Summer Reading Lists
Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad books out there. How, one might ask, does one figure out what to read when there is so much available, and what not to waste one's time reading? Sadly, most schools do not teach students to be selective in what they read, glad if their students read something, anything. But, of course, bad books form bad character, and besides are often dull to read.
A few good methods we give below for choosing good books, followed by our suggestions of where to start.
(1) Read other books by the same author as a book you have enjoyed or profited from.
(2) Read the books that this same author probably made reference to in his book.
(3) Try not to read too much of a single genre, but mix it up, so when you tire of one book, you can take up another ready to resume that thread.
(4) Use the table of contents of practical literature to determine whether there is anything in the book you would like to know. It's okay not to read a book in its entirety once one has what one came for.
(5) Blog or take notes on the works that you read. Ask yourself what made this a good book, why do others appreciate it, and what would you need to be able to do if you were to write a similar book or work.
You can use one of many "Great Books" lists to get yourself started. Here are a few of our favorites:
How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler
Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
On Friendship, Marcus Tullius Cicero
The Song of Roland, Anonymous
Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke
History of Rome podcast series, Mike Duncan
The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis
On Monarchy, Dante Alighieri
Complete Sonnets, William Shakespeare
The History of Rome, Livy
The Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar
The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
Kristen Lavransdatter, Sigrid Undset
Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Coleridge
The City of God, Augustine of Hippo
The Facts about Luther, Patrick O'Hare
Discourse on Free Will, Disederius Erasmus and Martin Luther, ed. Ernest Winter
The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O'Connor
Why Did God Become Man?, St. Anselm of Canterbury
If Protestantism is True, Devin Rose
The Stranger, Jean-Paul Sartre
Summa contra Gentiles, St. Thomas Aquinas