Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kindle the Fire of Your Reading List

I was given a basic Kindle as a gift a while back.  I'm not one who is into all the new techno-gadgets that flood the marketplace.  There are far too many of them and once you buy the latest, greatest innovation, it becomes obsolete and out-dated minutes after you purchase it.  We've all felt the sting of that marketing ploy with the purchase of a computer that is touted as the best on the market, only to discover that the store you bought it at is only trying to clear the shelves for the next latest, greatest computer waiting in the storeroom to be revealed to the world of suckers flooding through their door.

Cell phones are another burr under my proverbial saddle.  IPhones, IPads, Blue Ray, texting, photo and video-taking, I-can't-live-without-it, doodads are glued to the ears and hands of everyone I know.  A plethora of applications are downloaded onto them to amuse, entertain, compel, and rob their users of the old-fashioned method of communication: eye-to-eye contact and time spent actually speaking to the person in front of them.  I saw a joke a while back (which I considered to be more truth than humor) about there being an application for that, as well.  When you have someone before you wanting to carry on a conversation with you, turn off the offensive thing.

Sorry.  I'm wandering.  Back to the topic at hand.

Although I prefer to hold a bound book in my hand and leaf through its pages, enjoying the feel and smell of the word-filled paper, and relishing the ease with which I can refer back to a particular chapter or page, I have enjoyed the Kindle.  If owning it has changed anything, my overstuffed book cupboard is no longer cluttered with piles of already read books of which I refuse to rid myself.  And Amazon is constantly adding new editions to their growing list of e-books, giving us a wide variety of authors and genres.  I probably would have not purchased a Kindle on my own, but I am glad that I have it.  Mainly because I like to read in bed and the light has always bothered my husband.

After receiving the Kindle, I discovered the inexpensive and free books Amazon has made available to us and downloaded a few free classics.  Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and others have renewed my appreciation for good literature.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that re-reading them has made me realize how much bad literature is in today's market.  It's no wonder that the English language has devolved to the degree it has.  Modern attempts at well-written prose is feeble, at best, and it's a rare occasion that one finds a well-structured story line that's worthy of the time it takes to read it; not to mention the evidence of poor grammar, sentence structure, deplorable punctuation, bad editing, and the inability to convey the plot or purpose to its conclusion.  In short, I highly recommend to all my friends a return to a time when the ability to write a good book was the norm, rather than the exception.

My Kindle has a second, but more important, purpose.  I am fast filling it with Christian apologetics, devotions, and studies from both past and current theologians who were and are devoted to preaching and teaching the truth of God.  I begin and end my day reading the words of Charles H. Spurgeon, the "prince of preachers," whose ministry spanned the early to mid-1800's.  For less than $1.00, I was able to download a collection of six volumes of his work.  These types of books are often put into digital format by groups of volunteers, thus the poor application of punctuation can sometimes throw off phrasing.  But if you are one who understands the correct usage of punctuation, reading becomes easier as you skim over the errors without thinking about them.

One of the books contained in the collection is called "Morning and Evening, Daily Reading."  It contains short morning and evening devotions upon which to meditate and Spurgeon has yet to disappoint me in his application of spiritual content.   The richness with which he communicates Scripture and applies it to our lives and our walk with God feeds the hunger and thirst I have for His Word.  He once said in "Comments and Commentaries," another book in the collection that is taken from his keynote speaker address before a pastoral conference, that he wouldn't walk across the street to hear himself preach (humbleness at its best).  But I beg to differ with Mr. Spurgeon.  I also own a hard-bound 10-volume collection of his sermons that took me over a year to read, and our churches could use more like him.  If you're interested in obtaining this collection for your Kindle, search for "Christian Classics: Six Books by Charles H. Spurgeon."  It will be a dollar well spent.

However, I'm not limited to the church fathers and reformers.  I occasionally enjoy a good Christian fiction, but I advise caution when choosing them.  This post-modern, ecumenical, progressive atmosphere the church is finding itself in has also bookwormed its way into literature.  Amazon graciously will allow you a sampling of the book prior to purchase and I highly encourage everyone to take them at their offer.  Claims of Christian content, titles and synopses can be deceiving.  Don't waste your money, your time, or potentially damage your spirituality by purchasing a book you later find to be full of poor doctrine, or worse, heresy and apostasy.

The only book I'm having trouble deciding to add to my Kindle is a Bible.  I can see some usefulness by having one there and I know the translation I would prefer.  But as is sometimes the case with Kindles, it's frustrating to "thumb" through the pages and find that passage you need.  As it is with my old-fashioned preference of holding a book in my hands, I desire that this Book is cradled there, as well.  There's something about feeling the heaviness of it in my hands and the weight of the words contained within it.  I have become so familiar with its pages that my fingers are adept at locating the verse or passage I desire to read, exerting no more effort than raising my right hand and placing it close to, if not on, the exact spot.  If I do download a Bible, I'm sure that there would be an overabundance of bookmarks and highlights on my Kindle version - if my Kindle would even allow such a number (I've discovered that some e-book publishers have a set number of highlights that can be made).

Whether you own a Kindle, or not, and simply love to read, kindle the fire of your reading list.  Don't limit your reading enjoyment to one genre, or pointless, inane manuscripts that only entertain without purpose, or worse, conjure an unhealthy imagination.  Add to your "collections" those books that are edifying, those that feed your soul, and reject those that turn you away from Godliness.  Choose your authors wisely and the content of your book with discretion, but mix it up for your reading pleasure.

It's been said that everyone has a story to tell and many have attempted to tell it in book form.  Not all have succeeded and only a few have been lauded in history as the greatest story tellers.  But good literature, whether fiction or non-fiction, is available if one is diligent in his search for it.  My latest purchase?  The Complete Novels of Robert Louis Stevenson.  I'm confident it will be another $1.00 well spent.

Somewhere on the horizon are pages filled with words waiting to be read that will enliven your imagination, fill you with adventure and intrigue, take you on journeys untold, and nourish your relationship with God.

All you have to do is turn the page.

Thanks for the Kindle, Mom.


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