It’s Spring Break around our house. You know what that means? Plenty of free time to read books I want to read, instead of books I need to read.
Here’s the thing I think people need to understand about reading – the reason so many people come to hate reading is because reading becomes the chore they don’t want to do.
When reading feels like a chore, I put the book down.
There was this novel everybody was raving about not long ago. So many people made such a fuss over it, I bought it. Then I tried to read it. And I have kept trying to read it. Maybe it gets good in the middle. Maybe I’m just too unworthy of a reader to appreciate it. Either way, I haven’t been able to get beyond the first five chapters and five chapters is all I give a book before I quit it. (I can’t tell you the book title least you think less of me for not liking it).
Books are more of a courtship, than marriage. If you get into the courtship and figure out that you aren’t a good match for one another, you ought to get out while the getting is good. Too many other options out there to waste time with a book that doesn’t have the fire, as my friend Rick Holladay says. Of course, Rick was speaking about people courting, not books, but still the fire part holds true.
You ought to quit any book that doesn’t interest you, and find one that does. There are plenty to choose from.
I’ve got a couple I want to recommend.
I’ve been reading Chad Gibbs’s latest – Jesus Without Borders. You may remember Chad from his God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC book. Chad is a funny, funny fellow. He makes me laugh out loud. Chad keeps me from taking myself too seriously, which I do all the time. Chad traveled the world, literally, talking to people about Jesus. But before he gets to the Jesus convo, he has to figure out the mass transit systems, where to eat, which tourist sites to be sure and see, and a few professional soccer (football) games.
I about fell out when Chad describes his visit to an Eastern Orthodox Church in Russia. Seems he and his traveling companion offended the elders of the church by sitting cross-legged on a bench. It is an absolutely hysterical moment, except for the part where Chad is actually getting yelled at by the priest. I’m sure that was scary when it happened. It’s funny in the retelling, however.
But Jesus without Borders isn’t all silliness, it’s a quirky look at all the ways Christians raised up in the Bible Belt think wonky about people who weren’t raised up like them. (Or that should be us, since I was one. Or is it “am one”? Oh, I’m confused!) It’s also a great resource for how to travel cheaply.
I chided Chad for eating at McDonalds (see travel cheaply remark above) in Italy, but when I told my Facebook friends about that, they chided me for chiding Chad. (I always wanted to write that sentence.) Apparently, a lot of my friends eat at McDonalds in foreign countries. I had no idea. It seems that I am friends with a lot of Big Mac connoisseurs. I’m not sure what that says about me. Or them.
If you need a laugh, you might check out Chad’s book. Or leave your name below. I’m giving away a free copy.
The second book I’m recommending is for C.S. Lewis fans everywhere. It’s a memoir by newcomer Ryan T. Pemberton. (Isn’t Pemberton just the greatest name for an author? It looks so official in print).
I heard about Ryan through a mutual friend, author Michael Morris. He met Ryan at one of those literary events for Jesus people. This is one of those invited only events. I never get invited to things like that. I think it’s because people assume I can’t keep a secret. Or maybe it’s because they don’t consider me literary. Or maybe it’s just because I’m the wrong gender. Anyway, I hate being left out of fun things. If you are doing something fun, be sure and send me an invitation.
Unless, of course, you are going to go sit cross-legged on a bench in a church in Russia. In that case, I think I’ll just stay home and read about it.
Anyway, back to Ryan’s book, Called: My journey to C.S. Lewis’s House and Back Again.
(Oh, man, don’t you wish C. S. Lewis would call us and invite us all over for supper? I do. I wish I could sit down with Lewis and O’Connor and Welty to talk books and Jesus.)
Called is the story of the unexpected adventures God takes us on, and how even in the midst of living out a dream come true, we anticipate and work and plan for the dreams yet unrealized.
If you are a C.S. Lewis fan of any sort, you will want to read Pemberton’s book. Leave you name below. I’m giving away a copy.
What book did you read lately that felt more loathsome than enjoyment?