Reading… for Fun?

My wife loves reading. My girls really enjoy reading.

I… I love movies.

When I’m not speaking, training, or writing, I’m at my desk all day reading journals, articles and studies about youth culture, ministry or parenting. Being completely honest… the last thing I want to do at the end of my workday is pick up a book and read for “relaxation.” If I wanna relax I’ll hang out with my kids, go kayaking, or plop down with Lori on the couch and watch something fun.

I know some people like reading for relaxation. I do it on occasion (usually because I have to)… but I just don’t enjoy it. I wish I did.

I know… it’s ironic. I’m an author… and I don’t like reading. Books offer so much more than the articles and journals I frequent. For example: Yesterday I received an email from a Christian group complaining about how our country was founded on Christian principles and it needs to return to those principles. Some guy was quoting Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and putting words in their mouths. I researched a bit and found an MSNBC guy who bashed the Christian guy and said that he made up all of the quotes. (Sigh.)

My brother Thom loves this kind of stuff, so I emailed him and basically asked him, “Who do you believe!” He told me that both of these guys were irresponsible and invalid sources on the opposite ends of the spectrum, and then he wrote something that made me laugh out loud:

The answer to your question about finding truth was said best by Oliver Platt in the movie Lake Placid:  “They conceal that information in books”

If you read a good peer reviewed book on Thomas Jefferson or James Madison, you will at least get the facts.  You will also get many different conclusions. You may disagree with many of the conclusions but, the truth is that (guy in article) can’t even get his facts straight.

Thom’s a man after my own heart– quoting a movie to convince me to read a book.

I need to start reading more books.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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12 Responses to Reading… for Fun?

  1. Hands down THE BEST line from that movie! I loved Platt’s role in the film. (On a related note to the subject of the blog is Sheriff Hank’s line: “Naw, I got nuthin’ against museums.”)

    The second best line from Lake Placid? “I’m rooting for the crocodile!”

    • Lake Placid was really surprisingly good. Most people would think it a dud from the cover, but it ranks up there with “Tremors” in my book, which is also surprisingly fun.

      Lake Placid is fully of great quotes. My favorite is probably the line from Sheriff Hank, “He seemed… taller.”

  2. Sean says:

    Jefferson was a Deist who was borderline Atheist. He disliked the supernatural ideas in the New Testement and cut them from his version which delt entirely with the teaching of Jesus. A man he admired. Still there are quotes that are more favorable to religion. Point in fact, we don’t know what went on in the mans mind. We just have what he wrote, and a lot of what he wrote wasn’t favorable to relgion. We also need to concider that every man has there own views of God. George S. Patton was a Christian, but also included Norse Pagan ideas into his religion.

    Madison I believe was a Christian though.

    I’ll give you 20 bucks(not really) if you read THE ILLIAD.

    • I read both the Iliad and the Odyssey in high school. Really good books. Liked Homer, liked Dostoyevsky… did NOT like Conrad or Dickens.

      Now I actually enjoy Grisham and an occasional Patterson (a little dark at times). My favorite book ever is probably Grisham’s “A Painted House.”

      But to pick up a book on history… that’s a tough one for me. I got bored with Clancy at times, hit 10 pages about the function of one button on a submarine. I don’t think I could handle McCullough (my dad loves him).

  3. Mike Andrews says:

    How do you feel about biographies?

  4. Eric says:

    I think its funny that as you list the books you read, you probably read more than the average person who likes to read for fun. I like books for a different reason than movies. The experiences are different. With a movie, you are a spectator. However you are not a fly on the wall in the room. With a book, you can see little more clearly through the eyes of the main characters. Even with special effects, imagination is still a better escape vehicle. Then, there are times when i do want to shut my brain down and be that spectator. I think the healthy thing is to appreciate both forms of art and realize that the content of both can be helpful and harmful.

    • I agree that in most cases, books are better than the film. This was probably true recently with Hunger Games. I think the filmmakers did an amazing job… but the book was just so much better. Lord of the Rings did a good job with the film, Jaws too… can’t think of many more examples where the transfer was really successful.

      • Thom McKee says:

        It is funny that you mention Jaws. Jaws the film was way better than the book. That is just one of those rare examples where the film surpasses the book by a mile. Peter Benchley could never have written Quint’s speech about the USS Indianapolis.

        • Jonathan McKee says:

          Agreed. And as u know (which I know U do because u have the special edition on blu-ray), that speech was an amalgam of three versions from three writers including actor Robert Shaw. A beautiful synergy.