Some summer beach reading
This past week I felt the need to unplug, so I took a couple of fiction books to the beach with me. I don’t like reading fiction. My wife gently mocks me for this. On our honeymoon at a bed and breakfast on the coast of Florida, she was reading normal beach books (think more Kite Runner than trashy romance novels), and I was reading a pastoral theology book. I like to say that ideas interest and motivate me. I know, I know — fiction is all about ideas too. So I tried some fiction.
After trying one new book and not liking it all that much, I returned to an old friend: C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces.
I first read Till We Have Faces about six years ago. I didn’t really “get it” until the “wow” moment about three-fourths of the way through the book, and then I realized I had probably missed a whole lot along the way. Re-reading it this time around, I was mesmerized. It isn’t often that I get caught up in a book the way I was for a couple days last week. It was glorious.
“Faces” was C.S. Lewis’ own favorite out of all of his works—and if you know his stuff at all, you can see why. The story that he crafts brings together so many of his passions and gifts: holy imagination, theology, psychology; there’s wit and doubt and struggle and pride and intriguing characters and all of it is wrapped up in a well-told story. If you’ve got any recreational reading time ahead, I’d highly recommend it. Then re-read it when you get done. It’s worth it to really get it.
Of course, after I finished with “Faces” I regressed in my fiction-reading-therapy program and picked up a rather ambitious tome: The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. 480 pages. Some of the pages are half footnotes. I’m off to a good start. We’ll see how far I get before the school year starts.
Here are some other books I’ve enjoyed — or plan to read next time I get some beach time:
- Perelandra by C. S. Lewis (part of his space trilogy)
- Evil and the Justice of God by N. T. Wright
- Sin, Pride and Self-Acceptance by Terry Cooper
- Visioneering by Andy Stanley (a great leadership book in a sea of mediocre ones)
- Perfecting Ourselves to Death by Richard Winter
Title image by Wilfredo R. Rodríguez H., Creative Commons attribution license.