Friday, September 14, 2007

Mostly Being About Books

"What are you reading?" Don't you just love being asked that question? Essentially, that's why I started this blog, so I could talk about the books in my life, and encourage my friends and readers to do the same. A couple years ago, I decided to be intentional about my reading choices, developing a plan and themes to guide me. I make lists and plan.

I was so happy to find what my favorite Bibliophile had to say on the subject. This article by Dr. Mohler prompted me to evaluate my own reading goals and patterns. (Please check it out -- this article is gold!).

Here are a few musings from Gretchen Reads 24/7 on how to approach reading in a life that is too full already!

~Read on your lunch break. This is huge for me. Of course it's tempting to make phone calls, check your blog or shop online. It is so much more rewarding to read! I feel like my lunch hour was rested and efficient when I've spent at least half of it reading. This is also a good time to choose to read a more challenging book, or a book assigned for class, because your mind is clicking away from being at work.

~Read in the morning, read at night. To go along with Dr. Mohler's tip "read for enjoyment" I recommend having a light read on hand to put yourself to sleep with (especially if you need to be up at 5, and have a hard time falling asleep early). Choose to read your Bible and a devotional book in the morning. This is obviously not a hard and fast rule! But I see the advantage of making it a pattern.

~Read the whole book. Unless you are going through Calvin's Institutes or The Civil War 3 volume set by Shelby Foote, choose wisely and then give the book the benefit of the doubt and get through it. Donette recently shared how she decided to shelf When I Don't Desire God by John Piper because she felt like what she was reading didn't apply to her at this phase of life. In that circumstance I think it was wise for her to spend her reading time elsewhere. I do know, however, my own tendency to say "ooooh! I want to read that!" and then flit from book to book like an intellectual butterfly never really landing and sucking up the juices. Sometimes the book might not be the greatest. But at least you will definitively know that!

~Don't make too many reading "rules". If you love the book and you want to keep going, and not set it aside to read a bit of another, keep on reading it! Sometimes you are just "in the zone" with a book, and you hate to lay it aside to save for another day. Just go with it. You will read much more this way.


Molly Carlisle said...

Would you say The Hobbit is appropriate for 4th grade? Or are they too young?

Gretchen said...

I know my mom used it when she taught 5th grade. Depends on your kids, I guess!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Mohler's article was really good! I love to read at night before bed, in the car when my hubby is driving, and at the dentist's office when my son has an appointment. It made our dental visit pass so quickly, though not for my son.

I recently finished "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom, which was excellent, and am now back to "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn.

Molly Carlisle said...

I think I'm going to read it to my kids. :) You've inspired me to get more in the swing of things with kids and books! :) THANK YOU, Dear!

jillybean said...

I like these tips. Very practical. I used to be a reader, and I'm not sure what happened to that side of me, but I have lost it somewhere along the way. But the importance of reading keeps coming up lately, and I think I need to be intentional about developing the habit again. Do you have a book that you would suggest for someone like me?

I kind of feel like I need a novel-type, truth or fiction - something that will allow my imagination to kick in and really get absorbed into the book. With self-help or even devotional/Christian living books, it's too easy for me to pick it up and put it down and not really immerse myself in it. I can remember reading until the wee hours of the morning when I was in junior high and highschool. I just HAD to finish a book. I think it was all that college reading that ruined me. :) (Yeah, I think I'll blame it on college.)

Josh said...

I haven't forgotten your question about a good commentary for a layperson. I just don't have an answer yet. Were you thinking of a commentary of the whole Bible in one volume? Or a fairly inexpensive book-by-book commentary series? I'll get back to you.

Also, the picture of Lauren is so cute I could just die.

jillybean said...

I don't know - either, I guess. I just get frustrated with the whole "context" issue. Back when I was younger, it seemed like it was perfectly fine to just read something, take it at face value, and claim it as your own. But more recently, I've been more aware that everything in the Bible was not written for me specifically. I don't want to take things out of context, but I also want to be able to know what the context is. Plus, there are some passages that are just tricky and I get lost in the wording. I Cor. 14 and the distinction between praying/singing with the spirit and praying/singing with the mind, for example.

Anonymous said...

Jillybean - I would recommend "Safely Home," a Christian novel by Randy Alcorn. I'm now reading the novel "Deadline" by the same author, but "Safely Home" was much better. :)

Gretchen said...

Ha HA!! Morning Rose, that is JUST the book I was going to recommend for Jillybean! Great minds think alike! :)

Donette said...

I like your ideas about reading, Gret. I made the decision in January to read more this year, and a couple of months later I found that I hadn't done anything! It does take discipline, and a plan doesn't hurt either. I am currently trying to read some "classics" that I never read in HS or college.

I just finished "To Kill a Mockingbird" (thanks for reminding me to read that book!) and it is now listed as one of my favorites! So GREAT! I'm glad I didn't read it in HS, 'cuz I don't think I would have appreciated it as much. I am now patiently waiting for enough books to order on Amazon to make it worth it and a hardback copy of Mockingbird it top o' the list!

I'm still working on Uncle Tom's Cabin (doesn't move as quickly as TKaM) and when I finish that one I need another classic to read. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I am so reading HP 7 AGAIN. I am finding SOooo many things in there that I missed last time. Like Sooooo many. It's great. :) Of course, I have never read To Kill a Mockingbird. :( I want to. I also have never read a wrinkle in time which my Doctor just gave me. She said it's the best. (she also knows I love children's books). :)


jillybean said...


Just wanted to let you know that Johanna and Bob now have a blog. ( and I started one for Jewel. She'll have to come to my house to post, but her initial one which includes a family pic is

Gretchen said...

Nett -- yeah, UTC is long, but I just love it. Uncle Tom is pretty much the most purely virtuous character in any book. Of course, I love Atticus Finch, too! (Speaking of which, please join our Atticus Finch society on Facebook). I know what you mean, I don't think I would have appreciated those books in high school as much as I do now. Another choice might be something by Dickens (he is one of my favorites). I like Nicholas Nickleby the best. Or if you want something shorter, maybe The Hiding Place (it's classic, even though it is Christian). Or something by C.S. Lewis (besides Narnia -- which you SHOULD read if you have not). I'd go for Surprised by Joy, which is his little autobiography, and a quick read. Or Screwtape Letters! That one is GREAT! Another short classic everyone should read at some point is Black Beauty (even though I normally dislike animal books), I think this book was so huge in its day. If you are okay with a little bit of scariness, Hound of Baskervilles is good, and not looooong (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). I know when you finish one book and really like it, it feels like all you want is another book "just like that one". But I can't think of anything that quite ranks up there with TKAM!

Anna -- you can borrow TKAM from Abby because she stole my copy. I bought a new one. What new things are you seeing in HP7? The other night I walked into our small group (Josh and I help lead the Singles small group) and this guy who is my friend because we work with the kids together was totally engrossed in a big book, which I took at first to be a Bible. Then I noticed the familiar diamond pattern on the spine, and sure enough it was HP5. He was just starting it. I was so surprised!

Jill, thanks for the heads-up. I will check them out. Looks like you guys have caught the "blog bug" HA HA! CORNY!

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

I love your new header pic, Gret.

Anonymous said...

Gret! Love it. Haven't had a chance to be blog-faithful, but am glad to see that you still are! Keep on us about those books...we need it!