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Book Review: Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

Well, I managed to finish my first non-fiction book of 2012. A book about reading. Appropriate, since my goal is to read at least 52 books this year.

Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke is an easy read, divided into two sections. The first six chapters focus on the role words play in the Bible and how God uses the written word in the lives of Christians.

Some parts I found interesting, such as the contrast between our image dominated society and the fact that we are a people God created to appreciate the written word. After all, God gave us His word, the Bible, in written form. He gave us minds to chew and digest the information we read. Yet, today it’s so easy to sit mindlessly in front of a computer or television screen, letting the images and the computer do all the “thinking” for us. The contrast gave me a lot to ponder.

The first half of the book also impressed on me the need to filter all reading through a Biblical lens. Non- Christian books aren’t necessarily bad, but Lit! challenged me to read books with a critical eye, making sure that what I read doesn’t glorify sin.

Sometimes the theological section got a little dry, but I appreciated the author’s perspective on God and literature.

The second half of the book was more practical. Chapters seven through fifteen give the reader practical tips on finding time to read, reading critically, prioritizing the kinds of books we read, and even teaching our children to become good readers.

I especially liked the section on prioritizing reading material. First and foremost, of course, Christians should be reading the Bible. Beyond that, why do we read? To grow in our walk with God, to learn new skills, even to escape reality. Reinke really helped me think about what is healthy reading, and how my life as a Christian is impacted when my reading priorities are out of whack.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the section on helping children become good readers. My older two children don’t particularly enjoy reading (though they are getting better), and I walked away with some good ideas to help make reading more desirable to them.

All in all, I thought Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books was a helpful read. It wasn’t gripping. It’s not the kind of book that you just can’t bear to put down, but it’s a book packed with interesting perspective and practical advice for the Christian reader. I’m glad I read it, and I’m sure I will come back to some of the chapters again and again.

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