Crystal and I do not load our boys down with assigned reading for the summer because we enjoy letting them feast in their own pleasure reading. However, we do assign a few books, and below is the list for Jonathan (13 turning 14) for this summer.
1. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stephenson. Jonathan already reads lots of fiction, but we wanted to choose one classic adventure story that he might not pick up on his own. He will be reading several 19th century novels in the fall, so this will serve as a warm-up to the language and pacing of those older novels.
2. The Autobiography of George Muller. Muller’s story is a remarkable one in which God continued to provide over and again just in the nick of time. It is a story of faith and faithfulness. It has been a great encouragement to several members of our church family, and we are praying God will use this book in Jonathan’s life.
3. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton. We chose this book for several reasons. First, this year is the 500th anniversary of Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Second, this is the classic biography of Luther, and it is an extraordinary read. Third, this book will be a bit of a stretch vocabulary-wise for Jonathan, which is something we have been wanting for him. Fourth, we are praying that through the power of story God might cause Jonathan to better understand and love the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.
4. The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, This book exploded my man-centered worldview when I first read it as a teenager. We chose it for Jonathan not only because of Sproul’s excellent teaching on the character of God, but because this book helps us understand the crisis that Martin Luther experienced before his gospel breakthrough. Few people today can relate to Luther’s terror of the holy; Sproul helps us to understand why Luther was right to be terrified, and why the cross is such a wonderful, glorious solution to the crisis.
5. Food Rules by Michael Pollan. On a completely different note, we want Jonathan to start thinking more about the aspects of his daily life he may take for granted. One of those is food. Food Rules is a very short book giving one man’s advice on how to eat and drink wisely. It’s not a Christian book, but it is interesting and brief enough to hopefully stir up some new thinking in Jonathan about his food choices. We see this one as a life-skills book that we hope will help prepare our son for adulthood.
6. Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. This book fits into the same category as the last one: life-skills. Jonathan has actually read this book before, but he was so young that we are not sure how much sunk in. He enjoys listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio show, and we thought a fresh reading of this book before he jumps into the study of economics this fall was called for.