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The Gospel Coalition’s Summer Reading Lists

June 2, 2011

Collin Hansen recently asked the folks at The Gospel Coalition what they plan on reading this summer:

Collin Hansen, editorial director, The Gospel Coalition:

How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil by D. A. Carson

  • This title has been sitting on my shelf for a while since I picked it up online on the recommendation of many friends. Recent events have helped me recognize the normalcy of suffering in the Christian life. But my response has not always demonstrated the faith I profess. I’m hoping this book gives me a stronger theological foundation to strengthen my response to life’s challenges.

Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life, edited by Robert Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton

  • I’ve seen this classic work of sociology and history footnoted so many times that I’m devoting some time this summer to finally reading it myself. The preface to the first edition opens by asking, “How ought we to live? How do we think about how to live?” These are questions Christians have been equipped by God’s Word and empowered by the Holy Spirit to answer. But I suspect this analysis will expose that we, too, are complicit in a culture that challenges our Christian discipleship on various fronts.

America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation by David Goldfield

  • This new history of the Civil War is one of many published 150 years after the horrible war’s outbreak. I had been wanting to read this book even before I heard the author interviewed by Albert Mohler. But that discussion convinced me I needed to understand Goldfields’s controversial thesis that Northern evangelicals should be blamed for provoking an unnecessary conflict with their unflinching self-righteousness.

Andy Naselli, administrator of Themelios and research manager for D. A. Carson:

The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story from the New Testament World by Bruce W. Longenecker

  • This is one of the books I added to my reading list after reading Tony Reinke’s “Life In the Greco-Roman World (Book Recommendations).” I profited immensely from reading Paul Maier’s documentary novels onPilate and Rome, and I’m hoping that this book engages my imagination to better understand the world of the New Testament.

Perspectives on Election: Five Views, edited by Chad Owen Brand

  • I’m scheduled to teach a block course in September on the exegesis and theology of Romans 9–11, so I’m planning to read this book to help me better understand how different views handle Romans 9. I learn a lot from good debates, so I’m drawn to books framed with a debate-format.

Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell

  • Many friends have recommended this book to me over the years, and the occasion of this new edition seems like a good time to read it. I recently enjoyed a five-part interview of Sowell (12345), and this 80-year-old economist is as witty and insightful as ever.
Kathleen Nielson, author and plenary speaker at The Gospel Coalition’s 2012 women’s conference in Orlando:

Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden

  • What finally compels me to read this biography through and through is having recently read and relished the journals of Esther Edwards Burr, Jonathan’s and Sarah’s daughter. I look forward to Marsden’s comprehensive and much-celebrated portrayal of Edwards’ family life, ministry, and body of work.

Darwin’s Pious Idea: Why the Ultra-Darwinists and Creationists Both Get It Wrong by Conor Cunningham

  • This book claims to resolve the disputes between believers in Christ and believers in evolution—a large and challenging claim indeed. Cunningham apparently speaks with an extremely witty and penetrating voice, one both welcomed by many and questioned by many. My aim in reading is to understand the issues and the questions with increasing clarity and biblical discernment, particularly in light of the growing acceptance of evolutionary thinking among evangelicals.

Ballistics: Poems by Billy Collins; Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy; The Help by Kathryn Stockett

  • This is a diverse category for pure enjoyment. The Collins selection is a 2008 poetry collection. I reread Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles last summer and want to recall where he ended up with this later novel. And lots of friends recommended Stockett’s novel, a story of African American maids and the women for whom they work, set in Jackson, Missippi, in the 1960s.

John Starke, editor for The Gospel Coalition and managing editor of TGC Reviews:

A Damsel in Distress by P. G. Wodehouse

  • Wodehouse mastered the English language, and I try to read him (and others like him) as often as I can, hoping that somehow his brilliance can rub off on me—just a little of it. Wodehouse is funny and surprisingly perceptive about our human nature.

Athanasius by Peter Leithart

  • Leithart’s last book, Defending Constantine, along with many of his others, bring such a fresh perspective to any topic. He is often insightful and shrewd. Also, look for his book coming this fall on Dostoevsky.

Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl by N. D. Wilson

  • I’ve put off reading this book for long enough. I’ve just heard too many good things about it, and I’ve become more and more impressed with Wilson’s writing. This seems like a fun, slap-it-on-my-Kindle, summer read.
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