Summer Book List

And so it begins! Summer va-cay, people! Lemonade, sunshine, sunburns, aloe treatments, sibling bickering, heatstroke…whoops. Sorry. Nobody likes a realist.

So let’s pretend instead, shall we? Let’s pretend that you are actually going to have hours and hours to devote to your favorite hobbies. Basket weaving, macrame, gnome whittling.

Photo credits

And, for those of you who are blessed by God to know better, reading.

I have now watched my blinking cursor for three full minutes in an effort to find a hobby more glorious than reading, but I’m coming up empty. Eating one’s way across Italy comes very close, but today I feel reading gets the spotlight.

I have a few humble suggestions for you in terms of reading love this summer. But before we start talking turkey, let’s lay some groundwork. You will not find here any recommendations for business books. Or science. Or math. Or quantum physics. Or (shudder) financial planning. I’m sure there are lots of good people making lists of such groaners titles somewhere. In fact, I live with one of them.

He’s cute, but he reads super boring books.

Here are my recommendations, to be taken with a glass of wine and the knowledge that even though I write Christian fiction and love Jesus, I do read and enjoy books with imperfect protagonists who cuss and act immorally and commit crimes and complain and don’t wear pantyhose to church. You’ve been warned.

Click on any of the covers below to go shopping.

1. Historical fiction: The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom

I loved this book so much, I thought about it all day before I could shove the kids in bed with nary a kiss and get back to reading until the wee hours. Set in the 1700s on a Southern plantation, this book is a sweeping story of family and all the beauty and tragedy that goes along with being mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers,. That’s all you’re getting. Remember, I don’t even read the backs of books. Just buy The Kitchen House and start reading.

2. Contemporary fiction: Return to Me, by Marisa de los Santos

Oh, Marisa de los Santos. How I adore your storytelling. Will you please write my next book and we’ll pretend I did and put my name on it but I’ll send you the check and we’ll just hope no one goes to prison? Great! Let’s meet for lunch to hammer out details and so I can quote your writing to you and make you feel awkward but really loved. Return to Me is the sequel to one of my all-time favorites, Love Walked In. Humor, grace, beautiful storytelling, characters you want to live next door to…That’s all. Buy it. And I dare you not to develop a crush on Theo. And Claire. And Cornelia. And…

3. Mystery: The Inspector Gamache series, Louise Penney

I don’t typically read mysteries, but I do enjoy me some Ms. Louise. Inspector Gamache reminds me of Poirot from Masterpiece Mystery. All great mysteries should involve a quirky Frenchman with impeccable manners. Mustache optional.

4. General awesomeness: Love Does, by Bob Goff

I’m breaking the cardinal rule of book recs by recommending one I haven’t yet finished. But I was upstairs crying while I read this right before I sat down to write to you, and I can’t keep this book to myself. Laughing, crying, more laughing, all in the first three chapters. Please remember me weeping when Ryan comes bounding up the walk like a yellow lab, and all he wants is to woo his sweetheart, and you realize God loves you like crazy. Trust me. It will all make sense. Buy it.

5. Parenting: Cleaning House, by Kay Wills Wyma

For those of you non-fiction readers who weren’t completely offended by my dismissal of Marc’s reading preferences, thank you for hanging on. You just might like this dandy by Kay Wills Wyma. I loved it. The author takes a year to work on specific areas in which her kids are driving her nuts and re-teaching them the world and its many people do not exist to serve them. Think laundry, cooking, throwing a party, lawn work, cleaning house…If your children already participate fully in the running of your home and are interning at the Pentagon this summer, you can skip this book. Otherwise, I would recommend reading it and then watching your children crumple blossom into the people you hope they become.

That’s my short list. What books are your book shelf? Any recommendations to share?

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