Some of Our Favourite Summer Reads (Community Collective)

what to read next from Canadian Christian women

They say that a key to becoming a great writer is to be a great reader. Even if you don’t come full circle to the great writer part, you will still be changed by each story that you pick up and hold in your hands. Books allow us to connect deeper to ourselves and to others.

Sometimes the hardest part about reading a book is choosing which one to read. In this Community Collective we are bringing you a COLLABORATIVE BOOK REVIEW. It’s a thing. Maybe. Well, we are making it one.

Here are four recommendations from the community members on a book they have loved, how it impacted them and what they took away from it.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

I picked this book up in Chapters by chance, simply because I was struck by the lovely woman on the cover. When I read her bio on the back and discovered this book was published posthumously after her sudden death at age 22, I bought it and dug in. The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of essays and short stories from the beautifully gifted Marina Keegan and I couldn’t put it down. I’m often struck by the talent it takes to write short stories, and to craft compelling characters and worlds within just a few pages, and Keegan knocked it out of the park. I moved from chuckles to goosebumps to tears in a story told simply through a series of emails from a man to his girlfriend. One essay was so delicately but powerfully crafted that I actually started to feel an emotional attachment to a car. From cover to cover, every word in this book is chosen with the utmost care and precision, never overindulging the reader’s senses or leaving you without fair conclusion. Even the introduction, penned by one of Keegan’s professors, draws you into the soul of this young writer and makes you cry out at the injustice of a life taken so soon. Do yourself a favour, pick up this book, and get to know humanity a little more deeply and profoundly.

Liz  from The Loud Introvert

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

I was pretty hesitant to read this book.  I really want to say no a lot these days.  Year of Yes is not about saying yes to everything, just the things that help you move out of your comfort zone.  It’s about saying yes to being a better, stronger, braver you.   I was pleasantly inspired when I finished the last page.  I was inspired to look at the choices I was making and really weigh whether I was making a decision based on staying comfortable or stretching myself.  Right now I am trying to view some health choices (eating better because of gallstones) as saying yes to being better and not me being high maintenance.  It’s a challenge in saying yes to my body and no to the negative way I think others will perceive my new habits.

Sarah from Sarah on Purpose

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

One of my reads this summer is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Interesting, scary and thought provoking are a few words I would use to describe this book. It took me a while to get into it but once I did goodness gracious I couldn’t stop. There were times that I wanted to quit reading because it gets a little disturbing but I stuck through it and it was a rewarding experience. The book was a fantastic depiction of religion gone wrong; of legalism without the relationship. It made me think about Christianity without Christ. Religious leaders and elders with absolutely no notion of who Jesus is. It was an example of what can happen when the bible is taken out of context. The possibilities are endless when power hungry and self-ambitious people are in a position of authority. I think for me the scariest part was the extent to which people were being complacent to everything around them. It highlighted the importance of knowing what is true and right and having things you believe in that you are willing to die for.

Bety from Freely Elegant

Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

Many people describe Shauna Niequist’s writing like ‘sitting down to coffee with a girlfriend’. After reading Bread and Wine I see why. This book was a great read because each chapter was a short story, which I thought would feel disjointed but it all flowed together like a great meal. I also loved how most chapters ended with a recipe and her sidenotes and preparation tips. This book came at a great time, as my youngest now turns two I have some time and space in my day to slow down in the kitchen and really create something delicious. If there is one thing I took from this book it is that we are all hungry and afraid to admit it. We all long to rest at the table, be nourished, be seen, be heard.  This is the kind of book you buy for all your girlfriends, so that when you are around a table together you all feel that buzzing connection of the community you are pouring into. Reading this book has helped me to open up my home, my pantry and my life to people – regardless of what state it is in.

Shawna from Simple on Purpose


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