Ron’s #38: Lit! by Tony Reinke

“Almost all men are infected with the disease of desiring useless knowledge. It is of great importance that we should be told what is necessary for us to know, and what the Lord desires us to contemplate, above and below, on the right hand and on the left, before and behind.

The love of Christ is held out to us as the subject which ought to occupy our daily and nightly meditations, and in which we ought to be wholly plunged.” –John Calvin, as quoted in Lit! p. 96.

I love books on the power and importance of reading. I saw Lit! reviewed somewhere, and I thought it sounded like something I’d like to read. The subtitle tempered my eagerness to read the book (“A Christian Guide to Reading Books”), but I still bought it, and I was glad that I did.

Tony Reinke focuses on the importance of reading, how to choose books, and how to read books. It is NOT, as the subtitle suggests, a book list of terrible yet “religious” books to read. Rather, he begins with the premise that Christians are to be people of the Word and of words. God reveals Himself through the written word, and we ought to strive to understand what words mean.

I liked his list of the six priorities that decide what books to read:

1. Reading Scripture

2. Reading to know and delight in Christ

3. Reading to kindle spiritual reflection

4. Reading to initiate personal change

5. Reading to pursue vocational excellence

6. Reading to enjoy a good story

He offers ways to increase our reading time, along with a small treaty on how the Internet cripple book reading (chapter 11). Given my heavy reading recently on the problems with my time on the Internet, I especially enjoyed that chapter. He and I seem to be kindred spirits on this issue. Reinke even realizes that his Kindle often interferes with reading time. This is something that I recently noticed in myself, and I have backed off from reading books on screens when a physical book is available.

I highly recommend this book is you want to read more, read better, or read with a larger purpose. I heavily marked my copy of this book because it will be one that I’ll want to review when I forget.

As the ultimate Book in authority and power states, “So, whether you eat or drink [or read], or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). Tony Reinke’s Lit! helped me to see how this is done.

About Ron 173 Articles
I teach English and government in Okinawa, Japan. I love reading theology and fiction, and helps keep me accountable. Reading with three kids under 5 is a bit of a challenge, but I keep trying to find ways to read more. My favorites writers are C. S. Lewis, Flannery O’ Connor, and Raymond Carver.

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