“I have to write to discover what I am doing.”
– Flannery O’Connor
Here are 6 books I recommend from what I finished reading in June.
1. It’s OK That You’re Not OK
Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand
by Megan Devine
This is a 5-star book in my opinion. (I marked over 150 passages.)
If you are experiencing grief (from any kind of loss) or you’re in close relationship with someone going through grief, this book is very beneficial. Megan reminds us that grief is normal; it’s not a problem in need of a solution. Stop trying to “solve” grief. As the title says, it’s okay that you’re not ok.
“Our culture sees grief as a kind of malady: a terrifying, messy emotion that needs to be cleaned up and put behind us as soon as possible. As a result, we have outdated beliefs around how long grief should last and what it should look like. We see it as something to overcome, something to fix, rather than something to tend or support.”
2. The Happiness Trap
How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT
by Russ Harris
And somewhat related to the book on grief above, this is another 5-star book.
Our myths about happiness abound:
- that you’re defective if you’re not happy;
- that happiness is the natural state for everybody;
- that you must get rid of “negative” feelings to have a great life;
- that you should be able to totally control what you think and feel.
To counteract these myths, Russ Harris suggests starting with acceptance:
“It means fully opening yourself to your present reality—acknowledging how it is, right here and now, and letting go of the struggle with life as it is in this moment.”
ACT stands for Accept your thoughts and feelings, Connect with your values, and Take effective action. I highly recommend this book, too.
Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God
by Kaitlin B. Curtice
I heard Kaitlin Curtice speak at a conference we went to a few weekends ago. Her quiet tone held strong force over the room as she shared what it’s like being an Indigenous person and a Christian in our country. So I knew I had to read her book when I got home. I’m glad I did. I learned so much.
“Because the Indigenous story has been buried under the white story, it will take a lot of work to uncover it. It will take more than Indigenous peoples to do the work—it will take all people. Decolonization doesn’t mean we go back to the beginning, but it means we fix what is broken now, for future generations.”
4. You Got Anything Stronger?
by Gabrielle Union
I enjoyed this part 2 of Gabrielle Union’s memoir (I haven’t read her first book yet, We’re Going to Need More Wine). She’s brutally honest about her life, her career, her marriage to pro basketball player Dwyane Wade, her zigzag journey to motherhood, all while living in black skin in America.
Here’s a taste:
“I have white friends. I say this to be funny, because that’s what racists always say, right? ‘I can’t be racist, I have a Black friend.’ Have they been to that Black person’s home? Are they in a picture in that Black person’s home, or is this a transactional working relationship? If they feel that close, they should go ask their Black friend if they’re racist then.”
Capture Your Purpose. Rediscover Your Joy.
by Bob Goff
Bob Goff is an inspiring storyteller whose life reads like an adventure novel. In this book he weaves his stories together with his faith and his goal of living undistracted. This isn’t my favorite book of his (Everybody, Always is my favorite), but it’s still a wonderful book.
6. A Tale for the Time Being
by Ruth Ozeki
This is a quirky novel about Ruth, a novelist in Canada, who discovers a diary that washes ashore on the beach, written by 16-year-old Nao from Tokyo. The story hops between past and present as we learn Nao’s story as Ruth reads along. The book is very well written and contains a bit of drama, history, and insights on time and relationships.
- Reader, Come Home
The Reading Brain in a Digital World
by Maryanne Wolf
A Theory of Awkwardness
by Melissa Dahl
- All That Fills Us
by Autumn Lytle
- Write for Your Life
by Anna Quindlen
- Jesus Unbound
by Keith Giles
- MWF Seeking BFF
My Yearlong Search For A New Best Friend
by Rachel Bertsche
- Run, Rose, Run
by Dolly Parton, James Patterson
What good book are YOU reading this month? Please share in the comments.
- Romans 8:28 – Memory Verse for June 26-July 2, 2022
- On the Blog—June 2022