Saturday Book Notes
I want to make book-blogging a regular weekly feature here at Mr. Standfast. I happen to be one of those people who simply can't get enough of books. I simply can't not be reading something. I remember as a boy upsetting my parents just a little, because we had gone to Scranton's Nay Aug Park, which had a small amusement park, a zoo, a rather dramatic gorge, and even a giant glacial pot hole (if I'm not mistaken). But despite all these obvious attractions for a thirteen year old boy, I was so engrossed in reading The Lord of the Rings that I simply stayed in the back seat of my step-father's Ford Fairlane, oblivious to everything around me.
Well, I haven't changed a bit. This year I will have read about 36 books, I think, not that numbers really matter. Actually, according to this report from the NEA (PDF), I'm not even an "Avid Book Reader." An avid reader, says the NEA, is one who reads 50 or more books per year. No, I am merely a "Frequent Book Reader" (12-49 books annually). That's the NEA's definition. But the Lovely L, whose authority is greater even than the NEA's, says I'm pretty darn avid.
Anyway, this past week I finished reading The Flame Tree. A wonderful YA book (that's librarian-speak for "young adult") that depicts the explosive intersection of Christianity and Islam in Indonesia, played out in the life of a 12 year old boy, the son of American missionaries. Although not marketed as a Christian book (thank God), this is a grace-drenched first novel from Richard Lewis. Highly recommended.
Setting aside The Flame Tree, I picked up Leif Enger's Peace Like a River. I've only just started this one, but I've got to say that the opening page really hooked me. This book's voice is utterly winsome. I can usually tell whether I'm going to like a novel or not by page 5 at the outermost. This one I know I'm going to love. I knew it from the opening sentence.
A while back The Thinklings featured a discussion of the five most essential Christian books. And that's where I read about James W. Sire's How to Read Slowly: A Christian Guide to Reading with the Mind. I'm both enjoying and learning as I read this one, which is surely a good combination.
Ah, but now I'm wondering, if I really learn to read slowly, as Sire advises, what are my chances of ever becoming an "Avid Book Reader"?