I love to read. I love learning, and I find there’s no better way to learn than by devouring book after book.
I especially love to read in the summer. My kids are all home, and with six of them, four of whom are teenagers, summers can be a little hectic. As I’ve said before, I feel like a lady-in-waiting in summer, biding my time waiting for the next child to come looking for a ride, an activity, a listening ear, or emotional support. As I wrote in This is How We Grow, “I read all summer long because: 1) I love learning, and 2) it is one activity I can do and not feel frustrated when I’m interrupted, because with six children home all day, that is about the only thing I can count on–interruption.” (p. 335)
I also love getting book ideas from friends and colleagues. I always post on my Facebook page at the beginning of summer, asking for summer reading suggestions, and I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments, below.
Personal Growth Books & Summer Reading
Now, it’s time for me to give back and offer a few suggestions of my own. This first list (as I assume there will be more to follow) consists of some of my very favorite books of all time–those I read years ago, and those I have recently read. It’s hard to pick my absolute favorites because they’re all so different, but I started by going to my Goodreads reviews (join me on Goodreads for more ideas!) and listing those to which I gave 5 stars.
Understand, I only give 5 stars to books I absolutely LOVE. My standard rating is 3 stars for a book I like. 4 stars means it was better than average. But 5 stars means, for whatever reason, it sang to me. (Yes, I admit I’ve given 5 star ratings to friends’ books even if I would normally have given them less, but for the most part I’m pretty consistent.)
Top 10 Summer Reading & Personal Growth Books
Below are ten of my top summer readings pics. I am a huge non-fiction reader, and I also love a good novel to help me escape. I’ve included both here. Fiction or non-fiction, all of them in some way inspired my own personal growth. I hope one (or more) gets you reading this summer and helps you “grow,” too!
1) Wonder, R.J. Palacio. It’s no wonder I loved this story. It tells of a fifth grade boy born with a disfigured face who is simply trying to make his way in this crazy world. Told from the perspective of himself, his sister, parents, and friends, this easy-to-read book is a perfect glimpse into how we treat others and the perfect motivation to do a little bit better. A great family read–I recommended it to my own kids and even my husband. Your family will love it, too.
2) The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd. This is one of my new all-time favorite books. Based on the real life story of two sisters who changed the abolition and women’s movements, this book is masterfully written and leaves you feeling inspired to make a difference in your world, too.
3) Leadership and Self-Deception, Arbinger Institute. This book changed my life. Really. It changed how I see myself in relation to those in my life, and it became a staple in what I teach others to do as a psychologist. Written in a story format, this book takes important, complex principles and delivers them in an easy-to-read format. After you read this, you might want to move on to one of my all-time favorite books, Bonds that Make Us Free, by C. Terry Warner (my former BYU professor!). It’s a much deeper read, so take your time if you read it. I’ve read, highlighted, and taken notes three times, and even taught a three-part book club on it!
4) The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer, New Harbinger Publications. This NY Times bestseller is one of my all-time favorites, too. Mr. Singer writes in a simple way that helps readers understand how to keep our hearts open even when they want to keep closing. I even used this book for an entire year of my in-person Personal Growth Group (you can join my online group here.). It’s also pretty cool this book was published by my publisher for my forthcoming book on Self-Esteem After a Breakup, New Harbinger Publications! (Coming March 2015!)
5) The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo. I’ve also read this three times. I love mystical feel of the story, and I especially love how it pricks my heart and makes me wonder what I was sent to this earth to do, too.
6) Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I have read this many times, and there’s nothing like reading it in the summer. This one will especially resonate with mothers of all ages and stages. It was a crucial part of me learning, years ago, of the necessity of time away, alone, in motherhood. Hopefully, it can do the same for you.
7) The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck. I didn’t read this classic book until just a few years ago, but once I did, whew! I underlined almost all of it. Dr. Peck writes beautifully about love and relationships and healing, and choosing to grow, and we all know I’m all about choosing to grow!
8) Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl. I read this in high school for the first time, and from that point on whenever asked “What is your favorite book?” I would say, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Since then, I’ve read it many more times and quote from it often. The true story of how Dr. Frankl, a psychiatrist, survived a Nazi concentration camp, if you haven’t yet read it, it needs to be on your “must read” list, for sure.
9) Have a New Kid by Friday, Dr. Kevin Leman. If you’re looking for a great parenting book, this is one of my favorites. Easy to understand, quick to grasp, this book will give you specific strategies you can implement immediately to help your children learn about natural consequences and help you feel less stressed. A great tool for summers when kids are home driving you crazy!
10) Daughter of the Forest, Juliet Marillier (The first in the Sevenwaters series.) I have to add this book, because it is one of my favorite novels, and it is a great read if you’re looking for a little escape. Set in another world in another time, it tells the tale of one brave young woman and her seven brothers, but really it tells of family love. I enjoy reading clean books, and this has only one scene that’s painful to read (but necessary to the story). The rest of the story left me wanting more and feeling an immense increase of love for my own family. (I’ve also read the next two in the series and enjoyed them as well, but this is my favorite.)
Bonus: For pure fun–If you’re a Jane Austen fan (like I am) and looking for a clean romance to help you escape into summer, I recommend Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson. It was one of my favorite summer reads last year. Pure fun. And fun is a very important part of personal growth!
**Final Note: While I definitely recommend my own book, IPPY-Award Winner, This is How We Grow, as a great summer read that is guaranteed to inspire you to grow, I cannot review my own book. There are plenty of detailed reviews on Amazon from over 90 readers, however, so check them out, and see what you think!
Leave a comment!
What books do you recommend for a good summer read? What books have helped you grow the most? Have you read and of the books on my list? If so, what are your reviews? I’d love to hear your summer reading suggestions, so please leave me a comment, below!
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow–
available now on Amazon.com.
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