Creating An Awesome Summer Reading List

                                                                                                         Picture source wikimedia commons

With summer on its way, you are probably getting ready to hit the road and take some well deserved time off. Well I'm here to remind you to take a book. Of course, if you're like me, that's not the problem. The problem is knowing what to take! If your summer reading list is cluttered, unbalanced, or (gasp!) nonexistent, I'm here to help. Let me give you a few things to consider when picking books to read this summer.

1. You Don't Have All The Time In The World!
Vacations can be deceiving. You're not just going to be reading by the pool. You will still have chores, work, family, kids, that French cooking class, and other things taking your time. So, be real about your reading time. If all you have is a plane trip and the evenings to read, then pack lightly. If you're going to be riding shotgun across the country, a fully stocked Kindle might do you good.

2. You Want To Read What?
Books take you places. Just make sure they're places you want to go. Are you looking for a good adventure story? Or are you wanting to catch up with your last reading list? Maybe you've been wanting to finally read the Bible cover to cover. It's up to you, just make sure it's what you really want.

3. Read What You Need
Some books needs to be read. But this isn't a bad thing. Some books will help you catch up with what's going on in your industry-leaders are readers right? Or you might want to learn a new skill over the summer (no, not macrame). Make sure it's a book you can learn from, but balance it out with lighter reading.

4. Not Just The Same Old, Same Old
It's easy to stick to the same genres and author's we're used to. Now is the time to break the habit. Pick up a steampunk novel, or a graphic novel. Been a while since you read a good fantasy story? Try some R.R. Martin or Tolkein. There's whole worlds waiting to be discovered. If you give them a chance.

5. Reading Deeply
Finally, I worry that we get shallower and shallower with each passing year. Don't let this happen to you. Find a book that's just a little older, longer, or heavier than you're used to. The classics, along with poetry, history, philosophy and theology books are usually good at this. Read with a friend and discuss. Flex your thinking muscles. You might just find yourself thinking a little deeper about the world, and yourself.

I wish you happy reading and thinking this summer. If you want more in-depth advice, I wrote an article a while back on how I pick a book to read. Take a look here. And let me know in the comments what you plan to read this summer. 


Introducing: The Literal Word ESV

Online Bible searches should be easy. I’m glad for a lot of the popular search pages out there like Bible Gateway and Youverson. But I think that a lot of these pages could be less cluttered. If you cut and paste verses as much as I do, having to hunt down cross-reference and verse numbers can get annoying. It made me glad to know I wasn’t the only one who wanted something a little leaner to search Scripture with. Thanks to a couple of San Franciso Bible geeks, we now have the Literal Word ESV.

One of the creators (Nick Honda) shared it on-line this week and I was fortunate enough to see it first. I tested out the page and I love it. It’s connected to the ESV, and it’s a simple, elegant page. Here are a few reasons to do your Bible searches there.

1. It uses the ESV (and the NASB)
I like that it’s set the Bible I use the most. I don’t want to have to hunt it down among a ton of other translations. And, they also have an NASB page, which has the same features as the ESV page.

2. You can remove verses and divisions
You can automatically remove the divisions (which aren’t original to the text). One of the first rules of Bible study is to read a passage without divisions, this makes it easier to get a feel for the flow of the text and its natural divisions. This feature alone made me fall in love with the page.

3. Simple to use
All Bible search pages have great benefits, but sometimes I just want to type in a phrase or a verse, and not worry about getting lost in the bells and whistles. This page offers simple searches, with no clutter.

4. Bar graphs
Each word search comes with a bar graph to tell you how much a word or phrase is used in a section of Scripture. Here’s the results of looking up the word “truth”.

4.No Adverstising
Of course, not all Bible search pages have ads (which isn’t wrong), but when I study, I find it better to have the text and nothing else competing for my attention.

I highly recommend this page and hope you take a look. You can learn more about the features at their about page. Remember to come back later this week for my interview with one of the creators of the page. See you then.


ESV Chocolate Cake!?!?!?!

A theology student recently graduated. This is the cake his friends got him. It looks really tasty.