The term “summer reading” can do two things to a person.
Option 1: It makes you sigh, begrudgingly, and you’re reminded of all of those less than exciting required summer readings from high school. Don’t worry, I wasn’t a fan of Beowulf or Grendel either.
Option 2: You hear “summer reading” and instantly picture yourself on a beach, waves lapping against the shore and seagulls cawing in the distance. You’re wrapped up in the story line of a good book, getting tan, with a drink in hand.
I’ve always been a bookworm. I love feeling like I’m friends with the characters in a book, like I’m apart of their world. I find reading is a blissful escape from reality. This summer, because it was my first summer free of summer classes (can I get an AMEN), I promised myself I was going to read more, and spend less time bingeing on Netflix. Hopefully I’m not the only one who lets the episodes keep playing until Netflix finally asks if you’re still watching. For your information, YES, I am. And it’s only my seventh episode of the day, thank you very much.
I want to share 4 of my absolute favorite books with you guys. They’ve all spoken to my heart in some way this summer and they became my best friends on long car rides. A good book awakens part of you and makes you examine your life a little more. It makes you a dreamer, a thinker, and a little more wise. I’d like to think that Beth Moore’s “Audacious” helped to shape my Christian walk, which is why it’s number one on my “Summer Must Reads” list, although the books are not ordered by quality. They’re all pretty amazing if you ask me.
1. Audacious by Beth Moore
Beth Moore has the friendliest and most charming way of writing. She makes you feel like you’ve been friends with her forever. She’s a southern woman with an outstanding amount of zeal and love for the Lord, and if you asked me to name five people that I wanted to be like, she would be one of them. Her joy is contagious and her desire to be a woman after the Lord’s own heart is something that I strive for. In Audacious, she teaches you how to be bold and daring for the sake of Christ. She encourages verve, excitement, and as the title implies, audacity. She teaches that we are blessed to be a blessing and blessed to simply be loved by our Maker. And that’s so exciting that we should be shouting it from the rooftops. This is a good read for anyone, but it’s especially moving if you’re looking for encouragement and working towards being bold in your faith.
2. Twenty Two by Allison Trowbridge
I picked up this book in Barnes and Noble, simply because my friend had posted a picture of Twenty Two with her morning coffee on Instagram, and the cover was cute. I can’t resist fun colors and pretty designs. When I picked out that book, I had no idea that it would double as a bestie while I was reading it. Trowbridge writes twenty two letters to a girl named Ashley (Ash) throughout the book, and the reader has the unique experience of soaking up all of the advice, the truths, and the love that Allie Trowbridge sends to Ash. By the end of the book, I felt like I had gained a dear friend; one that had experienced so much life and had so much to offer. The book is beautifully written and I believe that all girls in their twenties should invest in this gem of a read. There’s so much to figure out during young adulthood- careers, relationships, friendships, etc, but Allie Trowbridge erases the fears that young women have and replaces it with encouragement. We really can be anything we want in this world, and when we trust in Jesus and allow Him to pave our path before us, we will be blessed.
3. Grace, Not Perfection by Emily Ley
In our society, busy is a term of importance. If you aren’t busy, you aren’t accomplishing anything. Ley explains the necessary and life changing concept of rest. Resting in the Lord, resting by cleaning up your calendar, and the freedoms of saying no. And chances are, we’ve all been told a time or two to make time for ourselves and to say no to some things. But do we do that? Not usually. Sometimes we need someone besides our family to tell us to release ourselves of unnecessary responsibilities. There’s beauty in not being pulled in multiple different directions. There’s joy found in prioritizing how you want to spend your time and WHO you want to spend your time with. Ley does a stellar job at helping you to decide what’s worth your time and what’s not.
4. Caraval, by Stephanie Garber
I borrowed this book from a friend while we were road tripping to Texas. I had forgotten my book at home and was looking for a way to kill time while we sat in the car, parked over the Atchafalaya Basin for an hour and a half. If you’ve ever traveled I-10 westbound towards Texas, chances are you’ve sat in that same spot, which seems to be a never ending parking lot where everyone gets out of their cars and starts to socialize with the travelers in other vehicles. One man even got out of his car and did yoga on the interstate since it didn’t look like we’d be moving for a while. Guess that’s one way to get in a workout while traveling! Anyways, I digress. Caraval is a little bit different than the previously mentioned books. It’s a whimsical and enthralling fiction book that follows the lives of two sisters who want to escape from their father’s kingdom. The adventures that follow are exciting, dangerous, laced with romance and uncertainty. This book is one that makes you feel as if you’re falling down a rabbit hole into another world with every turned page. I haven’t read a fiction book in quite a while, and this book made me remember why I fell in love with reading when I was a little girl.