Friday, March 02, 2007

Reading Streams

So, as I said yesterday, I need to find a good book. More precisely, I need to work out a method for finding good books that is perhaps a little more rational than wandering through a bookstore or trying to remember that review I read somewhere--where was it?--three months back.

I tend to read about 3 books at once, which seems to surprise my friends, but it's really no big deal. I usually select my reading from 3 or 4 different types of literature, so that I'm seldom reading two of the same kind of book at once. These types or "streams" of literature are fiction (lately fantasy novels, but I'm pretty broad-minded here), historical non-fiction, and Christian (devotional/theological, etc.). These three are the dominant categories of reading for me, although there should probably be a 4th category, called Pot Pouri or something.

For example, before I'm quite finished with one novel I'm already thinking about the next, so that there's no restless "casting about" between books. I like to read at least one "classic" each year (like the Jollyblogger, as a matter of fact). But it's not hard for me to find novels to read. I've got a list of them on Reader2 (a pretty cool place to compile a reading list). So I'm all set in that category. That "stream" seems to never run dry.

I've been neglecting the "historical" reading stream of late, but I really don't have a problem finding good books of this kind either. I sometimes read through American history by reading overlapping biographies, generation by generation. Anyway, like just about everyone else, I love thinking about the past, and truly I can browse a bookstore or library shelf and easily find something that will keep this "stream" flowing.

But it's with the Christian literature category that I begin to get very fussy. Frankly, there's a lot of dreck out there. Browsing the Christian aisle at Borders or the pages of the CBD catalog is not an inspiring exercise (which is funny, because publishers keep calling these books "inspirational"). Actually, it's rather depressing. Oh well. Woe is me. What's a "discerning reader" to do?

That's my question. I want to not only find a new book to read, but figure out a way, a blueprint, for always being able to find another book of Christian clear-thinking.

I'll continue this investigation in the next post. Feel free to offer adivce in the comments. For now, I'm going to go read a book.


Milton Stanley said...

My advice is to ask those whose discernment you respect to recommend a book or two on a subject you're interested in.

Bob said...

Good advice, Milton. And speaking of people whose discernment I respect, can you recommend a few good books? Either here or on your blog, I'd be interested in seeing your A-list of books with lasting Christian merit.