By Craig Thompson
Summer is a season for reading. There’s little I enjoy more in the world than sitting on the beach with a good book.
As many of you reading this know, it’s not easy to read on vacation with children who want to build sandcastles and play in the ocean. However, I still find time to steal a few minutes here and there to enjoy brushing the salt and sand off of my pages as I leaf through the thoughts of another.
I hope you’ll find or make time to read this summer. As you search for the perfect read, I want to suggest five kinds of books you should set time aside for this summer.
1. Read something old.
How old? The older, the better. Go back thirty, forty, or fifty years, or even a hundred or fifteen hundred years. Read Henry, Machen, Pascal, Aquinas, or Augustine.
Old books have a different worldview to offer and provide a different vocabulary. Old books enrich you with older ways of thinking, speaking, writing, and listening.
Suggestion: Augustine: Confessions & City of God
2. Read something new.
As pastors, one way we keep in touch with culture is to read the books being published right now. Read something published in the last two years to help you take the pulse of current publishing trends. It could be theology, history, psychology, or fiction.
Suggestion: Running From Mercy
3. Read something the requires hard thinking.
These kind of books can be long or short—but if you’re trying to read on vacation, you might want to make it short. Maybe it’s philosophy, physics, apologetics, or cellular biology. Whatever it is, try to find something you can and will finish even if you don’t fully understand all of it.
Suggestion: The Saints of Zion
4. Read something historical.
Maybe it’s a biography, history, or something fun in between like historical fiction. You can read the diaries of men and women in history, the constitution, a history of a language, a history of the Super Bowl, or the history of Dodge City.
Suggestion: Steal Away Home
5. Read something fun.
Remember reading shouldn’t be drudgery. I love a good whodunit or cheap fiction. Just because a book won’t make anyone else’s book list doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t enjoy it.
Browse the book racks at Target, Walmart, the Dollar Store, or Goodwill. Borrow something from your local library or the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
They’re aren’t any fiction titles on this list is because I limit my fiction intake in order to keep from robbing myself of sleep to finish a good novel. Vacation, however, makes a great time to steal away time to finish a fun book—fiction or nonfiction.
Suggestion: How to Be a Perfect Christian
There are lists you can find all over the internet, and some are better than others. Just make sure that as you search for the right book(s) for your summer vacation, you find books you enjoy.
It’s a vacation, and there’s no reason to spend it suffering through a bad book. Your reading will enhance your preaching and ministry, and—maybe just as important—your vacation reading will help you relax and be refreshed.
CRAIG THOMPSON (@craig_thompson) is the husband of Angela, father of four, and senior pastor of Malvern Hill Baptist Church in Camden, South Carolina.