We’re posting summer reading suggestions from some of our contributors here at DSR. These are recommendations that we want to share with you to hopefully point you to some good books, as well as let you get to know some of our writers a little better. These recommendations will be made up of both old and new books from a variety of genres.
Here are the other recommendations:
Today’s recommendations come from Matt Beard. Matt and his wife Whitney are originally from Tennessee, but they currently live (along with their baby girl Emery) in Louisville, Kentucky where he is a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
If you’re like me and don’t really have a portfolio to diversify (or really know what that means), then Summer is a great time to diversify in a different way. These are a few things I’ve read recently or am currently reading. I hope you’ll take the chance to branch out this Summer and pick a few of these up.
- Onward, by Russell Moore
While reading Onward, I constantly found myself thinking, “I wish I could give this book to every church member I’ve ever known.” How could I not put it on the list? This book carries a message that is desperately needed, particularly in the South.
- Operation World, by Jason Mandryk
David Platt, President of the International Mission Board, says that “Outside of the Bible, no book has had a greater practical impact on my personal prayer life than Operation World.” I have found that to be true as well. No book has caused me to pray on more worldwide yet pointed scale than this book. If you’re looking for something to make your heart burn for the glory of God among the nations, I dare say that there’s no better book out there save the Scriptures.
- John: Jesus Christ is God, by William F. Cook
While this commentary is helpful for leading the reader toward a clear exegesis, it’s true strength lies in Bill Cook’s pastoral insights. He is a faithful pastor who is daily involved in shepherding the flock God has entrusted to him. That experience pours from every page of this book. If you want to better understand the Gospel of John, buy it. If you want to know and love your Savior more, read it.
- Second Forgetting, by Benjamin T. Mast
Memories play an important part of people from the South. We know that the past plays an important part in who we are and who we will be. This is true for everyone I suppose but I have never been anything but a Southerner so I’m not sure. So what do you do when a loved one begins to lose a bit of their memory? Perhaps they even seem to lose a bit of who they are. This book was immensely helpful as I’ve watched my own mother’s dementia progress fairly quickly over the last year or so. Where’s the hope of the Gospel in the midst of Alzheimer’s? This book is a powerful answer.
- The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
Summer is a great time to read through a series of books. I just recently finished listening to the audio version of the Harry Potter series and I’m hooked. Some I’ve already listened to more than once. The audio performance by Jim Dale is absolutely brilliant. If you’re looking for something light but engaging, I highly recommend this series. (By the way, I realize there has been some controversy over the years about Harry Potter and Christian readers. Jim Hamilton has done a good job of engaging the subject here: http://jimhamilton.info/2011/10/10/harry-potter-and-the-sorcerers-stone-why-do-these-books-bother-some-christians/ )
- The Last Lion Trilogy, by William Manchester (Vol. 3 with Paul Reid)
If you’re interested in a series but Harry Potter doesn’t suit you, you might check out this massive three volume biography of Winston Churchill. I’m halfway through the second volume currently and can’t get enough. It’s quite a commitment. I’m listening to the audio version through Audible and it’s over 130 hours total for the three volumes. If you have any interest in history at all, you won’t regret making this your summer read.
- The Greater Journey, by David McCullough
You can’t go wrong with David McCullough. This book is an interesting overview of the migration of artists, writers, and doctors who migrated to Paris in the mid to late 1800’s in order to learn from the best in the world at the time. The details are fascinating (and sometimes downright gross). This would be a great read to mix things up mid-Summer.
- My Southern Journey, by Rick Bragg
There’s a feeling I get when I drive down the (once dirt) roads where I learned to drive. It’s the same feeling I get when I smell chewing tobacco (the kind from a pouch) or hear someone play an old Johnny Rodriguez song on an acoustic guitar. The stories in this book give me that same feeling. If you’re a Southerner who’s a little too far away from home, this collection of short stories will help a little. If you’re a Southerner who’s not far away from home, enjoy this and say a prayer for the rest of us.
- The Memory of Old Jack, by Wendell Berry
I’d recommend you read this along with Second Forgetting. However, I’d also recommend that you read this and anything else you can get your hands on by Wendell Berry. If you’re like me, the folks from the fictional town of Port William will sound an awful lot like the people at your family reunion. I don’t believe that’s a bad thing at all.
And On Deck:
Here are a few books from my “to read” shelf:
American Colonial History, by Thomas S. Kidd
Reformed Dogmatics Volumes 2-4, by Herman Bavinck
The Martian, by Andy Weir
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, Edited by Miles V. Van Pelt
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament, Edited by Michael Kruger