Usually, every summer I assign myself a reading project. In past summers I have read Frank Herbert’s Dune series, the entire Harry Potter series (did this twice, during both summers of books 5 and 6; no promises that I’ll do it again this June), and Terry Brooks’ Shannara trilogies (pre-Jerle Shannara trilogy). These are some examples of “massive” summer reading. I loved it. In addition to these, I usually try to assign myself one classic. I have read (in unabridged form, of course) The Three Musketeers, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a few pieces of Shakespeare, and the original novel of The Phantom of the Opera, among others.
In the non-fiction realm I have not really done much in the way of reading projects until recently. When I have done so, I have tended to focus on particular topics rather than book sets. Some examples of projects I’ve done in the past (alongside fiction projects) include:
- Spiritual gifts (as in the charismatic kind)
- The Baptist Faith and Message (an item by item study)
- Pneumatology (as in Spirit-baptism and Spirit-led living)
- Eschatology (end-times theology a la Left-Behind type theology, also known as dispensationalism)
As I entered seminary, these topics became much more focused and mature. It wasn’t until the later half of my seminary existence that I started to really focus on summer study topics. The past three summers I focused my summer reading almost exclusively to pastoral topics or serious theology. Last winter and spring I made a serious study of Calvinism, the fruit of which was the series on The Doctrines of Grace (see sidebar). That study carried over into last summer, as well. Near the beginning of last summer, I completed a study of marriage which I had undertaken that spring. That study resulted in a liturgy of marriage which has become, quite frankly, my mission statement in my marriage. I have recently done brief reading studies in ecclesiology and pastoral ministry.
Since I am no longer a student, I have become more interested in reading the books on my shelves because I want to, rather than for a grade. Some of you may recall that I stated I wanted to read through my library during this first year of marriage. Well, the year is nearly up and I’m nowhere near close to being finished. In fact, I’ve barely even started. So for this summer I am giving myself a project: Get started! I will, of course, throw various fiction books in there to give myself a change of pace. So with no further ado, here’s My Summer Reading List:
- Let the Nations Be Glad! by John Piper (recently completed)
- Armageddon’s Children by Terry Brooks (currently reading)
- Chosen For Life by Sam Storms (also currently reading)
- Desiring God by John Piper
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
- Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards
- Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
- Saint by Ted Dekker
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (this summer’s classic)
Of course, this list could get bigger as my interests shift or more interesting fiction makes itself available. But I felt this was a good starter list. I’m still reading J. L. Dagg’s Manual of Theology during breaks at work.
I’d like to invite readers to share what they’re planning on reading this summer. There’s no such thing as too many books!