One of my purposes in posting items about my work in the PR Seminary library is to promote the use of it for the reading and research of our members and friends. And, of course, that ties in well with one of the purposes of this blog. Well then, the summer is about to be upon us, and that always seems to be a time for encouraging reading. While I think of winter as a better time to promote reading (what better thing to do on those cold, dark winter nights? – at least here in Michigan!), many seem to think of summer as a great time to read. And indeed, it is too.
With that in mind, I want to encourage you to do some good summer reading, and to use some of the resources available in our Seminary library. The library is not used as much during the summer because students are not typically here and the professors are busy with other things in the churches. But that frees up resources for YOU to utilize. So I have a few suggested areas of reading and some titles to recommend to you.
Did you know that you will find novels (fiction) in the Seminary library? Yes, we do have a few historical novels here, because of their church historical value, especially the Reformation period. Three such titles are:
- God’s Man: A Novel on the Life of Calvin, by Duncan Norton-Taylor (Baker, 1979)
- The Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin, by Douglas Bond (P&R, 2009)
- Tempest Over Scotland: The Story of John Know, by Norman E. Nygaard (Zondervan, 1960)
And, of course, we have a host of other non-fiction titles (biographies) in the area of church history, covering all the major Reformers and church history figures, including more recent ones. Why not devote yourself to reading a good church history book this summer? Let me know how I may help you pick one out.
Or perhaps you would like to read up a bit on your Dutch heritage. Ever thought about reading something on the Dutch in New York – “New Amsterdam”? This is an area where we probably are weak in knowledge (judging by myself). In the last year we have added several titles to this area of study in our library, and I am excited about the broader interest this may have for our members. Here are three titles related to the founding of New York by the Dutch that you may find interesting for summer reading:
- Dutch New York: The Roots of Hudson Valley Culture, edited by Roger Panetta (Hudson River Museum/Fordham Univ. Press, 2009) – written for the 400th anniversary of the Dutch coming to the Hudson River area and founding New York – lots of beautiful pictures and illustrations
- The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan andthe Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, by Russell Shorto (Vintage Books, 2005) – another general history of the area
- Zion on the Hudson: Dutch New York and New Jersey in the Age of Revivals, by Firth Haring Fabend (Rutgers Univ. Press, 2000) – this one focuses on the history of the Dutch Reformed Church and the religious life of the people from earliest times to the present
Or maybe you would find interest in some local history. Recently I found (in a Thrift store, where else?!) an old copy of the book Bend in the River: The Story of Grandville and Jenison, Michigan, 1832-1972 by John W. McGee (editor), Eerdmans, 1973. It covers the religious/church history of the area well too and makes for some fascinating reading.
And, in case you didn’t know it, or need to be reminded of it, the Seminary also has its own bookstore, stocked with a variety of titles – also for the “layperson” – and at bargain prices. Besides, I also have for sale in the library a selection of good books gleaned from local Thrift stores – at basement prices. Feel free to stop by anytime during the day (7 am to 5 pm) for a visit and to pick up some free (library) or cheap (bookstore) books! Don’t becomes spiritually lazy this summer – keep up the good reading!