6 Books for the Summer of ’16

One of my favorite reading times of the year is summer. That’s because summer means making time for the reading of books. In the summer you’ll find me with a paperback on the front porch. Or a book on the beach. Or perhaps a hardback in the hammock.

If we’re not careful, we’ll allow the rapid pace of life to push our precious time of summer reading to the periphery. Fight for what is important and make the time for this—remember, we never “find time.”

While I plan to read a good deal over the summer, here are six that I can’t wait to begin.

1. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change, Paul David Tripp

Picture2A portion of my time each week is engaged in pastoral counseling. I want to improve in this area, as well as continue to help others within our local church as they minister to one another. I’m grateful to men such as Tripp who see the biblical call found in Eph 4:12 to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.” I expect that this book will be well worth my time.

…this book is about: how God uses people, who are themselves in need of change, as instruments of the same kind of change in others. This book’s goal is not just that people’s lives would be changed as they give help and receive it. The goal is to help change the church’s very culture. (Preface, xi)

2. William Carey, S. Pearce Carey

Picture1.jpgChristian biographies should be a part of our regular reading diet. Especially those dealing with saints of the past. It is a way in which we can fellowship with the dead. Easy now, as I’m referring to reading not conjuring! I once heard John MacArthur state that this biography was at the top of his list. Nuff said. I want to read it. 

S. Pearce Carey surpassed all other biographers in the unfolding of the extraordinary story of his great-grandfather, “the father of modern missions.” This volume, to borrow a phrase, “towers like an o’ertopping alp” above the other records, admirable as they are. (Peter Masters, Foreword, ix)

3. The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter, Ian O’Connor

iSpeaking of biographies, baseball fans (even those who despise the New York Yankees) will find the story of Derek Jeter interesting. One team for an entire first-rate career? This is virtually unheard of today.

It is a book shaped by more than two hundred interviews I conducted with Jeter’s teammates, friends, coaches, opponents, associates, employers, teachers, admirers, and detractors… over an eighteen-month period. But in truth, this book was built on thousands of one-on-one and group interviews I participated in with Jeter and his Yankees as a newspaper and internet columnist who has covered the shortstop since his rookie year. (Introduction, xi-xii)

4. The Liberation Trilogy Boxset, Rick Atkinson

liberation-trilogy-boxed-setEach summer I aim to pick up a book or two dealing with WWII, and this year I’ve picked up three. Atkinson’s massive trilogy includes (1) An Army at Dawn, (2) The Day of Battle, (3) The Guns at Last Light. These normally will cost you around $80-$125 for the set, but I was fortunate enough to locate them on ebay in good condition for a mere $25. Max Hastings writes in his Wall Street Journal article on the series:

The “Liberation Trilogy” will be an indispensable starting point for future writers about the U.S. Army in World War II. Every student of the period should doff his helmet to the author for an exemplary battlefield performance.

5. The Christian Ministry, Charles Bridges

Picture3Three of my most prized commentaries are the expositions from Bridges on Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Psalm 119. Originally published one hundred and eighty years ago, this classic has been recommended to me on a number of occasions in the same camp as Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor and Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students.

To enlighten the mind and affect the heart are the two main ends of Christian ministry. The first demands wisdom and plainness, the second fervency, as the spirit of scriptural preaching. This combination exhibits the minister as ‘a burning and a shining light’… imparting the spiritual light of divine truth, as well as the spiritual heat of divine fervour. (Dust Jacket and 318)

6. Escape From Alcatraz, J. Campbell Bruce

Picture4Admittedly, one of my favorite movies of all time is the 1979 prison drama featuring Clint Eastwood by the same name. This book served as its most notable source, chronicling the ingenious escape of Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin from “The Rock.”

The book was first published in 1963. Two weeks before the publication date the last prisoner was escorted off of America’s Devil Island and Alcatraz ceased to be a prison… The book is written in a terse but compelling narrative style and is easily discernible as the basis for the movie. However, there is more to the book than just Morris’ dramatic escape. Woven between chapters on Morris’ entrance, existence, and exit from this “inescapable” prison is a thorough chronicle of The Rock’s transition from a Spanish fort into a maximum-security penitentiary that housed such infamous inmates as Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz, and mobster exemplar, “Scarface” Al Capone. (Forward, ix)

What will you be reading this summer? Please take a moment and comment below, as I’d love to hear what you have on the top of your book piles to read over the next few months.