Published: 1 month ago

Summer Reading List 2019: Yours.

It’s that hallowed time of the year, kiddies: the time when reading nerds break out their pasty legs, slather on some SPF 90, and catch up on books we’ve been meaning to get around to.

I look forward to seeing other people’s book lists the way Kanye looks forward to seeing Kanye. Your lists help shape what I read, and I hope the opposite is true, as well.

Here is my annual curated list of ten of the books I’ve read since this time last year, and recommend to you. Later this week I’ll share what’s on my list for the next few months.

Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (Kate Bowler) Bowler takes a fascinating look at the rise of health and wealth theology. A professor at Duke Divinity School here in Durham, she even embedded at a local church to get a true take on this slice of American religion.

The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency (Chris Whipple) I loved The President’s Club, the story of how the members of “the world’s most exclusive fraternity” relate to one another. Whipple does the same for Chiefs of Staff from Nixon to Obama. This is a surprising page-turner.

The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World (Rosaria Butterfield) Butterfield’s book is one of the most convicting you’ll read this year. As a guest services guy, I found myself wincing at how I’ve become great at institutional hospitality, not so great at the personal side. See my Top Ten Quotes post.

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride (Daniel James Brown) I mentioned this one in my 2018 year in review post. At the time, I wasn’t quite finished with it. But wow, is it ever good. Disturbing? Yes. But good? Definitely. (Pro tip: the paperback version is currently five bucks on Amazon.)

Leadership as an Identity: The Four Traits of Those Who Wield Lasting Influence (Crawford Loritts) All leaders – especially those in the church world – need to spend some time with this work by Dr. Loritts. See my Top Ten Quotes post.

No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry (Daniel Im) My friend Daniel knows discipleship, systems, and ministry. So when he released this book, I knew it would be good. I wasn’t disappointed, and you won’t be either. See my Top Ten Quotes post.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (Tim Keller) Please take a collective gasp as you realize I just got around to this decade-old classic by Keller. But if you’re in the same boat as me, pick it up. It’s as timely today as it was ten years back.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory (Caitlin Doughty) It’s titles like these that make my book list scooch over into the “eccentric” category. Doughty’s take on the funeral industry and the American obsession with hiding away death is eye-opening.

Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom (Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey) Taking a unique look at the life of one of history’s greatest preachers, Carter and Ivey weave a historical narrative of Spurgeon’s relationship with American slave-turned missionary.

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds (Jen Wilkin) I’m not a woman. Roughly 50% of you aren’t either. But Wilkin’s book crosses gender lines and teaches us all how to be better students of God’s word. Read this and dive deeper.

Bonus: The President is Missing (Bill Clinton and James Patterson) The concept itself is fascinating: a former U.S. President teams up with a mystery writer to produce a work of blockbuster fiction. This is your guilty pleasure read for the summer, folks. Even better, listen to the audiobook, because Dennis Quaid is the hero we need. (Pro tip: I listened for free by using my local library’s borrowing app.)

The good folks over at the FTC want me to tell you the following: if you order a resource from a link on this page, I may receive a small affiliate commission from Amazon. If that bugs you, feel free to bypass my link and buy from a vendor of your choice. But still: buy it. I only promote items that have benefitted me and that I believe will benefit you.

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