Late Summer Reads

Summer is coming to a close most people do book lists before summer starts I thought I would blog about the best books I’ve read this summer. Summer for me means no seminary so I can read more books that accumulating on my nightstand. For me, my Favorite book of the summer is a three-way tie between “The Devine Comedy, Silence, and “A Practical Guide to Culture ”

Here is what I’ve read so far this summer. 

Handbook for young men
J.C. Ryle’s handbook for young men, replete with warnings, exhortations, and instruction about this life’s many trials, temptations, and common pitfalls. This book is a treasure.

– Short practical and like everything Ryle does it is gospel saturated.

Silence
Seventeenth-century Japan: Two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to a country hostile to their religion, where feudal lords force the faithful to publicly renounce their beliefs. Eventually captured and forced to watch their Japanese Christian brothers lay down their lives for their faith, the priests bear witness to unimaginable cruelties that test their own beliefs. Shusaku Endo is one of the most celebrated and well-known Japanese fiction writers of the twentieth century, and Silence is widely considered to be his great masterpiece.

– This book is a must read for every High Schooler – Such a powerful story of faith and how faith is destroyed by a post modern world. 

Parenting
Sometimes parents wish there was a guaranteed formula for raising good kids–a certain list of rules to follow to ensure they’d have obedient children. But if moms and dads view their role through the lens of God’s grace, they will see that the gospel must first shape how they parent before they can effectively shape their children. In this highly practical book, Paul David Tripp unfolds a more biblical perspective on parenting than merely adhering to a list of rules. He lays out fourteen gospel-centered principles that will radically change the way parents think about what it means to raise up a child, informing everything they do as a parent.

– Parenting is one of the most convicting yet helpful books on parenting I have read in a while.

Gilead
Nearly 25 years after Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations, from the Civil War to the 20th century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. In the words of Kirkus, it is a novel “as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering.” GILEAD tells the story of America and will break your heart.

– Gilead is a non-fiction story of faith and forgiveness. It was on a ton of lists so I read it. I thought it was good but not great. 

Inferno
This vigorous translation of Inferno preserves Dante’s simple, natural style, and captures the swift movement of the original Italian verse. Mark Musa’s blank verse rendition of the poet’s journey through the circles of Hell re-creates for the modern reader the rich meanings that Dante’s poem had for his contemporaries. Musa’s introduction and commentaries on each of the cantos brilliantly illuminate the text.

– Dante’s vision of hell was mesmerizing. Of all the classics I have read of late the Divine Comedy is near the top. Easy to read with much application to your life today. 

Live Like a Narnian
In “Live Like a Narnian” Joe Rigney shows that Owen Barfield was right–What C.S. Lewis thought about everything was secretly present in what he said about anything. From apologetics to his thoughts on education, from his view of science to the role of government, from Natural Law to true manhood and womanhood–the breadth of Lewis’s bright vision of life shines through in his beloved Chronicles. Come, learn to breathe Narnian air.

– This book was excellent great look at the great themes in Lewis’ Narnia. Really enjoyed this book. 

The Abolition of Man
In the classic, The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis, the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, sets out to persuade his audience of the importance and relevance of universal values such as courage and honor in contemporary society. Both astonishing and prophetic, The Abolition of Man is one of the most debated of Lewis’s extraordinary works.

– A classic by Lewis but the hype was far greater than the book itself. All the best parts you have read already in quotes all over the place. 

A Practical Guide to Culture.
We don’t have to lose the next generation to culture. In this practical guide, John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle explore questions including:
What unseen undercurrents are shaping twenty-first-century youth culture?
Why do so many kids struggle with identity?
How do we talk to kids about same-sex marriage and transgenderism?
How can leaders steer kids away from substance abuse and other addictions?
How can we ground students in the biblical story and empower them to change the world?
With biblical clarity, this is the practical go-to manual to equip kids to rise above the culture.

– If you are a parent of a teen or soon to be a teen this book is a must read. It is part philosophy, apologetic, and world view. It is very deep yet eminently practical. 

The Fellowship
In The Fellowship, Philip and Carol Zaleski offer the first complete rendering of the Inklings’ lives and works. C. S. Lewis accepts Jesus Christ while riding in the sidecar of his brother’s motorcycle, maps the medieval and Renaissance mind, becomes a world-famous evangelist and moral satirist, and creates new forms of religiously attuned fiction while wrestling with personal crises. J.R.R. Tolkien transmutes an invented mythology into gripping story in The Lord of the Rings, while conducting groundbreaking Old English scholarship and elucidating, for family and friends, the Catholic teachings at the heart of his vision. Owen Barfield, a philosopher for whom language is the key to all mysteries, becomes Lewis’s favorite sparring partner, and, for a time, Saul Bellow’s chosen guru. And Charles Williams, poet, author of “supernatural shockers,” and strange acolyte of romantic love, turns his everyday life into a mystical pageant.

Romantics who scorned rebellion, fantasists who prized reality, wartime writers who believed in hope, Christians with cosmic reach, the Inklings sought to revitalize literature and faith in the twentieth century’s darkest years–and did so in dazzling style.

– Took a trip with my son to England this year and read this as a precursor to the trip. I have long respected the literary lives of these men. Lewis for me is a hero and mentor in many ways. This book was long and detailed and I loved every second of it. It is however not for those only mildly interested in Tolkien or Lewis.

Here are a few I’m finishing up now.

Purgatory
The Divine Comedy is perhaps the greatest Christian classic ever written, and probably the greatest adventure story ever told. Dante wrote it to entertain, guide, and enrich ordinary readers, not just the intellectual elite. This clear new version with unique aids makes the fascinating story accessible to such readers today.

Those who love Dante best as a storyteller and teacher will find in this book what they have been waiting for…the freshest, clearest, most exact, and most readable Divine Comedy in the English language, with full-page illustrations and original notes.

– Not being Catholic I don’t believe in the theological place of Purgatory but it’s implications for us in our lives as a protestant I would have called this book Sanctification. Of all the classics I have read of late the Divine Comedy is near the top. Easy to read with much application to your life today. 


How Dante Can Save Your Life
Inspiring, revelatory, and packed with penetrating spiritual, moral, and psychological insights, How Dante Can Save Your Life is a book for people, both religious and secular, who find themselves searching for meaning and healing. Dante told his patron that he wrote his poem to bring readers from misery to happiness. It worked for Rod Dreher. Dante saved Rod Dreher’s life—and in this book, Dreher shows you how Dante can save yours.

– It is too early to tell but this book may be saving my life as well. 

Hope Has It’s Reasons
You long for love and happiness. But so often you are blocked from satisfying that longing. What are the barriers? Why are they so troublesome? How does spirituality play a role? Rebecca Manley Pippert examines these persistently human questions in this thoughtful and personal book. She invites you to join her on a journey exploring the region between faith and unbelief where your hopes and doubts mingle. Calling as expert guides such thinkers as Albert Camus and C. S. Lewis, she cites freely her own experiences and sets out the questions all face–questions about significance, meaning, love, life and truth, the search for encouragement and security. Pippert offers no canned formulas or saccharine cliches. In this revised and updated edition, she squarely engages your uncertainty, disappointment, longing for fulfillment, and the reality of pain and suffering. Such realism rings in the stories she tells and in the ideas she explores. In doing so she leads you beyond the search for your own significance to the reasons you have for your hope of discovering God.

– Anyone that Tim Keller quotes often makes it to my reading list. Rebecca Pippert gets quoted by Keller often. So far this book has been great. I also am getting why he quotes her so much she thinks a lot like him. 

Judges for you! Judges 4Timothy Keller’s Judges For You walks you through the book of Judges, showing how the flawless God is at work in the most flawed situations and the most failing people.

Combining a close attention to the detail of the text with Timothy Keller’s trademark gift for clear explanation and compelling insights, this resource will both engage your mind and stir your heart.

“Judges has only one hero—God. And as we read this as an account of how he works in history, it comes alive. This book is not an easy read. But living in the times we do, it is an essential one.”
– Timothy Keller

– This will be my 3rd time reading this book. For good reason. Immensely practical, spiritually enriching, and Christ exalting. 

 

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