I’ve always enjoyed reading the ‘classics’ from Gone With the Wind, Les Miserables to Lady Chatterly’s Lover (okay, I’ve probably now scandalized myself with that one!) I’ve enjoyed them. I also have a growing list of the ones I want to read such as Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, Phantom of the Opera and more. So when I had the chance to review A Christian Guide to the Classics from Family Christian I knew I needed to read it as I desire for one day, my children to also enjoy the classics as I have and continue to do. Obvisouly, not every single classic is Christian but does that mean that Christians should shy away from reading a secular classic? No. I’ve always maintained that but in this book author, Leland Ryken, tells the reader about the whys and hows of Christians reading the secular classics.
The book is short, just a mere 102 pages, so it’s also a quick read and it’s divided into 10 chapters that are:
- Misconceptions about the Classics
- What Is A Classic
- Why We Should Read the Classics
- The Greatest Classic: The Bible
- How Not to Read a Classic
- How to Read a Classic
- Christian Classics, Part 1
- Christian Classics, Part 2
- Secular Classics
- Where to Find the Classics
There is also an afterword called Reflections on Reading, which are quotes from authors like C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, and more. I think this book is great for adults who struggle with whether or not Christians should read the classics, whether they are known as Christian or secular, as it will give a Biblical stance on why Christians should and how to do that. If a parent struggles with when or how to introduce the classics to their children this would also be a great starting point for that – I know my now 11 year old daughter was asking when she was 9 to begin reading Les Miserables, since she’s now a bit older I’m considering allowing her to read the actual book versus the child’s adaptation I bought.
Not everyone will agree that we should or should allow our children to read the classics but they contain so much richness and language that is lost in today’s books that we and our children need. Les Miserables for instance tells of the history of France and their struggles between the poor and upper class – something that can speak to those in America or France. Other books can take us to other worlds or countries where we can explore our faith and stretch our understandings, even those that aren’t expressly Christian in nature can help us in our walk of Faith. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the author included the Bible because as he says, it is the greatest classic. Be sure to visit Family Christian on Facebook to see all they have to offer.
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