An Explanation of Summer Reading

I'm not the fastest reader in the world (even in grad school!). My wife is. Thus, it is always an accomplishment when I finish some book and move on to another. I've made it a goal to work on that this summer, so I'm trying to have something to read before my eyes at all times. A mix of fiction, biography, and non-fiction seems to be the best combination - hey, it's summer, you have to read something fun!

That being said, I've just completed my first summer book, one that Taylor Sutton recommended I read a few months back. It's called The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It's a historical fiction book that tells the true stories of two men who each impacted the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (a.k.a. World's Columbian Exposition) in very different ways. It has been an enthralling read. I love Chicago. I love Chicago history more. And this book is replete with the stories and tales of a largely forgotten event that, in its day, was one of the most significant achievements of Chicago and America that the world had ever seen. What's more, all of the quotes in the book are taken from actual letters and newspaper articles written by the actual characters/newspapers from those days. Larson masterfully combines meticulous research with biting whit and humor to contrast the stories of the Exposition's head architect, Daniel Burnham (perhaps the most famous architect of the late 1800's/early 1900's) and America's first mass murderer, Dr. H. H. Holmes, who lived just blocks from the World's Fair when it was going on. The two men never met, but their lives and actions both profoundly affected the course of American history, even up to the present day. If you like a great story, some excellent history, and an overall fun read, this is the book for you!

Turning from that, I've now begun reading Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George M. Marsden. This biography of the greatest American Theologian and Philosopher has received excellent reviews from everyone I've talked to, and I've been wanting to read it for some time now. It's definitely a little bit more heady than the book above, but still very accesible by all audiences. What's more, it's spiritually profitable. I'm only 30-something pages into the text but have been challenged by the ways that the puritans thought and acted in their own time. The style is comfortable and the material strikes a good balance between narrative and biographical styles, so it's very easy to get lost in its pages. I'll give a more full review of the book when I've completed it.

For now, I'd recommend putting down the remote and picking up one of these, or any other, books and enjoy the oft-forgotten playground that is your mind.

1 comment:

Taylor & Kirra said...

Taylor is going to be so excited you read that book! (He still talks about how much he loved it, a year later!) So glad you're enjoying reading! It's so nice to have a break from "school reading!"