February 17, 2016

Reading Logs

I am an avid, if not particularly prolific, reader. Folks sometimes get the impression that I've read more than I have, partially because I retain fairly well, and I like to use quotations. 

I suppose I could read more if I were to read faster (that seems logical enough), but I don't seem to enjoy the reading experience nearly so much when I do so, and the last thing I want is for my favorite leisure activity to become drudgery. 

One thing that I have always lacked in my reading, besides speed, is any sort of tracking mechanism. I decided to change that this year, just to keep tabs on what sort of things I'm reading, if there are any books I need to focus more heavily on, and to keep track of what I've finished. I've included my first three entries for the year down below. I don't try to be weekly or anything like that with my entries, updating only when I finish a book, upon which I will leave a few thoughts. I believe the rest of it is fairly self-explanatory.


1/14/16:  
Reading- The Weight of Glory (Lewis), Shattered Dreams (Crabb), Black Elk Speaks (Neihardt), What Are You Afraid Of? (Jeremiah), The Epistles of John (Vine) 
Studying in Scripture- 1 John 
Reading in Scripture- 1 Samuel (intermittently, AM), Acts (Family), Isaiah (kids) 
Just Finished- The Great Divorce (Lewis). This is the 2nd (or 3rd?) time I have read this book. Each return brings a new appreciation for the depth at which Lewis understands the human soul. In a fictional vision of the heaven, he arrives with other passengers on a bus from Hell. He and the other ghosts are terrified, first by the realness of the terrain, and then by the glorified creatures who come to meet them. Through it all Lewis illustrates the choices we make each and every day between Heaven and Hell, Joy and lust, Love and numbness. As he says elsewhere, we prefer our mud pies. When presented with the opportunity of everlasting joy in the presence of Joy Himself, most of us will say, "no, thanks." What a sobering reality. 
BFI16- 1 John, The Great Divorce (Lewis) 

2/3/16: 
Reading- The Weight of Glory (Lewis), Shattered Dreams (Crabb), Black Elk Speaks (Neihardt), The House at Pooh Corner (Milne, with the kids) 
Studying in Scripture- 1 John 
Reading in Scripture- Nehemiah, 1 Sam (intermittently, AM), Zechariah (Family), Isaiah (kids) 
Just Finished- Life Under Compulsion (Anthony Esolen). Purchased this book based on quotations I saw on Twitter. Excellent decision. He slips at times into a kind of "good-old-days" "wish-it-were-yesteryear" nostalgia that is tedious and doesn't serve the point, and the sarcasm is dripping at points. But the overall gist of the book is a critique of our compulsion, productivity, technology driven culture, and in this I rejoice. There are many helpful thoughts and reflections to be found here. 
BFI16- 1 John, Acts, The Great Divorce (Lewis), Life Under Compulsion (Esolen) 

2/14/16 
Reading- Shattered Dreams (Crabb), Black Elk Speaks (Neihardt), Tell it Slant (Peterson), Commentary on John (Calvin), Death of Death in the Death of Christ (Owen), The House at Pooh Corner (Milne, with the kids) 
Studying in Scripture- 1 John 
Reading in Scripture- Nehemiah, 1 Sam (intermittently, AM), Zechariah (family), Isaiah (kids) 
Just Finished- The Weight of Glory (C.S. Lewis). A collection of some of Lewis' greatest essays. Many of the quotes you'll see floating around the internet with Lewis' name attached come from this collection. But as wonderful, quotable, and thought-provoking as his sentences can be, Lewis shines in building an argument and making a case in which those same quotes land with significantly greater force. While The Weight of Glory remains one of the finest (or at least most significant) essays I've read, others also stood out as well. Is Theology Poetry?, Membership, and Learning in Wartime were all edifying, challenging, and superb. While I have been culling books of late, I don't foresee any circumstance under which I would remove this volume from my collection.  
BFI16- 1 John, Acts, The Great Divorce, (Lewis), Life Under Compulsion (Esolen), The Weight of Glory (Lewis) 

My pace for finishing a book is about par for me at this point, about one every 2-2 1/2 weeks. 

As you can see, I have also included my Scripture reading here. I haven't included any thoughts from that reading, because I primarily do that long-hand in journals or on the pages of whatever Bible I happen to be reading. You'll also notice that books sometimes appear on one list as being read, and not the next, but without being finished. That is very typical of how I read. I pick up and put down books constantly, which is another of the reasons I don't finish as many as I probably ought to. 

Anyhow, I've found this tracking to be both an interesting and helpful exercise for me, and I commend it (or something similar) to you!


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I love Jesus, my wife, and my kids. Writing and teaching are two things I have a passion for. Gardening and fishing are cool, too. I blog @ willdole.com, you can reach me @ contact@willdole.com