Some great books I read and reread. Wisdom, insight, and sheer beauty come with care. Much is gained the first time a great book such as Jane Eyre is read, perhaps most of the wisdom. The deeper wisdom in Bronte’s book, for example, the relationship of the entire novel to the Biblical book of Revelation, comes over repeated readings.
Every scholar I respect has read and reread key books. Pick a few and try to learn deeply. Naturally one should also read broadly and quickly.
Take and read: much quickly (though thoughtfully) and a few key books for a lifetime.
Let me suggest that even if I were not a Christian, an excellent choice would be The Bible. The Bible is a remarkable collection of texts from a diverse group of writers separated from each other by centuries and civilizational assumptions. Centuries of civilization in many lands from England to Ethiopia make better sense if one know the Bible.
For growing billions of the world who are Christian, the Bible is central. Like the vast majority of Christians, I go to a church that gives us readings from the Bible for each day. This is excellent because every day and season ends up being shaped by a community that spans the globe, cultures, and even time. I pray with the living, including those who live in the True Light. Such a schedule is valuable.
There is great value, however, in reading each Biblical book straight through to get the story, the big picture, and the message of that book.
There is value in comparing one text to another to see the common message over many books or to place bits of the text in a liturgical context. If we never read the whole book as a book, however, then we will miss much of the glory, beauty, and truth of the text. God came to Amos and gave Amos something to say in Amos’ place and time. Reading the text straight through yearly helps Amos be God’s Amos!
As each text is read as a unit, then the whole can be compared to the next book.
If one wishes to compare the messages of each book in the Bible, then a good way to do so is to compare one book (as a whole) to another. When I read the Bible through, then this is done naturally. I can feel the difference in personality between the author(s) of Isaiah and Jeremiah.
The Bible (and all longer books!) becomes less intimidating.
If a person never reads a long book, then long books are intimidating. Reading the Bible one bit at a time all year helps end that fear. When I see most novels, they seem do-able! I know that longer books can be read carefully over time.
Most of all the Bible contains words of life and beauty. Immersing myself every year in such works helps me glory in the great structure of the Bible. While I read through the Bible, I also follow the church readings and this brings the glory and truth of particular passages alive to me.