relatable and even relevant as he discusses the perils of electronic options.
His though-provoking narration of his own struggles, especially when reading in this age of e-books, must resonate within the hearts of many readers out there, too. He says he’s made the decision to shift back to hard copies, and I think that many other readers are doing the same these days. I myself have gone back to purchasing paperbacks instead of electronic copies.
However I do have a comment about that. Some people really do finish more books and are able to conveniently as much as they want when they have an e-reader. (Take note that I said e-reader and not an iPad. I strongly believe our choice of device affects effective reading, too.) As a mom, I know that sometimes, having an e-reader helps me to read conveniently even while I am watching over a growing kid AND a thousand other things at the same time. Case in point: I only finished Lit! because it was on my Kindle. It was a great companion throughout my crazy airplane positions as I lug baby around and go from one state to another looking and feeling heavy like a Christmas tree.
6) Book contains many practical tips for reading that are doable and effective. It encourages reader to certain systems that will help reading happen!
The solution I find about this though is to follow his system of reading and align it with my hard copy versus e-book choices: to put those he calls light and shallow, easily digestible readings in the device, and those he calls “steak” or desk reading – “the longest and most difficult books, the books that require the most caffeinated attention,” leave to be purchased in hard copy format. (System of categorizing reading level for books is his, but choice between e-shelf to physical is mine.)
7) Then don’t miss that great note to reading mentors, like pastors and parents, too!
I also love Reinke’s note to Pastors and Parents who have the privilege of modeling the enriched life of those who read books. He does this at the end of the book complete with tips.
8) Book moves reader to action and the determination to read against all odds.
Ultimately all thumbs up for this book because you can only come out of it 1) appreciating the act of reading and 2) fighting for it. Simply he says that unless we put it in our schedule, really put aside time to do it, reading will never happen. So we have to be more intentional about it, more deliberate.
- Category: Religion, Christian Literature
- Publisher: Crossway (September 9, 2011)
- Price: Kindle $9.99 | Paperback $13.17 (208pp)
- Available on Amazon
I also think that is has a fantastic cover, don’t you think so??? #bibliophileforeva