Once a year I set aside time for a personal reading retreat, a few days blocked off for me to dive into a stack of books I’ve collected (and some I’ve already started). In the last two years, neck deep in the John Newton writing project, these reading retreats have been focused on the topic at hand. And for the first time since we moved back to Minneapolis, this weekend affords me my first retreat to work through a stack of books on random topics of interest.
Whether I focus on one particular topic (like in my 2011 retreat) or whether I read more generally, these reading retreats give me a chance to largely disconnect from the Internet and cut away from the digital entanglements of daily web communication for the purpose of reading printed books for 12 hours each day (the goal). Such a discipline may seem daunting, but I find the practice life giving, and it has increasingly become an essential strategy I need to protect and develop my sustained, linear reading concentration, a skill that seems to otherwise erode every day (a concern I addressed at length in my book Lit!).
The goal of this retreat, like every reading retreat, is not to finish a lot of books, the goal is simply to read a lot. And for the interested, here are the titles I’ll be taking along —
- John Updike, Rabbit, Run (Random House; 1996)
- William Manchester, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940 (Little, Brown and Company; 1988)
- Harlow Giles Unger, Lafayette (Wiley; 2003)
- Thomas Hubbard, editor, Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents (University of California; 2003), reading it alongside this essay.
- Mark Sayers, Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm (Moody; 2014)
- Arthur Hunt III, Surviving Technopolis: Essays on Finding Balance in Our New Man-Made Environments (Pickwick; 2013)
- Hannah Anderson, Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image (Moody; 2014)