To guide your summer getaway book selections, try this formula: E=FB2
by MARVIN OLASKY illustration by Krieg Barrie
June 29, 2019 World Magazine Pages: 34-39
I tend to walk on beaches rather than sit on them, but my suggested formula for those who read as
the tide rolls in is E=FB2, with E standing for entertainment (which is sometimes educational),
F for fiction, and B for Bible and baseball.
My top fiction recommendation is a clever series from InterVarsity Press that combines readable plots (featuring gutsy Christians) with explanations of the ancient world that can deepen understanding of New Testament writing. The series includes A Week in the Life of Corinth, A Week in the Fall of Jerusalem, A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion, and A Week in the Life of Rome (2012-2019) by theology professors Ben Witherington III (the first two), Gary Burge, and James Papandrea.
I’ve learned much about first-century customs without picking up any ancient swear words or breaking a sweat while carrying the 160-page paperbacks on the beach. A new book is due out on July 2: John Byron’s A Week in the Life of a Slave.
Sandy Barwick, who every three months writes a WORLD page about fiction from Christian publishers, says “most Christian fiction seems to be written for women from a woman’s perspective.”
She praises three such novels
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (Thomas Nelson, 2018)
The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers (Tyndale, 2018),
The Space Between Words by MichèlePhoenix (Thomas Nelson, 2017).
In past years I’ve read and enjoyed novels by Angela Hunt (The Novelist, WestBow, 2006) and some male Christian authors: Tim Downs, Steven James, Ray Keating, and John K. Reed.