Read More Good Books

It's good for you. Really.

Christian Jarrett offers a most helpful article for those who are seeking to read more books (“How to Read More Books,” Aeon/Psyche, June 21, 2020).

Reading more books is a good idea for many reasons: “When there are so many options competing for our time, it’s worth reminding yourself of the unique rewards of book reading. I read the newspaper every morning and my day job involves reading countless essays and articles, but when I manage to find the time to immerse myself in a quality nonfiction book, it’s a wholly different experience – you can almost feel the presence of the author alongside you on a personal intellectual journey. By the end, you’re somehow changed, you see the world differently. And although TV and video games of course offer escapism, there’s nothing quite like devouring the pages of a beautiful novel, sitting quietly in one place while letting words transport you to another. Screens show you what’s happening; novels, by contrast, construct those fictions within your mind, allowing you to become anyone, and go anywhere.”

But to master this discipline, we have to make it a priority. Make sure you define your motivation, why you want to do this. That will be a touchstone to come back to as you press on. We shouldn’t worry about what we’ll have to give up in order to gain the time to read. As we begin small, and gradually work into more time reading, the new discipline will replace any old ones that have to go to make room for it.

Set small goals to begin with – as small as reading just one page a day. Don’t let a boring book discourage you; just set it aside. Start several books at once, and then follow your interest. Create an environment where books are always available – in paper, on your phone, etc. – so that you can grab a few minutes reading throughout the day. Keep track of your progress, so that you see that you are actually becoming a better reader. Find a friend to read with, or join a reading group. Make it your aim to cultivate an identity as an avid reader of good books.

These are all very good suggestions. Pastors could adopt these with benefit, and they could teach them to their people, to get them started reading again.


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