Reading is very important. When we read we tap into the “university of the world”; namely books. And Christians should be reading. We should be reading good books to strengthen us in our faith so as to be more godly in living and more effective in witness.
Nevertheless, I write to express a concern. The concern relates to when people make and publicize declarations regarding the number of books they plan to read (or have read) in a year. The number is normally very impressive. Such declarations can be very intimidating for lesser mortals who just do not have the capacity to read and digest at such a phenomenal pace.
Moreover, it implicitly inculcates a culture of fast reading. Reading becomes a process of getting through a book so that I can tick a further one off my list. This means that slow reading is discouraged. But slow reading can be so valuable. In fact some books can only be read slowly. The meat in such books is so dense that they have to be slowly consumed and slowly digested, otherwise the benefit of the material is significantly lessened. Reading the writings of the Puritans, for example, nearly always needs a decent time for consideration, assimilation and digestion.
So I want to advertise a caution. If you are able to read lots of books that is great, but please be careful about how you present this.
Finally I want to make it clear that I am not discouraging reading. I am saying “read, read, read”; you must read for the good of your soul. But if you only read very slowly don’t be intimidated by the big readers.