my favorite books of the summer

At the beginning of this year, I set a goal for myself to make more time for reading and to have less screen time. I finally got a library card (not sure what took me so long!) and have loved adding to my wish list of books to read and waiting for books I’ve put on hold to come available. I just finished book #30 of 2018, and I don’t intend on slowing down anytime soon!

Here are a few of the books I read and enjoyed this summer:

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman | You might recognize this title, since it was part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club. I found it in Costco and randomly decided to pick it up to read on our anniversary trip to Mexico. At first I wasn’t sure about her, but I soon became enamored the quirky heroine, Eleanor. She has a mysterious past and a lonely existence, and I found it easy to become a cheerleader along her journey to discover herself and open up to the world. Equal parts funny, heartbreaking and endearing, this book is one that I didn’t want to put down!

Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs | Y’all know that I love Annie Downs— I listen to her podcast weekly (read more about my favorite podcasts here!) I really enjoy her writing voice and the comfortable, conversational style of this memoir was no exception. In Looking for Lovely, Annie shares her stories of struggle, weaved in with scripture and biblical truths. She encourages the reader that though life is full of darkness and hardship, we can look for lovely in the everyday, ordinary moments and appreciate the lessons and gifts that God has provided for us along the journey. This is one of those books that you can read over and over again, and I already feel like I need to re-read it soon!

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis | This book is an easy read, and I devoured it on the plane to Mexico this summer. Girl, Wash Your Face is structured around lies that women tell themselves, and Rachel Hollis is honest and vulnerable about the ways that each of these lies have played a role in her life. I really appreciated the honest advice, tough love and quotable encouragement she includes as she shares her story. I now have my favorite quote from the book on a post-it note at my desk: “You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.” I definitely recommend this book if you’re in a place where you need encouragement or motivation!

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir | I mentioned this book in passing in my “The Good Stuff | July 2018” blog post and I had to include it here. This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time— one of those page-turners that hooks you from the start. Essie, the teenage daughter of an evangelical preacher whose family is the center of a reality TV show, finds out she is pregnant. I found myself on the edge of my seat, ready to cheer Essie on throughout her journey as she struggled to with the truth about her past, the courage required to bring justice, and the sacrifices that had to be made to find her freedom. This book takes on some timely, tough topics in a suspenseful, beautifully-written narrative, and I highly recommend it!

Everybody, Always by Bob Goff | I loved Bob Goff’s first book, Love Does, and knew I had to read Everybody, Always when it came out. Bob Goff is an incredible author because he has such an enthusiasm and zeal for life and calls the reader to have the same. He’s over the top, but so authentic and genuine at the same time. He has such a gift for storytelling, simultaneously weaving in humor, humanity and heartbreak in each chapter. You’ll finish this book uplifted and filled with hope, inspired to embrace life and love others well.

All We’ve Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin | If you’ve ever read any of Emily Giffin’s rom com-type books, this one might be a little different than what you’re expecting. This novel is less “chick lit” and more of a drama, addressing the complexity of family relationships, the challenges of parenting in the age of social media, racial and class biases, and other heavy topics. It is told from three different perspectives— a mother, a father and a daughter— which I enjoyed, because it allowed me to put myself in each of the character’s shoes and caused me to think to myself, “What would I do in that situation?” I’ll admit, the book wrapped up a little more quickly then I liked and left some unanswered questions, but overall I enjoyed this quick, but still thought-provoking, read.

Here’s what I have next on my list to read:

What have you read recently? Let me know- I’d love to add more titles to my list of books to read in 2018!

xo,
Ryann

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