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  • Writer's pictureJohn Morrison, PhD

2024 Summer Reading Recommendations

With a change of pace and a break from the regular rhythms of life, summer is a great season to read! Whether you're at the beach, by the pool, in the mountains, or traveling somewhere more exotic, we're confident these book options will provide something you'll enjoy.


Fiction

The Dragon and the Stone, Kathryn Butler


This is the first book in Butler’s Dream Keeper Saga and is a great read for 8-12-year-olds (and kids of all ages!). The book centers on 12-year-old Lily McKinley and her adventures with Cedric, her dragon guide. Butler weaves together fantasy elements with Christian themes into a novel that will keep you turning the next page. LINK

Jenn Heckman





Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry

This fictional memoir unfolds the life of Jayber Crow, an orphan who becomes the barber for the small town of Port William, Kentucky. Crow transports the reader to life in early to mid-twentieth century rural Kentucky, a comparatively simpler age where farming and the bonds of multigenerational families formed thick community. More than the events of Crow’s life, though, the book’s beauty emerges from the themes Berry artfully weaves throughout his poetic narrative. Readers are treated to stimulating reflections on loss and grief, loneliness and friendship, the need for belonging, unrequited love, and true beauty. For an increasingly connected but lonely age, Jayber Crow invites Christians to consider the shape of authentic community, and points the way forward by ushering readers into a different world. LINK

Michael White


History

The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes, Micahel Pastoureau 


In this short biography of stripes. Pastoureau traces the history and interpretation of stripes from the thirteenth century to the present. It’s an entertaining read that follows how stripes were used and viewed in art and clothing. LINK

John Morrison







King: A Life, Jonathan Eig 

Winner of the 2024 Pulitzer Prize for biography, Eig provides an engrossing and intimate portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. Drawing on extensive research, which includes interviews with key figures and recently declassified FBI files, Eig re-creates the journey of King’s life. Eig presents King in all his complexity, attending particularly to King’s relationships with his wife, his father, his mistresses, his fellow civil rights activists, political leaders, and the FBI. What emerges is an often emotionally-troubled man with deep convictions and comparably deep frailties, a determined strategist, who with courage and indefatigable advocacy led one of history’s most significant movements for justice. Eschewing hagiography and dealing forthrightly with his subject, Eig delivers a fascinating and fast-paced read that informs, engages, and inspires. LINK

Michael White

The Tar Heel State: A New History of North Carolina, Milton Ready


Ready’s 2020 revision of his 2005 work provides a great overview of the history of North Carolina. To know the history of the state is of great interest on its own, but we also know that understanding context is key to knowing and serving our neighbors. Ready offers an informed account of the growth and development of North Carolina that helps make sense of the current landscape of this great state. LINK

John Morrison






Christian Living

Handbook to Prayer: Praying Scripture Back to God, Kenneth Boa


Every Christian wants to pray more, to enjoy sweeter communion with God through prayer. Yet many don’t know how. We long to ask, like the disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Kenneth Boa has done just that – he has taught us to pray. Handbook to Prayer is the opposite of a “summer read” — a book you read quickly while on vacation. It is a book to marinate in, an instruction manual offering guidance and direction for three month's worth of prayers. Read it slowly and carefully. Digest it. And watch (Lord willing) your prayers grow in breadth and depth. LINK

James Sharp

Made for Friendship, Drew Hunter


Hunter gives voice to a truth we all recognize: we need friends. In fact, we’re made for deep and abiding friendships. This book will challenge you to prioritize developing meaningful friendships no matter your age or stage in life. LINK If this book piques your interest in pursuing friendship, you should also consider Michael Haykin’s Iron Sharpens Iron.

Jenn Heckman





What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done, Matt Perman

How do you accomplish things in life that really matter? How do you practically align your life and work with God's will?  These are important questions that all Christians face. What's Best Next by Matt Perman helps Christians think biblically about answers to these questions. It also provides biblical and practical help surrounding the general topic of productivity. This is a must read for anyone wishing to better align themselves with God's will. LINK

Eric Mullis



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