Summer is upon us. Memorial Day has come and gone, the kids are getting out of school, the neighborhood pool is open. And if you’re getting ready for that long-awaited family vacation, I hope you’re also making plans for the books you’ll take with you.

Chuck Colson started a tradition here at BreakPoint years ago. He’d poll the staff for our recommendations for summer reading, and then post them all on our website. In honor of Chuck — who loved books even more than I do — we’re keeping that tradition alive.

But before you run off to your computer to see BreakPoint’s summer reading list at BreakPoint.org, let me give you a few of my own picks.

My number one recommendation for you this summer is The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by my dear friend Rod Dreher. It is a brilliant, moving account of Rod’s return to his small Louisiana hometown. After years of self-imposed exile, Rod and his family left Philadelphia to tend to his dying sister, Ruthie. And back home, he was overwhelmed by the love and support — the community — that surrounded his sister. This book is Rod’s call to all of us to put down roots, to develop relationships that matter, and it is a great, great read.

My second pick is Joe Loconte’s book The Searchers. It is a must-read for the spiritually restless, or for those who can identify with Augustine, who wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

Joe Loconte takes us through the story about the disciples on the road to Emmaus from the Gospel of Luke. They’re disillusioned, discouraged, questioning — and then they encounter Jesus. I don’t want to sound too corny, but I think you will encounter Jesus, too, in reading Joe Loconte’s The Searchers.

Okay, recommended book number three, Susan Isaacs’ book — oh, my goodness — Angry Conversations with God. How do I describe this book? Angry Conversations with God is a deeply spiritual work, and yet at the same time it’s a bitingly funny memoir. If you have an unsaved friend who might appreciate a good laugh, or someone who’s trying to figure out why a good God would allow him to drop a meatball on his necktie on the biggest day of his life, for example, get them a copy of Angry Conversations With God. It is hilarious.

Getting a little more serious, my fourth recommendation is Os Guinness’ A Free People’s Suicide. It’s a brilliant, prophetic warning about the course our nation is on. We need, Os writes, an old-fashioned “reformation of customs” — a reconstructed “moral ecology” that lies at the heart of ordered liberty. Kind of heavy stuff, but it is a clear wake-up call for all of us.

Finally, the most important things we can read are the classics, and next to the Bible, Shakespeare's works are the classics of all Western classics. Now, I have what is called the Yale Shakespeare — anybody can get them, perfect little hardcover volumes of every single one of Shakespeare’s plays. They’re still available, and I can think of nothing better than buying a set and reading through them. I'm starting right now myself with Henry V. Just the opening lines are worth it all:

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention,

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,

And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

Well, no homeschooler should be without these amazing books, the Yale Shakespeare.

So there you have it, my recommendations for your summer reading enjoyment. And be sure to come to BreakPoint.org for a list of the BreakPoint staff’s recommendations as well. We’ll even have some of Chuck Colson’s all-time favorites for you.

Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.

Publication date: June 5, 2013