Recovering the Lost Art of Reading – Leland Ryken and Glenda Faye Mathes

Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: A Quest for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful by [Leland Ryken, Glenda Mathes]

Leland Ryken and Glenda Faye Mathes, Recovering the Lost Art of Reading (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2021), 296 pp.

Reading has fallen on hard times. Technology and all things visual have led to a steady decline of the written page. Leland Ryken and Glenda Faye Mathes have something to say about this problem in their book, Recovering the Lost Art of Reading.

Reading is a Lost Art

The authors develop a strong case for the lost art of reading in part one. The authors laments, “The decline of reading has impoverished our culture and individual lives. We have lost mental sharpness, verbal skills, and ability to think and imagine.” One can only imagine how culture would improve if people recovered the lost art of reading.

Reading Literature

In part two, the motivation for reading is explored and several suggestions are given for reading a wide variety of genres, including poems, novels, children’s books, fantasy, and more. A fascinating theological appeal is set forth as the authors note that “God wants us to have literature in our lives because he has revealed himself to the human race in a book that is primarily literary in nature.” Such a challenge should move prospective readers in a direction that can only result in something positive and productive.

Recovering the Art of Reading

Part three is a call to arms. The chief argument is this: “The road to recovery lies through discovery.” Readers are challenged to make reading a normal part of their lives. “In the words we read,” write the authors, “we often see dim reflections of the One who created by his word and the Living Word, Jesus Christ.”

A final appeal is made to Jonathan Edwards who argues that beauty is an important part of the Christian life:

For as God is infinitely the greatest being, so he is allowed to be infinitely the most beautiful and excellent: and all the beauty to be found throughout the whole creation, is but the reflection of the diffused beams too that Being who hath an infinite fullness of brightness and glory.

Reading, then, is an important part of God’s redemptive plan. Surely, the people of God should rise up and either restore their passion to read or begin afresh by making reading a priority as a matter of Christian discipleship.

Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: A Quest for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful is a helpful book. It is a much-needed book. I trust that many will dig in and take up the challenge that Ryken and Mathes offer.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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