summer-reading

So here it is, summertime. Oy, vey. The double-edged sword.

Say hello to less-stressful and more rested mornings but goodbye to having anytime at all to yourself in the evening because aren’t we all having too much fun to go to bed when the sun is still fully alive?

Say hello to popsicle chins and dirty feet and pleads for one more time around in the sprinkler and goodbye to anything resembling quiet and peaceful in your house.

But by far the best part of summer? The reading.

I remember riding my ten speed bike to the Lebanon library as soon as school was out so I could enroll myself in the summer reading program. I would complete it not once, or even twice but three times in a summer. At my fourth attempt, the librarians ever-so-politely asked if I would just please be done for the summer because I was draining their supply of free books awarded at the completion of each time around. Talk about needing to get a life – you know it’s bad when the librarians ask you to please stop reading already.

We’re going to do a two-parter here because I like to read a mix of fiction and nonfiction…In no particular order, here are my summer reading suggestions in the category of nonfiction:

OH – and by the way . . . I’m a little too lazy tonight to add my Amazon affiliate links to each of these titles. If you want to purchase one of these titles, I would love to invite you to click to Amazon through the icon on my sidebar – it helps run this site so I thank you for considering this option!

OH – and one more thing…I have no idea why the formatting is off with the first few books. I’ve tried to fix it to no avail. My apologies!

1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After writing a successful memoir, Donald Miller’s life stalled. During what should have been the height of his success, he found himself unwilling to get out of bed, avoiding responsibility, even questioning the meaning of life. But when two movie producers proposed turning his memoir into a movie, he found himself launched into a new story filled with risk, possibility, beauty, and meaning. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years chronicles Miller’s rare opportunity to edit his life into a great story, to reinvent himself so nobody shrugs their shoulders when the credits roll. Through heart-wrenching honesty and hilarious self-inspection, Donald Miller takes readers through the life that emerges when it turns from boring reality into meaningful narrative. Miller goes from sleeping all day to riding his bike across America, from living in romantic daydreams to fearful encounters with love, from wasting his money to founding a nonprofit with a passionate cause. Guided by a host of outlandish but very real characters, Miller shows us how to get a second chance at life the first time around. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is a rare celebration of the beauty of life.

 

2. All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir by Brennan Manning

It has been over twenty years since the publication of The Ragamuffin Gospel, a book many claim as the shattering of God’s grace into their lives. Since that time, Brennan Manning has been dazzingly faithful in preaching and writing variations on that singular theme –
“Yes, Abba is very fond of you!”
But today the crowds are gone and the lights are dim, the patches on his knees have faded. If he ever was a ragamuffin, truly it is now. In this his final book, Brennan roves back his past, honoring the lives of the people closest to him, family and friends who’ve known the saint and the sinner, the boy and the man. Far from some chronological timeline, these memories are witness to the truth of life by one who has lived it – All Is Grace.
3. The Devil in Pew Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo (This book is an absolute MUST read)
Rebecca never felt safe as a child. In 1969, her father, Robert Nichols, moved to Sellerstown, North Carolina, to serve as a pastor. There he found a small community eager to welcome him—with one exception. Glaring at him from pew number seven was a man obsessed with controlling the church. Determined to get rid of anyone who stood in his way, he unleashed a plan of terror that was more devastating and violent than the Nichols family could have ever imagined. Refusing to be driven away by acts of intimidation, Rebecca’s father stood his ground until one night when an armed man walked into the family’s kitchen . . . And Rebecca’s life was shattered. If anyone had a reason to harbor hatred and seek personal revenge, it would be Rebecca. Yet The Devil in Pew Number Seven tells a different story. It is the amazing true saga of relentless persecution, one family’s faith and courage in the face of it, and a daughter whose parents taught her the power of forgiveness.
4. Love Does by Bob Goff

As a college student he spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll.

Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world’s best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world’s most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it’s not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob’s love takes action. Bob believes Love Does. When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don’t want to miss.

 

5. No More Perfect Moms: Learn to Love Your Real Life by Jill Savage

If you’ve ever forgotten to pick your kid up from soccer practice or accidentally worn two different shoes to the grocery store, this book is for you. Being a mother is not for those who display symptoms of the “Perfection Infection.” There is simply no such thing as a perfect mom. And there are no such things as perfect kids, perfect bodies, perfect marriages, or even perfect meals. With refreshing honesty, author Jill Savage exposes some of her own parental shortcomings with the goal of helping mothers everywhere shelve their desires for perfection along with their insecurities of not measuring up to other moms . Jill delivers some much-needed realism as she explains why we need to stop comparing our insides to other people’s outsides.  She challenges every mom to exchange her vision of being a “perfect mother” for God’s beautiful grace in order to learn to love her real, but imperfect, life.

 

6. I Used to Be So Organized: Help for Reclaiming Order and Peace by Glynnis Whitwer

I Used to Be So Organized addresses the frustrations many women feel when they can’t get a handle on their lives. They know, deep in their hearts, they should be able to manage things. After all, they used to be organized . . . ten or twenty years ago. But now, life seems to hand them one distraction and challenge after another, and ”helpful technology” that just seem to add to the problem. Just when they think they have ”caught up,” something else changes, and there s more to be done.

In this book, Glynnis Whitwer addresses the issue of organization based in this new reality of information overload, overwhelming choices, increased expectations and technology advances that won t slow down. This book contains twenty-three chapters, each short enough for a busy woman to read during a lunch break. Every aspect of life comes together in this one easy-to-read guide.

 

7. A Surrendered Life by Pat Layton

Statistics reflect as many as 43 percent of women of childbearing age have experienced an abortion. For these individuals, abortion is not about political rhetoric, journalism, or feminist freedoms—it is about a life-changing choice made during a time of crisis that often leaves them facing unexpected emotions and unexplainable behaviors.

A Surrendered Life is a faith-based healing journey for those individuals who have experienced an abortion, as well as for their loved ones. Through the transparent personal story of the author, along with men and women from around the nation, the healing has begun.

Join Pat and her brave team of writers as she shares her powerful testimony and eight steps to freedom, healing, and hope for those caught in the trap of abortion.

This book will help you:
• Understand why so many women and men choose abortion.
• Recognize the potential effects of a past abortion and symptoms of post-abortion trauma.
• Examine what God says about abortion.
• Discover eight steps to healing and restoration for yourself or someone you love.
• Identify specific action steps that you can take today that will make a difference in your home, church, or community.

This book is a real story of healing and hope that can inspire every reader to begin a surrendered life. A Surrendered Life is supported by a Bible study published by Lifeway called Surrendering the Secret.

 

9. Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa Terkheurst

God gave us emotions to experience life, not destroy it! Lysa TerKeurst admits that she, like most women, has had experiences where others bump into her happy and she comes emotionally unglued. We stuff, we explode, or we react somewhere in between. What do we do with these raw emotions? Is it really possible to make emotions work for us instead of against us? Yes, and in her usual inspiring and practical way, Lysa will show you how. Filled with gut-honest personal examples and biblical teaching, Unglued will equip you to: Know with confidence how to resolve conflict in your important relationships. Find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended. Identify what type of reactor you are and how to significantly improve your communication. Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode, or react somewhere in between. Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.

 

10. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Melton

For years Glennon Doyle Melton built a wall between herself and others, hiding inside a bunker of secrets and shame. But one day everything changed: Glennon woke up to life, committing herself to living out loud and giving language to our universal (yet often secret) experiences. She became a sensation when her personal essays started going viral. Her hilarious and poignant observations have been read by millions, shared among friends, discussed at water coolers, and have now inspired a social movement. In Carry On, Warrior, Melton shares new stories and the best-loved material from Momastery.com. Her mistakes and triumphs demonstrate that love wins and that together we can do hard things. Melton is a courageous truth-teller and hopespreader, a wise and witty friend who emboldens us to believe in ourselves and reminds us that the journey is the reward. Carry On, Warrior proves that by shedding our weapons and armor, we can stop hiding, competing, and striving for the mirage of perfection, to build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities.

 

What I plan to read this summer:

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) was a Dutch woman admired the world over for her courage, her forgiveness, and her memorable faith. In World War II, she and her family risked their lives to help Jews escape the Nazis by hiding them in their home in Haarlem, and their reward was a trip to Hitler’s concentration camps. Corrie’s father, sister, brother, and nephew died as a result of their imprisonment. But she survived and was released as a result of a clerical error and now shares the story of how faith triumphs over evil.

For thirty-five years Corrie’s dramatic life story, full of timeless virtues, has prepared readers to face their own futures with faith, relying on God’s love to overcome, heal, and restore. The Hiding Place tells the riveting story of how a middle-aged Dutch watchmaker became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler’s death camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century.

After the war, Corrie ten Boom returned to the Netherlands to set up rehabilitation centers. She returned to Germany in 1946, and many years of itinerant teaching in over sixty countries followed, during which time she wrote many books. In 1967, Corrie ten Boom was honored as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” by the State of Israel. The Hiding Place (1971) was made into a film in 1975.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Yes, I realize I’m likely the only person on the planet who hasn’t read this yet.)

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family — Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper: A Guide to the Less Than Perfect Life by Gabrielle Reece

So you got the guy on the big white horse, and the beautiful little mermaids, and the picket fence, and your life isn’ t . . . perfect in every imaginable way?You’re not alone. In 1997, Gabrielle Reece married the man of her dreams—professional surfer Laird Hamilton—in a flawless Hawaiian ceremony. Naturally, the couple filed for divorce four years later.

In the end they worked it out, but not without the ups and downs, minor hiccups, and major setbacks that beset every modern family.

With hilarious stories, wise insights, and concrete takeaways on topics ranging from navigating relationship issues to aging gracefully to getting smart about food, My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper is the brutally honest, wickedly funny, and deeply helpful portrait of the humor, grace, and humility it takes to survive the happily ever after.

For last year’s list, click here.   

And here.

So now it’s your turn . . . Do you have any nonfiction books to recommend?

Which of these on this list entices you the most?