Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books
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Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  856 ratings  ·  197 reviews

A call for Christians to reclaim the priority, privilege, and practice of reading.

Christians are identified as people of the Word—submitted to the authority of God’s written Word, called to center our lives on it and not on the image-driven world that vies for our gaze. But how do we build such lives, and what do they look like?

Tony Reinke’s answer is that we are to be re

Paperback, 202 pages
Published September 9th 2011 by Crossway Books (first published September 7th 2011)
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This is a great book written for Christians on the topic of reading literature. It's not some sort of CliffsNotes for the Left Behind series, nor is it a tract that condemns books written by non-Christian authors, or those that contain sex and violence. Instead, the author argues why Christians ought to be reading people, people who read fiction and non-fiction, of both Christian and secular varieties.

Even though the point of the book is to convince non-reading Christians to care about reading,...more
CJ Bowen
A helpful into 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. But for now, Reinke's book is quite serviceable.

Reading Notes:
Chapter 2:...more
Douglas Wilson
A very fine book on the theology and mechanics of reading.
Megan Larson
I love to read (sometimes). I love books (too much?). I love lists of books (way too much). When maturity reigns, I love wisdom, truth, and beauty from books. Tony Reinke's Lit! is a thoughtful, helpful, challenging book about why, how, and how much a Christian should read.
It is thoughtful because, before delving into the "how-to" of being a good reader, he addresses the theology of reading for Christians. I felt these first six chapters actually could have used a bit more editing for concisenes...more
Randy Alcorn
I read many books, but seldom do I enjoy one more than I did Tony Reinke's A Christian Guide to Reading Books. Many of my greatest childhood adventures, and much of my growth after I was converted as a teenager, came through reading imagination-expanding and life-changing books. Tony's writing is thoughtful, perceptive, concise, and God-honoring. He honors biblical authority, and offers helpful guidance, while allowing for a variety of tastes. A Christian Guide to Reading Books rings true to my...more
This book is a game-changer.

I am still processing the richness of wisdom that this book contains. By the time I finished part 2, my brain had essentially melted with the explosions of possibilities going off on my mind. When Tony Reinke says 'I'm going to give you practical tips on how to love reading', he really. freaking. delivers.

The first half of this book sets you up for success as a reader. Reinke calls it 'the theology of reading': in essence, he lays a foundation upon which a Christian c...more
Mandy Hoffman

I never thought I would enjoy reading a book about reading as much as I just did.

About a month ago I had the opportunity to review this book and I turned it down. Then just two weeks ago I began seeing some posts on Crossways' blog about this book and it looked more and more intriguing with each post. So curiosity got the best of me and I bought the book for my Kindle and now here I sit typing my review after having just finished this great read.

Lit! is not a book about other good boo...more
Adam Ross
I was very much looking forward to this book when I opened it and began reading. Perhaps it would have been better if I hadn’t. Disappointment after high hopes and expectations is much like plunging from a great height without a parachute when you’re deathly afraid of flying and there’s no pile of straw to cushion the blow when you finally hit the ground.

All that to say, I have endeavored to be as fair as possible to the book, though this difficulty is compounded by the incoherence of the argume...more
As I started reading this book, I thought, "How interesting! A mixture of all the things I've read about reading lately, in a easy-to-chew-and-digest format!" And I felt a little smug, sort of like a Dickens fan reading the Cliff Notes version of Bleak House. But as I got further into Lit!, I realized that Reinke has done a great job of choosing and presenting important aspects of reading. He explains why the Bible is the best thing one could ever read, and how that knowledge should shape and in...more
James Korsmo
"A wide gap separates a reader who simply consumes books from a reader who diligently seeks wisdom" (178). In this thoughtful and practical book, Tony Reinke argues for the value of reading as a Christian discipline, and helps encourage readers to develop wise reading habits. It is a book in two parts, the first being a "theology of reading," the second being a collection of practical advice for becoming better readers.
The foundation of Lit! is the contention that God's illumination can come to...more
Two weeks into 2014, and I am already confident that this will be one of the best books I read this year! As both a Christian and English teacher, I've been asked a lot about the books I read (or don't read) and what I think other Christians (or their children) should read. Reinke, particularly in his 'theology of reading' section, articulates many of the principles that have impacted my own reading habits. The next time someone asks me about reading, I will happily reference and recommend this...more
Reading about reading can seem somewhat pardoxical (especially since you are reading it), but I don't think it's at the point where it's irrational. In the same way that a person reads a logic textbook even though we do "know" the laws of logic intuitively, so a Christian reading a book on reading might help them to become more conscious and aware what it is one is doing when they, and further refine one's reason for reading. In that vein, I've enjoyed reading Tony Reinke's work titled "Lit! A C...more
Bluerose's  Heart
Lit!ended up being one of those books that I can call "life changing". Really! While there was no need to convince me of the importance of books(because I have a book obsession), Reinke did convince me of so many other things. He opened my mind to many new ideas, and reminded me of many things I already knew. He also made me realize I need to keep books in their place, and never let them become idols!

Lit! is divided into 2 sections. I'm embarrassed to admit that I dragged through most of the fir...more
Gavin Breeden
Lives up to its promise: "a Christian guide to reading books." The first half of the book provides a foundation for thinking about reading Christian-ly. The second half is practical tips and suggestions about how to be a better reader. This is the best way to set-up the book, but the inherent problem is that the people who really need the tips and suggestions in the second half might have trouble getting through the first half. That's not to say that the first half is boring or difficult. I went...more
Cameron Morgan
This was an excellent book on a Christian's guide to reading. What I liked most about Reinke's book is the breadth it covers on reading. He establishes a theology of reading in the first half as a basis and then moves to practical applications for reading. I appreciated especially his sections on how a biblical Christian worldview equips us to benefit from books (Chapter 4), how to establish reading priorities (Chapter 7), and the importance of imagination to the Christian (Chapter 6). I also ap...more
Nathan Moore
"A wide gap separates a reader who simply consumes books from a reader who diligently seeks wisdom."

Being that I spend nearly every free moment reading and aspire only to read more, I have found it helpful to regularly read books about reading. I'm always glad that I do. This book has several helpful thoughts, and though few of them were new to me, they are worth revisiting and reflection.

"Lit!" is a good book. It is often very simple at times and should be thought of as introductory. In it Rei...more
This was a great, great book. I rarely say this, but I'll be re-visiting this one for sure. I want to buy copies to give away and you can bet it'll show up in our church library pronto!

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading Tony Reinke's book about reading. I would recommend this book to any Christian reader or soon-to-be-reader. In fact, move it to the top of your to-read stack right now!

Part 1 is laid out very well with a theological depth necessary to orient the discussion about reading,...more

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...more
This is one of those books that I think should be required reading for every college freshman.

Reinke is very linear, which I appreciated. This book takes a journey through the philosophy of reading well (or perhaps moreso choosing well) so you're an intentional reader and can actually DO something with what you read. And then he walks the reader through some practical issues of how to read well what you choose - how to maximize your efforts for the greatest outcome.

He makes a strong preliminary...more
Stephen O'Bryan
When considering how to read a book, many people go first to Mortimer Adler's, How to Read a Book, and for good reason. However, Adler's classic is written for those who are already readers. Reinke states on the other hand, that his book is written for those who don't like to read or don't think they have time. Many portions of this book are helpful, the most helpful being, the section on creating reading priorities. With so many good books out there how does one decide what to read? Reinke sugg...more
Peter Mead
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...more
Alisa Luciano
A Review of “Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books”

Reinke, Tony. “Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books” (Crossway, 2011) $15.99

As the child reader who always had a book with her, who now loves to scribble down written words, the title Lit! and accompanying cover illustration of books placed in an eternal circle were irresistible to me. A book about the reading of books sent me diving excitedly into Tony Reinke’s Lit!

The book contains two distinct sections. The first section is philosophic...more
Revoltingly Dogmatic and Technologically Backward, Supposedly "Christian" Take on Reading Books

If this book truly represented a "Christian" approach to reading books, it would be sad news for that religion. I for one have never equaled "being Christian" with "switching your brain off". Unfortunately, that is what, for long stretches of its text, this volume seems to be suggesting. It appears to be reducing the human brain's function to mechanically comparing whatever is written in the Bible (pre...more
Becky Pliego
Great book for those who love to read and want to keep on reading, and reading well. It is also a book for those who doesn't have an habit of reading and want to cultivate one.

It is a fun and easy read. The author is clear and convincing. His style is fresh and honest. And his love for God's Word is clearly seen in every page.

This is a book full of practical advice for the one who is starting to read on a regular basis and for the one who already has his shelves full of good books.

Leonardo Alfonseca
This is a great book on... reading books from a Christian perspective. As someone who likes to read but also struggles to do it in some occasions this book re-kindled my desire to read books. The author is really clear and concise, making the book easy and highly enjoyable.

In the first chapter he talks about priorities of what to read: 1- Bible 2- All other books. He rightly mentions scripture as the grid by which we filter all other book reading. Chapter 2 mentions how the center of all the Ch...more
The front half offers as basic understanding of a "theology of reading." It is not mind blowing stuff and probably could use a little more thought. The meat of this book is the second half with lots of practical steps for readers. The writer is rather conservative and a bit reluctant to read anything that may affect him negatively - but i would submit that a) christian freedom and b) missional concerns drive that, not copying his sentiments.
KC McCauley
Great book on the importance of reading books! Reinke offered a lot of practical advice on the who, what, why, and how of reading books. Like the author, I gained a new-found joy for reading when I became a Christian, but what I didn't have was a resource like this. I wish I would have had this when I started reading books. It would have helped me broaden my reading and yet be more selective. I highly recommend!
Matthew Robbins
Excellent book the discipline of reading, including practical tips on how to choose books, how to read Christian and non-Christian books, even how to mark up your books. Lots of ideas to immediately apply. Very practical yet weighty at times as well. Especially enjoyed the chapter on how the internet and instant-communication/distraction culture has changed our reading habits. Good stuff.
I definitely could not relate to the person who wrote the foreword for this book because he said he hated to read. Gasp! But I do understand that there are some who aren't that thrilled with reading. I read a lot. And for the most part I enjoy reading. I requested this book to review because I struggle with what to read and why to read.

In chapter 1, Reinke attempts to give a fast breakdown of the good of books and reading, from a Christian perspective. The title of the book is a play on words;...more
Barnabas Piper
Reinke exhibits the kind of writing and thought that makes reading worthwhile. He is concise, clear, thoughtful, but not at all dry. He is balanced in his opinions and well-reasoned. Over-all I thought Reinke did an excellent job of bringing out the joys of reading and its value without harping on the reader or coming across as heavy handed.
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