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Summer Reading Suggestions from MNU Professors

The Mabee Library has developed a list of professor-recommended summer reading suggestions in the hope that current and future students will find this of interest, and will be drawn to read a few of these important books. We also hope that these reading suggestions will help you learn more about our outstanding MNU faculty members. You will notice that some of the recommendations are "just for fun," while others may speak to your faith journey as a disciple of Christ, or encourage scholarly interests. To find out more about any of these selections, you can view our Amazon Listmania link. Enjoy!

 

Jonathan Downs

Assistant Professor of Business & Academic Advisor [Faculty Webpage

John Adams by D.G. McCulloughBook to Read Just for Fun

John Adams by David McCullough. This is one of the best books I've ever read by one of the best authors of our time. This book cleverly engages the story line of the American Revolution through the eyes of one of the foremost figures of that period. By exploring the peaks and valleys of John Adams, the reader can also relate to the basic human journey for individual aspiration and societal freedom. It is truly a celebration of the American spirit!
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisBook to Read to Grow in Your Faith Journey

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. For this category, the question was not which author do I select. The question was which of C. S. Lewis's books do I choose. One can not go wrong by reading any of Lewis's masterful works to explore and understand true Christianity. Although Mere Christianity is my favorite of Lewis's books, The Screwtape Letters offers a unique perspective on comprehending faith by flipping the narrative point-of-view. Instead of reading about God's relationship to man, one sees the devious and deceitful methods of a senior demon (Uncle Screwtape) as he mentors his nephew (Wormwood). By understanding how Satan works, the reader can be better positioned to avoid the devil's traps and maintain a fulfilled life in Christ.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic by S.R. CoveyBook to Read on Teaching/Scholarship

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic by Stephen R. Covey. Voted the top management book of the 20th century, Seven Habits is clearly a must-read for anyone! My advice is to read it sooner rather than later so the reader has the longest time possible to benefit from its advice. For college students, this book is key not only to your pursuit of individual improvement, but it is almost universally recognizable to prospective employers as well. This provides a great blueprint for developing character, ethics, and effective leadership practices. It could very well help college students produce very successful professional careers. More importantly, it will undoubtedly guide college students on the right moral path for their lives.

Donald Dunn

Instructor of Business [Faculty Webpage

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth SteinBook to Read Just for Fun

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I read this book, upon recommendation by a neighbor, after I lost my best friend in the world...my 16.5 year-old dalmatian. This book is told from the perspective of the living and dying of a beloved dog...prepare to laugh and cry, if you love pets.
The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Meditation on Fathers, Brothers, and Sons by Henri J.M. Nouwen.Book to Read to Grow in Your Faith Journey

The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Meditation on Fathers, Brothers, and Sons by Henri J.M. Nouwen. This reflective spiritual journey of Nouwen offers the opportunity for personal reflection around a loved and familiar parable. I have the Rembrandt painting around which this meditation is based...well, a copy of the painting, of course.
Book to Read on Teaching/Scholarship

The Moldable Model: Discovering an Effective Corporate Ethical Management System by Donald Dunn. This is my dissertation which explains my teaching direction. The dissertation is located in EBSCOhost's dissertations and theses.

Lauren Hays

Instructional & Research Librarian [Faculty Webpage

Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenBook to Read Just for Fun

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I am a fan of all of Jane Austen's work and Pride and Prejudice by far is my favorite.  This book is meant to be savored and is a perfect summer read.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisBook to Read to Grow in Your Faith Journey

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. This is a must read.  Lewis writes in such a way that he forces you to stop and ponder his words and your own actions. 
Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew BattlesBook to Read on Teaching/Scholarship

Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles. The history of libraries might not seem very interesting, but this is a fascinating history of how information has spread through society.  It is easy to forget how little access people had to information before the Information Age.  It is also easy to forget how much we still don't know.  I loved this book and I hope you will too!

Tyler Blake

Professor of English [Faculty Webpage

Straight Man by Richard RussoBook to Read Just for Fun

Straight Man by Richard Russo. I was given this novel by MNU alumn and author, Phillip White. I enjoyed it so much that I only let myself read it a little at a time. I honestly regretted each page I turned because it meant I was closer to the end. It renewed my faith in the exquisite pleasure of reading. At it's best, there is absolutely nothing in this world like a good book.
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInnerneyBook to Read to Grow in Your Faith Journey

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInnerney. This is a novel that is rich in Christian symbolism. It is subtle, but the story of redemption is woven throughout this witty masterpiece from the 1980s. It could also qualify as my "just for fun" selection. I give this book to everyone who asks me for a recommendation of a good book that is also entertaining. No one has ever not liked it.
The Courage to Teach by Parker PalmerBook to Read on Teaching/Scholarship

The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer. I got to read The Courage to Teach this year and really enjoyed it.  Parker Palmer is a deep thinker who is not afraid to show the world his insecurities and how the Lord helped him cope with them. Every educator should read this book, and I am so glad MNU gave me a copy.

Additional Thoughts

A good book is hard to find. A great book comes along maybe twice in a decade (for me anyway). Lately I have been buying several books at a time from thrift stores. This gives me plenty of time to give them a chance to hook me. If they don't, I take them back where I got them. This computer I am on right now is trying its best to sabatoge my reading, but when a good book gets ahold of me, I have much less interest in who is doing what on Facebook.
 

Mark Hayse

Professor of Christian Education; Director, Honors Program [Faculty Webpage] 

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A.J.JacobsBook to Read Just for Fun

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A. J. Jacobs.  I loved Jacobs' book, The Year of Living Biblically.  Jacobs is a lively writer with a nice sense of humor and irony.  In a self-deprecating way, Jacobs manages to express appreciation and respect for the very institutions that he critiques.  I'm sure that Drop Dead Healthy will both inspire and provoke my own summer health journey!
Inscribing the Text: Sermons and Prayers of Walter Brueggemann by Walter BrueggemannBook to Read to Grow in Your Faith Journey

Inscribing the Text: Sermons and Prayers of Walter Brueggemann by Walter Brueggemann.  I really enjoy reading about the personal faith of the scholars whom I admire.  I've already taken a peek at Brueggemann's first prayer, and it's really thought-provoking!
eGods: Faith Versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming by William Sims BainbridgeBook to Read on Teaching/Scholarship

eGods: Faith Versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming by William Sims Bainbridge.  Bainbridge is a prolific and influential sociologist of religion who investigates computer games as religious phenomena.  He doesn't argue that computer games  are religion or should replace religion.  Instead, he argues that multi-player online roleplaying computer games function in a way that parallels certain qualities of religion.  This book's perspective is especially interesting since Bainbridge is an avowed atheist whose commitment to secular humanism rivals my own religious commitments.
 

Scott Koeneman

Assistant Professor; Coordinator, Clinical Mental Health [Faculty Webpage] 

The River of Doubt by Candice MillardBook to Read Just for Fun

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard. "This isn't your mother's biography. Millard takes the reader on a thrilling ride through Roosevelt's last great journey."
Everything Belongs by Richard RohrBook to Read to Grow in Your Faith Journey

Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer by Richard Rohr. "A must read for those longing for a deeper appreciation of contemplative prayer."
The Psychoanalytic Vision by Frank SummersBook to Read on Teaching/Scholarship

The Psychoanalytic Vision: The Experiencing Subject, Transcendence, and the Therapeutic Process by Frank Summers.  Summers argues for the importance of reclaiming the primacy of subjective experience in a culture of objectification.
 
 

Shanti Thomas

Professor of English [Faculty Webpage] 

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollBook to Read Just for Fun

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. "I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then."   "Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle."
The Great Divorce by C.S. LewisBook to Read to Grow in Your Faith Journey

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. "There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him."

 

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