I love to read.
This hasn't always been the case.
When I was young, my best friend Jean was a great reader. And by great, I mean she was fast.
She could get through a chapter book like it was nothing. Nancy Drew. Babysitter's Club. American Girl. She was the master reader in my mind.
I romanticized reading and tried my best, but ultimately I always felt inferior to her speed-reading ways.
If I could go back and talk to myself as a little girl, I would tell myself that you don't have to be a fast reader to be a good reader. Now that I'm an adult, I know that I'm a processor and I like to savor things, which are both likely contributors to my slower reading pace.
Fortunately, this eventually turned around for me eventually, and I learned to love reading, but not until I was in my twenties.
Right after college, I worked for my sorority and I traveled a lot. I traveled so much that I spent significantly more time with new faces than familiar ones. It was during this season that I picked up reading again.
Reading gave me one of it's greatest gifts--it transported me somewhere I could not otherwise go, and it introduced me to people I could not otherwise meet.
During a time I wasn't spending in consistent relationships, the characters in my books became the people most familiar to me. It sounds a little silly now, but it didn't feel silly, and I truly attribute it to what sparked my love for reading today.
Now, I love books because they give me new ideas, introduce me to new people (authors and characters alike!), teach me things, and feel like a friend.
Lately, I have been reading some books that have been so on point for the season I've been in. In fact, I've enjoyed them so much, I've given several copies as gifts for friends!
More than just the books, I'm so grateful for the women who wrote them. They share their hearts, their stories, and their encouragement with vulnerability and faith. By the time I'm done reading I not only feel like I've read a good book, but gained a friend.
I want to share them with you, and I'd love to hear about what you're reading right now and which books or authors you'd recommend, too!
I was introduced to Melanie Shankle in August when a friend gave me her book on friendship, Nobody's Cuter than You for my birthday. I instantly fell in love with Melanie's humor and relatable style of writing. I also found myself appreciating and viewing my friendships in a new way thanks to her perspective.
Next I picked up her book on marriage, The Antelope in the Living Room. I was happy to find more funny stories and helpful thoughts that are easy to apply to everyday life.
I had been holding off on reading her first book, Sparkly Green Earrings, which is about motherhood. I figured I would read it when I was in that stage of my life. Then, in the whirlwind of finding out I was pregnant in February and miscarrying our sweet baby in March, I felt prompted to read it.
I found such unexpected comfort as I started reading and learned that Melanie's first pregnancy resulted in miscarriage, too. She shared her experience with grace, humor, and peace, and it was so good for my soul. I've even gone back to read just that part of the story when I've had a hard day.
No matter what your story, I highly recommend you pick up one or all of Melanie Shankle's books. They are perfect summer reads that will fill your heart with all the good feels and a healthy dose of truth.
God's timing is so good. Little did I know Shauna would share several pieces of the story of her miscarriage in this book. When I first started reading it, I remember thinking how I just couldn't relate to that, and frankly, I didn't want to.
But, the Lord knows what we need before we need it and He provides. After we lost baby Hope, Bittersweet served as an invaluable voice speaking truth, comfort, and healing to my heart.
You don't have to have gone through a miscarriage to love this book. It is full of short stories on "change, grace, and learning the hard way." It speaks to the "bittersweetness" of life in several different areas of womanhood. Shauna is real, raw, and kind. She isn't afraid to talk about the hard things, even if talking about it is the hard thing. I can't wait to pick up another one of her books soon!
What are you reading right now? What books do you recommend for the summer?