the official 2011 [summer reading list]

summer, reading, list, beach

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. school of ministry and missions instructor. president of fistbump media, llc.

May 31, 2011

summer, reading, list, beach

Last Summer I shared a list of 7 fascinating books [for your summer reading list]. But this year the team has grown a little bit, and I wanted to share what our contributors think is worthwhile for the time that we spend with our face buried in a book, Kindle, Nook, or whatever else you use to read.

And over the course of the Summer, we’ll be sharing reviews, interviews, and other perspectives on several of the books in this list. We hope you enjoy, and are moved by some of the stuff in this list!

Recommendations by Dan King, Founder and Managing Editor

  • Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society by Timothy Willard and Jason Locy
    Rarely do I ever have a book literally smack me in the face like this one did. The message of this one book is an important one for the church today if we say we want to have a real relationship with our Awesome God.
  • Movements That Change the World by Steve Addison
    This one is on my list because I believe that we can all play a role in changing the world, and I’ve recently become somewhat a student of faith-based movements.
  • When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
    This book was sent to me by a friend, and has been both challenging and validating. Through this book I’ve been able to see what I’ve been doing right in missions, but also discovered some mindsets and practices that really need to be dealt with.

Recommendations by Mark Lafler, READ Editor

  • The Lost World of Genesis One by John H. Walton
    I have a theological interest in Genesis 1 and John Walton is one of the foremost Old Testament scholars today. The book deals with exegetical issues of Genesis 1 as well as contemporary issues concerning the origins debate.
  • The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life by Karl Barth
    I have not read much of Karl Barth who is considered one of the greatest theologians in the modern era. I would like to read more of his works and this book, which deals with ethics, is very appealing.
  • A Primer on Postmodernism by Stanley J. Grenz
    The late Stan Grenz is a favorite theologian of mine and I have enjoyed his other books and articles that I have read. Postmodernism is an important element to understand and I would like to have Grenz persepective on the issue.

Recommendations by Duane Scott, PRAY Editor

  • Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman
    This is a book that requires special attention. It’s a message long overdue to America. Idleman is spreading a message we all want / need to hear. As I’m reading the book, I want to buy a ton of copies for the people in my life.. And I’m a becoming more of a follower and less of a fan of Jesus.
  • When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
    This one gives such a respect for life itself and it moved me to tears so many times, that it gets my fullest support!
  • The Summit by Eric Alexander
    If anyone reads this book and is bored, they need to be seen by a specialist. Eric Alexander assisted the first blind man to the top of Mt. Everest, and he writes the entire book with a spiritual focus. One of the key things I learned from this book was trusting God and His guidance, even when I couldn’t see.

Recommendations by Crystal Rowe, SERVE Editor

  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
    Although somewhat old, I read this one for the first time a few months ago and I was blown away. It’s fiction – based on the biblical story of Hosea and his prostitute wife. It brings up all sorts of issues related to prostitution and human trafficking, while at the same time giving a very beautiful portrayal of just how much God loves us … no matter how hard we try to run from it.
  • The Scent of Water: Grace for Every Kind of Broken by Naomi Zacharias
    Anticipating to finish it within the next week or so. So far, it is amazing. She talks with prostitutes, victims of domestic violence, survivors of the Indonesian tsunami, and all sorts of “broken” people, and as she hears their stories, she begins to wrestle with her own identity and life story.

Recommendations from other Bloggers

In addition to our editorial team, there are lots of other amazing people that contribute content to this site, and a few of them had some recommendations to add to the list:

What are you reading this Summer? Please feel free to add your recommendations in the comments below…


  1. Seth Haines

    Good to see Veneer and When Helping Hurts on your list.  Sometimes I think you need to move up to my neck of the woods so we can talk this stuff out over coffee.

    Reading Crude World.  Yeah… I know.

    • @bibledude

      or… the haines family could move to FL… the land of endless beaches and only a week of winter! then we could talk about this stuff while we’re grilling and the kids are playing at the beach.

      by the way… the veneer posts (interview and review) are going up on Monday 6/27… can’t wait to get them out there!

  2. Anonymous

    Y’all need a bit more fiction in your lives.  I have a HUGE TBR pile, which includes Love Wins by Rob Bell (I’m behind on the revolution), Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (what a title!) by someone, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and many others. 

    • @bibledude

      these sound like some great books! and yes… i definitely need to work more fiction into my reading activity.

    • goodwordediting

      I totally agree about the importance of fiction.

      Try The Foundling by Cornish if you’re looking for good fiction. It’s YA, but plenty good for adults. (My daughter says you should read The Hunger Games if you haven’t yet.)

      • @bibledude

        i admittedly don’t get nearly enough fiction in my literary diet. just not enough time in the day for me to get to the fun stuff. wish i could find the time….

      • Keri

        I agree about fiction!!!  And, Hunger Games is a great read!

    • Crystal Rowe

      I’m a fiction lover too 🙂  I read The Help and LOVED it…I can’t wait for the movie 🙂  

      • Keri

        Totally can’t wait for the movie.  One of my fav books of late!

  3. amber french

    “bittersweet” is a great read! she’s also written “cold tangerines” that’s on my “to read” list. “redeeming love” is great as well! i would also suggest “plan b” by pete wilson and “outlive your life” my max lucado. “dug down deep” by joshua harris and “let God change your life” by greg laurie are books i’m going to be reading next month…

    • Ayomideakinkugbe

      Plan B by Pete Wilson is amazing! ! ! Good stuff 🙂

    • @bibledude

      wow… sounds like a great list of books to be digging into! thanks for sharing!

  4. Charity Singleton

    What a great list! I recently started a book by Lisa Graham McMinn and her daughter Megan Anna Neff called Walking Gently on the Earth. I also am working through Annie Dillard’s recent fiction work: The Maytrees.

    Great list!

    • @bibledude

      thanks! and i’ll have to check out your recommendations too!

  5. Anonymous

    Of all the books mentioned above, so far I’ve only read the Summit. It was a pretty good book – not exactly my favorite genre (since I’m more of a thriller kind of person lately), but it was good nonetheless – lots of things to ponder on. 

    Thanks for the other book recommendations, y’all! 🙂

    • @bibledude

      i just realized that the guy who wrote ‘the summit’ did that mt. everest climb with the blind guy on that new show ‘expedition impossible’. he’s amazing, and i can only imagine that eric alexander’s story of that climb would be pretty interesting.

      let me know if you’re interested in writing a review on that book to be published here…


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the official 2011 [summer reading list]

by Dan King time to read: 5 min