Calling all book lovers. Seriously. Put Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life on your must read list.
I’m only 35% of the way through but can’t wait to recommend. I started with the audiobook version, but I was hearing way too many things that I wanted to underline and highlight and remember, so I ordered a physical copy, too. Now I’m listening and highlighting at the same time.
This isn’t fiction. This is about the reading life, and the book is so, so rich. I’ve already got a growing list of books that I want to visit for the first time or revisit with new eyes.
The author has this amazing section on discernment for a Christian reader. Here are just a couple of those paragraphs.
To read a story is to be shaped in the very depths of one’s soul. Because of this power, this grace given by great books, I’ve often had to ask the question “What makes a book acceptable for a Christian reader?” Because stories engage my imagination and heart on a deep level, I am aware of the fact that what I encounter on their pages will teach me how to see the world, and this is why I’ve had to learn to practice discernment. As you explore the vast realm of books available today, you might have to ask, as I have, where we draw the line on the inclusion of sex or violence or “bad language” in a story. How deeply should we delve into worldviews that run contrary to what we believe? What does it mean to read faithfully?
First, let’s briefly consider the cultivation of discernment, the means by which we nourish our inner capacity to love what is good and hate what is evil, to know when evil is presented to us in whatever form. The temptation here would be to create a list of rules by which each piece of reading could be evaluated, but I think this is both unhelpful and, in the long term, destructive. Discernment has far less to do with creating an outward legalism than it does with cultivating our innermost hearts. Real discernment, I believe, springs from a heart so nourished by the true, the good, and the beautiful that what is evil simply cannot find room to root.
Clarkson, Sarah. Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life (p. 9). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
The author shares the lists of favorite books by some of her reading friends, and the very first list she shared, that friend has Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (a good friend of mine) at #3. Look at the company Francine is keeping. Whew!! Can you imagine being listed right beneath those two classics?
#1 Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
#2 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
#3 Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Anyway, if you love to read, put this book on your Christmas wish list. Or do what I did. Go buy it now for yourself. You won’t be sorry.