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Book Review: Lit! A Christian Guide To Reading Books by Tony Reinke

"Scripture is the ultimate grid by which we read every book...we read imperfect books in light of the perfect book." page 26

I enjoyed reading this book, I took 9 pages of notes!
The author makes it quite clear that "the Bible for a Christian should be the number one book read."
He states that Scripture is the only inspired Word of God. But, there is man-made literature that can be inspiring. It is direly important the type of information that we feed our minds, because our minds are a product of what we put in. The author points out that we live in a "graphic society." We are blasted visually with colorful entertaining pictures that can steer us away from the black ink on white pages in a book. Even in magazines and newspapers words are surrounded by enticing photographs.
"The world of sight, the world of the eye, cannot take us beyond what is shown. Because sight can only go so far, it takes words and thought to give the real truth and meaning behind what is seen." Os Guinness
From how to read a non-fiction book to knowing what books to avoid, from understanding that when we read Scripture "our minds are sharpened in safety" to kindling reading in the next generation. Tony Reinke writes one of the most exhaustive non-fiction books I've read...period. He states his reasons for writing this book and I believe he did a great job in expressing those ideas.

The ideas I would like to describe more thoroughly are: Literature is Life--reasons for reading literature, and from the chapter entitled Read with Resolve--particularly why more women do not read theology books.

The first idea is from the chapter Literature is Life. I've heard my dad state, "I don't read junk," he means fiction. Dad is a big reader of non-fiction, mainly Christian non-fiction, but he most recently read books on Patton, Eisenhower and Churchill. I disagree with dad in his opinion that fiction is junk, but I'm sure there are many others out there that believe the same. Tony Reinke gives an example in that by "reading fictional literature it can deepen our appreciation for concrete human experience. By retelling life with words, novelists heighten our sensitivity to common human experiences." By reading about people from other religions, cultures, countries, education levels, life experiences, and even physical or emotional trauma, we leave our "little" world--the life we know and understand, and are better able to have empathy for and take action to help others.
It does not matter if the book is fiction or non-fiction both can teach us about other humans.
One of my favorite quotes on this topic, "The best fictional authors spell out our common human experience in a way elusive to other forms of writing. The best Christian novelists write from a biblical world view, one that is not afraid of digging into the soil of common human experience." Humans need to identify with other humans, even in a book. If we cautiously tip-toe around certain topics then we are not identifying with other humans, we are blatantly ignoring them. And by ignoring them we are being unloving. And Christ has called us to love. Now by stating that last sentence their will be those that think I'm liberal minded and being politically correct, that is not my intent. I repeat, Christ has called us to love.

The second idea is from the chapter Read with Resolve. Tony Reinke quotes from another author Elyse Fitzpatrick in stating "that many women do not read theology books." I would like to point out that it might be possible that many men do not read Christian fiction. I read theology books, thanks mainly in part to my dad. Dad has encouraged me by his own active theology reading and then passing information on what he learned to me. Eventually I picked those books up myself and started reading them.
It is fascinating and contagious when a parent actually talks to their children about books, turns the television off, and has a lengthy discussion about the book they just read. It really does catch on!
I think the main reason that Christian fiction is preferred to theology books is that Christian fiction is a quick read. I personally can read most Christian fiction books in 1 to 2 days max. Whereas a Christian non-fiction book may take several days, because there is more material to digest. The author believes that "women feel they may become unattractive to men because of their theology reading," I don't buy that reason. I do believe that theology books require more discipline to read, study, then think about the material. Whereas a Christian fiction book at least feels more like entertainment.

I found this book to be wonderful!
I've read other reviews state this is a book for non-readers. I think it is a book for people who read, but are not big readers and do not spend time thinking about why or what they read.
As a book reviewer one of my jobs is dissecting not just the book itself, but why I chose that book and what I gleaned from it. Many of the thoughts in the book I'd already thought of and applied to my own reading.
My attitude is there will always be something more for me to learn, never will there be a time in this life when I will know it all.

Thank you to Crossway for my free review copy!

Published September 9, 2011 by Crossway
208 pages

Link for the book @ publisher:
Paperback $15.99

Link for the book @ Christian Book:
Paperback $9.49
eBook $7.99

Link for the book @ Amazon:
Paperback $9.48
Kindle $9.01

Blissful Reading!


Becky said…
I think you did a great job reviewing this one! It was definitely a book that made me think--that challenged me to think. Which I think is always a good thing!

I do read theology books. I just love reading Christian non-fiction. And I do wish more people would read it, more bloggers would review it. I think it can be SO beneficial.

I love how you talk about how your Dad influences and inspires you in your reading.
spurgeon said…
Annette, thank you for the wonderful and kind (and very encouraging!) review of my book. And thanks for pasting it on the Amazon product page. I'm a deeply grateful author. Tony Reinke
Annette said…
Thank you Becky and Tony for your kind comments!
Yes, dad has greatly encouraged my reading. My mother was an avid reader as well. I have many handwritten notes from her where she would just copy Scripture, she loved reading it and writing it.