I am aware that many people use their summer vacation to read fiction, but may I humbly suggest five non-fiction titles you may wish to check out.
Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster
This book was first published in 1978 and updated twice. It is an outstanding introduction to the "classical disciplines" (practices that help believers grow in their walk with God). While it encourages the reader to explore these disciplines, it gives examples without making them into regulations. Another thing I appreciated was how the author draws on a variety of expressions of Christianity through the ages to show the universality of this path to spiritual growth.
Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxes, 2008
This biography is outstanding not only because of the "amazing" person it profiles but also because of the clever writing style of the author. Metaxas, who also wrote a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has the ability to transport the reader to the period during which William Wilberforce lived. I was astounded to discover that despite all of the "big name" people with whom Wilberforce rubbed shoulders, he remained humble and willing to associate with the poor and oppressed. It had not been clear to me before reading this book just how practically irreligious England was at this time, caring little about those in need within its borders and certainly not about slaves or subjects of the Empire. Through Wilberforce's leadership and perseverance this culture was shown the depths of its depravity; and by turning to the “amazing grace” that springs from God in Jesus Christ, it was literally transformed.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, 2010
This book has given me insight into a host of different issues. I was caught up in the human story of Henrietta Lacks and her children growing up without her and the struggles they experienced when discovering decades after her death that her HeLa cells are being used around the world. New light was shed on past and present practices in medical research and ethical implications. This books is also a triumph in the sense of showing that a reporter can tell the story of this disenfranchised family with both honesty and tenderness.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, 2011
This book was just what I needed to re-calibrate my life and my perspective on things. Gratitude to God as a way of living is something I have practiced, but this author took me to the next level. I became aware of my tendency to rush through and not capture the moments of my life. I also have a fresh longing for that faith-feeding practice of The Eucharist, Communion or the Lord's Supper.
Manga Messengers illustrated by Ryō Azumi
This Japanese comic book style is used to present part of the Bible’s Old Testament stories has outstanding visual quality and readability. Sometimes the sequence of the prophetic books makes it difficult to fit them into the bigger story of the kings who ruled and the exile, but this version gave me some definite "Aha" moments!