Since I was a wee babe sitting on my Grandma’s lap, I’ve loved to read. I seriously think I made my poor Gram read Jenny Learns a Lesson to me cover to cover 9 billion times. To this day, there is no better pastime, give me a good book and a quiet corner and you’ve met 99% of my basic needs.
One day my house will have a huge library, but for now, I have one lone book shelf with a constantly rotating selection that I share with my friends. It seems fitting then that I also share what I’m reading with you. I figured we’ll call this section the library list because these books are worth checking out and adding to your personal collection as well.
Before we begin, I have to mention that I am just finishing up Daring Greatly by Brené Brown so while it’s not on the list, I highly recommend it. For the .005% of you unfamiliar with her work, Brené is a vulnerability researcher and her studies on vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame are nothing short of life-changing.
Okay, so without further ado, below are the books that made it to my library list this month.
The first is Inside by Johan Khalilian. First of all, Johan is just an all around amazing dude. He is from my hometown of Chicago but grew up in a neighborhood riddled with gangs, violence, and crime. He was forced to navigate obstacles that could have easily turned him into a statistic. Yet somehow, driven by his dreams and determination for a better future, he made it through.
Now, as a nationally recognized speaker (model, actor, and ahem, author), he uses his story to encourage, motivate, and propel others forward into their full potential. His new book is “a leadership guide for the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world.” In it, he teaches how to decipher the voices that matter from the ones that don’t so that you can live courageously.
2: Four Sweet Seasons
The second book on my list is Four Sweet Seasons by Ashlin Veselka. This book is for anyone who has ever gone through or is currently going through a break-up. It’s a collection of poems that walks you through the seasons of heartbreak; from the gut-wrenching loss of love, through healing and self-discovery, and eventually redemption and wholeheartedness.
It is a true story as told in magnificent verse, woven together with grace and an underlying current of God’s love. For anyone going through a hard time, who knows Jesus or wants to, this book will encourage you and speak to your soul in the most beautiful way. You can learn more about Ashlin on her website, and see samples of her poetry on her Instagram.
3: Finding the Lost Art of Empathy
The third book on my list is Finding the Lost Art of Empathy by Tracy Wilde. I met Tracy a few years ago at a bible study in Beverly Hills. I was with my friend Jez and we were a little nervous and intimidated to be in a room full of people we didn’t know. Tracy marched right up to us, introduced herself, and immediately made us feel welcome. Safe to say, she knows a thing or two about empathy and connection.
Tracy experienced a lack of empathy first-hand several years ago when she lost her would-be fiancé. Well-meaning friends didn’t have the words or courage to comfort her after her loss, so instead avoided her altogether. Throughout the pain and process of healing, Tracy learned the importance of genuine relationships and the value of loving others fearlessly and selflessly.
This book will inspire you to look up from your phone and truly see the world around you. It will empower you to live intentionally while equipping and encouraging you to walk out the purpose God has for your life.
4: Eight Hundred Grapes
I recently chatted with her and reviewed her latest book Hello, Sunshine on the blog (which you can snag here for just $2.99). The verdict? If you enjoy intelligent characters with stories so good you’ll lose yourself in them, you’ll want to get familiar with Laura’s writing.
As I begin exploring her catalog of work, I’m starting with the critically acclaimed, best-selling novel Eight Hundred Grapes. It is a “heartbreaking, funny, and deeply evocative novel about love, marriage, family, wine, and the treacherous terrain in which they all intersect.” Considering the source, I imagine it will be impossible to put down.
What are your must-read books this month?