Sunday, January 15, 2012

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

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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book came highly recommended from all sorts of places (Challies, World Mag, and the referrals on the book itself: Ryken, Alcorn, Packer) and I really wanted to love it. I at least wanted to like it, not feel merely [eh] about it.  Who am I to disagree with all those professional writers?

Last year I loved Alan Jacobs' The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction and Marilyn Chandler McEntyre's Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies and I hoped that this would be a nice continuation in that theme.

I was disappointed.

Oh, the book is fine, if a bit technical and dull.  In places, I wish he had left out whole chapters because other books do a much better job discussing them.  I love the gospel, don't get me wrong, but I get weary with Christian Living books that are written to and for Christians feeling the need to explicate the gospel, and sometimes make it dry and uninteresting.  I felt like I trudged through is section on Christian Worldview, which I could see the necessity of, but seemed a bit ponderous. 

The chapters following these introductory ideas were at least new material, and often helpful.  Unfortunately, they also seemed a bit like extended blog posts.  A lot of short points (without bullets) with bolded thesis statements; self-referencing earlier chapters; extended quotes from other authors; and references to a lot of modern books.  To be fair, he did have some sections recommending older books. 

All this to say, this book did not energize me to read more books. Maybe it helped me to think more Christianly about the books that I read, but I found it to be generally over-hyped and not as good as hoped for.  Would I discourage others from reading it? No, but I'd recommend Jacobs or McEntyre much more readily.

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  1. That was a helpful review. Thanks!

  2. Currently reading and loving Jacobs. Just downloaded Reinke onto my Kindle thanks to this review. Thanks. Nice to meet you from twitter!

  3. Wrong. I downloaded Mc Entyre. NOT Reinke!

  4. Great! Hope you enjoy! I think I actually found out about you when I started my MEP journey and read your helpful MEP 101 post, but it is nicer to have conversation :)


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