Ah, it’s that time of year that I get to compile another reading list! My favorite part of a the year where my dreams are fresh and my ideals have yet to be shattered: I get to choose books at will (whether I like the topic, title, or maybe the cover just looks nice) without the rigors of setting aside my time to actually read the thing. So, without further interruption and in no particular order, here’s my summer reading list and a short excerpt on why I want to read the specific book (all of this is, of course, in addition to the Bible):
1. Calvin by Bruce Gordon
After reading George Marsden’s book on Jonathan Edwards (by Yale University Press), I’ve come to appreciate the quality of work that Yale Press actually delivers (thus, three of my top eight books are products of Yale Press). Calvin is a particularly compelling figure in Christian history and though I know much about the man’s theology, I don’t actually know the man himself. So I’ve decided to take on the task of reading Gordon’s 416-page biography on John Calvin. This biography is probably the most ambitious yet thorough one out there, so it should be a worthwhile read.
2. Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards
I’m cheating on this one because I’ve already started it. This has been a project of mine for a while now, reading a few pages every night as food for thought before I go to bed. But I plan on finishing Edwards’ most famous work this summer. So far, certain parts of this book have kept me awake at night, dwelling on the current state of the Christian and where I fit in to Edwards’ thoughts about Christian affection. It is a compelling work to say the least. Because it’s dense, I plan on working through this (and Freedom of the Will) slowly throughout the entirety of the summer break.
3. Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards
Fresh off a course at UCLA entitled “Moral Responsibility and Free Will,” I recently picked this book up from the library and discovered a gem or sorts. Edwards actually broached each topic that my class had attempted to explain! Except, Edwards wrote about free will hundreds of years before most of the contemporary authors we were reading about! This simply sparked my interest and I hope to continue my study regarding moral responsibility and human free will with this, another popular work by Jonathan Edwards.
4. Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshal and Tony Payne
I’m actually reading this book as part of an internship I’m serving at my church, but it’s a book I would have read anyways. This book talks exclusively about ministry and church leadership, which is very practical and necessary for anyone going into full-time ministry. From what I’ve read of it already it’s very straightforward and honest, clear and to the point. I’m looking forward to learning more about ministry and how I can better support my local church.
5. Forever Blue by Michael D’Antonio
I picked this book up before my graduation commencement at UCLA as a book to read during the downtime at the ceremony. However, it’s turned out to be a pretty good book. D’Antonio writes about Walter O’Malley the polarizing figure in baseball who was responsible for moving the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles. As a lifelong Dodger fan (sorry Angel fans) it’s interesting to read about a time period of baseball history that I’ve never fully understood.
6. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
A memoir about how he was raised and experiences with his father, Barack Obama’s first book (and national bestseller) is sure to be a worthy selection to my reading list. I thought I’d read this book, written in his pre-Presidential days, and examine the Presidents writing abilities. Beyond the name and face, I want to see if he is as articulate inside as he seems on camera, which is why I’m more excited about this book than most other memoirs I’ve read. I’ll let you know how it goes.
7. Churchill by Paul Johnson
Possibly one of the most influential politicians in the 20th century, Winston Churchill is a man that many prominent scholars and academics admire—and I want to know why. What better way than reading a biography on him? My interest peaked when I saw that Al Mohler has a bust of Churchill resting on his desk in his study; I’m definitely curious as to why this former British prime minister has captured the hearts and minds of so many respected men and women. From the reviews I’ve read, Paul Johnson does a great job of synthesizing Churchill’s life into a simple 140ish-page book that will reveal the heart and mettle behind such a man.
8. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards
It’s sad that this is Jonathan Edwards’ claim to fame in the secular world because he has such a large and impressive body of work that deserves the utmost attention. This will be a short read (about 32 pages or so), but I hope to examine and analyze Edwards’ words very carefully. I want to know how he preached, what words he used, and why this sermon so effected the people of his age. Even more than that, I’m looking to be effected myself by this sermon—one that has lasted the test of time and continues to be taught in schools and churches around the world.
So there you have it, my current (version 1.0) summer reading list. Feel free to recommend any books to me if you’ve read something great that you think I would enjoy. I would greatly appreciate any input, or even if you have questions about a specific book. I will possibly be adding to this list later on, but I’ll keep you all updated on my progress.
As always, please keep me accountable to this list. If you see me around, ask me how I’m doing with my reading or you can even encourage me to read more often. Check back on this site from time to time if you want to see how I’m doing. Thanks and HAPPY READING!!!
Currently reading: Forever Blue by Michael D’Antonio