Traditionally, summer reading lists have included fun, trashy, and quick reads that are easy to digest in the middle of naps by the water, or on the porch. This summer, I had some of that, but I have also found myself inhaling books that come from the “self-help” area of the library- that’s right, the library! Once I moved to the Crystal Coast, and went tiny, I opted to no longer purchase books to take up space, I went to get a library card for our new county, and began regular trips to pick up a new book that would enhance a new way of thinking. Every once in a while, there will be a book that I really want to read, and sometimes the library doesn’t have in their catalog, so I either borrow it from someone, or if I purchase it, I donate it to the library for others to indulge, after I read it. I used to feel guilty about not supporting the authors by purchasing their books, but I have since read that many authors love their readers supporting them through the library system; it still promotes their books, and are purchased to share in the libraries, anyway.
My summer reading list has a mixture of fun, interesting, with an overall genre that generates a little more thought and reflection. The summer isn’t even over yet, and I am realizing, as I am typing this, that I have been one busy reader! My favorite time to read is, of course, while lying in the sun, by the ocean.
I also love my big comfy chair with my Bill Murray pillow, while Ger and Betty White take a nap. As you will read, I also keep a book in my bag and pull it out if I find myself having to wait for something, or some one, which seems to happen more often these days… you know, Island Time, and all. 🙂
Here is the list of how the summer reading started, a little synopsis of each one, and how each affected me and my summer journey:
A Salty Piece of Land, by Jimmy Buffett– this book was the first book I checked out with my new Carteret County library card. It is the quintessential, summer read. It’s a thick book, but if you are a Parrothead, or looking for a good read while vacationing, or lying around this summer, this is the book for you. This book allowed me to begin to appreciate every piece of sand my toes walk on, and of course, enhances my yearning to listen to Buffett songs all summer.
A Density of Souls, by Christopher Rice– this book was a revisit. I read it years ago, but saw it and wanted to dive in again since I had forgotten a lot of it, but remembered that I loved it. This book is intense! It follows the life of a gay male whose life just seems to be against him- lots of drama, twists and turns, but life appreciation at its best. I love Christopher Rice, and while this doesn’t seem, on the surface, as being very summer-ish, it is a great quick read that is eye-opening, and promotes our love and acceptance of all.
The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer– oh my! Even though this list is in order of how I read them, in terms of being the best and most influential, this should be first. This book, literally, changed my life. I talked about it in a previous blog post, but Singer has a way of making you aware of your inner voice, the way you think, and to appreciate the things around you that we take for granted. A little book that packs a huge punch. Such. a. great. book.
Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, by Wallace J. Nichols– this is the perfect book to read while sitting by the ocean, which is what I did. Each time I was lying in the sand, by the water, or on a dock, this is what I was reading. It is amazing that there is scientific proof of how your mind reacts to being near water. Living, playing, working, or doing pretty much anything near (or in) water, is good for your brain…and your soul. Proof is in the pudding! Much of it takes place in the NC Outer Banks, so that was fun!
Buddhism Plain and Simple, by Steve Hagen- this summer has been one of spirituality and awakening. Not only have I begun to open by heart, but open my soul and mind to learning more about spiritual practices. I have read several books on Buddhism in the past, and loved “Living Buddha, Living Christ” by Thich Nhat Hanh. I wanted something else to give me a clear and basic perception on Buddhism and the Buddhist practice. Like The Untethered Soul, it is another read that points out how important it is to be present and aware of life around you. An inspirational and serene summer read (or any time, for that matter).
Mastering Your Mean Girl, by Melissa Ambrosini– ladies, especially, listen up! This book is a must-read. I think it is also important for men, or anyone who has some shitty self-talk. This book has made me realize that I am super hard on myself. It is amazing that we allow ourselves to have some inner dialog that we would NEVER allow in our presence to someone we love and care about, so why does this change when we talk to ourselves? This book describes Melissa’s self-journey through a breakdown, and towards the light of self-love. She focuses on self-love, self-care, and bringing abundance to your life. I am a regular listener of her podcast, so I also highly recommend that, as well.
Happy Gut, by Vincent Pedre– ok, so, yeah, this doesn’t scream summertime reading, but some of the other books that I read, led me to this, and I am so glad that they did. It’s an interesting look at how many things we put into our body affect the balance of our gut. So many things that I feel after drinking a glass of wine, or having a soy latte, are totally explained. If you are into holistic health, or healing through food, read this! I found it to be super relatable, for both myself, but also for me and Ger.
Mon amie américaine, by Michèle Pétin– I just fell in love with this little book. I love all things Parisian, and this book is also something that I kept in my cross-body all summer. Any time I was waiting, or had a moment of impatience, I pulled it out of my bag and picked up on reading. It is a story of two friends, one having experienced a major medical trauma, and their friendship through it all. One is a New Yorker, and one is Parisian, so it was right up my alley! A great little summer read.
So, the summer isn’t over yet, but I already feel fulfilled with the amount of reading I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in, thus far! Looking back, I feel that my list is well-balanced between drama, fun, and enlightenment. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to read more, since we didn’t have any time for books, in the past, while running our business. It is a way I practice, self care.
What books do you recommend that I try?