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Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books Paperback – September 9, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (September 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433522268
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433522260
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“I read many books, but seldom do I enjoy one more than I did Tony Reinke’s Lit!. Many of my greatest childhood adventures, and much of my growth after I was converted as a teenager, came through reading imagination-expanding and life-changing books. Tony’s writing is thoughtful, perceptive, concise, and God-honoring. He upholds biblical authority, and offers helpful guidance, while allowing for a range of tastes. Lit! rings true to my own lifetime of reading experience. As a reader and writer of both nonfiction and fiction, I appreciate the breadth of Tony’s treatment, which includes a variety of genres. For book lovers, this is a treasure and delight. For those who aren’t book lovers, it makes a great case for becoming one.”
Randy Alcorn, Founder and Director, Eternal Perspective Ministries; author, If God Is Good and Heaven

“There is so much to commend about this book that it is hard to know where to start. The most obvious virtue of the book is its scope. On the subject of reading, Reinke covers every possible topic. Each topic, in turn, is broken into all of its important subpoints. With a lesser writer, this could produce a tedious book, but the opposite is true of this book. Reinke says just enough, but not too much. The effect is like seeing a prism turned in the light. There is never a dull moment in this book. Once I sensed that Reinke was going to cover all the important topics, and with unfailing good sense and Christian insight, I could hardly put the book down. What will Reinke say about THAT topic? I found myself asking. But to add yet another twist, Reinke has read so widely in scholarly and religious sources that I do not hesitate to call the book a triumph of scholarship. Reinke writes with an infectious and winsome enthusiasm. It is hard to imagine a reader of this book who would not catch the spark for reading after encountering Reinke's excitement about reading and his carefully reasoned defense of it.”
Leland Ryken, Emeritus Professor of English, Wheaton College

“If you don’t read books as both a discipline and a delight, then you should; and if you need help here, as in truth all of us do, more or less, then this is the book for you. Don’t miss it!”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“Christians are people of the Book, and books are a very important part of Christian culture and Christian life. One of the most important gifts God has given us is the ability to read and to communicate from one mind to another by means of the printed page. Throughout the history of the Christian church, books have become some of the most cherished friends, teachers, and companions along the way. But reading is a matter of spiritual discipline, not just a matter of literacy. Tony Reinke helps us to understand how to grow through disciplined reading, not only as readers but also as Christians.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“How to read, what to read, who to read, when to read, and why you should read—Tony Reinke answers all these questions and more in this very good and (surprisingly) brief book on reading. As he shows how reading can bring glory to God and growth to the church, Reinke encourages Christians to take up the discipline of reading widely and wisely.”
Trevin Wax, Managing Editor, The Gospel Project; author, Gospel-Centered Teaching, Counterfeit Gospels, and Holy Subversion

“This is the perfect book for someone who doesn’t like to read, or who likes to read but isn’t sure it’s a good use of their time, or who loves to read a little too much and needs to proceed with discernment. Tony Reinke has made a wise, theological, and edifying case for why words matter. I’ll mention Lit! every time someone asks me why in the world Christians should read fiction—a question that never fails to shock me. Now, instead of snapping, ‘Are you serious?’ and spouting opinions, I’ll just smile and slip them a copy of this book.”
Andrew Peterson, singer/songwriter; author, The Wingfeather Saga series

“You might wonder why you need to read about reading. Some of you have piles and piles of books on your shelves, or on your nightstand, but have no idea how to choose what to read, and when. Some of you are being altered in ways you don’t even recognize by digital technology such that you can’t see how you’re too distracted to summon the deep attention needed to read. This engagingly written book will make you think, but it will also provide practical, winsome advice on how to become the right kind of reader for the glory of God.”
Russell D. Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; author, Tempted and Tried

“Tony Reinke does not just read, but he reads well, and these are two very different things. If you are not much of a reader, consider Lit! a part of your education. Tony will teach you to read, to read widely, and to read well. If you are already an avid reader, consider Lit! an investment that will instruct you in how to read better.”
Tim Challies, author, The Next Story; blogger, Challies.com

“If you read one book a week for the next 50 years you'll read about 2,600 books. Not a lot when you think of all the books you could read. So should you include this book in your list? Yes. Because Lit! will help you read the right books in the right way. Tony Reinke sets our reading in a biblical framework and provides practical tips to make the most of books. I warmly commend it.”
Tim Chester, Director, The Porterbrook Seminary; author, You Can ChangeA Meal With Jesus, and Good News to the Poor

“Since God decided ideas are best expressed in words, and that The Idea—the revelation of his Son as Lord and Savior—is to be learned through his timeless and matchless Word, Christians must dare not to lose sight of the primacy of books amidst the torrent of fast-moving, visual images of our culture. Tony Reinke argues from Scripture and life experience that ‘reading is a way to preserve and cultivate the sustained linear concentration we need for life.’ As an educator, I couldn’t agree more! Sustained reading must remain the heartbeat of any worthy educational program that seeks to produce Christian thinkers, leaders, and apologists. Homeschooling parents who are trying to craft reading lists as they raise Christian children will find gracious and principled guidance here. Moreover, Tony offers great ideas for parents to foster a love for reading, beginning with their own example.”
Marcia Somerville, president, Lampstand Press; author, the Tapestry of Grace homeschool curriculum

“With a discerning eye, Reinke captures the importance of the gospel story for our habits of reading, thus providing a worldview for reading. He challenges us to beware of how the carved images of the Internet can draw us away from the grace of reading for comprehension and simple delight. Yet he equally gives a proper place to secular literature among all types of works that those who love Christ should appreciate. This is the sort of book that I have longed to place into the hands of believers in order to help churches recapture a love for literature and literacy—both biblical and extra-biblical. Practical and enjoyable, Lit! is an outstanding and valuable gift to the church.”
Eric C. Redmond, Bible Professor in Residence, New Canaan Baptist Church

From the Back Cover

I love to read.
I hate to read.

I don't have time to read.
I only read Christian books.

I'm not good at reading.

There's too much to read.

Chances are, you've thought or said one of these exact phrases before because reading is important and in many ways unavoidable. Learn how to read, what to read, when to read, and why you should read with this helpful guide from accomplished reader Tony Reinke. Offered here is a theology for reading and practical suggestions for reading widely, reading well, and for making it all worthwhile.

More About the Author

Tony Reinke is a former journalist who serves as a theological researcher and writer for desiringGod.org. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three children.

Customer Reviews

This is why I appreciate Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke.
Aaron Armstrong
There are many other books about reading that are great, like, How to Read Books, by Mortimer Adler, quoted by the author himself, but Reinke give with Lit!
Amazon Customer
Reading books is a discipline and the author gives practical advice to help us achieve that goal!
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Jared Oliphint on November 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
In full disclosure, I was really excited when I first heard about Lit!. The idea is genius--writing a book about reading books. It made me stop and think about reading, a crucial part of life that I had done for years but hadn't considered with much intention or precision. (That specific point may say something more about me than the genius of the book idea.) So I ventured into the book with eyes wide open, optimistic about finding something of value in light of the amount of material I read in a vain attempt toward keeping up with the evangelical and Reformed worlds. I did find value, more than I even expected, and I found it through a very rare combination of encouragement, creativity, depth, theological penetration, and even accessibility.

The obvious surface answer to "What does reading books have to do with your Christian walk?" involves the fact that the Bible is a book (and we know as Christians that we should always read it), coupled with a suggestion to read books and material that encourage, challenge, and teach us about what we read in Scripture. That answer is true as far as it goes, but Reinke wants to back up and get a bit more basic, a bit more biblical-theological, and even a bit more philosophical at points (without needing to import all the philosophical jargon).

What does it mean that God himself physically wrote the words of the Ten Commandments - and did so in human language that was meant to be read? Part One (of two) begins by asking this question, among others, and seeks to get at some of what Scripture says about speech, language, words, and books. Reinke does well in fleshing out how our Word-centered religion is in direct contrast to Ancient Near Eastern religions and their focus on image-based, iconic idols.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Ivan M. on September 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
I came to faith in Christ while in high school, and ever since then I have been a lover of the Book, i.e., the Bible. It didn't take me long, though to fall in love with books in general--all kinds. I started off with Joshua Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Not Even A Hint (which since then has been retitled, Sex Is Not the Problem, Lust Is). I later moved on to John MacArthur's The Gospel According to the Apostles and came to grips with what the gospel was (and was not). During my college years I came across J. C. Ryle's Holiness, which for me opened whole new vistas on the nature of sanctification in the believer's life.

But I didn't simply read Christian books. I quickly began devouring stories like The Chronicles of Narnia (okay, you can quibble about that one) and Harry Potter and Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. For two years, almost every Saturday morning with a cup of coffee, I worked my way through David McCullough's wonderful retelling of President John Adams. I could endlessly go on and share how different books have come into my life and have helped me think better and see the world differently.

But I will say this, in many ways we are what we read. Though not always perceived, books make certain indelible impressions upon the reader. We will not always be aware of the mark they are making, but unquestionably books are molding us and refining us, allowing us to expand our thinking, to venture into worlds unknown and times not our own.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Hopp VINE VOICE on January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is one that Christian conservatives will appreciate and that Christian moderates might wrinkle their noses at. The book is sincere and worthy and particularly well researched and probably effective at getting across its points to the audience it addresses, but it would be advisable for a potential reader to know the extent to which you're part of that intended audience.

I came to this book with considerable enthusiasm, but it disappeared in the first six chapters on theology and increased a little in the last nine on reading. If you are a Christian who has long been comfortable with nearly all types of secular reading, you may be a bit of an outsider for this book and may simply get restless with the first six chapters. If you are a Christian who can surrender to and "receive" books, as C.S. Lewis advocates in An Experiment in Criticism, then you may already be quite favorably disposed toward literature. There are, to be sure, many Christians like that, lifelong, wide-ranging readers for whom a book advocating reading or branching out in reading, would misfire as much as a book advocating breathing or thinking. You may even feel that the occasional preachy tone may seem actually to run down the culture the book is trying to get you to embrace: "Truth discovered in non-Christian literature may glow brightly in our eyes, but for authors not washed in Christ's blood, these truths bear a heavier guilt upon their souls before God and reveal their damnable lack of obedience and lack of gratitude to God (Rom. 1:21)." This comes from a chapter on the "benefits of reading non-Christian books," but it's hardly an endorsement to make one dive eagerly into Hemingway.
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