This post last updated on November 13th, 2021
I recently came across an article Philip Yancey wrote. He called it Reading Wars, and he spoke about how he used to love to read. He mentions that he used to read 3 books a week! Not sure about you, but I’m hard pressed to get 3 books in over a few months.
Mr. Yancey goes on to talk about how the age of social media, clicking links, and news sites have led to a “crisis of distraction.” He admits that committing to reading is “an ongoing battle” and that he’s still working on the habit of reading. He even says that the commitment to reading is like a battle of seduction.
And this comes from one of the best selling Christian authors ever. The man has sold 14 million books. And he gets just as distracted as you and I.
That is so encouraging!
I have to agree. Everything we do is done fast. If a web page doesn’t load in 3 seconds, I’m impatiently tapping my fingers on my desk. If it doesn’t load after much more than that, I’ve closed the tab and moved on. A commitment to reading is a time commitment. We’re not so used to that anymore.
Why Reading is Important
I don’t think I have to work too hard to convince you that reading is good, right? It’s how we learn new information, how we feed our imagination, and it’s how we visit worlds we can hardly imagine.
Did you know that reading burns calories, too? Ok, it’s not like running or riding a bike, but something is better than nothing. I’ll take it.
Here’s a few more reasons to read just in case you need some ammo in your own war against distraction:
- Stimulates the mind. Reading could actually slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Incidentally, TV watching can increase the risk of it.
- Reading can reduce stress.
- It gives you a larger vocabulary, which in turn can improve your writing skills.
- Reading is brain vitamin. It improves your memory, critical thinking, analysis, and of course, knowledge.
A Battle Plan for Reading
Like Mr. Yancey, I also have a reading crisis. I do read very regularly, but not like I used to. Plus, what I do read is taking me forever to get through because of the distractions.
I’ve been reading with my wife, reading for my Masters, reading for personal development, and slowly reading for fun. That is, when I’m not too distracted to get to it all.
Are you with me, do you also desire to nourish your thinking, your soul, and your imagination? Do you miss finishing a good book? I sure do, and I want to get back to that habit.
If you agree with Philip Yancey as I do, then you’re going to need a battle plan to get back to reading. Personally, I wouldn’t set a goal of finishing 3 books a week to start with.
Begin with something challenging, yet achievable. How about 1 book in a month? Most people can do that, and most of us will be challenged by a 1 book in 1 month goal. On top of that, it’s a challenge that we can build on.
Now you may be wondering,
“Where do I begin?”
Glad you asked. Do you have a library card? If not, get one. If yes, use it. Do you have books in your personal library that you haven’t read yet? Start there. After all, you already paid for them!
Do you need some recommendations? I would be robbing you of a tremendous resource if I did not mention the abundance of books Philip Yancey has written. Certainly he’s touched on a subject that you want to learn more about!
Additionally, here’s the books I’ve recently read and can suggest, and some of the books in my stack of what I’m reading next.
Maybe something here will encourage you.
Books I’ve Read
I’ve been reading A Praying Life with my wife. We’re adding this to a books we need to read once a year list. It’s practical, realistic, and applicable. Not every book on the subject of prayer can accomplish all of that.
This is an example of what I read when I do so for fun. The Circle is not theology, it’s not application, but it’s an incredible story that actually does relate to life. Ted Dekker is a fascinating story teller. HIs book A.D. 30 is another one I read a few years ago that I plan to read again at some point in the near future.
This is the most captivating work I’ve ever read on the Gospel of John. Reading this book brought deeper insights and fueled the love that I already had for John’s Gospel. Just seeing this cover makes me want to read it again!
Reading an autobiography (or biography) a few times a year is a habit I desire to have. A Retrospect was an excellent book to start with. Hudson Taylor goes through the emotion, the sacrifice, and even the crud that is all a part of the life of a missionary. By the way, Amazon has the Kindle version for free at the time I’m writing this.
Hands down, my favorite series to read and re-read. Last time I read the entire series, I thought it would be cool to read these books once a year. Or every other at this point!
There are tons of classics that really need to be read over and over for generations to come. These 2 are some of my own all time favorites, but if Jack London isn’t your style, don’t miss some of the other classic authors. Check out Robert Stevenson, Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, or Alexandre Dumas. Many of the classic writers have free books available on Kindle.
Books I plan to Read
If I listed every book in my need to read stack, you’d leave now. There’s just too many! So here’s the next 3 I’m planning to get to.
As soon as I’m not distracted by these 9 tabs open in my browser.
The subtitle is Standing Firm in a Shifting Culture. Need I say more?
The doctrine of adoption is something that’s increasingly on the radar of evangelical Christianity. It’s also a subject close to my heart as an adopted son who never knew my biological father. I’m not going to mislead you, this is almost certainly going to be a very deep thinking theological book!
This is the next book my wife and I will read together. These 2 authors and pastors are guys that I trust on almost any subject, especially on the subject of focusing on Christ. That’s what this one is about and I can definitely continue to learn to fix my eyes on God!
How about you? Are you also experiencing some level of a “crisis of distraction” as Philip Yancey put it when it comes to your reading? Do you also want to develop or get back to the habit of reading?