Today’s the day after Christmas.
Some people don’t like the 26th, because it signifies the end of the festivities, but I do. It was a great celebration, we spent a lot of time with family, and there was much generosity. It was all fun. But now the house is quiet, leftovers are in the fridge, and the tree is a fire hazard. And I’ve gotten out some books. (Yes, I am the bookish type.)
One of our favorite quotes is by Charles Spurgeon on reading: “The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves he has no brains of his own.”
That’s not just true for people who have never authored a book, published a paper, or delivered a sermon, that’s true for everyone. The well of insight dries up quickly when it is not replenished by life experience, by reading, and by the Word.
And I have to agree. I’ve discovered on my own that when I don’t read insight, I don’t write insight. When I don’t listen to insight, I don’t share insight. And when I lack insight, my interactions with other people do not impart insight — they are simply interactions. It’s not a wise way to live.
I am not saying that insight only comes from books and conferences. Insight also comes from nature, from experience, and from observation. But a well is not replenished through chance encounters. If you want to build a strong Christian worldview, comprehend important philosophies, and wisely approach life situations, you have to be deliberate. You have to read solid writing. (Meyers and Sparks aren’t going to cut it.)
I believe that it’s important for readers to be well-rounded and challenge themselves. During the summer, I heard a lecture in which the speaker encouraged young adults to read hard books and venture into topics that require thought. I’ve always enjoyed reading, but this year I discovered that it is rewarding to finish books that demand concentration and focus. But in addition to lengthy prose, there is also much value in poetry and essays, two of my favorite types of writing. A solid essay is worth ten lesser books. (If you’re interested in essays, I recommend Andree Seu, whose work appears in World Magazine.)
It can be overwhelming to think about how much I should read that I haven’t, but one thing at a time. Right now, I am reading “Total Truth” by Nancy Pearcey after hearing many glowing reviews. So far, it is excellent.
If you’ve cracked some books for winter break, I’d love to hear what they are. Any recommendations?