A combination of ministry, some household projects and the weightiness of the book I am reading for the next review has caused me to not complete a book review this week. So instead, I thought I would share something a bit different this week. As the Northern Hemisphere looks to summer and its near endless demand of yard work and house cleaning, there also comes visions of family vacations, times of relaxation underneath the sun, and fantasies of hours of uninterrupted book reading (OK, the last one may be my own thoughts of what a dreamworld would consist of). Regardless, summer can often be a time of learning complacency, but it does not have to be that. It’s a great time to gather up some books and make a run through the summer full of reading, perhaps looking outside what your normal reading realm and into something a bit different.
So here’s a view the books I am looking to tackle in these upcoming summer months (and perhaps longer). These are not distinctly Christian books, but instead are meant to push me to read something a bit different. Many are historical, some are cultural, but all provide a perspective of the world in which we live. So in no particular order, here’s a look at some of my upcoming reads (hopefully):
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance: A personal memoir combined with the chronicles of a cultural crisis.
- Four Princes: Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, & Suleiman the Magnificent by John Julius Norwich: The influence of these four men has sealed their place in history and Norwich has woven together a narrative that culminates with modern implications.
- The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For by David McCullough: If David McCullough writes it, everyone should read it. Few historical authors have his gift and few are worthy of such a commendation. However, he has an ability that puts this on my list with little reservation.
- The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five-Year Campaign by Thomas Elephant and Curtis Wilkie and/or Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980 by Craig Shirley: Each of these presidents has his respective following and their individual paths to the presidency are fascinating.
- The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler’s U-Boats by William Geroux: The war against the u-boat ushered in a new era of war. Chronicling one family and their neighbors, readers get a glimpse into the severity of what was experienced.
- The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming of Age Crisis – and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance by Ben Sasse: This conversation is occurring with more frequency. There is great concern about the next generations’ ability to care for themselves and Ben Sasse offers a vivid examination.
- The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters by Tom Nichols: From the books promo: “People are now exposed to more information than ever before, provided both by technology and by increasing access to every level of education. These societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything.”
- The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax: In a digital world comes the rejuvenation of all things analog. Notebooks, pens, hardcover books are all coming back in style and author David Sax examines this return to an old phenomenon.
- True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy by Kati Martin: Chronicles of the life of Noel Field, a United States citizen who betrayed all loyalties on behalf of Stalin.
- Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I by Charles Spencer: There is a piece of England’s history with little examination. That time when the King of England was executed. Spencer looks into the lives who yielded great influence upon this event.
And that makes up some of the books that I am most looking forward to reading soon.
Not all of these are new within the last year, but they are ones that I haven’t yet read myself. I also can’t say they each have a blanket recommendation without reading them, but they are ones making waves in the book world that are worth at least noting and giving attention to. Not sure what to read yourself this summer? I would urge you to click the links, take a look, and find one (or two, or three, or all of them) that interests you because any one of them is certain to be an enriching endeavor.
Photo “Landscape” courtesy of user Shang Jing and Flickr.