If we want to understand most people, we just need to look at the car they choose to drive and the clothes they choose to wear. But if we want to understand smart people, we should look at the books they choose to read.
For this Fourth of July holiday, Mere Orthodoxy‘s Matthew Lee Anderson has offered a terrific list of his summer reading picks.
As Leah Price noted recently in Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books (Yale University Press, 2011), book collections say a lot about an intellectual life.
Of course, not every book lover is necessarily a brainiac (See figure 2). But Anderson’s list demonstrates some of the intellectual richness of today’s conservative evangelical Protestantism. His picks include some new releases that will likely be of interest mainly to evangelicals themselves, such as Fred Bahnson’s and
Norman Wirtzba’s Making Peace with the Land or Richard J. Mouw’s Talking with Mormons. But it also includes titles that promise to help outsiders understand the intellectual culture of Fundamentalist America, such as Roger Scruton’s The Face of God and Amy Black’s Honoring God in Red or Blue. And it features new books of interest to all, such as Andrew Delbanco’s College and a new translation of the Bhagavad Gita.
We here at ILYBYGTH are going out to celebrate our nation’s birth by blowing up a small piece of it. But after that, we’ll hunker down with Anderson’s list and do some summer reading.