There's not too much I love more than a good book (preferably read while drinking coffee curled up on my front porch with a blanket). I had hoped to get more books read over the summer than I did (not a shocker, as a general rule I'm always hoping to get more done than I actually accomplish!), but the things that I did read were great. Insightful, funny, thought-provoking, entertaining. All sorts of wonderful!
Also, in related news, I have been cognitively aware of book lights for years (decades even, maybe), but have never owned one. A few weeks back I was at Costco (one of my happy places) and saw a two-pack of book lights and caved and put them in my cart. Then I proceeded to stick it on my dresser when unloading all my purchases and leave it there in its packaging for at least another week or so. Then one day, I opened them and TA-DA . . . book lights are amazing. I can now read in my bed at night. Who would have known? (Lots of you, I'm sure!) Our house was built in the 20's and our bedroom has no overhead light. We have a small wall-mounted light near the door that barely gives off enough light to get into bed safely. So, needless to say, I have never been a read-in-bed kind of girl. Anyhow, my world has changed for the better with my purchase of a book light. If you don't own one (or two), go buy one. You can thank me later. Or not, even. Whatever!
So, what have I been reading this summer? Here's what is in my most recent "just finished" stack on my bookshelf.
Church of the Small Things by Melanie Shankle. I have read Melanie's 3 previous books and loved them, so I was excited to get my hands on this latest one. I applied for, and was accepted to be on the launch team for the book, so I got an Advanced Reader Copy and was able to read it before it comes out in the world. It releases on October 3rd, so you still have time to pre-order (pre-ordering comes with some extra fun gifts and perks and swag -- free stuff is always fun!) yourself a copy. As I expected it was hilarious, but profoundly true and touched on both light and heavy topics with the style that I have come to expect, and love, from Melanie. The idea that the little things in life are really the big things is the major theme in this book (and also in my life, so that might be part of why I loved it so much!). Find out more at churchthesmallthings.com. Do yourself a favor and pre-order. Then you'll have a surprise waiting for you in a couple weeks when it arrives in your mailbox.
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore. This one is our book club book for this month (and next month we are going to see the movie!) and I was glad because it is one I have been meaning to read for YEARS. I was grateful for the perspective that it brought me into the lives of those who have such different experiences from mine.
My Name is Child of God by Julia K. Dinsmore. This one is also about themes of poverty (which has been something that continually is in front of me lately, every time I turn around it seems to come up in one way or another) and biases in our society. I have heard Julia speak and was glad to have the opportunity to read her book and understand more of what she is fighting against on a societal level. I highly recommend it. And she is local to where I live. I always like that.
Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker. Again, I have read many of Jen's books and love her writing and her wit and her humor and her perspective. This one was no exception. About the mess and the grit of life. About friendship and family and the regular stuff of life. The fun stuff and the heavy stuff. It's worth the read, if you ask me. This one was a gift (a for-no-reason gift! How fun is that?) from a good friend of mine. I adore having friends who know me well.
Do We Not Bleed? by Daniel Taylor. This one was a gift too. A birthday gift from my brother. He had loaned me the first in this series of mysteries and I loved it, so he gave me the second one for my birthday. (His birthday is just a few days after mine and I have him a book too -- so it was a book birthday for us, I guess). It (also) has a local author and a local setting. It is a mystery filled with interesting, quirky characters (I love a good quirky character!) and the events that lead this unlikely bunch to figure out "who done it". Dan Taylor was a writing professor at the college that I attended back in the day. I never took a class from him, but knew OF him and have read a few of his other books (mostly non-fiction). I love that he has plunged into the world of fiction and mystery.
The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines. I've had this book since it came out, but just now got around to reading it. We don't have cable, but I have seen some episodes of Fixer Upper and I loved it. Plus, we just finished up a major home addition and renovation project. I had read a bit about the two of them and knew I wanted to know morenof their story. I loved it. Their relationship. The crazy stories about Chip. Their testimony of the faithfulness of God in their lives. The birth of their show and success. All the stories of their entrepreneurial endeavors. The love of home and family . . . all good stuff!
So, there you have it. I thought they were all well-worth reading (I used to be unable to not finish a book once I started, but now I have no qualms putting away a book I am not enjoying, so it's very rare that I read something that I don't enjoy) and would suggest any, or all, of them. Order 'em. Don't. Check them out from the library. Or not. Borrow them from a friend, or from me. These are not affiliate links (cause not enough people will read this for Amazon to care even the teensiest little bit) and I get nothing at all if you buy them -- except if you read one and tell me, then we could have a rousing book discussion, which is also something that I love!
Happy reading, friends!