Sunday, June 15, 2014

10 Stellar Books For Summer 2014 Reading

I have been on a reading frenzy since April. I go in spurts when it comes to reading. When I road trip, I read A LOT. When I first finished graduate school I read books I actually wanted to read. Now that I’m no longer a workaholic that sits at vegetation station for 2.5 hours each night after work, I have time for reading parties as I like to call them.

Even though, for most of us, summer no longer means extended time off, vacations, sun and endless reading and slumber parties (which in my case as a high schooler meant working any number of strange odd jobs) it’s still nice to at least think summer means more time for reading, more time for travel and more time for refreshing drinks. My husband, Scott recently graduated with his masters and I am excited for him to be able to finally read books as fun books and not just textbooks. We plan to have reading parties all summer long.

I read like it's my job** In fact, I wish I could find a job where I was paid to read….but that is beside the point. All the books I am going to recommend to you were recommended by my friends and other professionals so I figured I would do the same for you. Also I have read them J

        1. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.  
      It took me awhile to read this book, so when I say I read it in May, I actually mean I finished it in May and started it last year. Brene Brown has done 12 years of research on the myth that vulnerability is weakness and  states that in actuality it is our most accurate measure of courage. Brene Brown is super intelligent and yet a down-to-earth kind of gal. She has a gigantic heart and an amazing ability to communicate on a subject as hard as shame and vulnerability and our need for connection. I use a lot of her theory and work professionally as a therapist with my high-school clients as well as in my personal life as I seek to be courageous in my relationships to others. I also HIGHLY recommend her book, The Gifts of Imperfection as well. I read this book over and over and if I’m feeling like I need a boost I just read one of her simple yet rich and full of depth guideposts to encourage me.

2. The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green
I found this little gem in La Jolla at a used book store next to Pannikin Coffee and Tea on Girard Avenue. This book is a children’s classic and basically re-tells the adventures of Robin Hood. I figure after you read something as thought provoking at Daring Greatly you might want to pick this up (or read about Peter Pan) How can you go wrong reading about merry thieves, the enchanted Sherwood forest (I am biased) and realizing Maid Marian is much more of a badass than she is depicted in the Disney film.

    3.12 Months to Your Ideal Private Practice by Lynn Grodzki 
      If you are therapist aspiring to run your own private practice someday than this should definitely be on your summer list. It is a workbook and you actually only go through it month by month (otherwise you would be overwhelmed and most likely end up broke) The author is like an energetic life coach that leads you to explore your connections, your beliefs, your passion and how to run a business.

      4. Divergent by Veronica Roth.
      I feel like I don’t need to say a whole lot about this book since it’s very popular and you have probably already seen the movie. It’s fast paced, riveting, and intense. If you like it, you can read two more! I wouldn’t read too much into though (for example by becoming obsessed with what faction you belong to) It’s okay, you belong to Divergent, don’t worry about it. If you are worried then check out buzz feed. Pretty sure I got Abnegation simply because I like the color gray and I’m in the helping field. After that I got factionless. By my 67th time I finally got Dauntless which would have been cool except I really just wanted to be Divergent.

   5. Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth.
      I bought this book to spice up my spiritual life. I am a very visual and kinesthetic learner so this book has been great for me. Sybil MacBeth challenges us to use color to pray, to draw out prayers and to basically doodle as we pray. I am a very disciplined person but this has been a double-edged sword for my spiritual life. I can sit for hours doing quiet spiritual things such as praying and reading the Bible but it doesn’t mean I enjoy it or don’t become very bored after awhile. For me, art and color is a new way for me to connect with God. You don’t even have to be an artist to benefit from this book. The author is a math teacher! I have a journal now with lots of people’s names in it decorated with lots and lots of sharpie markers.  

   6. Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther. 
      I follow Elizabeth’s Esther’s zesty blog so it was only natural I would buy her book when it came out this year. It’s basically her memoir of growing up in a fundamentalist cult and how she escaped. It’s riveting, hilarious and relatable. Elizabeth is brave, vulnerable and extremely plucky. Elizabeth creates a beautiful image of raw faith despite everything she experienced. Trigger Warning: This book does share graphic stories of physical and emotional abuse so if you know you’re not in a good place mentally for this book, just wait. It will be here later J

    7.   Bossypants by Tina Fey. 
      After reading something so intense and penetrating I needed something light and funny. However didn’t expect to be quite as inspired as I was. Tina Fey has done for comedy (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, or my personal favorite: Baby Mama) I tried really hard to keep it together in public coffee shops as I read through her memoir of childhood, the ridiculous cultural standards of beauty, (for example, “Now every girl is expected to have… the hips of a nine-year-old boy…”) dead-end jobs, and her break into the comedy sector, as well as the breast feeding versus formula debate. Not only is Tina Fey hysterical, she is someone who respects herself as a woman. She is a wife, mother and professional and she does each one with class.

       8. Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. 
      The title alone on this book made me want to read it!  Sarah writes about the gender debate and discusses how she wants to put aside all the arguing to have an actual conversation. She writes about how following Jesus made a feminist out her. Sarah writes about how God’s isn’t “a helpmeet in the watered-down milquetoast way we’ve taught or understood…He’s a strong helper, a warrior…women were created and called out as warriors”.  Definitely worth the read!

      9. Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd Jones. 
      This book Scott and I read together before bed. Our adult friends read it too. Yes it is a kids devotional and yes we love it. It has 101 simple, profound thoughts on faith. The illustrations are amazing and innovative. This book remind  me how much Jesus loves us.

      10. *Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. 
      If you like the show, The Mindy Project or The Office, or if you like to laugh at all, then consider this book. This book is a hilarious and witty memoir about Mindy’s life. She writes from a range of topics from best friend’s rights and responsibilities to why men put on their shoes so slowly to revenge fantasies while jogging, to her favorite moments in comedy. This book made me want to go back to film school and start writing more scripts for comedy. (Note: I only wrote one feature film script and it was cheesy and lacked continuity but I am proud of it nonetheless)

*Indicates my favorite

** If you want to read like it's your job too, consider reading any books by Brene Brown, Shauna Niequist. Also consider reading Sue Monk Kidd books such as The Secret Life of Bees and When The Heart Waits. I just got her new book The Invention of Wings. Other summer reading recs would include Love Does by Bob Goff, Surrender to Love by David Benner, Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery or anything by Jane Austen because she is rad.