Most of the time we use this Pastors’ Blog for the specific purpose of encouraging you in your faith and/or addressing current events or issues that relate to Christianity, the church, and society. Occasionally though, we want to share things that are just of a particular or personal interest or passion to us individually. That’s the case today. I want to share with you my (admittedly) overly ambitious summer reading list, and encourage you to pick out some of your own books to read this summer.
I love to read – anything and everything. So at the beginning of each summer I will usually go looking around and compile a book list to keep me busy during the hot summer months. This year I want to share with you some of the things on my shelf that I’ll be reading (or trying to read) through in the coming weeks.
Not all of these books are the same length or the same reading difficulty, and I may not (and probably won’t) get to all of them this summer. I’m more than ok with that. Some of these books I may start and just not feel any passion to keep going to the end so I’ll set them aside. As much as I love to read and believe in reading, I don’t think it should be something that is a painful duty. If you’re reading a book and you just can’t get into it, it’s really okay to chunk it aside. There are too many good books and life is far too short to spend time reading something that you absolutely hate. That’s why some of these books may be replaced by some old already read favorites. A few of these books I’ll devour and a few I’ll read slowly through all summer long until the end. Some I’ll just scratch in place of another book that catches my eye. Some I may have to put aside until another time because of other reading demands for sermon preparation, The Ephesian Fellowship, or a summer class I’m taking in late July. And I already know about a few books that will be releasing this summer that may bump some of these titles out of my agenda.
All of that is okay. My point and passion isn’t to check these books off the list or to fulfill some impressive quota of books read during the summer. I just want to be perusing books that piqued my interest, and the months off from school and the long summer days are a good time to do this! I readily admit that not all these books are for everyone. In fact, I can’t even endorse these books yet since I’m just now having them stacked up to begin reading, but I hope you’ll join me in setting some time aside to read this summer. Make reading the Bible your first priority, and then under that look for some other good books that spark your interest. Your books may not be any of these on my list. You may be able to read a lot more or a lot less. None of that matters. Just join me in picking up some good books and reading as you are able.
Before I get to the long list below, let me leave you with two words of encouragement. The first is an encouragement from Winston Churchill about how to think about books and reading. He instructs us to love books but not to obsess over the daunting mountain of trying to read everything:
“If you cannot read all your books…[handle] them—peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them, at any rate, be your acquaintances.”– Winston Churchill
Finally, let me marshal one of my biggest influences, Charles Spurgeon. In a great sermon entitled Paul – His Cloak and His Books(Link Provided) said the following:
“Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure time, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, ‘Bring the books’ — join in the cry.” – Charles Spurgeon
That’s a pretty good admonition and encouragement. So with that I’ll turn to my coffee and an open book and heed the overheard remark that sparked Saint Augustine’s conversion to the gospel… “Tolle lege…Take and read…”
– Pastor Cade
I. General Non-fiction / History
1. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World, by Mark Pendergrast
2. Superman: The Unauthorized Biography, by Glen Weldon
3. Over The Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe by Laurence Bergreen
4. Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America, by John Barry
5. The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty, by Willie and Korie Robertson
II. Biography / Biographical
1. Recovering Classical Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry, by Greg Thornbury
2. Charles Spurgeon: The Early Years,by Charles Spurgeon, Susanna Spurgeon, and Joseph Harrald
3. Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles Shields
4. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham
5. The Last Lion: Volume One: Winston Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932, by William Manchester
1. The Confession, by John Grisham
2. The Book of the Dun Cow, by Walter Wangerin
3. True Grit, by Charles Portis
4. Suttree, by Cormac Macarthy
5. Light in August, by William Faulkner
IV. Theology / Christianity
1. Where Mortals Dwell: A Christian View of Place for Today, by Craig Bartholomew
2. Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture, by Peter Leithart
3. Counsel From the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ, by Elyse Fitzpatrick
4. Justification by Grace Through Faith: Finding Freedom from Legalism, Lawlessness, Pride, and Despair, by Brian Vickers
5. The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments, by Tom Schreiner