Review: Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books
Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A helpful intro to book-reading. I’d find this most useful to give to high schoolers just embarking on a mature reading life. Where Veith (Reading Between the Lines) focuses more on what gets read, Reinke focuses more on the activity of reading. Both are good; a book that combined their strengths, included a reading list, and avoided the imagophobia and internet-bashing would quickly displace both of them as my go-to book on reading. But for now, Reinke’s book is quite serviceable.

Reading Notes:
Chapter 2: Not at all happy with the cliched “word vs. image” battle. God gives us both, and they shed light on each other. Word became flesh. But Reinke is far from alone in his characterization.

Page 73: point 6 – non-christian literature does not “beg” questions; it raises them, or asks them, or prompts them. I’ll take anything other than beg. Pet peeve.

Random specification: Specific tangents that eat up several paragraphs abound – women should read theology, pastors shouldn’t abuse business books, etc. While often helpful, these applications are very random – who is the book written for? Why was this specific group chosen to receive pointed application at this time, while dozens of other groups are left to make their own applications? I have no idea.

Page 122: “Don’t read fiction with the hope that it will shape your worldview.” What? How can it not? Reinke rightly points out you shouldn’t look for a thesis or propositions in fiction, but a thesis and propositions are hardly the only shapers of worldview. I’m tempted to argue that good fiction has a stronger shaping influence on the heart and emotions than non-fiction. I think what Reinke means to argue is that you shouldn’t allow the emotive elements of fiction to cause you overthrow the cognitive truths more propositionally presented in non-fiction. But fiction cannot be reduced to a giant fallacious appeal to emotion. Fiction has the ability to highlight and poke holes in bad propositional beliefs, and following Reinke on this point would handcuff us for no good reason. Arguing as Reinke does that “Scripture alone should inform our worldview” is an abuse of sola scriptura, not a well-informed use of it. Scripture is the supreme written norm for our worldview, but hardly the only source that influences or shapes it. This pgh. meant well, but was very poorly articulated.

Chapter 12: Marginalia – I’m one of those people who doesn’t write in books, and I don’t plan to start. I do keep commonplaces, and I do engage with books in other places, I just don’t mark up my books. I find marginalia to be a hindrance in re-reading and in borrowing; maybe I treat my own library like a library. Underline or highlight me unconvinced.

Chapter 13: Reading Together – Really, really liked this chapter. What Reinke describes is more than a book club, because it is more about the people than about the books. People growing together around good books. I want that to describe most of my life.

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One Response to Review: Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

  1. Pingback: Review: Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books | Pushing a Feather |

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