Summer is upon us and this is the time when I aim to catch up with my reading. I collect together all the books that I have been longing to dig into, but have been pushed aside by the business of life. I can't think of many things more physically relaxing and yet fantastically mentally stimulating than stretching out in the summer sun in a quiet spot in the garden and sinking my teeth into a proper book. Don't get me wrong – I love the fast pace of social media, keeping up with the latest news and zipping through news articles as they appear on my feed, but there's nothing like immersing yourself in a well-crafted book on a long summer day.
Here is a list of books that I recommend if you are looking to read something this holiday. Why not pick a couple to pack into your suitcase or keep by your sun-lounger so your body and soul can be revitalised this summer?
Best new biographies
Between Heaven and the Real World, Steven Curtis Chapman (£8.99)
I was so impressed by Chapman's story and I don't even know his music well. This man brings so much grace in tragic circumstances. It's worth reading just to be inspired to seek God whatever your situation.
Dare to Trust: Choosing a life of risk, Nathalie MacDermott (£7.99http://wipfandstock.com/human-trafficking-the-bible-and-the-church.html)
I had the privilege of interviewing MacDermott recently and she explained that after her conversion to Christianity she had felt that her life should be about saying 'Yes' to Jesus.
This book tells how a young believer and a young doctor ends up fighting on the front line of an Ebola outbreak.
Best new theology
The Benedict Option, Rod Dreher
I had a lot of issues with this book, but nevertheless it is worth reading to understand something of the challenge facing Christians today. Like me, you might not agree with his solution but Dreher will prompt you to think up new ways to face the discipleship challenge of our day.
Human Trafficking, the Bible and the Church, Marion Carson (£16.99)
This is a short but challenging book from someone who knows their theology but also has a wealth of experience fighting against human trafficking. Carson raises some thorny issues but deals with them deftly.
Flourishing: Why we need religion in a globalized world, Miroslav Volf (£14.99)
Volf makes a strong case for why faith is vital for human flourishing. As our public life seems undecided about the place of faith in society this book offers some helpful resources to help us think differently.
Best new devotional books
Home, Jo Swinney (£14.99)
Jo weaves together stories of her own experience of feeling rootless with reflections on what it means to find 'home' in our world today. It could be a great book to read on holiday so that you better appreciate what you are coming back to.
Dirty Glory, Pete Greig (£14.99)
Pete Greig tells powerful stories about prayer and the 24/7 movement. Pete is a gifted communicator and these eloquently told stories will help you gain fresh vision for prayer and fresh faith in God.
Best new Bible
NIV Journaling Bible for Colouring In (£24.99)
I have been surprised by the way this Bible has helped many people I know to find a new way to engage with Scripture. There is something quite powerful about believers using their creativity and attentiveness to Scripture to produce biblically inspired art. This could be a great Bible for you or one to give the artist in your life.
Best new mission book
Transcending Mission, Michael W Stoope (£24.99)
Stoope's book has ruffled a lot of feathers in the mission community. Transcending Mission questions whether we have placed an unhelpful filter in front of our reading of Scripture. Stoope asks some important questions for all of us who care about mission and want to take the Bible seriously. In my view the book is critical of much of our practice and scholarship without providing enough of a positive alternative, but it remains an important read as we work out what faithfully serving God in today's world looks like.
Best new apologetics book
Unbelievable?, Justin Brierley (£9.99)
Justin Brierley has been talking to atheists on his radio show and podcast for the last 10 years. Here's an accessible book wrestling with of the questions that all of us need answers to. It can help us and the atheists in our lives.
Best new culture books
Reclaiming Hope, Michael Wear (£10.99)
After all the bad news in global politics, here is a book that will help restore your hope in what is possible. Wear worked on President Obama's team in faith liaison and he offers us a positive way for reengaging faith and politics.
Strange Days: Life in the Spirit in a time of upheaval, Mark Sayers (£10.68)
Sayers has been writing thoughtful books about the intersection between faith and culture for a number of years now. His latest book helps us navigate what life in the Spirit should look like today. There's wisdom for the church and for individuals in this pithy and engaging book.
Dr Krish Kandiah is the founding director of Home for Good and the Executive Producer of Books for Life LIVE, a literary event that brings together the UK's best authors and speakers for a day of inspiration and challenge.