Is there such a thing as reading too much? If so, I'm not there yet. One of the greatest parts of being done with my Masters degree is that I have the freedom to choose what I read. The summer is a time of year when it seems that people perhaps read a little bit more, often something a bit more leisurely, no matter what the topic. For instance, while I think that The Presence of the Future by George Eldon Ladd is a very important book to read for those who are wanting to understand better the inbreaking nature of the Kingdom of God, its not what I would consider a summer read. Instead, a summer reading recommendation for the same topic would be Kingdom Come by Allen Wakabayashi instead.
Yet, really, we all know that most summer reading a good novel. So the majority of my recommended reading is in that category, probably giving you some inkling as to the books I've recently read and enjoyed that I think would suck you into a story as you sit poolside or on the front porch and enjoying a glass of Arizona Stronghold's Tazi.
So, on to my recommendations:
1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Have fond memories of the classic video games, music, movies, and pop culture of the 1980's from a slightly geeky, as in you can quote Star Wars, remember what an Atari and Nintendo is, and listen to bands like Rush? Then you'll love this book, set in the future in a time where there is a virtual world more expansive than the real one that has everyone going there for school, relaxation, and socialization. I couldn't put this book down. It was simply awesome. I want to read it again this summer, that's how good it was.
2. Sex and the River Styx by Edward Hoagland. You've probably seen me quote this book on my facebook page and definitely in this blog. I'm almost done with it, and while its a lot different than Ready Player One, I find reading the essays by Hoagland refreshing and helpful for remembering what is really important in life. Perhaps its just my love of exploring and new experiences!
3. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card. I'm a sucker for Card's books ever since first reading Ender's Game. I recently read this one, a great science fiction book that had me grasping and trying to figure out the stories as well as the concepts that truly made is Sci-Fi. Highly recommend, and I'm looking forward to the sequel! I read anything he writes these days.
4. Genesis for Normal People by Jared Byas and Peter Enns. Amanda and I have been working our way through this short e-book and we can agree that it really is a good read. Very helpful for understanding Genesis for what it is, and clarifying our approach as modern readers to this ancient text written by ancient people (that's a hint on understanding Genesis for the genre it is, and what it isn't - a modern scientific textbook). Don't worry, this doesn't bog down on debate, but rather goes through the narrative of Genesis. If you read this and want to ask me questions, I'd love to do that with you!
5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This one is on my too read list right now. I know its well referenced and it will likely be familiar to me, but I haven't yet read it. So how can I recommend it? Because I am looking forward to reading it! Plus a summer reading list that didn't include at least one Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, or Ray Bradbury isn't actually a summer reading list!
6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I just started reading this one too. I'm not even sure yet what I think, but I know its a classic and something I should be able to say I've read, like The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, Joseph Heller's Catch-22, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, or William Golding's Lord of the Flies. For the record, I have read those other books but could probably due to read The Scarlett Letter or Lord of the Flies again.
7. The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight. This one was an important read for me. I think it is really important the point that the author is making about what we consider the gospel. Perhaps if we can recognize this, and let ourselves rethink the implications this has for our lives, then the church may be able to step away from some of its bad habits and seeming hypocrisy by letting the story of Jesus sink in the entire fullness of its glory.
Is that enough recommendations yet? How about one more - or I should say 3 more?
8-10. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) I read these over the holidays and I'll admit, they keep you engaged. I liked them. They are worth the read, and they are an easy read. I'm not afraid of your ridicule!
What books are you reading this summer - I'm up for recommendations as well!