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16 Recommended Summer Reads


Summer is around the corner, and if you’re like me, you’re looking for some good books to read once things slow down or to take with you on vacation. Here is a list of recommended books from staff and members of The Crossing to add to your TBR list. (See if you can spot the double recommendation!)

You’ll find a great combination of genres to challenge and encourage you. Happy reading!

Recommended by Mark Brooks, elder at The Crossing

From Strength to Strength
By Arthur Brooks

My friend Aaron recommended this one to me. In an exploration of how we should approach the back half of life, Brooks (no relation) pulls no punches as he lays out the science of what happens to our capabilities as we age and explains how leaning in instead of fighting is the surefire way to prevent a mid-life crisis.

The Lessons of History
By Will and Ariel Durant

One I come back to often. Over the course of 50 years, husband and wife Will and Ariel Durant wrote 11 volumes entitled The Story of Civilization. As a follow up, they wrote these 100 pages summarizing the ways history rhymes over and over again. Pithy, insightful, and readable in one sitting.

Chosen By God
By R.C. Sproul

If you've ever wanted to go deep on Reformed theology—its scriptural backing and its implications for living—it’s hard to do better than this book from one of modern times' best Reformed thinkers. Sproul delivers a clear defense of the Reformed distinctives and how they can radically change our relationship with God and our understanding of Jesus's gracious sacrifice for us. 

Recommended by Christine Simon, Crossing Kids

Only the Beautiful
By Susan Meissner

I learned so much from this historical fiction book about the terrible injustices that happened to young women in the hidden American eugenics program. As I followed the stories of Rosie and Helen, I felt all the emotions of their pain and also their bravery.

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post
By Allison Pataki

This historical fiction novel is filled with stories about an amazing woman whose father started Post Cereal. As I read this book, I kept stopping and looking up historical facts to confirm all the interesting details. I would love to visit the museum near Washington D.C. that’s dedicated to her fascinating life.

Knowing Christ
By Mark Jones

This book is rich with theology about Jesus. Jones fills each chapter with deep knowledge about Christ and gave me reasons to love Jesus more. I read this book with a friend, and we discussed each chapter. But it could easily be read devotionally.

Recommended by Ricky Presberry, elder at The Crossing

The President and the Freedom Fighter
By Brian Kilmeade 

The President and the Freedom Fighter is a parallel biography of President Abraham Lincoln and the abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Kilmeade chronicles the life of these two extraordinary men, from their humble beginnings to their roles in helping the country abolish “the peculiar institution of slavery.”

Jesus and the Disinherited
By Howard Thurman

First published in 1949, Jesus and the Disinherited attempts to clarify the worth of Jesus to those who find themselves powerless and of low esteem—“those who stand with their backs against the wall”. 

Thurman spends the majority of the book tackling the subjects of fear, deception, and hate, often referring to them as the “hounds of hell,” and their power to corrupt the soul. He concludes with the subject of love and Jesus’s call to humility and sacrifice. 

How to Stay Married: The Most Insane Love Story Ever Told
By Harrison Scott Key

This book is a gritty tale about a marriage that nearly ended due to infidelity. Amazingly, it survived to give us this great story of redemption and forgiveness. Harrison Scott Key allows us to peek into his failed and then restored marriage, giving us hope that God can work miracles in the toughest of marriages. 

Despite being the victim in their story, Scott Key speaks about the missteps he took that may have led his wife to feel trapped and unseen. For anyone bogged down with the pressures of family, work, and social responsibilities, this is a must-read.

Recommended by Heather Cox, member at The Crossing

The Little Liar
By Mitch Albom

I am a big fan of Mitch Albom’s books, and his newest one, The Little Liar, does not disappoint. I enjoy reading historical fiction covering WW2, but this one brings a unique approach considering the town of Salonika, Greece, which is invaded by Nazis. The book follows the lives of several characters throughout the decades following the war. It is creatively narrated from the viewpoint of Truth itself.

Albom’s writing style contains some deep and impactful one-liners that led me to think about them long after I finished the book. “Never be ashamed of a scar. In the end, scars tell the story of our lives, everything that hurts us, and everything that healed us.” We could do a whole book club based on that one line!   

The Fullness of Time series
Edited by Esau McCaulley

This is a great series of books that I discovered this past year. It consists of six different liturgical seasons in the life of the Church. Each book looks at traditions, prayers, scripture readings, and rituals within each season and has helped me appreciate the church calendar in a new way in my devotional life.  The different authors bring rich theological views in an accessible manner. 

Recommended by Patrick Miller, pastor at The Crossing

The Anxious Generation
By Jonathan Haidt

This groundbreaking book shows how smartphones and social media are causing a global mental health crisis amongst those who used devices during their preteen and teenage years. It's a must-read book, especially for younger parents who are trying to wisely protect their children from the nightmarish harm caused by early technology use.

By Preston Sprinkle

As we're gearing up for yet another presidential election (sigh), it's always important to keep our sense of identity in the proper order. In this book, Preston Sprinkle explores the Biblical theme of exile and explains how it has the potential to rewrite how we see ourselves and our work with state powers. 

Recommended by Kari Hopkins, member at The Crossing

Ginny Moon
By Benjamin Ludwig

Ginny is 14, autistic, and, after years in foster care, she may have found her forever home. But a secret may disrupt it all. I loved this portrayal of foster care and adoption from a child's perspective. The story is handled with such care and hope.

How to Stay Married: The Most Insane Love Story Ever Told

By Harrison Scott Key
Harrison is hilarious and faithful, yet sometimes irreverent, as he shares a deeply personal account of walking through infidelity. I listened to this book and would recommend it most on audio, too. Spoiler: His wife reads a chapter at the end! I wrote down so many quotes.

Recommended by Cole Moog, Veritas

Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What To Do About It
By Richard Reeves

Reeves brings to light the conversation about why it feels like men struggle more than they used to. This book was insightful and put into words the challenges I’ve worked through personally and that I see in my work with college guys.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
By Peter Scazzero

This is a consistent re-read every few years for me. This book combines how to walk through your emotions with your faith in a practical way that has changed how I bring my emotions to Jesus.

Looking for more books to add to your list this summer? Check out Keith Simon's top books of 2023 and keep adding!