As a kid, I loved to read. It was like breathing for me. I don't even really remember learning how.
My siblings and I consumed our local library and the one in the bigger neighboring town. We read everything from from Hardy Boys to the whole wall of biographies.
But...over my five looooooong years of law school, my love of reading was beat out of me. Absolutely executed in the cruelest of ways. Reading became associated with school, school with migraines, and migraines with misery. So, a good book, to me, had the curb appeal of the neighborhood landfill. It was like taking a sledge hammer in either hand and crashing them into my temples. Almost exactly.
After law school, I really didn't get an opportunity to return to a love of reading. I went from reading law books all night long to reading law materials all day long. Other than the Bible and a few Bible studies, reading outside of work hours for me was...well, I guess there's no such thing as "outside of work hours."
But gradually, I'm developing a real taste for reading again and there are some excellent books out there. Maybe it started with encouragement from friends and Crazy Love...or before that with So Long, Insecurity! In fact, I've become like an alcoholic when I go to the Christian bookstore. I have to sit on my wallet to make sure that I leave some of the books at the store.
It's not the "fluff stuff;" I can only think of one fiction book I've read in the past five years (I guess if I want to just waste time, I skip the book and just watch the movie). I read C.J. Mahaney's Cross Centered Life; Jerry Bridges Respectible Sins; Francis Chan's Forgotten God... and those just whetted my appetite.
A few have been a little less than I was hoping for, but I've thought very highly of Lou Priolo's Pleasing People which helped me maintain a much healthier perspective on my relationships with others. And I highly recommend Slave, John MacArthur's most recent work (although I haven't quite finished it).
A friend of mine gave me a copy of Radical by David Platt. I would describe it, but instead I'll just tell you...you really should read it.
Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray I read several times over. Murray has an unbelievable gift with words and incredible depth to his relationship with the Savior.
My favorite this summer was Evidence Not Seen, the incredible biography of Darlene Diebler Rose, a missionary wife during World War II. The account of her story while imprisoned in a Japanese labor camp not only kept me oblivious to the crying child in the airplane seat next to me, but taught me so much about the faithfulness of God.
Finally, while on my trip in Japan, I found a copy of Lives Given, Not Taken, the challenging story of every day Christians who gave all. Perhaps it especially resonated with me since most of the people were not "career missionaries" or pastors. They were grocery store managers, youth leaders, college graduates, and doctors. http://www.amazon.com/Lives-Given-Not-Taken-Southern/dp/0976764539
I guess what I want to say is this, if you aren't reading, you are truly missing out. I've found that the right kind of books can feed and strengthen my faith. And with the advent of Amazon and so many other book sellers, you can get a book for a penny and have it shipped to your door for a few bucks.
Even in this media driven society, there is still power in the written word. If you find yourself feeling weak, burned out, or discouraged with your walk, you just might want to consider the old fashioned remedy of a great book.