Since this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and the unofficial start of summer, I thought I would begin making this the time for my annual summer reading list. These are books that I have either read over the past year or plan to read myself over the summer. Most are brand new. A few, here and there, may be older works that I’m only now discovering myself or wanting to re-read. They are often a blend of history, fiction, biography and more.
Here they are, listed in alphabetical order by author:
Auletta, Ken. Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Advertising Industry (and Why This Matters).
Auletta came onto my radar with his prescient book, Googled, and hasn’t left it. I now read whatever he writes, and this book doesn’t discount that decision.
Diamond, Jared. Upheaval.
In a groundbreaking conclusion to the trilogy started with Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Diamond offers a theory as to why some nations recover from crisis and some do not. Love him or hate him, his provocative writing is essential reading.
Land, Stephanie. Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive.
This is a good and important book to read to enter into a world that many of us will never enter voluntarily.
Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Leadership in Turbulent Times.
An examination of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson. It’s just good. Really, really good.
Kotler, Philip. Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital.
Important reading for the most significant cultural shift of our day.
McCullough, David. The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West.
McCullough is the best living historian of our day. Period. Read anything he has written, or (God willing) will continue to write.
Roberts, Andrew. Churchill: Walking with Destiny.
A landmark biography of one of the most significant lives of our day. I’ve read many biographies of Churchill, and this stands among the best.
Noble, Alan. Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age.
A book that charts how counter-cultural, how “disruptive,” Jesus is in our day. And, I might add, should be.
Sansom, C. J. Tombland.
If you follow this blog and my summer reading lists, you know that I am an over-the-top fan of C.J. Sansom and his Matthew Shardlake mystery novels. Read them all.
Smith, Steven D. Pagans & Christians in the City: Culture Wars from the Tiber to the Potomac.
If you think contemporary culture wars are, well, contemporary, think again. This is a very important book that grounds you in the flow of history and how it repeats itself—how we can learn from our mistakes.
Volf, Miroslav. For the Life of the World: Theology That Makes a Difference.
Six Very Honorable Mentions:
Brinkley, Douglas. American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race.
Gould, Paul M. Cultural Apologetics: Renewing the Christian Voice, Conscience and Imagination in a Disenchanted World.
Harari, Yuval Noah. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
Hunter, James Davison. Science and the Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality.
McLaughlin, Rebecca. Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion.
Sauls, Scott. Irresistible Faith: Becoming the Kind of Christian the World Can’t Resist.
James Emery White
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.