Written by: Spenser White
The school year is finally winding down, and, for most of us, that means more free time in the summer months. One of my favorite ways to spend my time is reading. I love the summer because I can read more than I can during the school year of books I want to read. This summer, maybe consider reading a book. You may be surprised; you just might like it. Whether you have exhausted your hometown library of books, or never had the desire to open a book, here are some books I think you should consider reading this summer.
- Lord of the Rings (LOTR)
J.R.R Tolkien accidentally started the entirely new genre of fantasy when he set out to create a decidedly Germanic mythology for England. I could write many articles on the many qualities that LOTR possesses. Suffice it to say: LOTR is an achievement of humanity and ought to be read by many, if not all. A committed Christian, Tolkien also expertly infuses Christian values into his epic. (For those interested, philosopher Peter Kreeft wrote The Philosophy of Tolkien as a collection of the values Tolkien espouses. There you go, another great recommendation.) A suggestion for you: don’t quit unless you are absolutely bored by the end of the first book. Tolkien provides necessary, but copious, backstory to his universe.
I know I have written about this author before, but a good primer to Christian philosophy, or a renewal for those familiar, can be found in Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton. This defense of the Apostle’s Creed is filled with unexpected life and excitement. Chesterton’s writing sparkles with joy and hope. Read this book outside. If you don’t start in nature, you will find an overwhelming desire to read outside and go crazy if you are still inside at the end of the book.
- Disruptive Witness
Alan Gratz writes of the current cultural errors of the modern American church as he sees them. He argues that Christians should live peculiar lives which disrupt other cultural contexts. He offers many practical solutions and habits Christians can use to witness to our distracted culture.
- How the Irish Saved Civilization
Did you think a history major would not put in a history book? Thomas Cahill outlines the history of the Irish monastic movement and brings to light the many ways they benefitted European Christianity. This book got me interested in Celtic Christianity, medieval literature, and Irish culture. It’s a simple read, not too complex, and Cahill is a talented explainer if context is needed. This is a great step to become more familiar with a Christianity thriving on the fringes of the Roman Empire.
I hope that my short list encourages you to pick up a book this summer and discover things you didn’t know. Even if you don’t read any of these books this summer, try to read a book. Any book. I am reminded of what one of my professors is fond of saying:
“Great preachers are great readers” -Dr. McNall.
I would expand this to say great Christians are great readers. Do yourself a favor a pick up a book this summer.