Summer Reading List

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Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King is one I’m in the middle of now. I’m loving it. I want to get Michaelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling next (also by King). Amazon’s review: Filippo Brunelleschi’s design for the dome of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence remains one of the most towering achievements of Renaissance architecture. Completed in 1436, the dome remains a remarkable feat of design and engineering. Its span of more than 140 feet exceeds St Paul’s in London and St Peter’s in Rome, and even outdoes the Capitol in Washington, D.C., making it the largest dome ever constructed using bricks and mortar. The story of its creation and its brilliant but “hot-tempered” creator.

One of my favorite artists, Mako Fujimura, has a collection of writings on faith, art and culture. He is so thoughtful and graceful in his writing, just like his art. His book is Refractions.

Someone I respect mentioned Peter Leithart, so I tracked his site down and ordered A House for My Name, a survey of the Old Testament. Now, this might not sound like a summer read, but I sat by the pool for two hours reading this book! He has a fantastic way of noting themes, words and images that repeat themselves in Scripture. He points out types, accumulating associations of words and Israel’s history in a most fascinating way.

Charles and Rebecca Gilmer are friends of mine. They founded the Impact Movment, a partner ministry to Campus Crusade for Christ who reaches African-American students and leaders. His new book, A Cry of Hope, A Call to Action, chronicles the history of their movement including the significant struggles of trying to make it in a dominant White Evangelicalism. I learned a ton. May their work increase.

After working with the same department within Campus Crusade for 18 years, I made a change. Same city, same ministry, but significant changes. I picked up Transitions by William Bridges, a secular bestseller that normalizes the moves (good and bad) we face in life. Very helpful to me.

The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. Just get it.

Take this Bread by Sara Miles is a fascinating look at the life-change of a self-professed liberal lesbian whose life is turned upside down when she takes communion at a San Francisco church and ends up running a food pantry. Beautiful, hilarious writing in the vein of Anne Lamott.

Eatonville, Fla., is a nearby town where I volunteer. It is also the first Black incorporated township in America and the birthplace of Zora Neale Hurston, an author and anthropologist whose most noted work is Their Eyes Were Watching God (which I also recommend). Dust Tracks on the Road is her autobiography and is fascinating not just for the local flavor, but for her winding journey that led to such meaningful work.

I was never a reader of Anne Rice’s vampire tales, but when I heard she had a spiritual awakening, I read her autobiography detailing her faith story (pretty good, somewhat slow). Then, I picked up her novel Christ the Lord, The Road to Cana since a friend recommended it. I loved it. She has done her research and given flesh to the day-to-day life of what Jesus’ call to ministry may have looked like. Her dialog of the temptation is worth the price of the book.

Also, check out the recommendations at CommonGroundsOnline.

And Nicholas Kristof did a list of best children’s books here.

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