Summer Reading

Nonfiction books | Beach books | Classic picks for the family

Nine nonfiction Christian books

(picks by Tim Keller)

On the Bible

The Historical Reliability of the Gospels

Craig Blomberg

This makes the case that the Biblical account of Jesus is not legend but historically trustworthy. Blomberg incorporates insights from Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, an important work but much longer and more difficult to read.

On the cross

In My Place Condemned He Stood

J.I.Packer and Mark Dever

This volume assembles several older essays by J.I . Packer. They are classics and had a profound influence on my understanding of Jesus’ death.

The Cross of Christ

John Stott

This volume along with the Packer book will give you a very complete and Biblically rich understanding of the cross.

On the resurrection

Surprised by Hope

N.T. Wright


It’s always a little dangerous to recommend a book I haven’t read yet, but I suggest it because it is basically a shorter and more accessible summary of his bigger classic, The Resurrection of the Son of God, which is wonderful but very long and academic.

On church history

Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity

Mark Noll


This is may be the best, short, accessible overview of Christian history. It doesn’t try to survey every century, but chooses 10 major turning points (the split between the eastern and western church circa A.D. 1000, the Reformation, the Great Awakening, etc.).

On faith and culture

Culture-Making: Recovering our Creative Calling

Andy Crouch


This is coming up during the summer, so order it and read it before Labor Day. It’s one of the best books yet on how Christians can integrate their faith with their work.

Till We Have Built Jerusalem

Philip Bess


This is a fascinating set of essays by a Christian architect laying out a Christian vision for a “new urbanism,” the belief and practice that cities are the best social arrangement for human flourishing. Bess is the Director of Graduate Studies at the Notre Dame School of Architecture.


The Letters of John Newton or Cardiphonia: The Utterance of the Heart

John Newton


Either of these editions of John Newton’s letters are classics of spirituality and devotion. He was the former slave trader who was converted and became a minister and wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace.”


Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis


You may not want to admit (around Redeemer) that you have never read this book — so stop being a hypocrite and read it! And if you have already read it, read one of the other big C.S. Lewis classics: The Screwtape Letters or The Great Divorce, or even The Chronicles of Narnia.

Beach Books

(Picks by Kathy Keller)

Series picks to keep you busy at the beach (mostly secular fiction — except Lewis, Tolkien, and Chesterton — but nothing offensive).

The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Novels

Patrick O'Brian


Features the friendship of Stephen Maturin (physician) and Jack Aubrey (ship’s captain) and their adventures in exploration, seafaring, and political intrigue. Also romance and sea battles, sometimes indistinguishable… Written in the style of the period, using contemporary diaries and descriptions of battles, storms, events.

The Amelia Peabody Series

Elizabeth Peters

Archeology, mystery, romance, womens’ rights and quite a lot of information about the early years of excavation in Egypt. Set in 1885-1920.

Miles Vorkosigan Adventures Series

Lois McMaster Bujold


For sci-fi fans. (However, if you haven’t read C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy [beginning with Out of the Silent Planet] make sure you get that in first.) They’re very different: Lewis will have your head spinning, and Miles is, well, unique. Be ready to explore different moral and ethical cultures through an a-Christian world.

Classic English mysteries Buy
Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham and Josephine Tey. Also, GK Chesterton’s Father Brown series of short stories, featuring Columbo’s spiritual ancestor, Father Brown.

A Mary Russell Mystery Series

Laurie. R. King

This series feaures the retired Sherlock Holmes and his young wife. The first in the series is The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

Legendary Lymond Chronicles

Dorothy Dunnett

For fans of historical novels. Set in the 16th century. Unquestionably the best historical novels ever written. All have chess themed titles; the first is The Game of Kings. Hang on, it took me a while to get into them.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

J.R.R. Tolkien

If you just don’t think The Lord of the Rings is for you, think again. Force it down, it will change your world.

Classic picks for the family

By Brent Bounds, Director of Family Ministries


The Robe

Lloyd C. Douglas


Captain Courageous

Rudyard Kipling


Anne of Green Gables series

Lucy Maud Montgomery


The Bronze Bow

Elizabeth George Speare


The Hiding Place

Corrie ten Boom


Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson


Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Mildred Taylor



Summer of the Monkeys

Wilson Rawls


The Mixed File of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

E.L. Konigsburg


The Cricket in Times Square

George Selden


The Chronicles of Narnia

C.S. Lewis


Twenty and Ten

Claire Huchet Bishop


The Cay

Theodore Taylor


Treasure in an Oatmeal Box

Ken Gire


Stone Fox

John Reynolds Gardiner


The Day of the Blizzard

Marietta D. Moskin


Blue Willow

Doris Gates


Treasures of the Snow

Patricia St. John


Resource for various age groups

Honey for Child’s Heart

Gladys Hunt

This book is a great resource of books for different age groups


Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture

Mary E. DeMuth


How and When to Talk to Your Kids about Sex

Stanton Jones


Grace-Based Parenting

Tim Kimmel


Parenting with Love and Logic

Cline and Fay


How Children Raise Parents

Dan Allender


The Price of Privilege

Madeleine Levine