Today is official the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, which means, of course, it’s time for summer reading lists.
Before I get to my own list:
What’s on your summer reading list?
I tend to follow Alan Jacobs’ advice and read according to whim, but here are a few books or series that I want/hope to read this summer. I’m notoriously bad for failing to follow through on reading commitments and for losing focus partway through a book, so view this list as merely aspirational.
Photo credit: Mark Hamilton via Flickr
Emerging Scholars Related
Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. This book (in actuality, a long monograph) has been the talk of the town among higher education pundits. Arum and Roksa analyzed various datasets for approximately 2,300 freshmen and sophomores at 24 colleges and universities around the country, and their findings aren’t terribly encouraging if you think students should learn something by going to college. I’m about halfway through, but it’s a fairly slow read for me – lots of numbers and charts.
Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities by Mark C. Taylor. This seems like a logical follow-up to Anthony Kronman’s Education’s End. Taylor is the chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia, so I look forward to seeing how his analysis and proposals differ from Kronman’s.
Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas by Kelly Monroe Kullberg. A personal, intellectual, and spiritual memoir by the founder of The Veritas Forum — who is now an InterVarsity colleague working with Women in the Academy and Professions. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read it yet, so if you see Kelly, don’t tell her.
Digital Disciple: Real Christianity in a Virtual World by Adam Thomas and Friending: Real Relationships in a Virtual World by Lynne Baab. I’ve been looking for some resources to help me think through the “virtual” nature of the Emerging Scholars Network, and these two books seem like a good place to start. Friending, an IVP publication, came recommended by CIVA Executive Director (and former GFM Director) Cam Anderson, and I’ve been planning to read it for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, yesterday during my run, I heard John Wilson and Stan Guthrie favorably review Digital Disciple on the Books & Culture podcast.
Theology and the Bible
The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright. Another slow read. This is Wright’s 800-page scholarly examination of Jesus’ resurrection and the surrounding cultural and religious context, both before and after. It’s also Volume 3 in Wright’s as-yet-incomplete Christian Origins and the Question of God series — I read Volume 2, Jesus and the Victory of God, in graduate school, and it has profoundly shaped my understanding of Jesus’ life and work. (And I owe a big thanks to my friend Shane Cass for giving me a copy of this and Volume 1 in the series.)
The Deeper Journey: The Spirituality of Discovering Your True Self by M. Robert Mulholland, Jr. Last year, I read several books on knowing yourself and found the process very rewarding. This book came highly recommended by several colleagues at the InterVarsity national staff conference in January.
Pleasure, aka “Beach Reading”
I don’t plan on going to a beach (though I may go to The Beach) and I can’t do much reading even if I do go to a beach because of chasing/protecting/chastising my children, but if I did any beach reading, here’s what it would be. These are also the books that I’m most likely to actually read.
George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series. I’ve already burned through A Game of Thrones, I just started on the second book, A Clash of Kings, and book #3, A Storm of Swords, is on request from the library. My next goal will be figuring out how I can watch the HBO series without subscribing to HBO.
Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and Codex Alera series. My InterVarsity colleague Lorrey Thabet recommended Butcher to me a couple of weeks ago. A blurb on one cover described the Dresden Files as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Philip Marlowe,” which pretty much sums up my pulp fiction sweet spot. My library didn’t have the first book of either series in stock. So I picked up a random book from the middle of the Dresden Files series (White Night), figuring that a detective noir mystery didn’t need much continuity to be enjoyable, and I was right. Now I’m waiting for Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) and Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1).
OK — that’s my aspirational and likely unrealistic reading list for the summer.
What’s on your summer reading list?
The former Associate Director for the Emerging Scholars Network, Micheal lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children and works as a web manager for a national storage and organization company. He writes about work, vocation, and finding meaning in what you do at No Small Actors.