For many readers, summer is the time to put a dent in the reading list. The pace of life is a bit slower, and who doesn’t love the opportunity to sit on the beach or lay in a hammock, enjoying the beautiful weather while taking in a good book?
This summer wasn’t really like that for me. I spent most of my days inside working. And my weekends were spent out and about with the family sans books.
Weirdly enough, TV-watching played a big part in my night-time routine, crowding out my normal reading rhythm. Between American Ninja Warrior, the Olympics, and re-watching Gilmore Girls, I found myself not having energy to read more than a chapter before lights out each night. BUT. But. but. In spite of Netflix trying to ruin my life, I did manage to get through a few books that I highly recommend.
Evicted is a book that our city is reading and discussing this fall; author Matthew Desmond is an alum of the UW. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked this one up, but it didn’t take me long to get hooked into the stories of Scott and Arleen and several other families whose lives have been deeply affected by the ever-present reality of eviction. Desmond is a master storyteller- he helps readers to see the heartbreaking and surprisingly complex situations that many of these families who have been evicted have gone through. I don’t think I’ll ever think about poverty and housing the same. My recommendation, if you pick up this book, be sure to read through the About This Project portion at the end. Reading about how Matthew did the research, and also his ideas for helping to solve the housing crisis in America, is well worth the read.
One day in the workroom, one of my co-workers and I discovered that we were both beginning to venture into the world of Brene Brown and all that comes with her– self-understanding, shame, courage, and authenticity. We decided that it would only make perfect sense to learn about all of this together. Since then, we’ve plowed our way through The Gifts of Imperfection, Rising Strong, and Daring Greatly. I know, I know, I read them out of order, but alas, sometimes I’m a bit unconventional. I think my biggest takeaway is my need to be incredibly mindful of the words I’m saying to both myself and to my kids. Shame talk is sneaky, and it can creep in without me even realizing it.
C. Christopher Smith
I’m currently midstream with this book, and I find myself jotting down a lot of ideas as I read. What does it look like to be a learning community? How can we read in such a way that helps our churches, our schools, and our neighborhoods flourish? If I could choose a book for my church to read together, what would I choose? What are the best ways to help people come together over books? Where can we create space to live out the realities of what we read? I’ve always believed (and I say it all the time) that readers change the world. I’ve instinctually known it’s true, but I wasn’t exactly sure how or why. Chris not only helps us understand why this is true, but he also shares practical ways communities can start moving in this direction. I’m just so inspired by the stories he shares in this book!
And of course, I always have a stack books in the queue…
Books Hanging Out on My Nightstand:
The Very Good Gospel by Lisa Sharon Harper
Lord Wiling by Jessica Kelley
Very Married: Field Notes on Love and Fidelity by Katherine Willis Pershey
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Growing Young by Kara Powell and Brad Griffin
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
Your turn: What’s next on your reading list?