2020 Summer Reading List

I love summer for many, many reasons. For all of the usual reasons: weather, baseball, vacation, silver queen corn, humidity so thick that makes it feel like someone threw a wet washcloth over your mouth … you know, the usual things. And reading.

I try to compile a summer reading list every year, but often find that I’m usually over-optimistic in what I want to read and what I actually end up reading. 

But no matter. It’s good to have a group of books and topics you can’t wait to jump into. Here are mine.. Some are new to me; others I will re-read. (It’s sometimes difficult to escape the allure of a brand-new book, but there is something very special about the familiar, especially in these topsy-turvy times).

As you will see, I tend to gravitate toward history, biography, and fiction. Always have and likely always will. I’ve placed them in alphabetical order according to the author.


Goodwin, Doris Kearns: Leadership in Turbulent Times, Simon & Schuster, 2018.

I’ve enjoyed Goodwin’s other books, (she’s an author I automatically buy whenever she publishes a new book) and I can’t wait to unpack the leadership lessons of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.


Grisham, John: Camino Winds, Doubleday, 2020.

I can never get enough of Grisham. I blew through Camino Island in hours and can’t wait to do the same with the sequel.


Iger, Robert: The Ride of a Lifetime, Random House, 2019.

Lessons learned from leading Disney as CEO for 15 years? Yes, please!


McCullough, David: The Pioneers, Simon & Schuster, 2019.

I own everything Mr. McCullough has published. IMHO, he is America’s best historical author out there. The Pioneers has been yet another #1 best-seller for the Pulitzer Prize–winning author. He weaves the mostly (and sadly) forgotten story of the settling of the Northwest Territory (it’s not as north or west as you might think any longer!) and brings the personalities of the pioneers to life. Their ideals helped forge how we think and govern today.


McLaughlin, Rebecca: Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion, Crossway, 2019.

“Rebecca McLaughlin refuses to duck the biggest challenges to the Christian faith and takes on the hardest questions with empathy, energy, and understanding. She has studied widely, thinks deeply, and argues very persuasively. This is an outstanding resource for the skeptic, the doubter, and anyone who is ready to engage with some compelling thinking.”Sam Allberry, Speaker/Author, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries


Muggeridge, Malcolm: A Life, Thomas Nelson, 1980.

Muggeridge was a brilliant thinker, a controversial figure, an English journalist and satirist (serving four years as editor of Punch magazine) and a superb wordsmith. This biography traces the many-faceted life (he lived in Moscow, India, and England) of an engaging 20th-century voice.


Roosevelt, Theodore: The Rough Riders, various publishers, 1899.

TR once said, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” That philosophy caused him to relinquish his role as Under-Secretary of the US Navy, leave his wife and children at home, raise the 1st United States Volunteer Calvary regiment, and lead them into victorious battle during the Spanish-American War in Cuba. And he tells it all in his own words.


Wall, Cara: The Dearly Beloved, Simon & Schuster, 2019.

A Today show “Read With Jenna” book club selection. A fictional and compelling account of faith, community, and love set in the 1950s in New York City.


Zacharias, Ravi: Walking From East to West, Zondervan, 2010.

My friend and mentor, Ravi Zacharias, is now in heaven. And I miss him. As does the world. I want to re-connect with him, so I will read his heartfelt memoir again. “Walking from East to West is Ravi's life story, a deeply personal journey into his past. Dr. Zacharias invites you back to the southern India of his early childhood, and into his troubled youth in the sophisticated capital city of Delhi. He recalls the importance of a mother's love and his difficult relationship with his father. He tells about his long search for truth in wrestling with Eastern thought and the newer ideas of Christianity, the cry for help in a dark moment when he tried to take his own life--and the dramatic turning point that led to a life lived for Christ. Zacharias recalls his early days as a new convert, what it was like to find a new life in the Western world, and the eventual birth and growth of a worldwide ministry” (from the book’s back cover).


What are you reading this summer?