Summer Reading

I know summer is officially a month away, but in order to get the amount of reading I have planned completed (I never actually do), I thought I would get a head start. So, here’s what’s on the shelf…

Currently opened and past the first chapter are Jackson Lears’ Something for Nothing: Luck in America, Brad Miner’s The Compleat Gentleman, and Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, vol. 1. The Lears book, which I’ve been picking at for a long time is a pretty facsinating look at how Americans view luck, and how Providence and grace differ from the culture of chance in which America now finds itself. Miner’s book I got a couple of weeks ago and will finish quickly—it’s a smart book that is heads above any other “masculinity” book I’ve ever read. Calvin’s work, of course, is a classic that displays both genius and a pastoral nature simultaneously.

Sitting on the shelf waiting to be read are: David McCullough’s John Adams (my biography selection for the summer), Philip Roth’s The Human Stain (I’ve never read any Roth, but I feel I need to be familiar with this American icon of letters), Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood (which I know will be splendid), and James Herrick’s The Making of the New Spirituality (which Ken Myers says should be required reading for any seminarian or pastor).

If I get through these, I still have Carl Henry’s six-volume God, Revelation, and Authority awating me, along with John S. Feinberg’s No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God. As usual there are a few others waiting in the wings as well.

Will I finish all of these by summers end? Probably not. I’m a slow reader and I tend to read several books at a time, thereby making it take an eternity to finish one volume. I will probably even pick up something that’s not on the list (like Walker Percy’s The Second Coming, for instance).

In other words, I need to quit writing now and go read. So I will.

4 thoughts on “Summer Reading”

  1. You wouldn’t happen to know an edition of the Institutes that’s actually… readable, would you? I tried once, but the tranlation that I had was perfect–for the 1850’s. It was virtually unreadable by today’s standards.

    If that’s the best there is, then, someday I plan to read the institutes too–with a laptop, so I can translate while I read!

  2. Kyle,

    The best translation that I know of (and the one that I have is the two-volume set edited by John T. McNeill and translated by Ford Lewis Battles. It is published by The Westminster Press in Philadelphia, 1960. It’s part of the Library of Christian Classics series.

    I know that’s still pretty old, but it’s still revered as the most readable English translation. The downside is that it’s a little pricey, but I found both volumes used on ebay for around $30.

  3. Kyle,

    I’d agree with Jared on the McNeill/Battles edition – far and away the best translation. But there are a number of abridged and modernized versions out there that aren’t too bad if you just want a quick idea of what Calvin has to say. The best one I have seen (most readable, yet faithful to original) is published by Baker and is edited by Tony Lane and Hilary Osborne. To top it off it only costs $12.99!

  4. Wow. Slogging through Henry six volumes sounds like a good way to waste summer blues away.

    (I like Henry, but don’t want to read him)

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