May 022007

In one week, school will be out and summer with all her glory will be upon us. Summer signifies two things: (1) according to Calvin (not the theologian) it is “butter on your chin and corn mush between every tooth;” and (2) reading lists.

Yes, Christians do read other pieces of literature besides the Bible. Here are some of my recommendations for your summer enlightenment (there’s a little bit of everything, even poetry):

1. Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey. Pearcey is a brain when it comes to worldviews, philosophy, postmodernism and Christianity. This is a wonderful and brilliant work, and I even had the privilege of studying under her for a week in New York City at a journalism institute last summer. A must-read for anyone searching for answers to the meaning of life.

2. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (but were afraid to ask) by Eric Metaxas. Moby, the musician, called Metaxas one of the funniest people he’s ever met. Metaxas’ Q-and-A book about biblical doctrines is witty yet insightful and not your ordinary theology/religion text. Example: “Q: What happens when you die? A: Well it depends, but typically the lawn goes unmowed for a while…” The movie “Amazing Grace” is based upon Metaxas’ book of the same title.

3. The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. Think the Bible is historically bunk? Think again. McDowell lays out his book in outline format, so it’s more of an index of facts and evidences than a fireside read. But this guy does his homework. Nearly every question about the Bible’s historicity and accuracy are answered in this 750-plus-page anthem.

4. Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe. This is a fairly technical read but certainly raises questions about the theory/religion of evolution. Good for all you science-minded folk, Mr. Speaker.

5. Refuting Evolution and Refuting Evolution 2 by Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D. Sarfati has his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Victoria University in Wellington, Australia, and these two volumes are informative, critical, and fairly easy to read. A good starting place for anyone interested in the creation/evolution debate.

6. Vision of the Anointed by Thomas Sowell. Sowell – well-known conservative thinker and writer – takes a critical and in-depth look at several social and political issues. It’s a remarkable and revealing read and will make you think twice, hopefully, about some of the lines fed to us by politicians and pundits.

7. Politics: Observations and Arguments, 1966, 2004 by Hendrik Hertzberg. I had the pleasure of debating then later shaking hands with Hertzberg at the same journalism course that Pearcey lectured at. A former speech writer for President Jimmy Carter and current executive editor of the prestigious New Yorker, Hertzberg’s collection is more a reference than a straight read-through. And while I obviously don’t agree with his politics, his writing and insight are delightful and inspiring. Truth be told, Hertzberg is quite the winsome fellow.

8. Here Is Your War by Ernie Pyle. Pyle is a journalistic god, and his narratives and accounts from the front lines of WWII are humorous, sobering and amazing. He was an incredible writer and masterful story-teller.

9. The Art of Drowning by Billy Collins. Fair warning to all your prose people out there, this is a collection of poems by America’s poet laureate. Collins has the ability to turn the mundane into the magnificent. He’s “rueful, playful, warm-voiced, easy to love.”

10. The Days Are Just Packed: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection by Bill Watterson. What’s summer without “Calvin and Hobbes”? This collection is a classic for “Calvin and Hobbes” enthusiasts but a fantastic introduction for new-comers to the duo. Watterson’s observations about life, childhood, values and society are beautiful, moving and hilarious. Reading any “Calvin and Hobbes” collection will make you want to live a more compassionate and sincere life and have a water balloon fight all at once.

There you go, my friends. Read up, enjoy, and have a fabulous and blessed summer. See you in August.

Trevor Sides is a senior speech communication major. His column appears every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to

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