6 Ways to Make Time to Read

"I hope you find these suggestions helpful and that they give you an appetite for the written word." - Church Leaders

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John E.'s picture

Reason #3 is unhelpful (and wrong).

Just because a book doesn't interest us doesn't mean that the book is bad. Nor does it mean that there isn't value in reading it. In fact, we should make a habit of reading books that are outside of our comfort zone and that challenge us as readers and thinkers. Reading difficult books on valuable topics (whether we find the topic interesting or not) is one of the ways we grow intellectually and a good way to help us love God more and more. 

Related, one of my "minor" pet peeves is the overwhelming prevalence of "Christian Living" books in book studies and on Christians' nightstands. Far more of us than are should be reading deep (and difficult) books on subjects like Christology. It drives me crazy when someone asks for a book recommendation, I put a book in their hands, and they hand it back after flipping through it, saying, "This looks too hard." 

josh p's picture

When I was a newish believer and engaged to be married I went to work framing houses for a believer I knew and his brother. We took a ferry to our job and they would read. They gave me “Bondage of the Will” to read and I tried the “this looks too hard” thing. My boss said “You want to lead a family and you can’t read something like that?” Ouch... Yeah I read it and profited immensely. That was 20 years ago and I still think of that book often.

Bert Perry's picture

For #3 would be "read important books."   I can't remember whether it was C.S. Lewis or Dorothy Sayers who said it--or maybe both--but emphasizing reading for its own sake can simply enslave people to the author instead of the orator.  You've got to learn how to think, and for that reason, I've thrown out a large number of "self-help" books that have temporarily disgraced my bookshelves.  Step back, look again...ewwww!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

John E.'s picture

To be fair to the author of the piece, I get the impression that she's using "not-interesting" and "bad" as synonyms. If so, if her point is not to read bad books, I agree with her but with the important caveat that the individual isn't the sole arbiter of what constitutes a bad book. Likewise, regarding your suggested edit, I agree with you but with the caveat that the individual isn't the sole arbiter of what constitutes an important book. Fifteen years ago, as a new Believer, my definitions for what constitutes a bad or important book needed adjustments and I needed prodding from people more mature than me to read books that I would have otherwise failed to recognize as important and guidance to set down books that I didn't realize were bad. No doubt, in another fifteen years, if Jesus doesn't return, I'll be able to say similar things about my 2020 reading habits.

Bert Perry's picture

....but when you look at point #3, it's pretty clear that the reader is the one who determines whether a particular book is "interesting."  Now you can impose a solipsistic interpretation of "important" as well--we would hardly do well to argue that it's unlikely--but at the same time, if we state that one should read "important" books without modifying "important" with a phrase like "to you", we at least have a smidgen of a chance of escaping this.  

Now if we wanted to really cause problems (I'm guilty at times), we would change #3 to "read books recognized as a canon of important literature by recognized authorities like Mortimer Adler."  :^)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

John E.'s picture

I have read and benefited from many of Adler's books, but I have never read How to Read a Book. Someone gifted me a copy a couple of years ago, but every time my eyes fall on it, I see other books that are far more appealing to me (most of them I've already read) and I inevitable end up pulling one of its neighbors down (related to the actual discussion, I'm a huge believer in rereading books). Maybe I should shelve it among my Peter Enns, Rachel Held Evans, Donald Miller, Bart Ehrman, etc. books so, by contrast, it will appear far more appealing and I'll actually read it. 

josh p's picture

I had Adler as assigned reading for a class and I have to admit it really helped. I learned the art of reading books differently and how to evaluate a book before reading it.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:
Now if we wanted to really cause problems (I'm guilty at times), we would change #3 to "read books recognized as a canon of important literature by recognized authorities like Mortimer Adler."  :^) 

My husband and I were driving home one afternoon and noticed a man in his garage loading books into boxes. Ken stopped and asked him where he was taking them. The guy wasn't sure what to do with them--they were the entire set of The Great Books. Ken told him we were homeschoolers, and the man gave the books to us. I'm still slowly working my way through. . .

Anyway, when it comes to deciding what's canon, I prefer Harold Bloom. ;) 

In the bookish community, not finishing a book is a huge deal. It even has its own acronym--DNF (did not finish)--as in "I DNF'd that book." Just search "DNF books" on YouTube.

I'm a huge fan of #6--listening to audiobooks. With bluetooth headphones, I can do everything from cooking dinner to mowing the lawn while listening to audiobooks. We check them out on Overdrive and Hoopla with our library cards for free. It's wonderful to have audiobooks as an option when you struggle to find time to read for pleasure.

Bert Perry's picture

I actually was referring to Adler's list of great books, not particularly any book he himself had written.  But those are good, too.  And I'm way behind.  :^)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

John E.'s picture

I knew what you meant, Bert.

I use Biola's Torrey Honors Institute's reading list to help shape my reading list for my kids. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

I do most of my reading during my commute. I either check out digital audiobooks from the library, or have my Kindle Fire play Kindle books for me via the text-to-speech feature. It's free, and once you get past the robotic voice it works very well. It'll read any Kindle book you own.

Here's what I read in 2019.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

Text-to-speech is awesome. I have read books I could never have never made it through otherwise.