It's here! The 2019 Summer Reading List: my favourite post of the year. Not only do I get to talk about the books that I'm most excited to read right now, I also get to give them away. So much fun!
This year's theme is transformation. Think: books that transform you, inspire you to transform, or help you open your heart to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. In the fiction category, we were looking for books that demonstrated significant transformation in a character, as any good novel should have.
This year, I had a hard time selecting just ten books, so I tried something different—I let the readers vote. I gave you 25 options and you narrowed it down to ten, making my life oh so much easier. Thank you to those who voted for the 2019 Summer Reading List.
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The annual summer reading list is an anniversary of sorts for me. It was one of the first posts I published on this blog back in 2017. Last year's list marked the start of a new journey in faith and in writing—my year of rest. As I come out of that year— wondering simultaneously where the time went and how so much could have changed in just 365 days—I see this year's selection of books as the next step in that journey.
Last year's books focused on finding rest in God. This year, I'm drawn more to books that not only help us abide in Jesus, but to take that gift and use it to convey God's love. How do we love those around us, raise children, and lead others from a place of rest, from a deep sense of peace about who we are in God?
For the fiction titles, I searched for characters who inspire us with their stories and who overcome greats odds to experience personal transformation.
I hope these books will help you grow personally and spiritually, while also filling your summer with entertainment and joy.
Introducing Scribd Audiobooks and E-books
New this year, I'm including links to audiobooks and e-books from Scribd. If you haven't signed up for this monthly subscription service yet, I highly recommend you check it out. For $9/month, you get unlimited access to a massive selection of books. Almost all the books on this year's list are included with a Scribd subscription. You can sign up for a free trial of Scribd here.
The Ultimate Summer 2019 Reading List Giveaway
Here's how the giveaway works:
- Check out the books in The My Cup Run's Over Summer 2019 Reading List below.
- Enter the giveaway.
- Increase your chances of winning by sharing the giveaway on social media.
One grand prize winner will win five books (of their choosing) from the list .
The five entrants who generate the most entries from referrals and social sharing will each win the book of their choice from the five. (If the grand prize winner is one of the top five entrants, they will only win the grand prize and the sixth highest-referring entrant will win instead.
1. Ministry of Ordinary Places
by Shannan Martin
From the publisher: "For Christ-followers living in an increasingly complicated world, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to live a life of intention and meaning. Where do we even begin?
Shannan Martin offers a surprisingly simple answer: uncover the hidden corners of our cities and neighborhoods and invest deeply in the lives of people around us. Shannan reminds us of the simple, yet beautiful call to love our neighbor and what that could really look like today."
I'm excited about the premise of The Ministry of Ordinary Places—that we can serve Jesus by simply showing love the people we encounter day-to-day. This is one of the two most critical instructions Jesus gave to us, and yet, we so often get this wrong. Simple, ordinary love and kindness has become an enigma to many of us as we rush to get inside our homes and shut out the outside world. (Except, of course, the fragments of it that reach us through the Internet. We never seem quite capable of shutting those out).
As I read this book, I hope to learn practical strategies for being salt and light.
Find The Ministry of Ordinary Places on:
2. The Next Right Thing
by Emily P. Freeman
From the publisher: "If you have trouble making decisions, because of either chronic hesitation you've always lived with or a more recent onset of decision fatigue, Emily P. Freeman offers a fresh way of practicing familiar but often forgotten advice: simply do the next right thing. With this simple, soulful practice, it is possible to clear the decision-making chaos, quiet the fear of choosing wrong, and find the courage to finally decide without regret or second-guessing."
I discovered Emily P. Freeman just over a year ago, and she is now one of my favourite authors to follow. Her writing is refreshing, fun, and grace-filled. This book is an extension of her The Next Right Thing podcast and offers gentle guidance for those who struggle to make decisions.
Chapter titles such as 'Become a Soul Minimalist,' 'Know What You Want More," "Make the Most Important List," "Don't Rush Clarity," and "Stop Collecting Gurus," suggest that The Next Right Thing will help us know and trust ourselves more and lead more authentic lives.
Find The Next Right Thing on:
3. Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday
by Valerie Woerner
From the publisher: "Learn to embrace a joyful, intentional motherhood that is so much better than you thought possible. As you journey with Valerie, you’ll be inspired and equipped to find energy in the most unlikely places, pursue your own dreams, be set free from mom guilt, feel content despite unfinished to-do lists, spend purposeful time with God amid the daily chaos, and discover more joyous moments of motherhood."
Regular readers of this site will likely need no explanation as to why this book is on the list. My children are well-acquainted with Grumpy Mom. They spent years riding in the back seat of her crumb-carpeted minivan, listening to her grumble about glitter stuck to the table, and wondering why she was always so angry. In my pursuit of rest, I've learned how to ignore all that and find joy in the chaos.
I hope that after reading this book, the Grumpy Mom in my house—and yours—will take more than just a vacation!
Find Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday on:
4. Called to Create
by Jordan Raynor
From the publisher: "We were created by an infinitely creative God to reflect his love and character to the world. One way we do that is by continuing his creative work. In this energizing book, serial entrepreneur and bestselling author Jordan Raynor helps artists, entrepreneurs, writers, and other creatives reimagine our work as service to God and others. Perfectly poised to reach today's growing creative class, this unique work restores God's position as the first entrepreneur, helping readers see the eternal value in the work they do today."
Last summer, I listened to an episode of The Entrepreneur's Summit podcast featuring Jordan Raynor as a guest. It was probably the most thought-provoking podcast I've listened to. In the interview, Raynor addresses the challenge of finding the balance between trusting God as a Christian and hustling as an entrepreneur (a label which, he explains, includes creatives). He talked about honouring God through your creativity and living a life that resonates through eternity.
I am eager to glean more of his wisdom and stockpile some inspiration for the year ahead.
Find Called to Create on:
by Sharon Jaynes
From the publisher: "Do the voices in your head say you're not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough...or just not enough, period? It's time to stop listening to lies that sabotage your confidence and embrace the truth of who God says you are. Popular author and speaker Sharon Jaynes exposes the lies that keep you bogged down in shame, insecurity, and feelings of inadequacy. Your confidence and faith will grow when you trade self-defeating thoughts for God's truth."
Women are prone to believing lies about themselves, such as I'm worthless, I'm not good enough, and I can't forgive myself. Most of us can relate to these sorts of thoughts and know first-hand how debilitating they can be. It's hard to love others and live out God's calling on our lives when we haven't learned how to be the beloved of God or how to love ourselves.
Jaynes' book shows us how to recognize these lies and replace them with truth. If these types of beliefs are standing in the way of your personal transformation, this book will help you overcome them and go forward with confidence and hope.
Find Enough on:
6. Parenting with Grace and Truth
by Dan Seaborn
From the publisher: "Parenting with Grace and Truth is a timely book for parents who desire to live and lead like Jesus. You will be drawn to the "grace and truth" concept because our culture idolizes serving self over others, which makes it incredibly difficult to raise children from a biblical foundation.
In twelve chapters, author Dan Seaborn explores the notion of what parenting would be like if you handled the delicate balance of speaking truth into your children’s lives, while loving your kids with a heart full of grace."
If you struggled with concepts such as developing good character in your children, discovering their unique talents and abilities, or parenting through a crisis, this book offers practical and relatable advice to help you through. Seaborn's mission is to show us how to love our children the way Jesus loves them, valuing them for who they are and helping them become the people God designed them to be.
Find Parenting with Grace and Truth on:
7. Dare to Lead
by Brené Brown
From the publisher: "How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture? In this new book, Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-BS style that millions of readers have come to expect and love. Brown writes, 'One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable.'"
Even if we don't work in upper-level management, many of us are leaders in one domain or another: our homes, our churches, non-profit boards, homeschooling co-ops. Even if the role is unofficial, we always have the opportunity to step up and lead. In this book, Brené shows us how to do so with humility, staying true to our values even when faced with situations that seemingly make it impossible to do so.
Brown's writing is addictive. I dare you to read the introduction to this book and try to put it down.
Find Dare to Lead on:
8. Hidden Among the Stars
by Melanie Dobson
Christian Historical Fiction
From the publisher: "The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan―even their very lives―in jeopardy.
Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love."
Hidden Among the Stars falls into my favourite category of novels: a dual storyline juxtaposing a modern-day discovery with a WW2 mystery. Dobson's novel should be a good fit for fans of Susan Meissner, Kate Morton, and Michèle Phoenix.
Find Hidden Among the Stars on:
9. The Lost Vintage
by Ann Mah
From the publisher: "Sweetbitter meets The Nightingale in this page-turning novel about a woman who returns to her family’s ancestral vineyard in Burgundy and unexpectedly uncovers a lost diary, an unknown relative, and a secret her family has been keeping since World War II. As she learns more about her family, the line between resistance and collaboration blurs, driving Kate to find the answers to two crucial questions: Who, exactly, did her family aid during the difficult years of the war? And what happened to six valuable bottles of wine that seem to be missing from the cellar’s collection?"
Here's an example of an instance where all you need is a comp title to sell a book: "Meets The Nightingale." Sold. If it's anything like The Nightingale, I love it already. If you enjoy novels set in France, WW2 mysteries, female protagonists, and dual storylines, Mah's The Lost Vintage is a great book to pick up this summer.
Find The Lost Vintage on:
10. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman
From the publisher: "Eleanor Oliphant struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living."
This book was hands-down the funniest, most unputdownable book I've read this year (possibly longer). I listened to the audiobook on Scribd and walked around with headphones on for the better part of a women's retreat weekend, because I was obsessed with Eleanor's story. If you haven't read this runaway hit yet, it's definitely time to join the party.
Note that the novel does contain some graphic scenes such as Eleanor getting a bikini wax and consuming large amounts of alcohol. There is also a fair amount of cursing. Nonetheless, I found Honeyman's debut novel to be completely refreshing and, ultimately, uplifting. Perfect for Graeme Simsion fans.
Find Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine on:
Again, thank you to everyone who voted for these books. I hope this 2019 Summer Read List inspires you to pick up a few good books this season and lose yourself—if even just for a few hours—in some remarkable writing.
How about you? What's on your reading list this summer, and which of the books here are you most excited to read? Leave a comment below and let me know. And don't forget to enter the giveaway! (CLOSED).
UPDATE (JUNE 27, 2019): CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. WINNERS ARE BEING NOTIFIED BY EMAIL. THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING.