Blog Open Thread–What Book(s) are you Reading this Summer?

Remember the more specific you are, the more the rest of us can enjoy it–why you chose this book, what specifically you like/liked about it, etc.–KSH.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Books

33 comments on “Blog Open Thread–What Book(s) are you Reading this Summer?

  1. APB says:

    Currently reading “Winston S. Churchill- The Prophet of Truth, 1922-1939.” Understanding history allows you to place current events in context. Something today’s generation who believe the world began the day they were born do poorly. This particular volume of the official Churchill biography obviously covers the events which brought about the Second World War. The similarities to today are troubling, and in some cases the differences are more so.

  2. Knapsack says:

    Just finished “Go Set A Watchman,” and while I think the second half shows that it’s still in need of an editorial workover, I can see it as an interesting . . . well, both a predecessor and successor to the author’s one notable work, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” And while the part in need of some editing is not quite what it could be, it can provide (maybe even more effectively given that it’s not *quite* a finished work) a basis for some very interesting conversations. I commend it without any substantial reservations.

  3. Karen B. says:

    Been working my way slowly through [b]Tim Keller’s[/b] book [i]”Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God”[/i]

    Lots of challenging stuff to think through / apply and so I’ve needed time to digest it so that it doesn’t just stay at the level of interesting head knowledge.

    I love how he incorporates and reflects on the writings of Augustine, Luther & Calvin on prayer. It’s really meaty in that sense. Keller is not trying to reinvent the wheel, rather perhaps to synthesize and harmonize some of the excellent writings on prayer from notable saints of the past. One of the best books on prayer I’ve ever read. Highly recommended.

    I’ve got other books I’d love to share about, but am exhausted from a very stressful day right now, so will wait until tomorrow or Sat. to write more…

    I do hope folks will include some [b]fiction recommendations[/b] here. I’ll have a few weeks “stay-cation” in August and am looking forward to the opportunity to relax and read a few novels in the coming weeks. Always open to good new authors!

  4. Langley Granbery says:

    I’ve started Rebel Yell by S.C. Gwynne. It’s a biography of Stonewall Jackson. He was a complicated person and multi-faceted. I didn’t know that he was a physics professor at VMI before the civil war, and an unpopular one at that. (The course itself was called something else.) His rise to prominence is fascinating.
    The author is the older brother of The Rev. Geoff Gwynne. Geoff started at Trinity but finished seminary at Yale. A few years ago at Trinity, Geoff told me his brother had written a bestseller on the Comanche Empire called Empire of the Summer Moon. I read that and really enjoyed it. S.C. Gwynne is a great writer.

  5. CSeitz-ACI says:

    Fiction: All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr. Sheer genius.

    Non-fiction: The War that Ended Peace, Margaret McMillan. Paris 1919 was her previous offering.

  6. Richard A. Menees says:

    I have enjoyed I Will Have Vengeance: The Summer of Commisario Ricciardi by Maurizio de Giovanni. Now reading de Giovanni’s L’Omicidio Carosino: Le Prime Indagini del Commissario Ricciardi by the same author. These murder mysteries set in Naples during Italy’s fascist period are dark but decent and exceptionally well told. I am delighted that my parishioner Dr. Tony Perelli-Minetti, a retired psychiatrist, acts as my lending library for these “gialli” by one of Italy’s premier “giallisti”. You might say “pulp fiction” but I think a higher rank is in order.

  7. Vatican Watcher says:

    Last week I read _The Disaster Artist_ by Greg Sestero. It is about Greg’s friendship with Tommy Wiseau, an enigmatic figure attempting to break into acting, and Greg’s experiences assisting Tommy in making Tommy’s independently financed _The Room_, regarded by many as the “Citizen Kane” of bad movies. Moved right along; I finished it in two days. Great read if you are into learning about how movies are made (or in this case, how they shouldn’t be made).

  8. Terry Tee says:

    A friend insisted that I read the memoir of Richard Coles, former pop star turned Church of England vicar. I resisted. I do not like celebrity clergy, and he has quite a high profile on radio and tv. In the end my friend bought the book and gave it to me. It turned out to be compelling reading: Unfathomable Riches. There were some wonderfully humorous passages that got me laughing, some thought-provoking cultural references and above all, a conversion story. Anglicans should love it, even if not everybody agrees with everything in the book.

  9. Kendall Harmon says:

    We have decided to try Arnaldur Indridason’s books which we never had a chance to get to–Jar City: A Reykjavi­k Thriller, Silence of the Grave, and Voices. It will be interesting to enter the world of Icelandic mystery.

  10. Kendall Harmon says:

    CSeitz in #9, that first one is by a Bowdoin grad. which is how it made my radar screen. I haven’t gotten to it yet so appreciate the comment.

  11. montanan says:

    Being Mortal by Atule Gawande – remarkable insight; should probably be read once a decade starting at 25 years of age. Just got The Anglican Way by Thomas McKenzie. I think I’ll look into All the Light We Cannot See mentioned above – I had looked at that, but didn’t pick it up. Now I’m curious.

  12. Luke says:

    G. K. Chesterton’s Life of St. Francis…not easy, but compelling.

    Gave our priest/rector a copy for a birthday gift – he seemed very pleased.

    Also read the the recent C. S. Lewis bio.

  13. Kendall Harmon says:

    Just so I am staying with you #12, on the last entry do you mean Alister McGrath’s?

  14. Kendall Harmon says:

    #11, just in case you hadn’t seen it, I posted “Exploring the Thought of Gifted Writer Anthony Doerr” back in March

    Note his undergraduate major!

  15. CSeitz-ACI says:

    Kendall–It’s the kind of book you hate to read too quickly knowing the story must end at some point. I have German relatives who lived through Werner’s story as told here, and St Malo is a fascinating part of France to set the action for the blind protagonist.

  16. Karen B. says:

    I read All the Light We Cannot See back in January. LOVED IT. Recommend it very highly. Beautiful writing, powerful story, interesting history.

  17. Karen B. says:

    Here’s another fiction recommendation, especially for dog lovers. In June before several plane trips, I was looking for some light reading. Through my library’s ebook lending program (what a blessing!) I borrowed: [b]The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances, by Ellen Cooney[/b]

    It could probably be classified young adult fiction… it’s a coming of age story about a troubled young woman who gets a job working at an unconventional dog rescue facility. Truly a sweet and moving story.

    Also on that same trip in June, I read the newest book (# 11) in the Maisie Dobb detective series. [b]A Dangerous Place, by Jacqueline Winspear.[/b] I had not really enjoyed books 9 and 10 in the series too much, the series was getting a bit “stuck,” it seemed. But #11 was much more interesting, and had a fascinating setting in Gibraltar during the Spanish Civil War in the lead up to World War II.

    And finally rounding out the fiction books I’ve read recently, again, for “plane reading” I picked up a short novel by well known pastor and author [b]Max Lucado[/b]: [i]Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe[/i]. It’s a bit syrupy and predictable. But it was still a fun read with quite an interesting premise, and it was encouraging to be reminded of God’s love for us as a Father who delights in communicating with His children.

  18. Karen B. says:

    And slightly off topic…. a future book I’m eagerly awaiting. I thought I’d mention this in case there are other Mitford lovers here who don’t yet know the great news. Jan Karon’s got a new Mitford book due out in September!!
    [b]Come Rain or Come Shine[/b]
    due out 22 Sept. I can’t wait!!

    You can read all about it on her facebook page:

    Let’s just say it features a wedding…. 🙂

    May Jan Karon live long and continue to write many more Mitford books! I can read each book over & over again and always find new spiritual encouragement & truth.

  19. Pb says:

    I just read Crazy by Pete Earley. The author’s son’s mental illness brought Earley into the mental health/legal system. The decision to dispense mental health care on an out patient basis and the constitutional right to be mentally ill and refuse treatment are highlighted by his personal and journalistic experiences. The most recent theater shooting seems to be one of these cases.

  20. Pb says:

    I just read Crazy by Pete Earley. The author’s son’s mental illness brought Earley into the mental health/legal system. The decision to dispense mental health care on an out patient basis and the constitutional right to be mentally ill and refuse treatment are highlighted by his personal and journalistic experiences. The most recent theater shooting seems to be one of these cases.

  21. Saltmarsh Gal says:

    Just finished The Shepherd’s Life – Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks..set in the Lake District. A superb read and made me rethink the oft repeated notion of the “low-lifeness” of the shepherds of Jesus’ time. Rebank has gotten me going on Wordsworth. The big summer project has been re-reading the seven mystical novels of Charles Williams – my fav is the first – In the Place of the Lion. For escapist mystery detective reading – The Inspector Gamache series of Louise Penny – it takes about the first fifth of the first book for her to find her proper voice but she found it and they have been entertaining. Starting now on Fool’s Talk by Os Guiness and eagerly awaiting the arrival of How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims – the former Dean of Students of Stanford U.

  22. Luke says:

    Yes, Canon Harmon, that’s the Lewis biography I meant.

    Mitford series…I’ve always enjoyed them. But, they’re becoming less and less real as history happens in the Anglican Communion.

  23. sophy0075 says:

    I have been armchair travelling this year while moving house. Escapist? Yes, but all of these are evocations of their locales and the problems and issues concerning them:
    1. Two by Sara Wheeler – “Travels in Antarctica” and “The Magnetic North.” Wonderful descriptions of scientific research, how scientists deal with isolation and local challenges (don’t go out without a gun if you are in polar bear country), and word pictures of [i]cold[/i] (if you are summering in the South, you will understand)
    2. Simon Schama – The Story of the Jews – This is an amazing, partially chronological account of Jewish history/culture/religion (all are bound up together in ways modern Westerners don’t comprehend) from earliest times to the expulsion from Spain in 1492. If you ever entertain notions of proselytising to Jewish people, you must absorb this book – then you may start to understand why your conversion targets often view your efforts with a mix of fear, suspicion, hostility and disbelief.
    3. Alexander McCall Smith’s series “The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency” – I have just finished the third book in the series and find each more delightful. His portrayals of his heroines are realistic and sympathetic, their “old Botswana morality” is the old morality I wish would return to the West (in lieu of the “whatever I think right” viewpoint of the “me” culture), the heat, dust, and brotherhood of this African nation is liberally mixed with humour and affection.
    4. Edmund Crispin – “The Moving Toyshop” – Decidedly not a children’s book, but a detective story set amongst pre-World War II Oxford’s dreaming spires. Be prepared for lots of literary illusions and Latin and French quotes.
    5. Tom Standage – “An Edible History of Humanity” – a thought-provoking series of hypotheses regarding how the foods humans have eaten from the Stone Age onward have made and reshaped their societies.

  24. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Reading Ken Follet’s trilogy of history from WWI to the election of Obama. Extremely well done with a look at all that history through the lives of fictional characters living in the history. The scenes move back and forth between Europe and the US so that you get the feeling of really being there.

  25. CBH says:

    My first summer reading was a result of the post: John Lennox Lecture, Against the Flow. I read again the Book of Daniel in the KJV and studied it from the lecture’s perspective . After the events of Charleston, I decided to read again To Kill a Mockingbird. It has such significance at this time. I have also read The Shepherd’s Life (James Rebanks) and loved it. I read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Jonathan Fry which was a good follow up since my mind was still in England with James Rebanks. Now, my book club is completing two volumes by Sir Kenneth Clark, his self portrait. I am also working on The Road to Character by David Brooks to see if it is something my older grandchildren would like.

  26. Ad Orientem says:

    Just some light reading…

    “The Ancien Regime in Europe:Government and Society in the Major States 1648-1789”
    – E. N. Williams

  27. Karen B. says:

    Speaking of books, I just happened to notice that the Kindle version of one of my favorite books of all time is on sale today at Amazon – Joni Eareckson Tada’s A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering and God’s Sovereignty.

    Can’t beat this for $0.99. Really. Highly Highly recommended.

  28. Undergroundpewster says:

    Light reading. Just breezed through “The End of Eternity” by Asimov. Wonderfully politically incorrect in so many ways.

  29. IchabodKunkleberry says:

    Financial stuff. Anything authored or co-authored by Benjamin Graham.
    These are :
    “Security Analysis” (with David Dodd)

    “The Intelligent Investor”

    “The Interpretation of Financial Statements” (with Spencer

    None of them recent, Graham having died in 1976. All are classic.

  30. Ralph Webb says:

    I’m currently reading Bishop (and former Nashotah dean) Donald Parsons’ A Lifetime Road to God, republished a few years back by The Parish Press. It’s a well-worth-reading overview of the Christian life. My wife Sharon is going down the rabbit hole to a book I read nearly a decade ago: Roman Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen’s magnificent Life of Christ.

  31. Christopher Johnson says:

    Right now, I’m going back through Allan Nevins’ magisterial history of the US from ’48 until the end of the Civil War, Ordeal of the Union. The thing runs approximately 4,000 pages in four volumes, at least in the paperback edition. It’s out of print but if you’re interested in antebellum US history, it’s well worth chasing down a used edition because I’ve never read a better one.

  32. Dan Crawford says:

    Two books I read many years ago: Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and Bernanos’ The Diary of a Country Priest. I am rediscovering why I so appreciated them.

  33. Charming Billy says:

    Just finished “Christianity and Western Thought”, Volume 3, by Padget and Wilkins. Just started “The American Pragmatists” by Cheryl Misak, next up “Validity in Interpretation” by E.D. Hirsch. Sometime in between I’ll have time for a Ruth Rendell mystery.