5 books worth reading

Summer reading is in full swing, but sometimes its hard to find a good one. Here are five of my most recent reads, all of them a different genre and all excellent in their own way.

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Perhaps the most captivating book I’ve ever read, this is a true story about an troubled Olympic athlete who joins the fight in WWII as a bombardier. I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but I will say that if you like a bit of history, a true survival story and a surprise ending, this is the perfect read. Your husband will probably love it, too.

2. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

It all started when the author, her husband and 18-month old daughter were out to eat at a cafe in France.  She took a peek around and realized that even though the restaurant was filled with other families like hers, her daughter was the only one throwing food, needing constant attention and making the meal unenjoyable for her parents. Which got Ms. Druckerman thinking: what do French parents do to raise such polite, calm children?

I loved this book.  The writing is clever and journalistic, learning about the different parenting styles and social norms in France was fascinating, inspiring and made me double-think how we do things here in America. If you are a parent, want an entertaining, educational book, this is a good one.

3. Redemption by Bryan Clay

Reigning Olympic gold medalist in the decathalon {and the World’s Greatest Athlete} Bryan Clay wrote this memoir about his difficult childhood, his entrance into the world of track & field, how the sport changed his direction and his faith journey through it all.

Bryan and his wife, Sarah, went to college with me and Ryan {Azusa Pacific University}, so of course we’ve been big fans of our fellow APU alumni. It has been so exciting to watch this unlikely champion achieve such great success.  This is the perfect book to get you in the Olympic spirit {plus you learn a ton about the decathalon, which makes watching it much more enjoyable}. Another great book for the men in your life.

4. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

Need a life-changing book? This could be it.

7 is the true story of how Jen {along with her husband and her children to varying degrees} took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God””a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence. {from amazon book description}

If you read nothing else this summer, please pick up this one. It is written in a very conversational, humorous, blog-style and so you’ll be entertained. But more importantly, you’ll be challenged to take a look at how our feasting {consuming} has become so out-of-balance with fasting {giving}.  I was challenged and motivated to change because of this book.  It is SO good.

5. The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

The story of a rich American {Cora Cash} in the late 1800’s who travels to England and ends up marrying into a royal family. It is a novel that explores an opulent time in history, touching on the social issues of the time and the romance between Cora and her withdrawn husband.

Do you ever read a book and feel like you become friends with the main character? That is how it was for this one. I missed Cora when the story was over! I’ve heard this is right up the Downton Abbey feel, so if you’re a fan of the pbs show, you’ll love this book. Its just a fun read with lots of story twists. A great beach read.

So there they are, five books worth reading according to me.

Have you read any of these? Any other great summer book suggestions?

45 Responses to 5 books worth reading

  1. Nancy B July 26, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I think we have the same taste in reading. I’d read 3 of your 5!

    Have you read “Left to Tell” by Immaculee Ilibagiza? This profound story has touched my life and the lives of everyone I know who has read it.

  2. Elizabeth July 11, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    Fun to see Bryan Clay’s book on your list. We attend the same church as Bryan and were cheering him on!

  3. Nancy Austin July 8, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    Have loved following your blog but absolutely had to comment when you mentioned books and APU in the same post! First the books: had a couple already on my list but ALWAYS on the lookout for more so thanks for the recommendations. Second APU: I knew we were best friends! Well ok so not to be stalker-ish will say not best friends but at least APU alums together. My husband and sister and brother-in-law attended too. Go Coug”s!

  4. Wendy July 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    I loved Unbroken and just recently read 7 and loved it, too! I didn’t know you went to APU! I did, too, albeit much longer ago than you! I will try your other suggestions. Thanks!

  5. Genevieve Gladysz July 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    I read The Help over summer vacation at the lake. It was great…I spend alot of time reading “thinking” books and this was a great story to read, but a story that educated as well. It was the kind of book I couldn’t put down!

  6. Grace July 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I just ordered 7 and Unbroken based off of your recommendations! Looking forward to digging into these books – they should arrive tomorrow!

  7. Annie July 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Bringing Up BeBe is set to arrive at my house today. Can’t wait!!!

  8. Erika July 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Just bought 2 of the recommended books but would love to read all of them! THanks for the suggestion I always think when I read your blog we would be good friends:)

  9. Whitney Anderson July 3, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    I’m going to check out 7.

    I just wrote a post of my own about reading recommendations – http://www.whitneyanderick.com/?p=4249

  10. Tonia July 3, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Thanks Emily. I’ll definitely be checking out Bringing Up Bebe. I’ve heard good things about it.

    I mentioned you in my post today for Christmas in July…

  11. amie July 2, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    i absolutely loved “Unbroken” .. best book ive ever read. and now i’m on a history kick :) Redemption sounds like an amazing book too. thanks for the recommendation :)

  12. Bevmc July 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    I read Unbroken passed to me by my husband. It was a book you will never forget. A testa,net to the hu an spirit.
    I have another suggestion, Wild by Cheryl Strayed you can’t put it down she is a beautiful writer.

    Glass Castle was also a favorite of mine. Homeless to Harvard. I love books where people triumph over adversity.

  13. Natalie July 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Thanks for this list. I LOVED Unbroken when I read it a while ago, and have put the other 4 books on reserve at my local library. I’m looking forward to reading them!

  14. tina July 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    1,2, & 4 have all been on my “should read” radar for a bit now. I read 2 recently that I highly recommend.1 is a parenting-changer for sure & the other is just plain fun & useful. I wrote about them here http://tinyurl.com/6tqa2t8

  15. Emily Gish July 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    I just finished “Unbroken” and it was such an amazing book! Several chapters into it I was about to give up….didn’t really know if I wanted to read a war story, got a little boring. BUT I’m sooooo glad I stuck with it! It really is unbelievable about what he what through. Thanks for the recommendations. They all sound wonderful….hmmmm what to choose?!

  16. Stephanie O. July 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    One of my favorite posts to read are ones about book recommendations…Thanks for sharing!

  17. Christene {Author of Nowhere Else to Run} July 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    We absolutely loved reading Unbroken. It was just an amazing tribute to the resilience of human beings and especially those men who went through so much during WWII. I was educated in so many ways. These other books sound so interesting! I hope to pick them up throughout the summer. Right now I am midway through The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan – trying to keep up with my 9 year old. :)

  18. Gayle July 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    I loved Bebe! Haven’t read the others but will put them on my list! The Glass Castle and The Help have been around awhile but if you missed them on the first go-round, definitely pick them up now!

  19. Brandy Traylor July 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    The Kitchen House. I sobbed as I read but it was amazing. I am so glad I read it. The characters were the kind you are so sad to leave behind when you turn the last page.

  20. Erin July 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    I have to second the recommendation of The Glass Castle and suggest its companion, Half Broke Horses. Both true stories, the first about the author’s childhood, the second about the author’s grandmother. The stories stayed with me for a long time. I actually got Unbroken for my husband for Christmas last year and it’s now one of his favorite books. I haven’t read any on your list, so I’ll add them to my summer reading list.

  21. Bethany Bergen July 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    I read “Seven” a few months ago and LOVED it! Totally agree with you, it’s a must read! The Bringing up Bebe book looks good- will have to check it out.

  22. Crystal July 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    I randomly started following your blog a few weeks ago! I love that you recommended Bryan Clay’s book! I went to Point Loma and ran track there, so I competed against APU when Bryan was there. Small world! I’ll have to get a copy of it! Thanks for the info!

  23. carolina postcard July 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    I’ve read the first 2 and was just as smitten. Thanks for the rec’s and so glad I found your blog!

  24. Krystle July 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    Thanks for the book suggestions!! i will try to pick up a few of these :)

  25. Darcie July 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Just finished reading The Paris Wife – it was fantastic! Up next is Jesus + Nothing = Everything (written by Billy Graham’s grandson). Also, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is an incredible read. What Women Fear by Angie Smith is on my nightstand, but will have to wait until I finish Harry Potter. :) Some of my favorite novels are The Glass Castle, The Kitchen House, and Sarah’s Key (although none of them are new).

  26. Mary-Frances Kenney July 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    One of my favorites:
    1. The True Story of Hansel & Gretle: A Novel of War and Survival by Louise Murphy (http://www.amazon.com/True-Story-Hansel-Gretel/dp/0142003077)

  27. amber P July 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    I recently saw Louis Zamperini on The Tonight Show (did you also see it?) and was so excited to hear him give his testimony on national television! I want to add this book to my reading list!

  28. Estela July 2, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Thanks for the book suggestions and the short synopsis that helped to get a feel for the book. I will add them to my reading list, it should help my 2012 reading challenge!

  29. Melissa July 2, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Thank you for the list! I have been desperate for a good read, although I did just finish The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty – hightly recommended!!

  30. lucy m July 2, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Thanks for the recommendations! I just finished reading “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach and it is a beautifully written book. I read “Unbroken” earlier this year (loved it) and have the “American Heiress” on my reading stack. Also just finished “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson.

  31. Sarah Fink July 2, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Going to the library tomorrow – thanks so much!

  32. Lulu July 2, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Your book recommendations came at the perfect time! I was just telling my husband last night that I am in need of a GOOD summer read! Everything I’ve picked up so far hasn’t been quite right. I’ll definitely take your recommendations to heart, and I look forward to reading something good and worth my time. :) Have a fabulous day, dear Emily!

  33. Just Jaime July 2, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Thank you! I love good recommendations. I’m especially interested in 7

  34. mary beth July 2, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    Thank you a million times over for adding to my piling book stack I want to read this summer. I just finished the Steve Jobs {Apple owner} biography and it was so so good. Definitely recommend it! The Bebe` book you posted about is at the top of my list!

  35. Christi July 2, 2012 at 6:05 am #

    Thank you so much for these recommendations! I’m excited about all of them, but especially numbers 2 and 4. Can’t wait to dig into some good summer reading!

  36. Amy K July 2, 2012 at 5:42 am #

    Hi Emily! Thanks so much for the book recommendations! I’m always looking for a great new book to read. Do you have a kindle or nook? Or do you read books on an i-pad? Oh, LOVE the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan and Radical.

    Amy K.

  37. Crystal @ The Full Home July 2, 2012 at 5:39 am #

    Thanks for the recs. Read “Unbroken” last year and loved it….still haunted by “The Bird.” Definitely putting “The American Heiress” on my library list!

  38. Christine July 2, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    Thanks for the recommendations! I just finished Firefly Lane and it was so good! It’s a wonderful story about friendship, growing up, mothers and daughters and life. Was so sad to be done with it :(

  39. Jessica R. July 2, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    Thanks for the book recommendations! Zipping over to amazon.com now :-) I finished reading Seven in May; highly recommend it too. So much to think about and all of it good.

  40. Kelly at Talk of the House July 2, 2012 at 4:07 am #

    Love that you are doing book recommendations! But how in the world do you find time to read?? Wow. Is the book Bringing Up Bebe fiction or nonficiton? Just curious….

    • Krysta July 2, 2012 at 10:46 am #

      It is non-fiction. I just started it and I can tell I’m going to love it already.

  41. Kelly July 2, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    I love book recommends!! I recently read the BEST book! Kisses from katie! The story of a young girl falling in love with the people of Uganda, giving up her life in America to live as Christ did, SO inspiring!, a must read. I read it on kindle but I’m buying the book to mark up! Currently I’m reading Stephanie Nelson’s book heaven is here , a beautiful story! Happy summer reading!

    • Jen July 2, 2012 at 8:35 am #

      I loved that book!

  42. Heather July 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    Thanks for the suggestions. I’m always on the lookout for some good book recommendations. I haven’t read anything enthralling lately, but I just started The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and I’m loving it already.

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