Fall is one of my favorite seasons of the year and not just because it is so beautiful here in Pennsylvania. As sure as the leaves begin to turn color and the nights get cooler, the publishers are releasing some of their most important titles of the year. As an avid reader, I often prepare a seasonal wish list of the books that I am planning to read. I thought that this week I would share my list for this fall.
1. Great by Choice by Jim Collins – 10 years after the release of his seminal work, Good to Great, Jim Collins has teamed up with Morten Hansen to answer the question: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Given the revolutionary impact of Good to Great on businesses and not-for-profit organizations, this should be an eye opener and have some great new insights.
2. That Used to Be Us by Thomas Friedman and Michael and Mandelbaum is a book that has been getting a lot of attention in the main stream press lately. Tom Friedman wrote one of my favorite books of the last decade, The World is Flat. In this new book, he and Mandelbaum make a strident case that there were five keys to Americas success and that all of these issues have been ignored in recent years. Given that we are still struggling with the ongoing effects of the “great recession”, I am very curious to read his proposals for how America needs to change going forward.
3. The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. Just when you think that Tim has run out of things to write about, he puts out his first book on Marriage. His book, The King’s Cross, was my favorite book of the Spring and anything he writes is worth a read. In this case, I will be very interested to see how his approach to gospel centered living and transparency apply to his views on marriage. Given the significant number of Christian marriages that are struggling these days, this book could not come out at a better time.
4. Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven by J.I. Packer, Al Mohler, Tim Keller, Chrisopher Morgan, Robert Peterson and Robert Yarborough should prove to be the definitive orthodox evangelical response to Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. I will be teaching a class of heaven and hell and look forward to using this book as one of the primary texts. Several of these authors have written on this subject in the past or commented in their blogs about the current controversy. I look forward to seeing how they handling this potentially divisive topic.
5. Bloodlines by John Piper is a book dealing with racism and the power of the gospel to deal with racial issues. It apparently includes a powerful testimony from John on his own struggles with racism. Given that I work in an urban setting and worship at a reformed church, this was a must read for me. What I really want to find out is how John came to the decision to include Christian rap artists at some of his reformed conferences. This book has the potential to change a lot of hearts and minds on one of the more important issues of our day.
6. Lit: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke. This book is a call for Christians to reclaim the priority, privilege, and practice of reading. As a Christian who loves to read, I can’t think of a better topic. Tony is the writer of the Miscellanies blog and works for C.J. Maheny. This clarion call to be gospel informed readers is one that I share deeply, so I look forward to seeing what he has to say.
7. Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividian is written by the grandson of Billy Graham who is now pastor of the famed Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church where D. James Kennedy was pastor for many years. This book is written out of the pain of the merger of Tullian’s previous church and Coral Ridge. In this book he describes the bitter divisions that soured the beginning of his pastorate at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and the personal anchor that he found in the overwhelming power of the gospel. I had heard about some of these events, but look forward to reading about them from Tullian himself how the gospel transformed him in this midst of this trial.
8. Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman that follows in the footsteps of one of my favorite books, Radical by David Platt. I am really curious to read Kyle’s take on what it means to be more than a fan of Jesus, but to in fact become a true disciple. I have a feeling that this will be a provocative book, but is one that I need to read. Some of the best books cause the most pain.
9. You Lost Me by David Kinnaman deals with the subject: Why Young Christian Are Leaving the Church … and Rethinking Faith. Kinnaman is the coauthor of the groundbreaking book, UnChristian and is President of the Barna Group. This book is of particular interest to me as I have two boys about to enter the target age group that he writes about.
10. The Chair by James Rubart is my one fiction addition to this list. James caught my attention with his fantastic debut novel, Rooms – which I am still recommending to people. In this new book, he deals with the question: “If someone gave you a chair and said it was made by Jesus Christ, would you believe them?” His captivating writing style in his first book and this fascinating question were enough to get me to bite. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will really enjoy it. James is fast becoming the Frank Peretti of this generation without all the demonic references.