Most people share summer reading at the beginning of the summer, not when it’s basically over. (I meant to do that, but forgot.) My reading list often changes based on my teaching/preaching schedule or if I’m reading through something with others.
Below is my summer reading list with an assortment of related links, mini-reviews, and a couple of freebies.
21 Books on My Summer Reading List
Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical by Timothy Keller
This is a prequel to The Reason for God that I am reading right now. Review to come.
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield
This will probably be in my top 10 for the year. Get a taste by reading some quotes or hearing Butterfield tell her story.
A Peculiar Glory is a very helpful book for Christians wanting to enrich their theological and rational understanding of why Christians can call the Bible the Word of God, and will serve as a compelling reminder of how God reveals His glory through a book. This book isn’t the definitive work on the subject, but I do see it as one that will help many Christians think through the Scriptures from angles they never before considered. See my full review.
We all need to work missionary biographies into our yearly reading. It’s truly amazing hearing what Taylor went through to reach the lost of inland China. This will motivate you to do great things for God and find confirmation in Taylor’s famous saying: “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would. It was a hard read, but had some great portions describing how modern education strips away much of what it means to be human. Watch this YouTube video for a helpful summary of one chapter.
Out of Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
I hadn’t read this since my time at Taylor University. Lewis had such a gift for both fiction and non-fiction, this being book one of his underrated Space Trilogy.
The Chief Exercise of Faith: John Calvin on Prayer. My mini-review below:
Calvin’s treatment of prayer in The Institutes of Christian Religion is second to none. It both informs and transforms as you meditate on rich truths and insights that have stood the test of five centuries. Yes, you will have to trek through some of his polemical rants against false beliefs common at the time, but a dose of historical reality and gives us better perspective of how we got to where we are today. I am making it my personal goal to go through Calvin’s rich treatment of prayer devotionally every year or so to motivate me to more faithfully “dig up by prayer the treasures that were pointed out by the Lord’s gospel.” It’s also short—which is a plus.
My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
I’ve heard enough people rave about Wodehouse’s writing that I knew I had to read a book of his. This one features comical short stories about a helpful and crafty butler (Jeeves) who helps his boss and friends get out of ridiculous situations. A fun summer read, especially when the Kindle version is free.
Exalting Jesus in 1-2 Timothy and Titus by David Platt in Christ-Centered Exposition Series
A helpful book of sermons on the pastoral epistles.
Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God by Rankin Wilbourne
Tim Keller calls this the best book on the subject for laypeople. That is why I read it and am working on a review of it. (Stay tuned.)
The Challenge of Preaching by John Stott
An abridgement of Stott’s classic Between Two Worlds edited down by a former professor of mine, Greg Scharf. A good reminder of basic preaching truths from a legend. Read John Stott’s Simple—Yet Surprising—Spiritual Productivity Secret.
I recommend this book for pastors and scholars looking to frame their understanding of prayer in God’s saving purposes. See my full review.
I loved this book. See why when you read my interactions with this important book.
Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ (Preaching the Word) by Kent Hughes
Ephesians is currently the frontrunner for my favorite book of the Bible. This book of sermons helped me grasp the beauty of Christ’s bride, the church, in God’s eternal purposes in the world. Hughes is a clear communicator and master illustrator. If you read any book on this whole list, make it this one. (Or just read Ephesians a dozen times prayerfully!)
I have loved Lecrae’s music and witness since I first heard him in 2006. Here are 5 Lessons I Learned from Lecrae’s Biography Unashamed.
Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore
A must-read for culture-engaging Christians (which should be us all). Read some of the best quotes.
The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
I started to read this because of this story Randy Alcorn shared:
Five years ago a friend and I had lunch with Bruce Ware, who teaches theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville, and Gerry Breshears, theology professor at Western Seminary in Portland.
Bruce asked me, “Randy, of all books besides the Bible itself, what book has had the greatest influence on your life?” And I said, “That’s easy. Without a doubt it’s A. W. Tozer’s book The Knowledge of the Holy.”
Bruce smiled and said, “You’re kidding. That’s the book that has had the biggest influence on my life!”
And then Gerry Breshears said, “Okay, this is crazy. That’s my number one book too!”
Hard to argue with that!
Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
The classic website design usability book named for the #1 rule in web usability, “Don’t make me think!” In the next six months, I will be managing the project that redesigns our organization’s website. Pray for us! And thank you Matt Perman for the recommendation.
The Glory of Christ by John Owen
One of Owen’s best. Made me richly behold the glory of our Savior.
The Vine Project: Shaping Your Ministry Around Disciple Making by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
Proverbs (Preaching the Word) by Ray Ortlund Jr.
A helpful collection of Christ-centered sermons from a sometimes-neglected book. Anything Ortlund writes helps me treasure the gospel more!
What was your favorite summer read?