Confession time, friends. Summer is known for reading on the beach or tucked in the air conditioning in the middle of the afternoon. I’ll admit that my expectation of summer looked something like that. However, I only finished five books. all. summer. long. I have my reasons (it was mainly Netflix and napping to be honest), but I also started several books and decided after I’d spent a big chunk of time on them already, that they weren’t worth any more of my time.
Here are the five awesome reads I did manage to finish, (on my end unintentionally planned) all written by powerful and beautiful women:
16. A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor
“I do not mean to deny the traditional prayers I have said all my life; but I have been saying them and not feeling them. My attention is always very fugitive. This way I have it every instant. I can feel a warmth of love heating me when I think and write this to You.”
Y’all. This book is golden. I found it in my favorite little bookstore in downtown Estes Park, Colorado and inhaled it in all my spare moments before I even made it back to Kansas. I can’t imagine having my journals published, but I’m so glad we have this gem of Flannery’s. Her honesty and humor along the way was a huge breath of fresh air. It deeply encouraged me not only in the points that she brought up on accepting grace and living wholeheartedly for God, but simply in how she talked to Him. I started writing letters to God as I was reading along. I bet you’ll be seeing quotes from this book here on the blog from now on. It’s a fast read, but an important and real one, that I would definitely recommend! (Recommended to me via Hannah Brencher’s social media accounts.)
17. Freefall To Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward A Life Of Meaning by Rebekah Lyons
To stay in the freefall meant to stop running.
To stop avoiding the pain. To embrace the struggle. To settle in with the lament. To get cozy with my nemesis. Because it was working something out in me that was buried deep. Locked down for a number of years. Wounds that had been planted long ago were starting to show their ugly heads. I was scared. But I needed to give them room to surface. To let them out.”
Freefall To Fly took a really long time for me to get into. For many reasons I’m sure that had not much to do with the book itself, but once I got into it, I enjoyed following and learning alongside Rebekah’s story. It was redundant in a lot of ways, but I think that in writing – especially when it’s a memoir like this – it’s vital. She writes about her struggles with anxiety and following God’s leading from a personal comfort zone in Georgia to moving with her whole family to New York City. Once again, the honesty she shared was key. It was easy to read as far as language and flow goes, but harder to read as you looked into the struggles that Rebekah was describing. The issues, of course, can cross through all age groups, but the message seemed to be aimed for Moms. (Available at church library, found browsing online.)
18. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
“And so I learned that love is larger than the walls which shut it in.”
As far as this summer goes, The Hiding Place was definitely my favorite book. But it definitely went beyond that to one of my favorite books of all time. It’s a classic that I’ve been hearing about for years, but I finally picked it up after several recent recommendations. Although the book is advertised primarily as the story of Corrie’s imprisonment because of her cares for the Jews during the war, she also shared lots of other avenues of her own life – including her younger years, her parent’s lives, mundane tasks, and being in love and then rejected – that truly touched me. Her journey of faith (and also the stories of her family member’s faith) is a testimony that every Christian should learn about. READ THIS BOOK ASAP. (Recommended via Hannah Brencher’s social media accounts, found at both the public and church library.)
19. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
“Get to work. Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair.”
I’ve had my eye on this book for a while now and on my own personal shelf for even longer. Annie Dillard’s writing insight was so valuable. She wasn’t easy on you in her advice, which was good. Also, it was perfect mindless reading for an emotionally heavy week. I underlined and made notes all over the place that I know I’ll use for encouragement and correction over and over! (Found at the Dusty Bookshelf.)
“He is still Emmanuel, ‘God with us,’ even when to all appearances we stand alone against frightening forces.”
This was my first book to finish by Elisabeth Elliot! When I heard of her death in June, I was very sad, but ultimately didn’t know more than the bare minimum about her. This book held some much needed and timely truths for me personally on the topic of loneliness, contentment, and longing. I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling with the same things. I was disappointed in how much it was focused on the conditional side of things – primarily whether you had a spouse, etc., because I believe it can go so much farther than that. However, the book was a great resource and she wasn’t afraid to speak hard truths in love. I took pages and pages of notes. (Available at church library, found browsing online.)
What did you read this summer?
Any book you’re specifically looking forward to this fall? I want to hear about them!