blurred bookshelves in the background with three book photos featured of: A Measure of Intelligence, Generation Awakened, and The Human Condition

Summer Reads + Life Hacks for Reading

I am one of those people who feels both peace and excitement simply in the presence of books. Independent bookstores literally help regulate my nervous system. Even the book racks in Target feel like safe harbor in the sea of home goods and exercise equipment. As a result, I buy more books than I can ever hope to read. Still, summer is a great time for reading, and I’m looking forward to many hours curled up (or stretched out) with a book in hand.

I’m going to offer a few recommendations for summer reading, but I will also offer a few life hacks about reading itself. People often ask me how I read as much as I do, so, to the degree that you want to consider new reading patterns and/or how to read more, here are my tips:

blurred bookshelves in the background with three book photos featured of: A Measure of Intelligence, Generation Awakened, and The Human Condition

Life Hacks for Reading

  1. Read non-fiction in the morning. I personally have some sort of spiritual book that I read (in addition to the Bible) most days. Right now, it’s Jonathan Pennington’s The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing.
  2. Read while you eat. Here, I also read non-fiction, and I keep a book in the kitchen (since I work from home) and engage with it over breakfast and lunch. Right now, that book is Design for Belonging by Susie Wise.
  3. Read while you are in the bathroom. Sure, sitting on the toilet. But I actually read magazines while brushing my teeth and drying my hair.
  4. Read novels (or memoirs, lighter fare) before bed. I just finished North Woods, which was great but depressing. I’m about to start Go as a River (see below).
  5. Remember that reading for ten minutes day by day is a great way to finish books.
  6. Read what you are actually interested in, not what you think you should be interested in.

In addition to the books I mentioned above, here are a few that I am looking forward to reading this summer:


  1. Generation Awakened by Sarah Thomas Baldwin.
    I actually endorsed this one, so I’m including it here to recommend it. Here’s what I wrote:
    Generation Awakened is a riveting account of the ways God’s Spirit moved at Asbury University in February of 2023. Baldwin’s clear prose and excellent pacing give readers a front-row seat to the Spirit’s work. She tells a story of humility, struggle, grace, and transformation that will encourage and challenge anyone who wonders whether God still shows up with loving power among us.”
  2. Saving Time by Jenny Odell.
    This reflection on the history of time-keeping and how we relate to time seems all the more relevant in a rushing world.
  3. A Measure of Intelligence by Pepper Stetler.
    As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, I’m really interested in the history and application of the IQ test, so I’m curious to learn from this book.
  4. The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt. One of my intentions this summer is to read some of the books I wish I had read in college. Martin Luther King’s Where Do We Go from Here is also on this list. I’m basically wanting to ground myself in wisdom from my elders.
blurred bookshelves in the background with three book photos featured of: Go as a River, Our Missings Hearts, and Truth Be Told


  1. Go As a River by Shelley Read.
    I trust my friend Margaret to send me great fiction, and she just recommended this one, so I can’t wait. (She also recommended Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, The Rose Code, and The Paris Bookseller, and they are all easy to read but still give you something to think about.)
  2. Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng.
    William has to read this for school, so it’s on my list too.
  3. Truth Be Told by Patricia Raybon.
    I’m eagerly awaiting the third installment in the Annalee Spain historical-mystery series.
  4. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.
    Okay, I’ve read this one before, but it’s here because I’m making our whole family read it together on vacation as a way to prompt conversation about our spiritual lives. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Of course I have to ask… What are you reading this summer? Share your favorites with me!

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