It’s the most wonderful time of the year….no, not THAT time of year. It is summer, and that means summer reading.
Let me encourage you: If you struggle with regular reading throughout the year, as most of us do, take advantage of the summer has an opportunity to reengage. This is doubly true if you’re a student. I’ve been out of college only one year, so I haven’t forgotten the uphill battle to maintain pleasurable reading during the semester. Let me tell ya: It doesn’t get much easier. Unless you are paid to read (if that’s you, please forward me your employer information), full time employment, relationships and other commitments cane easily come together to exclude regular reading. Of course, pleasure reading in college is darn near impossible; which is all the more reason to claim the summer for the reading you’ve been wanting to get to all year.
Ok, commerical is over.
The following are books that I am committing to reading over this summer. A couple notes on the list:
1) The first thing you might notice is that there aren’t many books here. That’s intentional. I could probably list a dozen books that I want to read this summer. But I’ve made enough lists and seen enough “summer reading days” come and go to know that quality doesn’t always mean quantity. In my experience, committing to finish 3-4 books and actually accomplishing that is much more satisfying, rewarding and motivating than trying to fit a year’s worth of literature into one season.
2) The list is exclusively books I have not read. I anticipate re-reading quite a bit this summer, mainly because re-reading is often for me just as enjoyable as reading something new. Authors on my shelf that tend to get the most repeat readings include C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Cormac McCarthy, Dickens, John Piper, etc.
3) The list is not final. That’s why we’re in 1.0 version. While I don’t anticipate adding more than 1 or 2 volumes to this summer’s list, you know what they say: Read like you’re dying.
One last thing before I get to the list. Would you, kind reader, consider going through one or more of these books with me? I’ll be sharing thoughts and reactions to the books periodically on the blog. I would love to include your thoughts and converse with you.
Without further ado: Here’s the summer reading list.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I finally am getting to the most hyped biography in recent years. In all honesty, I am not that fascinated by Jobs (at least not yet). I would say I am more fascinated by the fascination with him. The mythos surrounding Jobs is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. This is just a guess, but you might be able to walk the streets of my Louisville, Kentucky and get more people to tell you which company Steve Jobs founded than to tell you which team Michael Jordan won championships for. To me, that kind of cultural beatification of a industry mogul is irresistibly interesting. I have not yet read Isaacson’s biography of Ben Franklin, but that book was highly praised, and usually a steady hand for chronicling historical patriots is a steady hand indeed.
Letters to an American Lady by C.S. Lewis. I was able to pick up a first edition (1967) of this volume recently. I already owned Walter Hooper’s invaluable, three volume collection of Lewis’s correspondence. This book is obviously much smaller and gives me an opportunity to zero in a particular season of Lewis’ corresponding life. Interestingly, the first edition withholds the identity of the “American lady” to whom the letters are addressed. Hooper’s Collected Letters identifies her as Mary Willis Shelburne, a writer who covered to Catholicism from Anglicanism around 1950.
God, Revelation, and Authority: Vol. 1 by Carl F.H. Henry. Henry is widely regarded as one of the fundamental intellectual pillars of the evangelicalism that emerged in the mid 20th century. “God, Revelation and Authority” is a massive, six volume series that has since its publication in 1976 has been a manifesto on the evangelical doctrine of Scripture. The nature and interpretation of the Bible seems to be a critical point of contention in the Christian West once again. Henry was famous for his insights and winsomeness, traits desperately in need of a comeback in theological dialogue. I’m very excited about this one.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This year I read Ishiguoro’s “The Remains of the Day” and was transported. “Never Let Me Go” didn’t garner quite the critical acclaim of “Remains” but I am eager to dive into Ishiguro’s elegant, handsome prose once again. I know only vague things about this novel, which is why I’m a little nervous about it. Few things disappoint like disappointing fiction.
Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson. I actually began this book last Thanksgiving, and never made it past the first couple chapters. Wilson’s style threw me for a big loop and I never really regained interest in it. But my brother in law’s raving recommendation, and the fact that just about everyone seems to love it means I’m going to take the plunge again. Wilson is one of evangelicalism’s best bloggers, a true writer in command of an elevating craft. “Notes” seems like a combination of Donald Miller, John Calvin and Stephen King (the nonfiction version). I’ve been told it’s a true reader’s delight; can’t wait to find out.
So that’s summer reading 1.0. Like I said, this list isn’t carved in stone or even a typewriter. I have a wandering eye when it comes to bookstores so don’t be surprised if list 2.0 emerges sooner than later.