In my experience, Christians are strangely reluctant to take this advice. We tend to be earnest people, always striving for self-improvement, and can be suspicious of mere recreation. But God doesn’t just create, he takes delight in His creation, and expects us to delight in it too; and since he has given us the desire to make things ourselves–has allowed us to be ‘sub-creators’, as J.R.R. Tolkien says, we may rightly take delight in the things that we (and others) make.
Reading for the sheer delight of it–reading at whim–is therefore one of the most important kinds of reading there is. –Alan Jacobs, “How to Read a Book” in Liberal Arts for the Christian Life, p.131
Whew! I needed that. I seem to have fallen in a rut of reading books on how to write, and indeed, how to read! And what I’m craving is a good book to read for just the joy of it! So back to the library I must go to drop-off the how-to’s for a bit and actually get down to the practice of writing and the joy of reading again! Sometimes I wonder if my best role isn’t as creator at all, but as Appreciator of all the Good Things that God has inspired others to create. Perhaps I need both to imbibe and to share the wonder…
If Jacob’s quote seems like excessive license to you, do be sure and look up Jacob’s whole article to see how he rounds out his advice on reading and I think you’ll see his point. ( : Its available for free online here, as Chapter Nine of the book Liberal Arts for the Christian Life. Enjoy ( : And Happy Reading!
Leave a note if you’ve got a great book to recommend for my next read. I’d love that!