- Book Reviews
- About me
Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
Feedback Files - On Being A Bookworm
March 14, 2005
It is time, once more, to reach into the feedback files and answer a question sent to me by a reader. In fact, this question has been sent in by a lot of readers, so I thought I would answer it here once and for all! The question usually goes something like this:
How do you find time to read so much? That question is often followed by inquiries as to how I can possibly afford to purchase so many books.
This is a multi-part answer, so stick with me.
Two years ago I decided that I would try to read a book a week for what I hope will be the rest of my life. I was inspired to do this by Garry Gilley of Southern View Chapel. I realized that if I live another fifty years, that would mean I’ll be able to read over 2500 books before I die. The thought of being able to learn from what God has taught 2600 other people was inspiring. So this forms the basis of my desire as well as the rough goal I have in mind.
I love to read and always have. There have been times in life where I have preferred other hobbies, but on the whole reading has been my favorite past-time since I was just a child. When I was younger my parents gave me books by Christian authors like Sproul and had me read some great biographies. While I chewed on these books, I positively devoured books on history, and in particular, military history. This took me through university and into adulthood. Then about three or four years ago, I began to be drawn towards Christian books. As far as I can recall, the first of these I bought was Classic Christianity by Bob George.
I read quickly. While I read quite quickly, I do not retain all that well, so when I read a book that I feel is important to digest (which is most of them), I take notes. I recently finished With Reverence And Awe by D.G. Hart and took about twelve pages of notes. This helps me retain what I read. Even then I forget most of the detail (as does almost everyone) but what I have found is that while I do not always remember details, I seem to have a good memory for where to find the details when I need to refer to them later on.
The more I read, the easier it is to read. I have read four books on godly principles for decision making. Three of them were based primarily on the fourth. Needless to say, it became progressively easier to read and understand as I worked through them. This is true of any topic.
A lot of the books I read are short. The majority of the books I read are under 250 pages, and quite a few have fewer than 200 pages. I generally do not check the number of pages before I order a book, so I suppose this is either a product of coincidence or of percentages.
I read all the time, or most of it anyways. I do not watch all that much TV, but even when I do, I usually have my nose in a book. I also get out of bed a couple of hours before everyone else to give myself more time. Sunday afternoons the kids nap and I read. When I go to the doctor, I stick a book in my pocket so I can use that fifteen minutes doing something other than reading old copies of People Magazine.
I have the privilege of working from home, which means I do not have to waste two hours of my day in the car driving to and from work. This provides me time that most people do not have (and for which I am most thankful)!
I suppose that should answer the first part of the question. One thing I would like to point out is that I do not read during the workday. I do not forsake my work responsibilities to read.
As for how I get my hands on all these books, that is a three-part answer.
I buy some of the books, but not very many. I’m not a rich man.
When I design a blog for another Christian blogger, I ask the person to supply me with gift certificates at Amazon or another Christian bookstore. I use those to feed my habit.
And finally, recently I have had quite a few books supplied to me by the authors and/or publishers so that I could read and review them.
So there is a brief and rather boring trip into my life. We could summarize by saying that I manage to read so much by just always reading.