4 Great Reads

About 6 weeks ago I decided to do some “fun” reading. You know, the kind that doesn’t lead to new processes, organizational changes, or to-do lists. As an entrepreneur, I like those books too, and up until 6 weeks ago, that’s pretty much all I’d read this year. Honestly, my brain needed a break. My soul, emotions and thoughts had been running at full-speed far too long, and I just needed to slow down and exhale.

I’m always hesitant to pick up fiction because once I start, I cannot stop. I’m serious. It’s worse than binge-watching Netflix. I tune out the world and become obsessed with reaching the last page, which poses a problem because other people in this house rely on me for things like eating, bathing, and engaging in actual conversation, but somehow, we all survived and didn’t miss a meal. And to my knowledge, everyone wore (mostly) clean clothes every day. Let’s just count all of that, plus my reading achievement, as one big win.

This exercise of distraction and slowing down clearly struck a chord in my soul because I devoured 4 books in less than 6 weeks.

So in case you are in that place too, here’s where I’ve found some recent refreshment:

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd While not a light read by any stretch of the imagination, I cannot recommend this book enough. A beautiful story of two incredible women: “Handful,” an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, and Sarah, the Grimkes daughter who can't imagine how one person could ever own another. Through sorrow, loss, and estrangement, their unlikely friendship moves them both toward freedom. Presented true sacrifice and living with purpose in a whole new light. A must-read.

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple The format of this book sets it apart from every other novel I’ve read. Rather than chapter after chapter of dialogue, this humorous story unfolds through masterfully crated emails, documents, and secret correspondence. It took me a minute to like it, but the story pulled me in pretty quickly. I think in some ways, at some time in our lives, we all identify with Bernadette - feeling like we don’t belong, stuck in our past, and ready to run. I found the fun distraction I was looking for in this story, though it’s probably a one-time read for me. Please note: this book includes some profanity.

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist At about page 53, I felt as though the author had been secretly following me for the last 6 months. Reading this book is almost like reading a journal - an honest, transparent telling of the road away from burnout, toward rest and connection with God and people. About halfway through, I decided I wasn’t going to finish. I even explained to David how repetitive and boring it was. But what I really meant was, “I need to hear this more than once, but I just don’t want to.” So, I finished. And while my story and Shauna’s are very different in many ways, the theme resonates. A timely read.

Looking For Lovely by Annie Downs I picked this one up almost by accident at the end of a conference David and I recently attended. It was the perfect read for the flight home: light, fun, and just enough truth sprinkled in to move my heart forward. The tag line sums up the message perfectly: “collecting the moments that matter.” As I took a long walk this morning, I found myself breathing more deeply, eyes lifted to the clear blue sky, thinking of Annie’s challenge to us all - to notice the lovely in the details of our lives because God puts it there for our joy, our growth, and to point our hearts toward Him. 

You can find some of my other favorite reads here and here.

Join the conversation by commenting below: What are your favorite recent reads?