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Mar 3

Lit! by Tony Reinke

Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 in Reviews

coverLit! may not appeal to all mysilentscream readers, but I liked it way more than I thought I might.

Lit! subtitled, “A Christian Guide to Reading Books” by Tony Reinke would never had landed on my reading list except for three things:

My friend Tonya recently sent me English Literature recommendations.

My friend Isaac and I read and discussed Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

And, John Piper tweeted: Tony Reinke’s “Lit” for 99 cents in the Kindle store. I loved reading this book. Makes you want to read. http://dsr.gd/WaktDQ

I began reading Lit! with some preconceived biases:
1. “A Christian Guide” will be biases and narrow-minded
2. Who needs to read a book on “Reading Books”?
3. If John Piper read Lit! it will be well-written
4. If John Piper recommended Lit!, it will likely have a Calvinist theological bias.

Well, what were the results of my unofficial of my bias quiz?

I was right on both #s 3 and 4. Lit! is a well-written book with a clear preference for writers with a Calvinist bend, but it’s not in conflictual with other biblical viewpoints. Here are the other two in detail:

1. “A Christian Guide” will be biases and narrow-minded

While it Lit! has been written for a Christian audience it is not antagonistic toward secular literature. In fact, Reinke is quite clear in his assessment that some “Christian” literature may be far more dangerous than secular literature:

“Spiritual dangers are more venomous in a so-called “Christian” book.” Reinke then quotes Martin Luther, “For no heresy has ever sprung from pagan belief, from Aristotle, and from the books of other heathen,” wrote Martin Luther…On the other hand, books that are obviously non-Christian in orientation are far less likely to spiritually deceive us because we hold these books at a distance, we approach them with a guarded detachment, and we open the cover fully expecting to disagree with the author.”

2. Who needs to read a book on “Reading Books”?

I do! Though I might have lived my life just fine without reading Lit!, I would not have read these insights which pertained to me:

“Christian book readers who frequently use the Internet and social media will be faced with four temptations that will make it difficult to preserve and cultivate book reading skills.”

Four Temptations
– Fragmented Browsing vs. Sustained Comprehension
– Reacting vs. Thinking
– Ready Access to Information vs. Slowly Digested Life Wisdom
– Skimming with the Head vs. Delighting with the Heart

Fragmented Browsing vs. Sustained Comprehension

“The Internet is designed to encourage us to browse information, not to slowly read and digest it.”

Reacting vs. Thinking

“This has changed with online social interaction. Now, when we come across an idea that we like, we are tempted to quickly react, to share the idea with friends in an e-mail, on Facebook, or on a blog. When we disagree, our initial response is to ask for the input of others.”

Ready Access to Information vs. Slowly Digested Life Wisdom

“The third challenge gets to the heart of Socrates’s concern. Valuable life wisdom flows out of meditation and deep thought.”

Skimming with the Head vs. Delighting with the Heart

“In order to feel deeply about spiritual truths we must think deeply. And to think deeply we must read deeply. And to read deeply we must read attentively, not hastily. If we discipline ourselves to read attentively and to think deeply about our reading, we will position our souls to delight. But our souls cannot delight in what our minds merely skim.”

That quote was, for my benefit, the best in the book. I enjoyed the book, and if the contents of this review appeal to you, you may enjoy it too.

1 – Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is currently FREE for Kindle users or Kindle app readers

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