Bookshelf

Best reads this summer

Anyone else have a stack of books as your constant bedside table companions? This summer’s pile o’ books is diverse – some self-help, murder mystery, literary, and pure fun. Here’s the round-up!

This is the life and business version of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. While Marie Kondo focuses on simplifying the material things that accumulate in our houses, McKeown does this for our days and time. The book is full of catchy phrases and practical advice like “discern more so you can do less” and “our highest priority is to protect our ability to prioritize.” It felt like he has been listening to every conversation I’ve been having with myself and friends about figuring out what to say “yes” to and “no” to in what feels like an ever-speeding up life. Need inspiration to live more intentionally? This is it.

 

The One Thing by Gary Keller

The One Thing felt like the perfect companion to Essentialism. Keller spends the whole book talking about how to figure out your one thing in every area of your life and what to do once you know what it is for: career, family, spiritual, health, relational. It’s a super practical and convicting read. Throughout the book he says things like, “it’s not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it’s that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.” The best thing Keller does is provide super practical advice for figuring out what your one thing is in every role you play in life, which feels like half the battle most of the time.

Still Life by Louise Penny

Summer is all about the murder-mystery, read-it-in-a-day type books. Penny strikes the perfect balance between an intriguing plot and interesting characters. If you love solving a case before the detective does and need a diverse cast of suspects, this will keep you reading until the end. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll immediately pick-up the next book in the series because it was such an enjoyable reading experience.

 

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

This book is not for everyone. It is for you if you enjoy beautiful prose and reflective literary writing. It’s a slim volume of a well-written and engaging life story told by the narrator, Lucy Barton. I couldn’t put it down, and because of it’s short page count I was able to finish it in a couple hours on a Saturday. Looking something more substantial than self-help and mystery? Check this one out for sure.

 

Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift

Stuck at home this summer but wish you were traveling the world? Specifically traveling to France? Le Road Trip will probably increase as well as satisfy some of that wanderlust. Reading this makes me want to own everything Vivian Swift produces. She is funny, insightful, and easy to read. Plus, the book is full of beautiful watercolor paintings. Visually, this book is stunning. As a reading experience, it’s purely a delight.

 

Here’s to diving into the summer reading!

 

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Fresh and Inspired

Blank space isn’t scary, it’s essential

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It is easy to give into the temptation to celebrate an overstuffed calendar. Whether it’s full of social obligations or work commitments, we love to see our weeks, months, and years full. Full isn’t bad. Full is good. Figuring out the priorities of our days determines whether the full we have is good or bad.

To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, wisdom to sleep, and the discipline to apply highly selective criteria to the choices we make. (Greg McKeown, Essentialism)

In each of our days, we need some blank space to think, look, listen, play, and sleep. We need blank space that isn’t filled with an expectation of something happening. I’m so challenged to carve out these still small moments. Moments that are without expectation.

An empty page in a journal and calendar is hopeful and intimidating. That blank space is full of expectation, and the minute we write something down our minds and hearts set themselves up for meeting those hopes. We are constantly negotiating with ourselves about whether what happened met or failed to meet the expectation we had.

Create some space today for a still small moment to think, look, listen, play. It is good for our souls to have space without expectation to make the moment itself count, not the event or obligation. Happy Monday, friends.