Book Review – Lit!

what not to do as a newbie writer

I avoided buying this book for a few months, mainly because I thought it would be too conservative for my taste. I had read the author’s grid of what he decides to read somewhere and really thought that it was too restrictive and rigid for most readers. Eventually I bought it anyways and there is a lot of value here.

The grid the author offers is still a little rigid in my opinion, but easily adaptable. He explains his own grid and then thoroughly goes over each point to explain how he arrived at that conclusion. At the end of the chapter, he instructs the reader to make their own grid for reading. This is a helpful way of looking at things and for some readers a grid will go a long way towards encouraging them to read other books. My grid is simpler and I find that a list of descending rules does not really work for me, but I can see it being helpful for many folks.

Some of my favorite sections include:

*Chapter 4, specifically the list of criteria for books to avoid at the end of the chapter. Great to have criteria for this. Expect this to change as you mature. Good advice.

*Chapter 5 talks about the benefits of reading non-Christian books. It’s good, but the key point is that there is truth in non-christian books as well. Important to remember.

*Chapter 8 is a helpful list of 20 tips for reading books. Good, concise list, but see How to Read a Book (A Touchstone book) for more tips.

*Chapter 10 addresses concerns from folks who are too busy too read. This is a great chapter to give to your non-reader friends, and is really a highlight of the book. I can think of a few people this would be helpful for immediately.

*Chapter 12 is all about writing in your books. I was excited to see this chapter, but its really short. For more information on marking in books, buy the excellent bookMindhacker: 60 Tips, Tricks, and Games to Take Your Mind to the Next Level and just read the chapter on marking in books. Also, see Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books andHow to Read a Book (A Touchstone book) for more information and pick up some BIC 4-Color Ball Point Pen, Twelve 1 Count Packs, 12 Total (MMXP11 – Ast) to really improve your reading skills.

*Chapter 14 addresses giving your kids a love for reading. Excellent chapter, really the best in the book. The Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition is the standard, but this is great start from a Christian perspective.

All in all, this is a good read. I would have loved a list of book recommendations and some more specific books mentioned that fall into the author’s own grid. If you are looking for good books to read, don’t think this will be a good start. If you are looking for reasons why a Christian should care about reading, this is a great place to begin. Recommended.

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