Tag Archives: books

Thankful

For the redeeming blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – who paid the debt I could not pay, to clothe me in righteousness that is not mine, to give me riches I do not deserve. “What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!”

J.C. Ryle: “The quantity of that blood may very likely have been small; the appearance of that blood was doubtless like that of our own: but never since the day when Adam was first formed out of the dust of the ground, has any blood been shed of such deep importance to the whole family of mankind.”

For my family – the craziness, the laughter, the love, the memories. The very people I should least take for granted, yet often do.

Erma Bombeck: “The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.”

For books, glorious books – can you imagine life without them? I cannot. What worlds would be lost, what wonders hidden! I count myself blessed to live in a home where such things are treasured – and that Book of Books treasured chief of all.

Niel Gaiman: “Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!”

For words – to speak and to write. But especially to write. Words gritty and elegant, small and great, earthy and sky-kissed. Words like “effervescence” and “lamprophony”. Words to sling across the page, to get drunk on.

Dorothy Sayers: “Do you find it easy to get drunk on words?” “So easy that, to tell you the truth, I am seldom perfectly sober.”

For writers – those who are what I work to be. Cormac McCarthy. C.S. Lewis. Charles Spurgeon. G.K. Chesterton. Ray Bradbury. Douglas Wilson. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Mark Steyn. Carl Trueman. The next best thing to being a genius oneself is to study those who are. These men are. And I thank God for what I can learn from them.

Thomas Berger: “Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.”

For my friends – the near ones, the far ones, and the in-between ones. The ones I have seen face-to-face and the ones I hope to see face-to-face. In the words of a tiny yet well-known individual, “God bless them, every one.”

C.S. Lewis: “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gives survival value.”

For my pastor – who takes seriously his responsibilities as a minister. Who shepherds his flock with diligence. Who preaches what the Word says, and not what he would like it to say. I know if I were speak this to his face, he would probably say that he’s “a black-hearted sinner.” True, of course. But he’s also a great and godly man, and one which I deeply respect. God bless him, too.

Why I Read: An Explanation

TO GLORIFY GOD
As many before me have observed, God’s people are people of the Word. It is no trifling coincidence that God chose to give us His revelation in print. As a Christian, I have the Book of Books, and in that book, I am exhorted – nay, commanded – to love God with my heart and my mind (Matt. 23:34-40). I am to use my intellect. I am to sharpen it for the love and glory of my God. And what better way to do that than through reading?

Josh Sowen writes,

Reading is one of the best ways to develop our minds. It can help us to know God and ourselves, gain vicarious experience, increase our perception and imagination, train our minds to think critically and logically, and teach us self-discipline… 

Christians should be readers. We should read and meditate on the Bible, of course, but we should also read theology. Good theology systematizes and explains the Bible in ways we would be pressed to come up with on our own. Few of us are a Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, J. I. Packer or John Piper, and we would be wise to learn from them.

Most of us know we should read the Bible and theology. But what about other subjects, like literature, history, biography, science, and culture? And what about books by non-Christians? I think we should read widely, and yes, that includes reading non-Christians. 

God has set up the world so that even non-Christians can find truth. I’ve learned truth from Christians and non-Christians. We can’t expect non-Christians to have sound theology, but they are some of the best authors in other subjects. If we reject their Spirit-given insights because they are non-Christians we, as Calvin says, “insult the Giver.”

It is a sad state of affairs that so many of today’s Christians do not know what it is to read widely or well. They stagnate, unwilling to set aside time even for God’s Word, the very book that should hold the most prominent place in their lives. “How readest thou?” asks Jesus in Luke 10:26. For most modern evangelicals, I’m afraid the answer would have to be, “Not well, and not much.”

I don’t want to be one of those people. That’s not what the life of a Christ-follower should look like. By God’s grace, I’ll number myself among the few, the happy few, the band of brothers and sisters who rebel against the status-quo.

Continue reading Why I Read: An Explanation

2011 Year In Review: Books

TOP 10 FICTION READ THIS YEAR:

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Review)
  2. The Holy War by John Bunyan
  3. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (Review)
  4. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (Review)
  5. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (Review)
  6. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre (Review)
  7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Review)
  8. The Passage by Justin Cronin (Review)
  9. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  10. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

11. The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy (Review)
12. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (Review)
13. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
14. A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O’Conner
15. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (Review)

TOP 10 NON-FICTION READ THIS YEAR:

  1. All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes by Kenneth Meyers
  2. After America by Mark Steyn (Review)
  3. Tactics by Gregory Koukl (Review)
  4. The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
  5. The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillips (Review)
  6. Think by John Piper (Review)
  7. Christ and Him Crucified by Jon Cardwell (Review)
  8. Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose (Review)
  9. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  10. Lone Survivor by Marcus Lutrell (Review)

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

11. A Call to Prayer by J.C. Ryle
12. The Next Story by Tim Challies
13. To End All Wars by Ernest Gorden (Review)
14. The Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson (Review)
15. The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes

eReaderdom

I have, it seems, joined the hallowed ranks of eReaderdom. I now own a Kindle.

No more flimsy paper pages. No more dilapidated bindings. No more bent up covers. No more ink smudges. No more paper cuts. No more highlighting favorite passages with antideluvian yellow markers. No more frantic scrambling to write down quotes. No more musty, bookish odors.

I am jumping on the bandwagon of progress. I am moving forward. eReaders are the future of reading.

All this to say: the more things change, the more things stay the same. I may own a Kindle, but it will never replace the books on my shelf.

I still love paper pages, crisp or worn. If the binding is dilapidated and the cover bent, I am happy so long as it means the book has been read frequently and with great relish. I can tolerate ink smudges and paper cuts; they’re no big deal in the scheme of things. As far as ancient yellow highlighters go, I am content. I still take notes in my commonplace notebook. And I want a cologne that smells like musty old books.

Nevertheless, there are advantages that come with an eReader, and I look forward to using mine, particularly as a portable library. Right now, I’m enjoying several P.G. Wodehouse titles, free of charge, while Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October and G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy are both on deck.

And if you’re wondering how a Kindle came into my possession, well…*cue Smeagol voice* “My birthday-present! It came to me on my birthday, my precious.”