Is there is a pile of books you want to tackle in 2018?
If you have any interest in reading, you’ve probably read at least one of the many excellent articles on how to read more. Then, if you are like me, you read an article about how someone managed to tackle 50+ books in a year—you become deflated, overwhelmed and drift back into being a half-engaged reader.
That’s why I asked my friend Laura Denny to give me some thoughts on how she developed her profile as a reader. She’s a home-schooling mother of three, active in her local church, and busy like everyone with life in general—but she managed to tackle more than 60 books in 2017.
The first step, she says, is to own your time. Yes, everyone is busy. But just about everyone who is busy is willing to admit that there is time to spare for TV, Facebook, magazines, etc. While time seems like the real issue, it’s clear that may not be true once we examine how we use our time. “We need to convince ourselves that reading is important enough to make time for,” Laura said.
How do you do that? Don’t underestimate the tremendous privilege we have to grow and learn to be more like Jesus Christ by simply engaging with a book. Reflecting on her own growth as a reader, Laura said, “Through reading, I am able to connect with and learn from men and women from worlds completely different from mine. I can read books whose authors lived centuries apart but that discuss truths about the timeless God we worship and the unchanging nature of the gospel. It pulls me out of my own tiny world, my limited perspective, my tendency to be self-consumed. From the outside looking in, it seems like a very private, solitary thing to do. And yet it’s the best (dare I say only?) way to truly understand the times and places outside our own.”
Having convinced yourself that you have at least some time to read and then great privilege of being able to do so, it is time to actually start to read.
Here are four pointers from Laura and I on how to get started and keep going:
Remember, the overall goal is not to finish a certain number of books in a certain time. While people may be impressed if you continue to build up your numbers, there is probably no reward beyond that if that is your main or only goal (cf. Matt 6).
The higher goal is no better stated than by Timothy Raymond: “Should every Christian aspire to read more books? Only if every Christian desires to be increasingly conformed to the image of Christ.”
Laura furthers the point Tim made: “I grew up with wonderful, Christ-honouring parents and in a Bible-centred church. I am very grateful for my background. But with that came an unfortunate underestimation of the impact reading would have on me, until I actually committed myself to reading. Now I know what a rich resource I was ignoring for all those years. So I don’t want to miss an opportunity to tell others—young and seasoned Christian alike—to start reading as soon as possible.”