Summer Is Here: It is Time to Crack Open a Book


“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . .

The man who never reads lives only one.” —George R.R. Martin

It is hard to believe that the calendar not only reads “May,” but the date indicates that June will be here before we know it. May is one of those transition months much like August/September and December/January. These are the times when our life rhythms change or shift. If you have school aged kids this change is more pronounced because of the academic year. Here is Florida summer vacation has already begun for many and over the next week or so every student will be out of school.

Often we work hard to resist the shifts that are coming, but I would strongly encourage you not to fight summer, just go with it. This is the time of year to enjoy fewer commitments, vacations, trips to camp, and the more casual milieu and overall slower pace that seems to infiltrate everything. This is also the time of year to pick up a book. Summer reading is a wonderful habit to cultivate. If you are not naturally a reader, read something fun that you find interesting verses reading something that you feel like you ought to, and do so with no guilt. Actually, this is good advice for all of us.

If the onset of summer is not enough motivation, the maybe some of these great quotes on reading will stir you:

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

—Harper Lee (American novelist is best known for her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird) 

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

C.S. Lewis (British writer and lay theologian)

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss (American children’s author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, and filmmaker)

 To help get us started, I have compiled a varied book list from numerous sources and genres. To provide some sense of the book, I have also included comments from an endorser.

Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention—And How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari

“If you want to get your attention and focus back, you need to read this remarkable book. Johann Hari has cracked the code of why we’re in this crisis, and how to get out of it. We all need to hear this message.”—Arianna Huffington

Bubble in the Sun: The Florida Boom of the 1920s and How it Brought on the Great Depression by Christopher Knowlton

“Knowlton delivers a vibrant, eminently readable cautionary tale about business and cultural history.” – Booklist

Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine Pohl

“Casual readers beware: Making Room is guaranteed to challenge even the most complacent Christian. You are not likely to walk away from this book unchanged.” Books & Culture

The Political Discipline: A Theology of Public Life by Vincent Bacote

“It is deceptively short and simply written, which engages you immediately and then takes you through the spiritual journey to ask the questions “What does it mean to believe and follow Jesus in the physical, emotional, political, economic, social, relational, and even spiritual world that exists around us? Where do we interface, where do we pull back? Where do we push out the words of Jesus, where do we carry his cross?…This is NOT a book that says “You must do this. Vote for this. Oppose that. Join this. Flee that.
This is a book that simply asks “What do you think your own life is worth, and how does it intersect with the God who called you to life?” —
Stephen Matlock

The Life We Are Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World by Andy Crouch

“As I read this breathtaking book, I was surprised to find myself tearing up often, not because it is a book about tragedy or loss, but because Andy Crouch, perhaps more than any other writer of our day, perceives and names the deepest and most vulnerable longings of the human heart. The Life We’re Looking For describes the confusion and contradictions of our cultural moment in clear and resonant ways and, more important, offers hope that we might find a beautiful way of living amidst them.”—Tish Harrison Warren

The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan

“Mark Sullivan has done it again! The Last Green Valley is a compelling and inspiring story of heroism and courage in the dark days at the end of World War II.” ―Kristin Hannah

Hannah Coulter by Wendall Berry

“For the first 40 pages or so, Berry’s latest novel about the Kentucky farming community called, by its inhabitants as well as the author, the Port William membership, seems more of same. A good same, for few write American English more limpidly than Berry, and he has realized his characters as thoroughly as Faulkner did any of the people of Yoknapatawpha County. But as this telling of a farm woman’s life in her voice continues–and voice it seems more than writing, so spontaneously speechlike are its cadences and the simple accuracy of its diction–it feels ever more poetic. Not gnomic and surrealist, like prose poetry, but flowing and long breathed, like epic poetry. Of course, the story it tells is epical, that of a heroine who expresses, in her living and doing, the essence of her people. Its character is domestic rather than martial; though, since its time span includes World War II, its trials include the MIA disappearance of Hannah’s first husband and the ghastly combat experience of her second, Nathan Coulter, which Hannah learns of with any precision only after his death a half-century later. If its domesticity is more often happy and fulfilling, though, the cultural movement–the short, precipitate, ill-informed, poorly considered demise of the American family farm–over which Hannah’s beautiful and heartbreaking story arches is as tragic as any war.”—Booklist

The Wisdom Pyramid by Brett McCracken

“Brett McCracken’s The Wisdom Pyramid models the discernment he asks readers to practice. Thoroughly biblical, it is also informed by a wide range of sources of truth, beauty, and goodness. From Augustine to Jacques Ellul, Reformed theology to pop music, historic Christian hymns to modern poetry, McCracken models how to wade through our daily deluge of input, form unhurried habits of attention, and grow into the patience and humility of godly wisdom. I imagine this book becoming essential reading for families, student groups, and churches.” ―Jen Pollock Michel

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution by Carl Trueman

“This is without question one of the most important religious books of the decade.” —Rod Dreher

This list should provide lots of options for your summer reading. However, it nothing on this list sounds interesting, please do not give up your hunt to find something to read as we watch the temperatures rise.


Crosland Stuart, of Crosland & Company, LLC, works with The Collaborative

on vocational guilds and content creation. Additionally, she also works in the areas of

foundation consulting, communications, and is a literary agent.


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