I like things perfect. (hello, enneagram One!) I like things controlled, and clear, and clean, and finished. I like things black or white, and I’m not a fan of all the shades of gray in between. I like starting new things, and I like when things wrap up, but I’m not really all that stoked about the journey in between.
August got off to a slow start but ended strong just in time for September and FALL to begin. Let’s go!
While I obviously can’t recommend a book for each and every one of you for the year you were born, I thought it would be fun to look back at the 1990s (the decade I was born in!) and the 80s (just for fun!) to highlight a few books that have stood the test of time!
Attending the Evolving Faith Conference this year? Want to read all the books by the amazing lineup of speakers? I’ve rounded them all up here! If you aren’t attending but want to read great, diverse, life-changing books on faith from brilliant minds, look no further!
I compiled this post from a hybrid of Amazon bestsellers, a Goodreads list of most popular books of 2019, New York Times bestsellers, and my own Instagram browsing. It’s not at all an exact science, but more a loose guide to what’s making the rounds, topping the charts, and getting buzz around the bookish world so far this year— hope you find some gems on this list to read and enjoy!
July was full of so, so many library books (SORRY, books i already own! i promise i’ll read all of you eventually!) and lots of Colleen Hoover and mostly easy, breezy romances… but hey, it’s summer, so NO SHAME.
Some authors feel like dear friends from the moment you begin reading their words, and Shauna Niequist is one of those authors for me. She writes with a warmth that is contagious and welcoming, and she has such a beautiful, heartfelt, and authentic way of writing that is so engaging to me. I can’t wait for her to publish another book (hopefully soon!) so I can get my hands on it ASAP — she’s one of my very favorites and I hope you’ll fall in love with her like I have!
Here's where to start reading Shauna Niequist:
if you’re in a joyous season:
Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life // This book is electric, alive, fresh, and free. It's all about "celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life" and it's such a refreshing read, much like a cold tangerine would be. I fell in love with Shauna after the first few paragraphs, and knew I would be reading anything she ever wrote in that moment. This book was a delight and a joy.
if you’re in a challenging season:
Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way // Shauna's "thoughts on change, grace, and learning the hard way" was poignant, beautiful, and soulful. This book is like a warm hug from a dear friend while you're curled up swapping life stories on a comfy couch over mugs of coffee. It's warm and real and reflective in the best ways. I hang on to her every word and feel like we've been best friends forever every time I read her stories.
if you want to read a little every day:
Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are // This one combines content from Bread and Wine, Cold Tangerines, and Bittersweet, as well as new writing and recipes, and it’s the perfect introduction to Shauna’s writings if you haven’t read her yet, as well as a great way to get a little snippet of inspiring, encouraging, beautiful writing every day even if you have read her before!
if you’re stressed:
Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living // Shauna, I just love you. I've always loved you. I'm convinced you can write no wrong. This was as beautiful as all of your other books, and so applicable to probably everyone's life, too. Props on writing such a great book on such a relevant topic and making it heartfelt and honest the whole time. This book follows her typical writing style of a collection of essays more than a chapter-based book with a particular flow or outline, but that's what I love about her. The threads weave well throughout all of the pieces, but it's also easy to read in chunks. I did miss a little bit of her typical food-talk, but the focus of this one was different, and I appreciated that. This one just feels refreshing and real.
if you love food + faith:
Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes // This book is a "collection of essays about family, friendships, and the meals that bring us together" next to exquisite recipes, and I can't say enough good things about it. Obviously I love Shauna Niequist, but it's more than that. This book welcomes you into a kitchen buzzing with activity and full of the most incredible tastes and smells, welcomes you around the table where love overflows and real life happens.
Having a weird diet means that’s inevitable, yeah, but food is just fascinating to me and I absolutely love reading about, learning about it, cooking it, growing it, and eating it (of course). I’ve loved reading more foodie books in recent years, and thought it would be fun to include this category in A RAD Reading Challenge!
I knew nothing about these books, but their beautiful covers alone caught my eye and drew me in. High five for good design!
It’s been such a solid year of reading so far, but thankfully, of the 80+ books I’ve read so far in 2019, I only gave 5-star ratings to 12! Picking my halfway top ten from that list wasn’t too terribly hard… these are all SUCH winners.
Getting rid of books is not easy, I know. (This is coming from a girl who has hundreds of unread book on her shelves, so clearly I haven’t mastered the whole “minimalism” thing yet…) But no matter how many books you prefer to keep, or how many you have room for, there comes a time for all of us where we realize we need to let some beloved books go…