Book Review: Lit! by Tony Reinke

Lit! – A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke is bordering on a must read for preachers and church leaders.  Years ago it was a given that leaders have to be readers, but today I wonder if we’ve not bought into the notion that leaders have to be too busy to be real readers.  Headlines?  Yes.  Emails?  Of course.  Web browser?  Certainly.  Blogs?  Staying in touch.  Books?  Uh, too busy, sorry.

This book is a thoroughly enjoyable pithy little promo for the right kind of reading.  The first half of the book lays a theological foundation for books and reading.  The second half offers nine dynamite chapters of practical wisdom to help the motivated reader become a real reader.

When we commit ourselves to literature rather than a superficial spinning through surface hype, we find a richness of personal enlightenment that is truly of God.  Reinke doesn’t advocate an only-Christian book approach to reading, but he does clearly recognize two categories of books in the world.  The Bible.  And everything else.

The book engages with what to read, as well as how to read.  It addresses issues of conscience, of priorities, of benefits.  And it does it all in an engaging energetic manner that makes you want to keep reading, and pick up something else, something good, to read at the same time (if only that were possible!)

Should we read non-Christian books?  Absolutely – at least, the best of them, if we already have a well-formed biblical worldview (which I think he assumes too easily and most readers would also assume naively).   In fact, Reinke gives biblical examples of reading non-biblical authors as well as a couple of giants from church history on the subject.

Actually, with a passionate commitment to reading like Reinke, we are having to leave behind over 10,000 books for every one that we choose.  So we need to choose well, read discerningly, and benefit as fully as possible.

I’ve been struck many times by how many people do not read wisely.  “I can’t buy another book until I’ve finished the last one I started . . . three years ago!”  Bad logic.  Preachers need to be reading and we can’t afford to get log-jammed by a bothersome book.

Randy Alcorn writes of Lit! : “Seldom have I enjoyed a book more than this one.”  I concur.  Hence I read it in a day.  I think your ministry would be blessed if you enjoyed it too.

(If you are in the UK, click here to buy book.)

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Lit! by Tony Reinke

  1. OK.

    So I immediately went on to Amazon and downloaded it to my “Kindle for PC”.

    I wonder what he says about ebooks?

    I wonder if he says anything about the morality of a price of books in the sense that I can see prices from £23.99 (second hand) down to £5.77 new when the published price is £9.99 (according to Amazon).

    BUT: At this stage I have just one question for the book – what does it say about illiteracy? … and the probability that there may be more illiterate Christians in heaven than literate?

    I am off to start reading.

    • I’ll let you read what he says about eBooks – it is interesting. I don’t think he engages the issue of book prices, but I tend to celebrate the £5.77 type of price and wonder if anyone will go for the £23.99 type of price! I suppose we should give a mention to Christian book shops that are struggling due to the “free market” that amazon now dominates. You are probably right about the ratio of illiterate Christians in heaven. I suppose the issue for us, though, is to be good stewards of what we have been given, including literacy. Hope you enjoy the book like I did.

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