Summer reading is one of the great joys of my life, but it didn’t start out that way. The first time one of my teachers assigned a summer reading list I felt like I had been arrested. My sunlit, school-free months would no longer be filled with baseball and swimming pools, I thought. Instead, my mind would be chained to the printed page, the life sucked out of me by, of all things, a book.
But then Mark Twain won me. And Jules Verne. Orwell, Hawthorne and Crane sealed the deal. Soon I was hooked. I became one of those geeky kids who had to be ordered to the dinner table, forced by threats to leave my other, literary world.
Now each of my summers is a read-fest, with beaches, picnic tables and even the space under a tree calling me to a book. Most everyone I know has had the same experience.
Since I want only to encourage this summer addiction, I thought I would offer a few suggestions for great books to read over the next few months. These ten books provide some fascinating journeys, perfect for the refueling, re-inspiring and just plain fun that summer reading ought to be.
1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
This big canvas treatment of introverts and their value to the world is my favorite book of the year so far.
2. Mrs. Kennedy and Me, Clint Hill
Secret Service Agent Clint Hill’s tender account of guarding Jacqueline Kennedy is a moving answer to the recent antics of less honorable agents.
3. The Demise of Guys: Why Boys are Struggling and What We can Do About It by
Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan
This is an e-book by the folks at TED on a vital subject. It is short, written by brilliant authors and it makes you want to be a better man–or at least help grow one.
4. 11/23/63 by Stephen King
This time travel novel centered around the Kennedy assassination is both an exciting read and a story that raises important questions about free will, memory, and the forces that shape culture.
5. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
Hyatt, the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, is an expert on social media in the service of a brand and he pours his wisdom liberally onto these pages.
6. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo
The skill of presentation as story is the heart of this book and, though you can easily read it at the beach, it may transform your career.
7. How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N. T. Wright
I can’t say it any more clearly: this may be the most important Christian book of the year.
8. Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
Frazier gave us the magnificent novel Cold Mountain and the same gifts are on display in this rich story of the Cherokee of North Carolina during the Great Removal, better known as the Trail of Tears.
9. Don’t Quit Your Day Job, edited by Sonny Brewer
This e-book is subtitled “Acclaimed Authors and The Day Jobs They Quit,” which hints at how inspiring this book is.
10. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I think every summer’s reading should include some classics and this one is perfect, since most people today thing it is a horror story but it was intended as a stark statement of man’s agonized longing for God.