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Summer Must-Reads

woman reading a book
I hope these recommendations help you find books that are encouraging and engaging this summer!

A few weeks ago, one of our Boundless Instagram followers asked if we could give her some book suggestions. Lisa, James and I figured that people might have more free time to read in the summer, so we decided to compile a list of some of our favorite books and pass them along in case anyone else needs some guidance. Lisa’s suggestions are first in every category, James’ suggestions are second, and mine are third. Enjoy!

Best read from 2020

“A Change of Affection” by Becket Cook. This story of a gay-atheist-turned-Christian inspired several Boundless episodes and articles. I cried three times in the first 50 pages. Proof that God is still in the business of radically saving people for His glory.

“You Are the Beloved” by Henri J.M. Nouwen. This is a wonderful collection of spiritually encouraging and comforting samples from the writings of one of my favorite authors.

“The Ministry of Ordinary Places” by Shannon Martin. Shannon’s voice is humorous and lighthearted as she describes what she’s learned from living in a low-income neighborhood. It changed my view of hospitality and helped me view all people as created in the image of God.

Reimagined classics

“The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Baroness Orczy. A spy caper set during the French Revolution. Considered a literary classic, but tons of fun to read.

“Desert Wisdom” illustrated by Yushi Nomura. The sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers are timeless, but the Japanese brush and ink illustrations in this volume bring new life to the ancient wisdom within.

The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. Basic, I know, but each story is so fascinating and there are so many redeeming truths embedded in them.

Kids’ books that are still fascinating

“Watership Down” by Richard Adams. This book is about a colony of rabbits, but you’d think it was a dystopian novel by the engrossing way it is written. You’ll never think about rabbits in the same way again.

“Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” by Robert O’Brien. I remember greatly enjoying this book in high school and that’s really all there is to this recommendation.

The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. These books kept me up till 2 a.m. a couple of times because I just couldn’t put them down. They are a modern day “Lord of the Rings” and are so engaging.

Fiction books

The Thomas Pitt series by Anne Perry. Detective novels set in Victorian England featuring inspector Thomas Pitt and his upper-class wife, Charlotte. I learned so much about England in the late 1800s.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. I really enjoy Harper Lee’s style of writing in this book as well as the important themes it begs the reader to consider.

“The Swan House” by Elisabeth Musser. This book is based off a true story and features a girl from a rich Atlanta family whose parents die in a plane crash. To ease her pain, she starts helping the less fortunate, and it changes her life. A convicting read.

Nonfiction books

“Ishi: Last of His Tribe” by Theodora Kroeber. The true story of a member of a tribe of stone-age Native Americans living in Northern California around the 1920s. Some of it is almost hard to believe.

“Night” by Elie Wiesel. Everyone should read a book about one of the darkest moments in human history at least once in their life.

“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. This epic tale about an Olympic runner who became an airman during World War II demonstrates human resilience and hope in the face of suffering.

Theological books

“Concise Theology” by J.I. Packer. Easy to read and digest summaries of major theological issues. I found this book so helpful.

“Salvation by Allegiance Alone” by Matthew Bates. Yes, it sounds controversial, but this book helped me understand the relationship between works and faith as well as provided me with a better understanding of the gospel itself.

“The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis. If you haven’t read this yet, it’s a must. It is a compilation of letters written by a demon to his nephew about how to tempt a man; very eye-opening.

Books you would least expect us to read

“Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” by Mary Roach. If you’ve ever wanted to know the many ways a human body can be used after it dies, this is the book for you. Weird and kinda gross, but you can’t put it down.

“Techniques of Traditional Icon Painting” by Gilles Weissmann. Iconography fascinates me as an artist as it is not only an ancient form of art but is also a deeply prayerful practice.

“My Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George. I read this in fifth grade and absolutely loved it. It’s about a boy who runs away from home and survives in the woods and it always made me want to do the same.

I hope these recommendations help you find books that are encouraging and engaging this summer!

Copyright 2021 Maggie Heiskell. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Maggie Heiskell

Hello, everyone. My name is Maggie Heiskell, and I am the Boundless summer intern for summer 2021! I am from Atlanta, Ga., which is about 22 hours away from Colorado Springs. This fall I’ll be a senior at Berry College; my major is Communications and Public Relations. I have lived in the South my whole life, so moving west is a completely new experience for me, but one that I have always wanted.

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