Monday, May 29, 2017

5 Great Books for Summer Reading

Its summer time (finally!) and that means reading. Here are five books I have read recently that I think would be great books to devour this summer in no particular order.

1. The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax

In this fascinating book, David Sax chronicles the rise (or revenge) of analog "technology" in light of the dominance of the digital revolution. Although most listen to their music digitally through streaming services and mp3 players, Sax unfolds the rise of classic records as a growing preference for many buyers. Likewise, real books, as opposed to eBooks, are making a comeback as is film, in person education, and host of other classic analog technologies.

The author explores more than just the economic trends but the reason behind them. Why would anyone bypass the convenience of digital photos and Pandora in favor of classic options? Perhaps the reader can already think of a few, but Sax provides a more complete list as the story unfolds.

This is a fascinating read for the twenty-first century.

2. Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter Bergen 

A few short years ago, the decade long hunt for the most wanted man in American history came to an end when Osama bin Laden was killed by Seal Team Six in Pakistan. The search for bin Laden is a fascinating tale and Bergen tells it better than anyone. This volume illustrates my firm belief that non-fiction told well is better than even the best fiction.

3. American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church by Alex Beam

There is no more fascinating religious figure in American history than Joseph Smith. Beloved by his followers and despised by his detractors. Smith was either a prophet or a fraud. In this volume, Alex Beam chronicles his final years climaxing in his death. This is not a work of hagiography nor is it a work whose motive is to take down the LDS church. It is rather a work of history. No doubt Smith's followers will not like much of the story (especially his chapter on polygamy), but he is fair throughout.

4. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton 

This year marks the five hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The dominant figure was German theologian Martin Luther. The best biography of him is Roland Bainton's volume. You cannot let the year go by without indulging in Reformation theology and biography.

5. Clear Winter Nights: A Journey into Truth, Doubt, and What Comes After by Trevin Wax

If your a fiction reader (and I hope you are) here is a short story from one of my favorite writers that deserves more attention. In this story we meet a young man struggling with a crisis of faith. Through the influence of his widower grandfather (who is also a pastor), he slowly finds his way back to Christ. I hope Wax returns to fiction in the future.
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