If I’m not driving, exercising, or working, I’ve got my nose in a book. With summer coming up (the absolute best time of the year to dig into a new bestseller or a great classic), I thought I’d share some of my favorites.
Every book listed here is, in my opinion, well written; not too precious, or long-winded, or bland. Written by authors that deliver knock-out punches of truth without too much fuss, these books force you to think and stay focused. If you like light reading, some of these books may feel a bit weighty, but each is well worth your time and effort.
I don’t intentionally look for books with a lot of “worldly” themes or language, but I’m not put off by a little rough dialog or frank sharing, as long as it is intended to help me grasp a deep truth. In my opinion, none of the books listed here push that envelope too far, but in one or two of my top reads you may find a curse word or two. If any whiff of profanity is off-putting to you, look for the * and avoid those.
So, here goes… my current top reads for summer, not listed in order of preference:
When I need a little inspiration:
1. Bread & Wine – A Love Letter to Life around the Table by Shauna Niequist – Shauna has written several books and this is one of my favorites. You’ve just got to love a book that combines Spiritual truth with recipes. Yum.
2. Anything, by Jennie Allen – This book is one of four written by Jennie (the others are Chase, Reckless, and Stuck). It was written in 2012 and re-released in 2015. It details the story and results of a prayer of surrender lifted up by Jennie and her husband. They had the courage to tell God that they would do ANYTHING that would knock them out of the ordinary lives they were living and into a crazy, joy filled life lived solely for Him.
3. Scary Close – Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy by Donald Miller – By the author of Blue Like Jazz, this book tells the story of a man who, fed up with a life centered around impressing people and performance, learns to risk it all, drop the act, and really connect with people.
When I want to read but don’t have all day to hide away with a book:
1. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage* by Ann Patchet – By the author of Bel Canto (another of my favorites) this is a book of short stories that are beautifully written and thought provoking.
2. Dear Life* by Alice Munro – A National Best-selling collection of short stories written by the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Enough said.
3. Red Letter Revolution – What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said? by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo – Two leading Christian writers, quite different in their perspectives on Christian living, stretch readers’ viewpoints on a variety of tough topics, including; the family, politics, racism, immigration, homosexuality, and the mission of the Church. This book will reveal your heart and provoke candid discussion with others about issues that we often keep at arm’s length.
1. The Alchemist – A fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho –
2. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
3. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Because they have a lesson to teach:
1. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry* by Rachel Joyce
2. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
4. The Dinner* by Harman Koch
5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Books I will read this summer for the first time:
1. I Don’t have to Make Everything All Better by Gary and Joy Lundberg
2. Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger
3. What Men Live By and Other Tales by Leo Tolstoy
4. Traveling Mercies* – Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott