If you’re looking for some summer reading (and you should be), here is my list of books I’ve read in the last 6 months that I would recommend. And “you’re welcome” for all the bad books I endured this year that I can now leave off this list.

These are not in order of preference, just random.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin. A classic, compelling book on the character and leadership of one of American history’s greatest heroes. Rarely have I been as inspired as when I finished the last few chapters of this book. I felt like I needed to read them standing up. Awesome. I was greatly disappointed at how sparsely Goodwin treated Lincoln’s growing faith in his last years and how it shaped almost all that he said and did. A glaring omission.

A Wind in the House of Islam, David Garrison. A book about the incredible ways God is moving all over the Muslim world. More Muslims have come to faith in Christ in the past few decades than in all the 1000+ previous years combined. As the old preacher says, “If this book don’t light your fire, your wood is wet.”

An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir. Think Hunger Games for adults, but without the goofy plot. Pretty good insight into totalitarian rule and human nature. You won’t be able to put it down.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin OlympicsDaniel James Brown. A historical book about a group of young American athletes in a rowing crew, the 1936 Olympics, and the road to WW2. Reads like a novel.

Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life, Donald Rumsfeld. A great leadership book. Amazing! Pithy and memorable, and quite fascinating. I’m sharing the essential concepts with our staff soon.

George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father, Thomas Kidd. What an incredible book at a mostly overlooked, but pivotal part, of our nation’s history. This book can be nerdy at times, but it is rich and inspiring.

Concerning Christian Liberty, Martin Luther. Luther might be my favorite author of all time. I listened to this book on Audible and felt like I needed to stand up during parts of it, the insights were so powerful and compelling. All about the gospel. After reading this book you’ll understand why the Protestant Reformation began. This book, I’ve heard it said, feels like it is written by a man falling into a deep well who reached out in desperation to grab ahold of a rope to stop his fall, which was attached to a large bell, and the ringing of that bell woke up all of Europe of a great ecclesiastical slumber.

Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel, Russell Moore. A timely, prophetic book about what living the gospel out in this cultural milieu looks like. Russell is one of our generation’s best and bravest thinkers.

American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964, William Manchester. A look deep inside the life of one of America’s most effective and eccentric leaders.

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms, Tim Keller, with Kathy Keller. Keller, in his inimitable way, walks us through the Bible’s worship manual, the book of Psalms, verse by verse, in a series of daily devotions.

7 Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness, Eric Metaxas. My small group read this together. It’s amazing. I plan to have my daughters read it when they get into the 9th grade. May God raise up women like these from our church!

The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, Mark Buchanan. I had our staff read this together for our staff retreat. An artful book on a necessary, though neglected, Christian discipline–Sabbath!

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson’s work on the unjust treatment of some criminals, particularly minorities, is heartbreaking and compelling. Do note that Stevenson seems to lack a consistent ethical framework, and he often fails to take into account the complexity of certain situations. Still, this book is an important one for those of us from majority cultures to wrestle with.

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs. Everyone needs to read good Puritan books from time to time. A bit wordy and repetitive, but the insight contained within it is definitely worth the effort.