Reading Good Books

I’m currently reading Surprised by Joy: The Shape of my Early Life, by C.S. Lewis.

I am always blown away by how much I relate to his own conversion story and how many opinions we share.

I’ve been so absorbed in Lewis’ writing, that I found it ironic he mentioned reading what you truly love for it’s own sake; and that the pleasure of reading reflects God’s character. I wonder if Lewis had ever thought his works would be devoured by a twenty-something stay at home mom. I would guess probably not, but based on the humility that is apparent in his writing, I think it possible he should be delighted and flattered to know I find his books enjoyable, and encourage me to read other “more notable” authors than himself… Because true greatness recognizes that same quality in others.

blur book stack books bookshelves
Photo by Janko Ferlic on

The fact remains, Lewis is one of my all-time favorite writers. As I consider the works he references, I can’t help but feel appallingly unread and I shudder at the length of the list of great books I won’t ever have the time to read.

Perhaps Randy Alcorn’s Heaven is correct, and in eternal heaven, the really truly classic pieces of literature will remain and I’ll be able to pour over them then. That’s all conjecture, though I hope it to be true.

In any case, reading great authors whose work rings true across decades, even centuries, reminds me how universal reading is, and how reading for pleasure really does point to God as the giver of that deep and abiding joy. It doesn’t come from the literature itself, but from the One to whom great Christian literature ultimately points.

Reading good books is not a substitute for reading Scripture of course, but I no longer feel guilty about reading for pleasure. Not when it’s a really good and well-written book.

And I agree with Lewis 100%, there’s not a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.

Now…back to my tea and reading.

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