Our 2022 Summer Reading List

Reading Time: 4 mins

A few of our staff members have shared what they are looking forward to reading in the coming months below. If you’re looking for titles to fill your own summer reading list, we hope this list is a helpful resource.

Bob Hiller, Craft of Preaching Editor

​​You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World by Alan Noble

As a pastor, much of my preaching and teaching is focused on helping people fight against their own self-justification projects. Too many people believe they belong to themselves and thus have to create their own identity, ie, justify their own existence. Noble’s book proposes to correct this modern assumption that says, “You are your own, you belong to yourself.” This book has come highly recommended to me and the blurb reminds me of Luther’s marvelous words from the Small Catechism which state that God has “made me and all creatures…only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.”

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

It has been about ten years since I last read this classic from Postman. It is remarkable how relevant this book remains nearly 40 years after it was first published. Postman is prophetic in describing a society whose chief value is entertainment and which blindly accepts all technological advancements. This is one book that I think everyone needs to read every five years, and I’m half a decade behind.

Thomas Cranmer: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch

I try to read a rather large work of fiction every summer, but instead this year I’m going to try and conquer MacCulloch’s biography of Cranmer. I do not know enough about the English Reformation and I am always fascinated to learn how the rest of the world responded to reforms launched by the Wittenberg theologians. This book weighs as much as a brick, so chances are I won’t be finished until the fall!

Kelsi Klembara, 1517 Online Editor

The Genius of Luther’s Theology by Robert Kolb and Charles P. Arand

While I’ve referenced this book many times, I haven’t read it in its entirety. I’m looking forward to Kolb and Arand’s discussion of Martin Luther’s understanding of passive and active righteousness as a general introduction to his theology.

Hello Molly!: A Memoir by Molly Shannon

When Sarah Condon from Mockingbird Ministries mentions a book as she did of this one recently on the Mockingcast, you take note. “Comedy Memoir” as a genre is always top of my list, and Molly Shannon has been a favorite of mine for years. Shannon’s memoir isn’t meant to be purely funny, however, as she writes about the loss of her mother, sister, and cousin in a tragic car accident when she was only four years old. There is something inherently Christian to the juxtaposition of laughter and suffering, something I’ll be on the lookout for as I read.

Reading Black Books by Claude Atcho

In this new release, pastor Claude Atcho interacts with 10 well-known 20th-Century African American texts of literature in order to pull theological insights. “A theological reading of literature takes human experience seriously enough to examine it through the grid of divine revelation,” states Atcho in his introduction. I couldn’t agree more and am always interested in how narratives, particularly stories of people from differing backgrounds, families, etc. can point us to the singular truth of the gospel.

Caleb Keith, 1517 Podcasts

A History of Western Philosophy volume 4. Kant and the Nineteenth Century by W.T. Jones

It has been six years since I have read any 19th-century philosophy and I need a refresher on the core ideas proposed by Kant. I inherited this book and the rest of the five-volume series from Dr. Rod Rosenbladt when he retired from Concordia Irvine.

The Disappearance of Childhood by Neil Postman

Neil Postman's books provide a well-founded and prophetic look into a future (that we now live in) where education and by association, childhood, change rapidly through the introduction of endless digital media streams into nearly every household. He asks readers to think critically about how television and the internet educate and segregate children from certain types and modes of information. Has digital media changed the way we view the world and how we define and treat childhood as a social and cultural phenomenon?

Chad Bird, 1517 Theologian in Residence

Paradise Lost by John Milton.

Not only is the poetry of this work breathtaking, Milton’s interpretive and creative retelling of the Genesis 1-3 narrative is brimming with insight. I try to re-read it every few years.

You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World by Alan Noble.

If this book is anything like Noble’s other works, I will highlight half the book my first time through it, then be turning through its pages again next summer. The title alone, which stands defiantly against the ego-creed of American religiosity, is enough to pique my interest.

The Symbolism of the Biblical World: Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Book of Psalms by Othmar Keel.

This book, which has been around for decades, is about much more than the Psalms. It is packed with illustrations and explanations that demonstrate how Israel fit (or didn’t fit) within the cultural and religious milieu of the Ancient Near East.

Sam Leanza Ortiz, 1517 Publishing Assistant

Thomas Jefferson: A Biography of Spirit and Flesh by Thomas S. Kidd

Summer is an excellent time for biographies. With Independence Day around the corner, I'm looking forward to diving into this new biography from Thomas Kidd, which focuses on the complicated ethical life of the ever-enigmatic founder.

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

I originally started reading this in the spring for a book club, but I hope to finish it up as we head into summer. Thus far, I've appreciated Sproul's ability to take the complex and astounding doctrine of the holiness of God and write about it in a simple but no less profound manner.

Olive, Mabel, & Me: Life and Adventure with Two Very Good Dogs by Andrew Cotter

The world has felt very heavy of late, and that’s why I’m looking forward to this lighter read from sports commentator Andrew Cotter. Cotter and his adorable Labrador retrievers, Olive and Mabel, shot to fame in the early days of the pandemic with their hilarious videos, and this is a memoir of the trio’s adventures.