Summer Reading List

May 31, 2010

Well I guess summer has really started…

…that is except for the fact that I have to go back to school for three more days.  Oh well.  My summer is already being filled with vacations, visits, housesitting, conferences, speaking engagements, and my honey-do list is filled to the brim.  However, I always make the time over the summer for extra reading (along with extra movies.)  I already read a lot.  But with the extra time on my hands, I’m really excited to sink my teeth into these books.  None of these books are any that I’ve plugged before, and I’ve even given you a handy link to order any of them that look good to you!

Jesus Manifesto

I’ve already cracked this one a few times, because the guys over at Thomas Nelson sent me a sweet review copy.  It’s by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, both of whom are great authors and let me tell you, it’s a good read.  Deep, but not strenuous.  This is one of those books I’ll be skipping around in all summer, reading and re-reading my favorite chapters.  I’d say my favorite chapter right now is “If God Wrote Your Biography.”  The book is actually available starting Tuesday, and on a special discount, no less, of just about ten bucks.

A New Kind of Christianity

Brian McLaren, if you do nothing else, you always make me think.  I’ve got this book sitting on my shelf, only flipped through when it arrived in the mail, then put away until time could be found to read it.  It tempts me, it mocks me.  It beckons me, but I also know that I will only open a huge can of worms by reading this book.  Will I accomplish anything by reading this?  Probably not.  McLaren’s books rarely solve any problems.  If anything, he digs up more problems than we knew we had.  But I’ll be thinking about it for months, and that makes it a successful book.

The Know – It – All

Something about the title spoke to me.  You know A.J. Jacobs as the guy who wrote the book about living ‘biblically’ for a year (by following every Old Testament law to the letter.)  This book came out a few years ago, and chronicles his quest to read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica, chronologically, thus becoming the smartest person in the world.  As a guy with similar ambitions, I’m excited to see what came of this adventure.

The Tipping Point

I’m basically reading Malcolm Gladwell’s books in reverse order.  Since discovering him last year at the Catalyst conference, Gladwell has become my absolute favorite non-theological author.  He fills an completely unique niche.  He writes about history, but not the history you know.  He writes about the little stories that made a big difference.  I sound so much smarter after reading a Gladwell book and then busting out a nugget of obscure knowledge at a party.  Buy any of his books.  You can’t go wrong.

What are you reading this summer?  Are you spending your summer catching up on reading, or emptying your Netflix queue, or watching a Lost marathon?

15 responses to Summer Reading List

  1. Its winter here and still in college exams time so I’m not reading a lot of non academic stuff but at the moment I’m reading Doctrine by Mark Driscoll (not as boring as it sounds) and Crossing the divide by Owen Hylton which is about ethnic diversity in the church.

    • I’ve heard Doctrine is good. But I am sorry that you are still in the midst of finals. Sounds like Australia is six months and a few weeks different from the US. Most colleges ended classes up to three weeks ago over here.

      • Yes, its about that. Because our seasons are opposite to yours our first semester starts late February/early march

    • I’m on the quarter system, and we’ve got finals, too. Everyone’s graduated already, but I still have a few weeks to go :(

  2. To catch up with the rest of the world, I’m finally reading “Crazy Love.” I’m also just about finished with “Going Public,” which is about Christian kids thriving in public school (it’s a great read). Then, I’ll be reading fiction the rest of the summer and I’ve also set the lofty goal of going back and watching “Friends” from episode 1. I know that’s a really important thing to dedicate myself to, but I think it’ll be a fun walk down memory lane, since I’ve already seen all of the episodes at least once…

    • Like someone above, I’m in a small group that’s doing Crazy Love this summer. I’m not looking forward to it as at my last church I was in a similar situation and a chapter hit my big pet peeve and the ensuing discussion had me looking for another small group because “I wasn’t with the team mindset.”

      Anyway, I’m hitting some heavy books this summer by re-reading Les Miserables and War and Peace for our school’s Accelerated Reading program, a couple of educational reform books to keep my blood boiling, as well as a couple of Mark Driscoll books for some giggles. Oh, and I’m taking two classes to finish my teaching certificate.

      So I’m not reading much this summer. ;^)

  3. I’ve read both Blink and Outliers, but I liked Outliers a lot more. Gladwell is a really talented storyteller; I’ll have to pick up The Tipping Point this summer.

    My current official summer reading list consists of Suprised by Suffering by Sproul and Storm Warning by Billy Graham, both of which are free review copies I received from the publishers. I also want to catch up on classics I still haven’t read yet, such as Othello and Lear. My friend is trying to get me into the Cantebury Tales, but I’m just not that big on Chaucer.

  4. I’ve been wanting to read Gladwell’s books for a few years! Know-It-All sounds great too…I just bought

    –The Alchemist (It was very hyped for me, but still pretty good.) Has vaguely Christian themes (main character is a Christian, talks about God pretty freqently, author is Catholic, but some of it sounds a little like monism, IMO…)
    –The Lovely Bones. Gotta have some intense fiction in my life.

    And once those are finished I’ll move on to:
    — The Loser Letters: A Comic Tale of Life, Death and Atheism by Mary Eberstadt–described as the grandchild of The Screwtape Letters; it’s a satire about a Christian who has recently become an atheist.
    –The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne. Very radical Christian living. (Like Mother Theresa-style, etc) I know that’s vague, but Claiborne covers a lot of ground…

    Then, once my room mate gives it back to me:
    –The Language of God by Dr. Francis Collins. Guy who mapped the genome describes why he became a Christian.

  5. That is a lot of reading. Good for you :)

    Hebrews 13:16
    Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

    Luke 6:38
    Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

    Believe those words and head on over to and please click on a link or two. It costs nothing. By doing this you’ll be helping a fellow brother out so he can continue helping others.

    Please spread the word to other brothers and sisters.

  6. I’ll be reading NT Wright.

    His insight and clarity in many theological issues is stunning.

    And I’ll be workig on my own publication – From Darkness to Light.

  7. I’m still sticking to my new year resolution and reading 12 books this year.

    January – Forgotten God -Francis Chan
    February – Million Miles in a Thousand years – Donald Miller
    March – Ignore everyone and 39 other keys to creativity – Hugh McLeod
    April – O me of little faith – Jason Boyett
    May – Churched – Matthew Paul Turner

    Other book for the rest of the year:
    Strong Fathers, strong daughter by Meg Meeker
    Surviving a borderline personality disorder parent by Kim Roth
    Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel

    And I’m still deciding on the rest of the year but you gave me some good ideas. Thanks.

  8. I LOVE The Know It All and The Tipping Point. I’m just starting to read the new McLaren book. My husband and I are going to be doing a podcast discussion on each of the ten questions. We recorded our intro last night–I don’t know if it’s posted yet. My hubby’s blog is

  9. Here are two eBooks (both free). The first I just read, and the other I started today.

    Continuing the Reformation – Bill Nissan

    Turning the Tide for the Next Generation – Deborah Bradberry Solomon

  10. I am always looking for books worth reading—thanks for the suggestions. (I loved “The Tipping Point,” being married to a hybrid maven/connector.) I’m making notes of everyone else’s suggestions as well.

    Another highly recommended read is “Made to Stick” by brothers Dan and Chip Heath. I think you’ll find it helpful in both your careers, plus it’s just fun to read.

    I’m very curious to see what you think about McLaren’s book.

  11. Loved The Tipping Point. I want to read Outliers next — have you read that one? Gladwell gets a hard time from the critics, but I love him.

    I’ll be rereading The Hole in Our Gospel, now that I bought my own copy and can underline with abandon (first time I read a copy on loan from the city library — and I’m an underliner, so that was a challenge).

    Also Ragamuffin Gospel — not sure what it’s about…my dad sent me a copy.

    Rachel Held Evans’ new book in July for sure!