My apple green nightstand usually brims with books. I have this habit of reading five books at once (minimum), but it sorta works well for me. There are seasons and days and times of the day when I want to read cerebral nonfiction, and there are other times when I want a good story.
During the summer in particular, I crave fiction. There’s something satisfying about an afternoon in a deck chair with a glass of iced tea and a good book, and a novel fits the bill when it’s hot and the kids are romping in the sprinkler. But non-fiction works for me as well—I like to dabble back and forth.
As I furiously pen my next book this year, I’m surprised how much I need to read as I write. It’s as though the words leave me, and I need to refill my soul with new words so that I’m not depleted.
Basically, I love books. And here’s what I’m reading over the next few months (and what I’ve also recently finished).
1. Paris in Love
I wasn’t sure I’d like this book when I first got it, but I like Paris, I like the illustrated cover, and well, I’d be happy to spend a year in the City of Lights. Paris in Love is about a family’s year in Paris, when the parents take a year-long sabbatical from work. The writer, Eloisa James, is actually a Shakespeare professor and romance novelist, and this charming memoir is based on her Facebook status updates from their year.
This is a charming, lighthearted read—I kept it on my nightstand and read several pages every night over the past month.
Maeve Binchy has been one of my favorite novelists for a while now; I remember reading her books on the bus as I left class and headed home to my college apartment. Solidly Irish, her writing opens my eyes to a culture and a worldview that I don’t know very well. (I’ve been to Dublin twice, but that’s the extend of my Irish experience.)
Echoes is another great story of hers, full of fascinating characters. A small coastal town called Castlebay is home to a host of neighbors and family, and well, lots of things happen. I can hardly tell you much without giving things away. It’s an intriguing story, and I really enjoyed it—recommended with a cup of tea, hot or iced.
3. Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul
This book comes recommended to me by a few of my friends, so I imagine it’ll be good. Jennie Allen is a fellow Austinite, and Anything is about a prayer she and her husband, Zac, prayed that eventually took them down a road of fascinating abandonment. She says, “Anything is a prayer of surrender that will spark something. A prayer that will move us to stop chasing things that just make us feel happy and start living a life that matters. A life that is… Surrendered. Reckless. Courageous.”
4. The Red Tent
I’m a bit late to this party, but enough recommendations from friends on Facebook have me convinced. A decade after its publication, author Anita Diamant has released a tenth anniversary edition of The Red Tent, so I thought it’d be a good time to give this book a whirl. From its description:
“Told in Dinah’s voice, Anita Diamant imagines the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood–the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of the mothers–Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah–the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through childhood, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah’s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past.”
I’m anxious to see if this story lives up to all its five-star reviews.
5. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
Another Austinite, Jen Hatmaker’s name won’t leave my Twitter stream and Facebook feed. I’ve chatted with her briefly via email, and she immediately made it to my People I Want to Meet Soon list. She and her family are church planters in socially unique setting in the city, and she says they’ve seen their world turned upside down as they’ve considered what it means to ask God how to live and not just what to do.
7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.
It sounds very akin to how my family lives, so I look forward to reading her words in 7.
6. What Alice Forgot
Finally, this new novel by Liane Moriarty has been pegged as funny, addictive, thought-provoking, heartfelt, and witty. Alice is a twenty-something girl who’s newly engaged and full of life—except that she’s not. That was 10 years ago; she slipped in a step-aerobics class, hit her head and lost a decade. Now she’s a grown-up, bossy mother of three in the middle of a nasty divorce and her beloved sister Elisabeth isn’t speaking to her.
I love a good story, and all the recommendations for What Alice Forgot has convinced me to bring this to the poolside chaise this summer. I’ll let you know what I think.
Now it’s your turn—I’d love to hear what you’re reading. Any recommendations? Have you read any of these books I’ve mentioned?
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