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Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books Paperback – September 9, 2011
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“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, Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and The Ishbane Conspiracy
“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, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
“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, 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, pastor, Grace Church, Boroughbridge, United Kingdom; faculty member, Crosslands; author, Good News to the Poor and Mission Matters
“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, Assistant Professor of Bible, Moody Bible Institute; Pastor of Adult Ministries, Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, Illinois
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.
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Top customer reviews
Whether one is an avid reader or one who rarely cracks a book, this is a book that is worthwhile. Christians are historically a 'people of the book' and need to be readers. It is very difficult to have a grasp of the world in general or Christianity in particular if one is not a reader.
In this volume, author Tony Reinke underscores the importance of reading as well as the need for discernment about reading. He does not take the approach that Christians should only read the Bible or 'Christian books'. In fact, he makes a great case for reading a wide variety of genres. He also gives wise advise on how to do that in a discerning manner.
The author quotes T. S. Eliot in making the point that we are much more likely to be led astray by those with whom we have much agreement in general. He talks about how 'the most treacherous spiritual dangers arise from theologically twisted books written by wolves in sheepskin.' Clearly, heretical books are much more likely to be found coming from 'Christian books' or 'Christian writers', as books written by non-Christians are much more likely to be viewed cautiously by Christ followers.
He cautions readers that in our modern world, 'it's too easy to waste our lives watching mindless television and squandering our free time away with entertainment.'
There is much good food for thought in this short book. It is well worth reading and pondering.
Path: Reinke helps the reader to select, read, and evaluate books of all types. Explaining his background and movement toward selecting and reading books more wisely, the author helps the reader to improve in his own selection and reading. For the non-reader, Reinke provides good answers to common questions, and a good kick in the pants for common excuses. For the reader, Reinke helps hone the skill he/she is developing and gives further encouragement to read more widely and thoughtfully.
Sources: Using his own journey as a template, the author explains how his mentors helped him to grow, how certain authors have challenged him, and how currently he is passing this on to his family. Common names found throughout these pages are Neil Postman, C. S. Lewis, John Calvin, Leland Ryken, and Martin Luther.
Agreement: I greatly appreciated Reinke’s work and plan on recommending it to many people. I appreciated his thoughtfulness and the practical nature of the book as well. His constant repetition of the Bible as THE BOOK was a good reminder and necessary basis. I was challenged to read more widely and more wisely and plan on using some of his suggestions for me and my family.
Personal App: I was specifically challenged in the area of book consumption. Am I merely reading to get through another book, or am I reading to be challenged, to be changed?
Favorite Quote: “Scripture is the ultimate grid by which we read every book. Scripture is perfect, sufficient, and eternal. All other books, to some degree, are imperfect, deficient, and temporary. That means that when we pick books from the bookstore shelves, we read those imperfect books in light of the perfect Book, the deficient books in light of the sufficient Book, and the temporary books in light of the eternal Book."
It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who says:
“I’m not a reader.”
“I would like to read, but I don’t have enough time.”
“I enjoy reading.”
“I read a lot.”
It is also very helpfull in the practice of reading. Tony Reinke gives some tips and advices that can help you improve your reading.
I'm happy I read this book. But also I'm sad because there is not an spanish translation.
If you are considering to read it, my humble advice is DO IT!