Summer Reading List 2014

summerreading_E_20090807150318Since the cool thing to do is to list the books you’re planning to read this summer, here’s my list:

1. I am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel by Tom Wolfe

I don’t read much fiction anymore, which saddens me. So I am attempting to rectify that this year with adding some good fiction into my reading schedule. This novel by Wolfe was recently brought to my attention and it sounded fascinating. The story catalogues a bright young girl’s first semester at a prestigious school as she comes to learn that college life is less about the “life of the mind” and more about beer, sex, and social status. The story revolves around her struggle with this realization. Wolfe is a master of the social-novel, critics say.

2. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough

McCullough is a Pulitzer prize-winning popular historian. In this particular exploration he takes us through the city of Paris in the years spanning 1830 and 1900 to discover how we as a country came to fall in love with a single European city. He looks at the Americans who lived, worked, and played in the city and how their perception of the city came to influence us all. I love McCullough’s work and I too have a soft spot in my heart for Paris, so I am looking forward to this work.

3. Friendship by Hugh Black

I have been reflecting for part of this year on the subject of friendship, appreciating the many good friends I have, and thinking carefully about how I can be a better friend. This book has been cited and referenced in a number of other resources on the subject, so I plan to finally dig into myself and see first hand how helpful it is an address on the subject of friendship.

4. Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human by Grant Morrison

I attempted to start this book earlier this year but more pressing subjects pushed it off my night stand. I am going to pick it up now this summer and work my way through it as part of my ongoing reflection on the value of superheroes in Western culture. Morrison is a former comics writer and so he has a keen eye towards the subject and its place in the American cultural mind.

5. Recovering Redemption: A Gospel Saturated Perspective on How To Change by Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer

The Village Church, where Chandler and Snetzer both serve, has been extremely helpful in helping us start our recovery program at CBC. So I plan to dig into this book this summer and, if it’s worth it, take my Recovery leaders through it later this year. The book is a popular level look at their recovery program at their church and how the help people change in God-honoring, Biblical ways.

6. Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace by Heath Lambert

Lambert, the new Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, has attempted to write a new book on helping Christians battle against pornography. The book is aimed at being both highly practical and gospel-saturated. As this is one of the foremost subjects I encounter as a counselor I look forward to seeing what new help this work provides.

7. Transformational Groups: Creating a New Scorecard for Groups by Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger

As the pastor overseeing small groups at CBC I am looking forward to diving into this work which offers both Biblical support and research to help churches utilize their small groups to effectively do discipleship. Stetzer is a great missiologist whose work I have often benefited from, and I am looking forward to learning about how some particular churches are seeing transformation happen among their members as they maximize the potential of the small group ministry.

8. Poems and Prose by Gerald Manly Hopkins

The great Catholic poet has often been on my radar but I have never taken the time to dive into his work. I am looking forward to encountering God through the creative poetry of another devout artist and Christian.

9. God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson

This graphic novel collects the full story of the X-Men’s encounter with “the Purifiers” and the Rev. William Stryker. The book examines the depths of religious hatred that can play out when conviction is not counter balanced with grace and love. It of course utilizes a stereotype of Christians that I do not agree with, and which does not represent the truth of Scripture nor of many actual Christians, but it is a useful lens through which to examine our relationship to those with whom we disagree. The Marvel Universe has long explored the realities of oppression, difference, and bigotry. I love Claremont’s work and so I am excited to see how this particular novel explores those themes.

10. The Walking Dead, vol. 19: The March to War by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard

I continue to enjoy the graphic novels just as much as the show. They exist in different universes, but the stories are equally as compelling. So I will eventually pick up volume 19 this summer and keep moving through this fascinating and gripping series.

 

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