Ahhh, summer. Kick back. Relax. Soak up some sun and sleep a few extra hours.
Ok, ok – so summer might not be quite this dreamy, but it is a cultural and seasonal reminder of our natural human need for rest. Maybe you’ll get to head to the beach or the mountains with family. Maybe you’ve tacked a few days onto the front end of Annual Conference to spend time with your family. Maybe you’re not physically leaving town this summer, but you’re looking for some sort of “vacation” from the buzz of fall, winter, and spring.
One of my favorite ways to escape, whether I’m traveling or in my own living room, involves pulling my knees up, propping my feet, and settling into a good book for awhile. Whether I’m lulled by the rhythm of beautiful poetry or fascinated by the winding and weaving of a good novel, the engagement of my imagination in a world that is completely “other” is incredibly restorative!
So, this summer, I’m challenging you to read one good book. Not a book for sermon prep. Not a book for your summer small group. Just a book for fun. You might be amazed at how fun it is to check out of your world for an hour or two and jump into your imagination.
Here are a few book lists to get you started:
- NPR publishes an annual Summer Books list with a wide variety of categories (also available for 2012, 2011, and 2010)
- The New York Times regularly adds book reviews of all kinds.
- Good Reads is a social networking site for readers. Check out some users’ lists for summer reads here.
- Oprah weighs in here.
- Christianity Century’s book reviews might yield an idea, too!
- Think of the last book you truly enjoyed, head to Amazon and see what other users who enjoyed that book chose next.
- A previous blog post points to some websites that specifically review and/or sell Christian books, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you can find the information here.
Having trouble getting started? Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Call a friend and plan bi-weekly Skype dates to discuss a book over the course of the summer.
- Go make friends with an employee at the local bookstore.
- Schedule an hour for three days a week, just for the summer, and devote that time to reading. Or just read a few pages each night before bed!
- Find a book you want to read with your kids.
- Find a place at work, outside, or at home that is truly comfortable. This will make the whole experience much more enjoyable.
- Ask a friend what book he/she has enjoyed recently (we all have those friends who are always reading good books – use the resource!)
- Have a book you’ve been wanting to read but just haven’t gotten to it? Make it your goal of the summer to read the book.
Happy reading and bon voyage!
Image by flickr user MorBCN, via Creative Commons.