I’ve had the privilege of occasionally being asked to review a book on my blog. Now, I don’t for a second think that’s because I’m so insightful. I know that it has much more to do with exposure for the book. But that’s okay; it’s still nice to be asked and I enjoy the opportunity.
I have, on many occasions, used this blog to share the great ideas that I’ve learned from the books I read. I believe I’ve been positively shaped and molded by many of them. As is usually the case, I generally review the books that I really like or have been particularly blessed by (though I may dare to venture out on this front). It’s always an added treat when the author of the book takes the time to connect with me and thank me for my efforts. (I don’t write the reviews for that reason, but, again, it’s a nice treat.)
Interestingly, my reviews are often my most popular posts. I think that’s because many of us like to check out what others thought about a book before we decide to invest the time and money in the book ourselves. Or, as I stated in an earlier post on book summaries, we get what we need from a book out of the review itself. And besides, we can’t read everything that’s out there.
I’ve been fairly generous so far by calling my posts about books “reviews.” They are certainly not critical reviews because, as I said, I’m usually writing about a book I really like. Thus, I guess you could say that they are more like “advertisements” for the books. I’m clearly hoping that my efforts will encourage folks to read them. (But, as I said, I may soon be including some books that I don’t necessarily agree with.)
Also, because it’s my blog, my “reviews” are different in that I don’t have to review the whole book at once. I’m not sure I’m smart enough to do that anyway. Instead, I enjoy studying the book chapter by chapter, really digging into it and seeing what’s there (or what’s not there), thinking about it, and then commenting on it. My “book reviews” should probably more appropriately be called “chapter reports.”
Over the years I’ve discovered various resources that have really helped me get all I can out of a book. I haven’t perfected the art, but I’ve grown a great deal. I know that I don’t apply everything I’ve learned, but I have been able to put together a few things that make up an outlined agenda of sorts. This outline of questions, thoughts, etc., helps me absorb more of what I’m reading than I would without it. It also helps me as I share what I’ve read with others, whether I’m writing about it, teaching it, or simply talking about it with someone over lunch.
At any rate, I thought it might be helpful to officially make book reviews a new feature here at Renovate Your Life. Ideas have consequences, both intellectually and practically. I know from experience how God can use a book to renew a mind and transform a life (that’s renovation). It’s my sincerest prayer that these little reviews will be a blessing to those who read them, and will hopefully lead the reader to the books to which they point.