Opposite of what most people think, summer is actually one of my slower seasons as a Texas portrait and wedding photographer. It is so HOT here, weddings slow down for a bit once July and August hit. And to be honest, I am 100% okay with that! No one wants to be the photographer that “makes” people be out in the heat to take photos, and no one loves being out in the heat to be in photos… so I gladly embrace short break!
Along with a bit of a slower pace means that I have a little more downtime to read and relax. Once I graduated from college and no longer had to read for assignments, etc, I finally started enjoying picking up a book! And now there’s just something about summertime that makes me want to slow down and read… preferably poolside or at a beach!
I have read some really good books lately, so I thought it would be fun to share them with y’all! There’s still a little bit of summer left and definitely time to make it through another book — or two! But first a disclaimer: While I do enjoy reading, I am not a fiction book reader… I gravitate toward books that help me learn something or that seems to relate to whatever season of life I feel like I am currently in. Mainly, I read books that are faith-based or business related. 🤓
So with that said, you now know what to expect, and I hope you’ll still take a recommendation or two because these are some really good ones! Here are five of my favorite recent reads and a few short descriptions of each one with Amazon links if you want to grab a copy!
f you haven’t heard of Bob Goff yet, you are missing out! I read his first book, Love Does, my senior year in college after a friend kept bugging me to read it and could hardly put it down! He has an easy, conversational writing style and in Love Does he tells stories about different times in his life that have revealed ways that God loves us and how we can live out that love toward others through our actions. In Everybody Always, he focuses on stories about simply loving difficult people – including a witch doctor from Ugahnda. Crazy, I KNOW, but it’s my FAVORITE story in the whole book! I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s amazing how simply showing God’s love to people who are deemed “unloveable” can change hearts and circumstances in BIG ways! That’s all I am going to say for now, but this story is INCREDIBLE!
Bonus recommendation: If you’re a fan of Bob, you definitely need to check out his wife, Maria’s book, Love Lives Here where she talks about living a life of loving her family, serving her neighbors and creating a hospitable and welcoming environment wherever she lives. It’s another simple, easy, yet impactful read!
A SEVERE MERCY
Y’all – besides the Bible – this might be one of my most favorite books EVER. Top 3 FOR SURE! It is different from most of the books I typically read because it is more of a storyline, but it is SO GOOD. It is written by a man named Sheldon who tells the love story of him and his wife, nicknamed Davy, and how they came to know God through writing letters and developing a friendship with C.S. Lewis. (If you don’t know who C.S. Lewis is, he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia series – and so many other good books! In short, just buy and read anything he wrote and you won’t be disappointed). One of the things I loved about this book is that it included actual letters written back and forth between Sheldon and C.S. Lewis. The story starts I believe in the late 1930s / early 1940s and spans over a few decades.
A friend of mine was reading this book while we were in Maui earlier this spring and another friend was raving about it, so naturally I borrowed it and from there it has been making its way through our friend group. I’ll probably end up buying my own copy because I love it so much! The story did get off to a slow start for me, so if you feel the same way, just stick with it! It really does get SO GOOD.
PRESENT OVER PERFECT
I read this book a few months back and loved it! It was the second book from Shauna Niequist I have read, and it was just an overall good, encouraging read. For you Enneagram people, I am a 9w1, and that “perfectionistic” 1 wing can come out pretty strong sometimes… I’m currently working on embracing the whole “Done is Better Than Perfect” mindset, but that is a work-in-progress!. Anyway, throughout the book, Shauna shares stories from her own life and the freedom in learning to simply be present in life and not being so tied up with making sure everything is always done perfectly or looks perfect. It’s a simple, easy read-a-chapter-before-going-to-sleep kind of book.
This book is up there in the top three with A Severe Mercy! Okay, actually, I’m going to commit here and say that so far, it’s my #1 favorite after the Bible. SUCH. A. GOOD. BOOK! If you take ONE suggestion from me from this blog post, take this one! J. I. Packer breaks down characteristics of God and who He is, what it really means to know Him, and what knowing Him means for our lives as believers. I gave a copy to my sister a while back and she has LOVED it as well! It’s dense in the sense that you want to read it slow and study it so the truths Packer is writing to really sink in, but it’s not one of those way-over-your-head theology type books, you know? Buy it, read it, mark it up, read it again — and again!
This one is more of a business-related book. Well, actually, I take that back – I think this book can be useful for most everyone these days! I’m actually not through with the book… I’m just a few chapters in, but it already has been so helpful! The whole point is to help figure out what is actually ESSENTIAL to get done in life / work / etc so we can do those things well and make the biggest impact vs. getting clouded with a lot of things that, when it really comes down to it, aren’t really essential (or even necessary) to spend time, energy and resources on. I tend to want to conquer the world in all areas of life and business sometimes and then get paralzied because I can’t make a decision on what is the most important. The principles in this book help create a clear vision on clarifying and cutting out the things that are actually non-essentials. I can’t make a 100% confident call on this one, but it’s really practical and helpful so far, so I’m thinking I’ll like the rest of it!
Note: This post contains affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission should you chose to make a purchase using my link. Basically, if you’re interested in one of these books and purchase with my link, it’s like treating me to a cup of coffee!