Here we go! Open your Goodreads account and get your To Be Read list ready, friends.
I’ll share additional book recommendations in Thursday Things (plus real-time ‘currently reading’ updates in our private All The Things group), but if you’re looking for a new book for pool days, upcoming travel, or long summer evenings, this will get you started! I’ve said it before and it continues to be true: there’s a theme among many of the books below. It’s pretty incredible, as books are typically contracted and written 1-2 years before they’re available, but suffice it to say that if you’re walking through loss and pain, if you’re weary and longing for hope, or if you’re seeking to learn more so you have a richer understanding of who you are or what you believe―the books below might be right on time for you.
I’ve read an early copy of almost all of the titles below, but for those still on my To Be Read list, they come highly recommended from friends I trust or are written by authors I’ve read (and loved) before. The books are listed in order of release date and include a blurb pulled from Amazon descriptions.
P.s. If a book grabs your attention, I’d suggest going ahead and pre-ordering now. Most retailers don’t charge you until the book releases and Amazon offers a lowest-price guarantee! Say you preorder in May when the book is $19.99, then it drops to $14.00 late June and it’s listed as $17.50 when it releases in July . . . you would pay $14.00 because you locked in the lowest price by pre-ordering.
P.p.s. I limited the list to nonfiction because otherwise this would be crazy long, but I often share book recommendations/what I’m currently reading (both fiction and nonfiction) with email subscribers and on Instagram. There’s room for you there, if you’d like to follow along!
14 New Books You Don’t Want to Miss This Summer . . .
As a Korean American, Tasha Jun wandered between seemingly opposing worlds, struggling to find a voice to speak and a firm place for her feet to land. The world taught Tasha that her Korean normal was a barrier to belonging―that assimilation was the only way she would ever be truly accepted. But if that were true, did that mean God had made a mistake in knitting her together?
Told with tender honesty and compelling prose, Tell Me the Dream Again is a memoir-in-essays exploring what it means to be biracial in America today, the joy and healing that comes with embracing every part of who we are, and how our identity in Christ is tightly woven with the unique colors, scents, and culture he’s given us.
We are not outsiders to God. When we let all the details of ourselves unfold―when we embrace who we were divinely knit together to be―this is when we’ll fully experience his perfect love.
You want a life of purpose and meaning, but if there’s a map to get you there, you haven’t been able to find it. Until now. Your treasure map is closer than you think, and Jami Nato tucked it inside these pages. Your journey begins by looking at your past, and then following the breadcrumbs that God has left for you every step of the way.
Jami found her breadcrumbs in the rubble after her marriage fell apart. Downgraded from perfect Christian wife and mother to hot mess, she finally let go of what the world (and the church) said she should be and let God reforge her into a thriving, joyful woman living on purpose.
Moving seamlessly between the hilarious and the heartbreaking, Jami asks hard questions and shares what God has taught her through her own story―so you can step fully into yours.
Better Than Okay: Finding Hope and Healing After Your Marriage Ends :: Brandi Wilson
Some seasons of life can seem far more difficult than one human should have to endure. For Brandi Wilson, that was the year her husband, who was a megachurch pastor, walked away from her and her family. Suddenly, her church community dissolved and her dreams and identity were shattered.
Yet God transformed this heartbreaking time into an invaluable lesson on the gift of healing. In Better Than Okay, Brandi beautifully tells her courageous story of confronting grief and heartache head-on and learning how to rise from the pain. Filled with aha moments and laugh-out-loud humor, Brandi helps you rely on and find comfort in the promises of God, begin a new journey toward healing, and find freedom in your new identity. While your life looks drastically different now, there is hope for renewed joy and redemption. Your pain doesn’t get the final say. Through God’s grace and healing power, you will be better than okay.
The funeral comes and goes, and you’re forced to deal with the chasm your loved one left behind. But grief doesn’t operate on a predictable timeline. You may find yourself somewhere you didn’t expect—drowning, kicking, or screaming—long after your loss. You may feel unable to talk to others—or to God.
In Reflections for the Grieving Soul, widower and author Mike Nappa comes alongside you offering support and empathy. He gives you words of Scripture to meditate on at whatever pace you need, personal reflections from his own grief after losing his beloved wife, Amy, and accessible prayers for when you don’t know how or what to pray. Whether you’ve lost someone you love or know someone who is grieving, Reflections for the Grieving Soul is a balm for weary souls and a source of peace in the most difficult times.
You Are a Theologian: An Invitation to Know and Love God Well :: Jen Wilkin and J.T. English
Theology can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether conversations about theology have felt out of reach, over your head, or irrelevant, consider this book an invitation to the dialogue.
The goal of theology is knowing and loving God well. This is a lifelong endeavor, a never-ending pursuit, not for the sake of knowledge but for an ever-deepening relationship with God Himself. Authors Jen Wilkin and J. T. English invite you to become not merely a consumer of theology, but a contributor to the conversation, and to grow in faithfulness to the Great Commission’s call to make disciples.
You Are a Theologian addresses theological questions such as: Who is God? (The Doctrine of the Trinity), What is the Bible? (The Doctrine of Scripture), What went wrong? (The Doctrine of Sin), To whom do we belong? (The Doctrine of the Church), How does the story end? (The Doctrine of Last Things), and more.
The Night Is Normal: A Guide through Spiritual Pain :: Alicia Britt Chole
It’s unnerving, isn’t it? When our faith feels untethered, as though an undercurrent has pulled us away from shore into the deep, into the darkness. If this is you―if you’re in a dark night of the soul―please know that you are not alone. (And you are not as far away from safety as you may feel or fear.) Though faith shines best in full sun, it grows depth in the dark. The night is not your enemy. In fact, the night is necessary.
In The Night Is Normal, Dr. Alicia Britt Chole offers a groundbreaking perspective that reveals spiritual disillusionment as an unexpected friend. Within these pages, she offers practical and soul-full tools to help you navigate the night. You’ll explore how the roots―and fruits―of spiritual pain are actually an invitation to deep love, how viewing abundance as proof of obedience create an unsustainable model for Christianity, and how a strong night-faith can lead you into something far more satisfying than understanding and far more powerful than peace.
Our reality is broken, but God has not changed. Your night will not last forever. Within it, there is priceless treasure that’s simply too weighty to be sourced in sunshine.
Holy Unhappiness: God, Goodness, and the Myth of the Blessed Life :: Amanda Held Opelt
Many Christians rightly deny the prosperity gospel―the idea that God wants you to be healthy and wealthy―but instead embrace its more subtle spin-off, the emotional prosperity gospel, or the belief that happiness and spiritual euphoria will inevitably follow if you believe all the right things and make all the right choices.
In Holy Unhappiness, Amanda Held Opelt examines some of the historic, religious, and cultural influences that led to the idolization of positive feelings and the marginalization of negative feelings. Unpacking nine elements of life that have been tainted by the message of the emotional Prosperity Gospel―including work, marriage, parenting, calling, community, and church―she points to a new path forward, one that reimagines the “blessed” life. This is a book that explores our aversion to sadness and counts the costs of our unrelenting commitment to optimism, and this is a book that insists there is holiness to be found even in our unhappiness.
Nourishing Narratives: The Power of Story to Shape Our Faith :: Jennifer L. Holberg
Humans are story-shaped creatures. We make sense of our world, pattern our lives, and reflect on what is ultimately significant through language and the words that compose our stories. But how does this relate to the narrative of the Bible and the story that God is writing through history?
In Nourishing Narratives, writer and professor Jennifer Holberg engages with words from the likes of Dante, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Flannery O’Connor, Marilynne Robinson, and more while also offering some of her own stories to reflect on the importance of story to our lives and our faith.
Here, readers are encouraged not only to understand how stories nourish our faith, but to discover how our stories are part of God’s great story.
Tired of Trying: How to Hold On to God When You’re Frustrated, Fed Up, and Feeling Forgotten :: Ashley Morgan Jackson
You’ve tried it all―saying the right words and prayers, reading the right Bible verses―but nothing seems to work. What do you do when your faith doesn’t seem to be “working” anymore?
Rich with biblical encouragement, personal story, and practical application, Tired of Trying is an invitation to wrestle―and face God in your greatest fears, pains, and unanswered questions. You’ll learn to break out of the cycle of frustration; identify and replace the lies you are believing about God, yourself, and your circumstances; and shift your perspective so you can choose faith, persevere, and discover God’s purpose for you.
What if that hard thing you’re going through is not happening to you but for you? What seemingly tears us down may be an opportunity to grow. God is good at redeeming heartache. Choosing to wrestle isn’t easy or quick―but it does have purpose.
Have you ever felt unseen, unwanted, or unworthy? From the beginning of time, the enemy has been fighting against you knowing who you really are. But there is good news: While Jesus was on earth, He lived a lifestyle of rhythms that helped Him fight the lies of the enemy. Through His habits, we will discover a roadmap to living lighter and living as who we really are.
You Are More Than You’ve Been Told will help you identify the lies that have held you back and uncover important truths about who you are and have always been, discover tangible tools to help you heal from deep wounds and see God in the most tender places of your story, and unlock four key rhythms that will help you be free of burdens you were never meant to carry. You’re more than what people have said about you, what you have done, and what’s been done to you. It turns out—You will know who you really are when you spend real time with the One who knows you the best. Let this practical roadmap show you how.
I Used to Be ___: How to Navigate Large and Small Losses in Life and Find Your Path Forward :: Chuck and Ashley Elliott
When you suffer a loss, you enter the realm of “used to be.” You used to be married. You used to be employed. You used to be pregnant, secure, healthy, sober, thin. You used to be a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a mother or father. And in that used-to-be space there is deep emptiness, loneliness, and sorrow.
In I Used To Be ___, pastor Chuck Elliott and counselor Ashley Elliott share biblical advice and proven mental health techniques to help you learn how to fully feel and face your grief, hold onto your faith, and develop healthy ways to see yourself, your life, and your loved ones. They offer coping strategies for when moving forward seems impossible and guide you toward building new thinking patterns that will result in true healing and growth. Maybe you “used to be” something—but there is a future waiting when you “will be” once more.
How do Bible passages written thousands of years ago apply to politics today? What can we learn from America’s history of using the Bible in politics? How can we converse with people whose views differ from our own? In The Ballot and the Bible, Kaitlyn Schiess explores these questions and more. She unpacks examples of how Americans have connected the Bible to politics in the past, highlighting times it was applied well and times it was egregiously misused.
Schiess combines American political history and biblical interpretation to help readers faithfully read Scripture, talk with others about it, and apply it to contemporary political issues—and to their lives. Rather than prescribing what readers should think about specific hot-button issues, Schiess outlines core biblical themes around power, allegiance, national identity, and more. Readers will be encouraged to pursue a biblical basis for their political engagement with compassion and confidence.
Woven: Nurturing a Faith Your Kid Doesn’t Have to Heal From :: Meredith Miller
Most Christian parenting books are ready with exact practices every family should follow in order to raise obedient children. But what if obedience is not the goal of Christian parenting? What if it’s our job as parents to instead help our kids get to know God and discover that God can be trusted?
Much like a spider’s web, in which anchor strands and internal threads combine to form a unique web, Woven can help children anchor to who God is and have faith practices that are rich, textured, and all their own. This is the sort of faith that can stand up to the life a child will live, the doubts they will encounter, and the questions that will come up along the way.
With a deep reverence for scripture and suggested activities to help your family grow in faith together, Woven is for parents who want to go beyond a list of do’s and don’ts and pass along a resilient faith based on genuine love for and trust in God.
The Deepest Place: Suffering and the Formation of Hope :: Curt Thompson, MD
What if we could move from anxiety to durable hope? In The Deepest Place, psychiatrist, speaker, and author Curt Thompson invites us to explore how the Apostle Paul’s experience of love, secure attachment, and the deeply felt sense of God’s abiding presence carried him through the challenges he faced—and how it can help us not just survive, but flourish in the presence of suffering.
Combining scripture with his own professional insight, Thompson helps us discover that suffering can increase our sense of security rather than our fears; hope is something we form in community; faith can grow out of anger, cynicism, and doubt; perseverance changes our brain and reshapes our imagination; and listening to our bodies helps us find new hope in loss.
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