Reading is an event by which God can use others to relax us, encourage us, and teach us. I found myself (partly) relating to a quote from Desiderius Erasmus that states, “When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” As a reader then, I was excited when I was sent the recently released book by Anne Bogel titled, I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life.
As the title indicates, the author uses the book to celebrate the joys and dilemmas of being an avid reader. With no order, each of the 21 chapters addresses an array of the mindsets of readers. Some topics are as simple as finding a book to read while another addresses the endless array of organization methods. Even more, many of the chapters are simply revealing the minds of bookworms and the issues they face every day when reading.
Anne Bogel’s writings are charming in a whimsical style. With each topic, her writing simply seems to read as it flows through her mind. In that regard its a unique book because readers are unaware of what they are going to find on the next page. She simply surprises you as she moves from one aspect to the next. I will confess that personally, this is not my type of style, but I can appreciate the value that others see in it. Therefore, the author deserves credit.
While sent to me from a publisher of Christian books, this book is not Christian. She does not address a theology of reading, you won’t find any discussion of how Christian ethics affects what one chooses to read or any other similar type of discussion. At the same time, one will not find a secular mindset either in which a person could expect advocation of whatever genre and book. Perhaps the biggest concern from a Christian worldview that may be notable here is that her writing at times seems to advocate escapism. While stories may teach us of places we’ve never been or captivate us with their stories (fiction or not), I do not think that Christians should use reading as a way ‘to escape’ the realities of everyday life.
The author has her own way of writing that will draw many people in. Yet, I find myself left with the question, “What is the purpose of the book?” She says much in the book, but much of it felt empty and lacking substance. For the most part, those who would enjoy the book are going to be bibliophiles. With that in mind, most readers of this book will already be thinking the same thing as the book. Personally, if I am already thinking the same things, I don’t necessarily need to be reminded of those things. As a result, the book lacked any real value because there was nothing learned, very little practical use and nothing ‘added’ to my life for investing my time in the book.
I’d Rather Be Reading is a difficult book to review because apart from the minor issues mentioned above, there was no glaring misinformation, untruth, or half-truth. Instead, most of the issues are more about personal preferences. Therefore, there are many that find this book more enjoyable than I. Yet, I think one’s time may be best invested in other reading.
For more information or to purchase a copy of this book, click here.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, my review was not influenced in any way by the author, publisher, or any other person associated with this book and is the result of my own reading of the book.