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On my holidays I mostly like reading books on the beach

So I'm gathering the books I'm going to take on holiday with me.

Wesley Owen tells me that the one Christian book I should read this summer is The Shack (at least their Bristol shop is full of copies of it and big 'must read' signs). And Eugene Peterson says it's the new Pilgrems Progress... which is glorious praise if true. And yet Christian fiction usually smells like Contemporary Christian Music - often average, and in the Christian bookshop because it's not good or engaging enough to be sold in Zavvi. Mark Driscoll just says 'don't. Walter Hanegar says it's "spiritual comfort food loaded with theological trans fat". Challies on the Pilgrems Progress comparison: "neither as good nor as original a story and it lacks the theological precision of Bunyan’s work". I'm not opposed to reading it but if it's content is that messed up, and it's not actually all that well written there are plenty of good novels yet to be read!

So, instead I've got Tennyson's Idylls of the King, Colin Duriez' biography of Tom Price's hero Francis Schaeffer, Amy Orr-Ewing's But is it real?, Cormac McCarthy's The Road (though I might finish that before I go), Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach and Dostoevsky's The Karamazov Brothers. Plus possibly Thomas Schreiner's New Testament Theology or something else. Should keep me going for a bit. Plus Bible, Chris Wright's BST on Ezekiel and my copy of The Valley of Vision.

I ♥ books. Some people take the kitchen sink on holiday with them. I just need my bookcase. Now bring on the beaches!


  1. Dave,

    Duriez on Schaeffer is a gem. I couldn't put it down.

  2. How long is your holiday ?!!!

    That's a seriously ambitious reading list.

    "The Shack" was on Newsnight a little while ago because it is such a publishing phenomenon. Brothers Karamazov is probably about 100x times better though. I really struggled through that but it has stayed with me in a way no fiction book has since. Although I don't think I really get it!

  3. The shack has drawn a fair bit of criticism from the online world - i think its Tim Challies who has opposed it on amazon. If im brutally honest I usually deliberately avoid the Wesley Owen best sellers. Joyce Meyer and Rob Bell being quite often on their list doesn't impress me..

    I recommend - not that you asked - Roger Steer's bio of Hudson Taylor or Elisabeth Elliot's bio of Jim Elliot.

    I love books as well. Going abroad for a year as part of my course my big question is. What books can I take?

  4. DK,

    I'd rather aim high than risk running out. And, I am already about a third of the way through Karamazov (and yeah, not all clear on it yet), I'm about 75% of the way through The Road, so that should help... 3.5 weeks of holiday though!

    Larry - I've read the Eliot biog. V.good.

  5. Al Mohler did a radio show on, "The Shack" you might like to listen to it. Basically it's an interesting book with some really bad theology! I like your blog.

    God bless

  6. I am just not sure if Driscoll recommends "The Shack"?

    Any ideas? I wish he would not sit on the fence!

  7. Good list. I'm also part-way through Brothers Karamazov, and loving it! But I admit that I've read several other books in the pause I'm taking... I usually avoid looking at the W.O. recommendations / bestsellers lest I sink into despair - it can quite ruin a day. Apart from grace and gospel hope that is.

  8. Karamazov I'm taking in small doses - I started it in May and keep coming back to it, I fear I'll lose where I'm up to but I'm still enjoying it.

  9. I've read The Shack - its a bit soppy and cringy.

  10. But what about your choice of beaches... obviously none as good as my homeland down the road from you... heading off down there next week... can't wait!

  11. For a light hearted, fun fiction, Jan Karon's Mitford Series is the best!

    Read a review in Ravi Zacharias' newsletter recommending it...have read the 7 books in the series several times since :)


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