Do you have a balanced reading strategy of various genres?

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Aug 8 2022 8:44 AM

I subscribe to a podcast by Dr. James Emery White called "Church and Culture" which I very much enjoy. The podcast released on Friday is about Books and Bookstores. In it Dr. White mentions that he tries to incorporate a balanced reading strategy of various genres. In order to expand reading of various genres of literature he suggests that someone might consider reading 4 types of books at the same time. By reading these at the same time you will be reading in a broad way and each time you can choose something that you are in the mood to read.

  1. Something focused on your soul (devotional in nature)
  2. Something that expands your mind
  3. Something focused on your vocation
  4. Something that is pure fun like a novel

I don't have a specific strategy like that although I do generally try to read a in a broad way but I think his idea is fascination and worth considering.

As I thought about it more, I wondered if any other forum uses have a strategy to read in a balanced way. If you do, would you be willing to share it here?

Thanks.

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 8 2022 8:54 AM

Not trying to be amusing, but I read what I buy.  And I buy what I'm wondering about.  Plus novels, of course.  

So, I guess my strategy is 'wondering about'.  Rabbit trails.

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Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 8 2022 3:44 PM

Bruce Dunning:
I wondered if any other forum uses have a strategy to read in a balanced way

No.

I read what interests me at the time, or is needed for lesson prep, or relates to my hobby, or is required for work. It's all over the place and there's no scheme.

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

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Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 8 2022 5:04 PM

Bruce Dunning:

I don't have a specific strategy like that although I do generally try to read a in a broad way but I think his idea is fascination and worth considering.

As I thought about it more, I wondered if any other forum uses have a strategy to read in a balanced way. If you do, would you be willing to share it here?

The last several years I've fallen into a pattern I'm happy with that I usually having going on most of the time. This is all within Logos:

  1. Read the Bible devotionally every day, reading through once a year, usually a different version every year.
  2. Read cover to cover a commentary on a book in a Bible. (Biblical studies is not my field, but this practice has improved my knowledge of the Bible like nothing else. I've gotten to explore such a wide variety of commentary series due to Logos' FBotM offers.)
  3. Regularly read a book in systematic theology (my field) in-depth on my laptop for easy note-taking.
  4. Casually read a book on my phone on something that interests me (usually theology or history). I have this ready at all time for when I'm stuck waiting in line somewhere etc.

This will sound snobbish but here goes: I generally don't read devotional or non-academic literature as most of it has way too much fluff. Commentaries and theological works though can be very spiritually edifying. I have also kind of lost my taste for fiction; perhaps that will back some day.

It might sound a bit odd but it works for me. (Vocationally, I'm a former theology prof. turned mega-church pastor.)

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 9 2022 2:54 AM

My reading strategy seems to be:

1.  Start reading a book

2.  Read a footnote that references another book

3.  Follow the footnote to the other book

4.  Start reading the other book

5.  Repeat steps 2-4

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

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scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 9 2022 5:02 AM

Bruce Dunning:

  • Something focused on your soul (devotional in nature)
  • Something that expands your mind
  • Something focused on your vocation
  • Something that is pure fun like a novel

I don't read devotionals.  My Logos reading soothes my soul, as it expands my mind.  I read systematic theologies in the main.

I have no vocation.

I always have a novel in progress.

If I am bored, I switch to another book within Logos.  In L, I have ~ 3 new books going - new.  As well, I always have 1-2 within which I am reviewing my highlights.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 9 2022 8:43 AM

DMB:
Not trying to be amusing, but I read what I buy.

Well, that's impressive! I have accumulated so many resources that I will probably never read but are there just for reference.

DMB:
So, I guess my strategy is 'wondering about'.  Rabbit trails.

I think there is much to be said with simply being curious like you seem to be.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 9 2022 8:54 AM

Sean:

  1. Read the Bible devotionally every day, reading through once a year, usually a different version every year.

I too have done this for many years. One of the disciplines I've been trying to do each day is to simply ask as I read "Lord, want are you telling me today?"

Sean:
Read cover to cover a commentary on a book in a Bible.

I've not done this but have thought about it before. I am intrigued to consider this approach. What kind of commentary do you usually read?

Sean:
I generally don't read devotional or non-academic literature as most of it has way too much fluff.

I totally understand what you are saying here as I am annoyed by reading fluff. On the other hand there are some really good devotionals like D.A. Carson's 2 volume "For the Love of God" set https://www.logos.com/product/3433/for-the-love-of-god-vol-1-a-daily-companion-for-discovering-the-riches-of-gods-word and Tim Keller's "The Songs of Jesus" https://www.logos.com/product/145013/the-songs-of-jesus-a-year-of-daily-devotions-in-the-psalms There are definitely no "fluff". But, as you say, for the most part devotionals tend to be quite fluffy. I think I may just start another thread about this to ask if anyone could make other suggestions like the ones I just listed. 

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 9 2022 8:55 AM

Joseph Turner:

My reading strategy seems to be:

1.  Start reading a book

2.  Read a footnote that references another book

3.  Follow the footnote to the other book

4.  Start reading the other book

5.  Repeat steps 2-4

Big Smile

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GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 9 2022 9:13 AM

I guess I am a free spirit, but to read in regimented obligation would be suffocating. I like new frontiers, the unexpected, serendipitous discoveries. I read the Bible in different versions, and a different theology each year. Other than that, it's up for grabs. I hope to read 20+ books a year. At that rate, to read everything in my library may require the full Millenium if not a little bit of Heaven.  

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Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 9 2022 4:00 PM

Good threads you've started here, Bruce!

Bruce Dunning:
I've not done this but have thought about it before. I am intrigued to consider this approach. What kind of commentary do you usually read?

I've come to prefer intermediate to technical commentaries over others as long as they aren't only exegesis and have some exposition/application. I prefer moderately critical ones as they tend to bring out more about the texts' literary features. I've gotten to try quite a number, but I usually default to the Word Biblical Commentary if I don't have a more interesting volume for a particular book. Pillar NT is also good. One of the best I've read was the New International Greek Testament Commentary on Mark that I got as a FBotM. It was a bit of a stretch for a "morning devotional" book but was quite exhilarating. My knowledge of Mark grew exponentially from it.

So far I've done this for the whole New Testament once and a second time for Matt-Rom. In the OT I've made it to Isaiah.

Bruce Dunning:
But, as you say, for the most part devotionals tend to be quite fluffy. I think I may just start another thread about this to ask if anyone could make other suggestions like the ones I just listed. 
  

The last non-academic book I've read was one that was assigned for a retreat. The message could have been communicated in about 5 blog posts that would've taken 15 minutes to read, but instead it was stretched to a 300+ page book. I also tend to retch a bit whenever I come to the inevitable Star Wars references. Newer book all have one and can't get their point across without them.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 9 2022 5:07 PM

Sean:
So far I've done this for the whole New Testament once and a second time for Matt-Rom. In the OT I've made it to Isaiah.

That's inspiring Sean. Those are all commentaries I regularly reference but I've never read any of them through.

Sean:
I also tend to retch a bit whenever I come to the inevitable Star Wars references. Newer book all have one and can't get their point across without them.

 I was going to say something about Star Wars but... Big Smile

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PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 9 2022 6:44 PM

Bruce Dunning:

  • Something focused on your soul (devotional in nature)
  • Something that expands your mind
  • Something focused on your vocation
  • Something that is pure fun like a novel

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for starting this thread and raising this interesting question. When I saw this list above, I realized the subfolders I have set up in my Favorites of books-to-read-when-I-finally-have-free-time follow a very similar pattern:

1. Rest / Spirit: books that help me sabbath in God and rest in the Spirit

2a. Bible / Theology

2b. Culture / Apologetics

2c. End Times / Heaven & Hell

3. Ministry / Pastoring

4. (I don't do novels)

Just wanted to share this.

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 9 2022 11:59 PM

I tend to jump around in my Bible reading among genres within it (Psalms, Gospels, Prophets, Letters, History, Apocalyptic). No consistent pattern there, but whatever is tugging on me at the moment, and I get a broad diet of the whole canon through the lectionary readings we do at church.

Apart from that my rough strategy (not followed religiously) is:

1. One children's book per year (to keep me young at heart)

2. One book on Black history or a novel by a Black author during Black History Month (this is my passion area of social justice)

3. Some poetry as frequently as I think of it (usually ends up being only 1 poem a month, if that)

4. Following rabbit trails the rest of the time: books of all sorts of genres grab my attention -- memoir, science, theology, biography, classic literature, current affairs, history, film criticism, etc. And like someone else above mentioned, I often look up books mentioned in footnotes of other books and buy them, but then don't get around to reading them.

I confess that my attention span for long-form reading has been in the doldrums for the past several years. It was already declining due to spending so much time online, but it took a further hit during the pandemic, when my anxiety had me checking the news frequently and jumping all over the place from website to website.

I'm trying to train my brain to settle down again and be able to read straight through a book in a couple of weeks or so, but it's hard. I have only completed two books in 2022 so far -- one biography (A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson by Winn Collier, sadly not in Logos yet but I've just requested it on FeedBear) and one memoir (by a former fellow employee from Microsoft).

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scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 10 2022 3:35 AM

Rosie Perera:
I confess that my attention span for long-form reading has been in the doldrums for the past several years

I solve this in Logos by semi-solving it.  I switch to another book......If my attn. span is real bad, I move 2 a book I have previously highlighted + read the 'lights.

I move to a book with simpler English if my concentration is low.  ex: I read John Frame

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 10 2022 4:17 AM

If it has an audio version, I just hit play and listen 🎧  👂 So much faster!

DAL

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 10 2022 6:40 AM

Thanks for sharing your reading journey with us Rosie. I appreciate it.

Rosie Perera:
I confess that my attention span for long-form reading has been in the doldrums for the past several years. It was already declining due to spending so much time online, but it took a further hit during the pandemic, when my anxiety had me checking the news frequently and jumping all over the place from website to website.

I think many of us can probably very much related to what you are saying here. Research continues to be done on how too much screen time is impacting us and attention span is for sure one area that is impacted. The pandemic only exacerbated this.

Rosie Perera:
one biography (A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson by Winn Collier, sadly not in Logos yet but I've just requested it on FeedBear)

This looks like a great book that I would like to read. I had not seen your request in FeedBear but I was #2 to vote it up. Any other takers?

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