[Review] Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first came across Reinke’s book when I Googled for ‘books for new Christian converts,’ and this was number two on a list of five. I am so glad I found out about it, because it has been one of the best books I’ve read, Christian or otherwise.

Although Lit! is somewhat meant for Christians who don’t read too much and want to read more, as an avid reader I still found it entirely relevant. Reinke divides his book into two parts, laying the foundation of how a Christian should read first, then moving on to the practical advice on reading more and better. The first part, wherein Reinke develops a theology of reading, was the part I found most useful as a new Christian, as it deals with the topic of laying a solid, Scripture-based foundation upon which to build from. Things like holding the Bible as THE primary book to read, having a solid Biblical worldview, to “read the imperfect in light of the perfect, the deficient in light of the sufficient, the temporary in light of the eternal, the groveling in light of the transcendent” (pg 28), may seem obvious, but they are essentials that can get lost or overlooked, or worse, incorrectly assumed. By taking the time he takes in creating the theology of reading, Reinke makes sure we understand the importance and centrality of this aspect in being a good Christian reader: God and the Bible must be the lens through which we read everything else.

The second part gets into the nitty gritty of how to read, dealing with practical tips on how to prioritize what you read, thinking critically about what kind of books you want to read and why, constantly checking if what you’re reading is achieving one of your reading goals or needs to be put aside, and writing on your books (shudder!). Reinke also tackles why you should read different styles and genres of books, why Christians should read fiction (yes, even non-Christian fiction), how many books to read at once, and how to avoid distractions that rob us of precious reading time. Although written with the new reader in mind, habitual readers will find good advice in this part as well.

As a new Christian, I cannot recommend Lit! enough to others like me, as it will help you on the journey of reading and discovery that lies ahead as we explore our new faith. As an avid and habitual reader, I also recommend Lit! as a book that exudes with the joy of reading and has good advice to help make anyone into a better reader, an intentional reader.

2 comments

  1. Daniel, I have to say I’m a bit baffled by the need for this book. Why does one need to be told how/what to read?
    Why does EVERYTHING you read (or watch, or do) need to be viewed through the lens of X, whether that lens is Christianity, Communism or affection for maple trees?

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  2. In addition, I don’t understand what this quote means: “read the imperfect in light of the perfect, the deficient in light of the sufficient, the temporary in light of the eternal, the groveling in light of the transcendent”

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