Summer. It means weddings (as I mentioned in my previous post), vacations, baseball, and books. In the South, it also means hiding from the sweltering heat and disease-bearing mosquitoes in your air-conditioned home–which brings me back to books. Safe, meaningful, mosquito-free books. I love (love) to read, and I read a lot. And when the time comes, you know, a time like summer, or winter, or evening, or the restroom, or breathing, I raid my bookshelf.
Now it’s your turn to do the same thing–raid my bookshelf.
This is the first of many in a series where I will recommend three books that I cherish. I’ll tell you a little bit about each one and why it has become so important to me. I hope you’ll love them too! I’ll also try, whenever possible, to include a link. If you choose to purchase a book, you are essentially supporting the work of this blog as I’ll receive a small referral commission!
These aren’t necessarily my top 3 books of all time–just the first 3. Anyways, without further delay, here are my first 3 Must Read Books:
1. This Is Your Brain on Music, by Daniel Levitin
This Is Your Brain on Music is a New York Times Bestseller which I would say is a’must-read’ for musicians, songwriters, and folks who have an interest at any level in how music effects us. Levitin is a neuroscientist from McGill University in Montreal who, bizarrely, began his career working in music production and has come to befriend little known folks like Bono and Sting over the years. Basically, he’s a Rock-N-Roll Doctor. This book unpacks how music influences the human mind in an entertaining way–and as a songwriter and musician I have found the insights derived from it to be invaluable. It’s also a pretty fun read–informative and anecdotal. I first read this book when it came out, and it is one of only a handful of books that I have bought several copies over–I keep giving it away! Again, specifically if you are a songwriter, musician, or musical worship leader–this book will change how you do what you do and broaden your horizons.
2. The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard
The Divine Conspiracy is a profoundly challenging book by the late Dallas Willard that has been incredibly important to me. Willard explores the true nature of the teachings of Jesus, encouraging the discipleship lived in everyday life–the surrender of our whole lives to God–not just of our destination. “Suppose our failures occur, not in spite of what we are doing, but precisely because of it”, he says, urging us onward into the life everlasting–becoming, and being Christlike, instead of just doing “Christianity”. This is one of those books that holds the thoughtful and the accessible in a beautiful tension and boldly challenges the status quo for the follower of Jesus.
3. Through The Bible Through The Year, by John Stott
If you’re the kind to use devotionals–or, frankly, even if you’re not–check this one out. Through The Bible Through The Year is a daily devotional combining the story arc of scripture with the traditional Church calendar. I love that this devotional isn’t just the random musings of a preacher, but is ordered alongside the church year, which tells the story of the Bible so meaningfully. While it’s possible your church might not know that it’s the ‘day of pentecost’… you sure will! John Stott is pretty thoughtful guy, too. He’s an Anglican cleric and an internationally renowned preacher and scholar. In fact, in 2005 he was ranked as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people. From the sleeve: “From September until Christmas, you will experience the Old Testament story from the creation until the coming of Christ. From January through April, you will explore the story of Jesus in the Gospels. And from May through August you will relive the story of Acts through Revelation, including God’s power for living now and his pledge of our final inheritance when Christ returns.”