Monday Feb 07 2011
A Word to the Wise: Curl up with a good book
By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
Isn’t it amazing that there are only 26 letters in our alphabet, and yet people continue to put them together differently into new books after all of these centuries? From Shakespeare to Emerson to Grisham, and all points in between, creative souls continue to churn out new combinations. Truly, “of making of books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). I have always loved to read. At one point, for several years, I averaged a book a week. What sort of reader are you? Do you read one book at a time, straight through? Do you read the last chapter first? Do you read more than one book at a time? That is my method. I am usually going through at least six books at a time. Mortimer Adler wrote a classic titled “How to Read a Book.” It was a recommended text on the Hermeneutics class reading list. At first glance the title seemed redundant. Of course it is easy to read a book. You pick it up and start reading. However, Adler advocated understanding, interpreting, more than merely gliding over the lines like a skater on ice. Speaking of “picking it up and start reading,” these days you can also “turn it on and start reading” — a Kindle or Nook or website. By the way, here is a brief plug for our wonderful local library. It is a beautiful place where you can borrow countless books for free. Which authors do you especially enjoy reading? Some people religiously read everything their favorite author writes. Some authors are prolific in their literary production. I randomly picked up some of Sinclair Lewis’ titles 25 years ago and stumbled upon “Main Street,” now one of my favorite books about “the eternal aching comedy of expectant youth.” Then I scaled “Crime and Punishment,” although the imposing “The Brothers Karamazov” still sits untouched. John Ruskin said, “All books are divided into two categories — the books of the hour and the books of all time.” Francis Bacon said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested.” These words describe for me the Bible and its place on our shelves and hearts. It is the book of books. You read some books and then pass them on. You read some books and reread them later. Then, some books read you, shape you and change your life. Tom Rupp is a Bible teacher at Capital Bible College. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his blog at thomaswrupp.blogspot.com.