If you’re like me, you’ve been continuing to miss the Dr. Rosalie de Rosset classic book club on the former Moody program Midday Connection, along with the book club that hosts Anita Lustrea and Lori Neff began. I keep coming in contact with other people on social media who long for it back again as well. I have good news! Anita and Lori have begun a new book club again on Anita’s podcast, “Faith Conversations.” Lori Neff is now in the publishing industry with IVP, and a great one for book suggestions. I am so pleased to have a new program to listen to! Their first book club pick is: “When Mockingbirds Sing,” by Billy Coffey. They will be discussing the read in a later podcast. Check it out!
Tag Archives: importance-of-reading
Hey, you! Check out this article put out by Real Simple which suggests that reading books may lengthen your life span. No one seems to know why at this time, but studies have consistently shown that on average people who read live 23 months longer than people who don’t. Theories abound.
Is it the exercise of the ‘little grey cells’ that causes one to live longer? Is it gained intelligence which proves beneficial in preserving one’s life? Is it being able to live many lives between the pages of a book? Or could it be that simply passing the time by reading decreases one’s likelihood to be involved in risk-taking activities such as riding a motorcycle, eating ghost peppers, or traveling around North Korea? What do you say?
I recently watched an interesting documentary and wanted to quickly recommend it to you. But first, a little backstory…
I bumped into someone I knew last Sunday evening and we got to talking on the subject of books. I had happened to like the past year’s women’s book club our church held this summer; she had not been so enthused over it. But she told me about a really good book she had finished that had her gushing. It was called “And Ladies of the Club,” by Helen Hooven Santmyer, a book that had taken the author all of her life to write. Apparently, it is a fictionalized account of a women’s book club spanning several decades.
Later this week, I decorated our Christmas tree. This may sound abnormal, but for the last three years I’ve made a tradition of finding time to watch documentaries as I decorate. It used to be traditional Christmas music, but seeing as how I am very particular and take many hours (or sometimes days) just trim our tree, the music gets annoying very quickly. So documentaries it is… While browsing my library’s hoopla (a new resource and worth checking to see if your library has it or something similar), I stumbled across a film simply called, “Book Club.” It happened to be the true life story of a group of dear women who had formed a book club early on in their young, married lives as a way to improve their minds. As the years passed, their club continued as new members arrived and others moved on. But always a core membership remained.
It was such an interesting story, and ironically reminded me of the book my acquaintance told me about (although the two are unrelated, as far as I know). A few things struck me about the documentary. I noticed was that when the film showed clips of the women reading passages from their favorite selections they read clearly, smoothly, and comprehendingly. Not choppy, disjointed, with ignorant pronunciation. This is because they had lifetimes of practiced skill. These ladies were well into their 80’s, and admittedly did not read as intellectually deep as they formerly had. Yet, they were still reading literary fiction, memoirs, and other books of depth. I believe this is because once their minds were used to quality reading, even at an old age they could not develop a taste for anything as fluffy as “Amish fiction” [yes, I’m ranting again!]. Comment was made on a few members’ determination to read books on self-improvement, though it may not make sense to the world at large why ladies of such an age would be. But the results were evident in that the women had a large love for life and many interests. It was not born overnight; their zest was began many years ago when they were still young. They had felt worn out, underappreciated, maybe a bit isolated at a time when many women did not work, the world was at war, and they had babies and husbands to take care of. But they deemed friendship and reading in community to be important enough to make the time and effort, and many emphasized that those things meant more to them than the books themselves.
It was interesting to hear of their different backgrounds, perspectives, and education. Not all of them were the reverent or pious grandmother you may expect, and in a way it was sad some of them obviously did not have the joy of Jesus Christ in their life. But part of a book club means learning from others that do not hold the same views as ourselves, I am learning. I hope you will become curious and inspired by watching “Book Club” just as I was!
There is something that annoys me no end. It occurs when I or another book-lover start to talk about books and the person we are conversing with makes some high-handed comment that goes something like this: “I wish I had the luxury of time to read!” This seems to me to be an insult-in-disguise, as if I must be wasting my time if I’m caught reading a book, especially a novel of all things.
If you dig further, you’ll probably find the comment is made out of insecurity. Perhaps I came off sounding too intellectual and they felt inferior. I hope not, but it could be the case. Or maybe they used to love to read, but seriously haven’t the time or (more likely) the priority to read and so they feel guilty.
Whatever the case, I am trying to learn to not take it personally. But I started thinking about the whole thing of books and luxuries. In the area of the world that I live in, we (me included) take books for granted. We have access to libraries, bookstores, used book sales, interlibrary loan systems, and book selling websites. School, college, kindles… Books are even pitched by the hundreds by thrift stores that do not know what to do with all of the ones they receive as donations. However, in other parts of the world, to own just one book is a pleasure that many people don’t have. Even being able to read is a luxury and could change a whole family’s life forever if just one child could learn.
Time to read is a luxury as well. I am realizing this as my life changes. When I was a homeschooled teenager, I read all day for school and then read some more afterwards for ‘fun’. I’m finding I can’t read as many books in a year as I used to. Other basic things like cleaning, working, grocery shopping, sleeping, taking time for spiritual growth, etc. take precedence. However, I have learned to rearrange some things and that has been helping lately. I’ve found that when I set parameters around certain time-wasters [ie, pinterest!], I can then set reading as a higher priority.
Although I wouldn’t consider reading as essential to life as meal-preparing for example, it vies as a close level category. Why? Because reading affects quality of life. When we read, we are open to learning. When we can learn and grow, we can stretch beyond what was previously possible. I don’t mean that a person will ‘get rich quick’ if they are able to read. But the quality of one’s mind and decisions stemming from that will be greatly different than someone who chooses to remain un-self-schooled. Reading and learning go hand in hand.
I notice this effect in the community in which I live. I don’t abide in a particularly affluent neighborhood. Along with living here comes stereotypical opinions from others. It is true, a lot of my neighbors are generally unread, unskilled, and spend their time choosing to engage in unrefined activities. However, there are a few folks here I’ve come to know who are different in that they are principled, learned (by choice), and their lives have more order and structure. They may not have a lot of money, yet their quality of life is elevated because of their values (usually honoring God falls into place here), and their determination to be open to learning in the world around them. Perhaps what is the most mind-blowing is that both of these sets of people have access to a perfectly good library within possible walking distance!
The luxury of time to read? Time may be a luxury depending on what season of life you are in but if one has available access to books, reading should not be a luxury, rather it should be an appreciated necessity!
PS- Many utilize the more trending medium of audiobooks to get more ‘reading’ into their busy schedule. This is perfectly acceptable, as it still incorporates the power of story and learning into one’s life. I use the term ‘reading’ in this article to include ‘listening’ as well.
What constitutes fantasy that is good as opposed to fantasy that is bad? Is there a difference? Is there something about it that should make one hesitant from a Christian perspective, or are they all just good fiction stories? As Christians, we may sometimes be reserved when approaching the fantasy genre because different reasons. Too much unreality may not be beneficial, or maybe the magical elements are of a corrupting influence. Then, I have known other Christians who seem to practice no discernment, and devour anything because none of it is true so what’s the problem?
I first discovered author Gene Edward Veith while helping out in the church library. I still have yet to read his books, but a growing number of his titles are on my TBR list. I stumbled upon this article written by him, entitled Good Fantasy & Bad Fantasy. I thought it was an excellent piece that approached the subject in an well-rounded way. Though perhaps written a few years ago, it’s content is still classic for today’s audience as well.
What are your thoughts on the fantasy genre?