Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List: Fiction from Marilynne Robinson, Anythony Doerr, Michael Ende

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What books should you put on your summer reading list? We asked Intersect contributors this question, and we’ve been sharing their recommendations in recent weeks.

Today, Intersect contributors highlight fiction you can enjoy this summer.

Editor’s Note: You can download two Intersect-exclusive ebooks from Bruce Ashford for free. Details>>


The Neverending Story
by Michael Ende (Puffin Books, 1993)

Jaclyn S. Parrish

Jaclyn Parrish: If you loved the ’80s film of the same title, then prepare for joyous news: yes, there’s also a book, and yes, it’s even better than the movie. 

Die unendliche Geschichte was written by Michael Ende, a German survivor of World War II who fled the Nazi draft and served in an underground resistance movement until the end of the war. The original was published in 1979 in German, with an English translation releasing in 1983 and the classic children’s movie quickly following in 1984. The Warner Brothers’ film only covers about half the book, though, because the novel not only follows Bastian Balthazar Bux’s journey into Fantastica, but also back out again.

As an exercise in the best that fantasy literature has to offer, Ende’s work vies even with that of Tolkien and Lewis. Lovers of the film might find the book’s full story arc challenging, because Ende does not leave Bastian soaring around Fantastica on his luck dragon, but rather requires him to make the longer and harder journey back to his own world. With peculiar power, Ende explores the tenuous and perilous roads between fantasy and reality, and the quests that send us back and forth across that divide. And in the end, without devolving in to preachiness, what’s left is a tale that both argues and demonstrates that imagination is an essential part of the human experience. An adventure that never grows old and a coming-of-age story for every age, The Neverending Story is a journey every reader should take at least once.

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, 2014)

Annie Lavi: All the Light We Cannot See, a novel by Anthony Doerr, is about a young boy and girl set on opposite sides of World War II. One story line follows her living in a small coastal town in France, and the other shadows him becoming a solider for Nazi Germany.

Fantastically written, this book won multiple awards include the Pulitzer Prize the year it was published, and it belongs on the reading list of anyone needing a good story on a summer vacation. 

Gilead, Home and Lila
by Marilynne Robinson (Picador; 2004, 2009 and 2014, respectively)

Shelly Durkee

Shelly Durkee: Great summer reading. Marilynne Robinson has not written many books, but the books she has written are deep. Whenever I read a Robinson title, at first I find myself just slowly following alone with the story line. However, before I know it, my reading has subtly changed, and I find myself engaging in introspection and contemplation about who God is, what church is. Every.  Single. Time. 

While books like Gilead, Home and Lila may seem to start off a bit slow, do not give up on them. Your time spent between the pages of these books will be rewarding.

What book do you recommend? Comment below and let us know.

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The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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