A journalers summer reading list

by Sara Marchessault

June is here and  for many of us that means summer time!

Summer certainly had appeal as a kid. No school. Maybe staying up a little later. No homework, which meant more time to read.  Summer reading

Wait a minute – more time to read? And to read whatever I want whenever I want? Woo-hoo!

Adulthood has not changed the last item for me. Summer is a time to read what I want to read. How about you?

Nothing is better than sinking my teeth into a really fantastic book. Lounging in the sun and heat, ice coffee (or later in the day, chilled wine), and getting sucked into a fantastic story.

It is a hallmark of summer.

And one of the coolest things about summer reading is that even people who aren’t necessarily into reading a lot can get into it. Whether you secretly love to read and just don’t make time for it the rest of the year, or you actually enjoyed summer reading as a kid and are now conditioned to do it, it seems summer is the season for reading.

Journal writers are often inspired by story. In our journals we are continually mark the creation of our own story as we live it day by day. When we read stories that inspire and excite us, we may see elements of those other stories creep into our journal writing.

This is a good thing! We are learning to see the world from a little bit of a different perspective every time we read a story that makes us think. Or better yet, makes us feel.

The feeling is what we’re really after every time we pick up a book. We are looking for a body of work that will make us feel…

Thrill
Heartbreak
Relief
Spooked
Grief
Loss
Reunion
Romance/sex/human connection
Inspiration

Do you remember reading “Where the Red Fern Grows” as a kid? What reaction did you have to the end? At that time I was scared of dogs, but that was the second book that made me truly, deeply cry. I thought of that story again, when years later, we were putting our own dog to sleep. My reaction was similar.

The stories we read become a part of our story. The words add little bits and pieces to our minds and hearts and for a moment, we may feel the swift and sure sensation that love does exist, that people are inherently good, and that everything will be okay.

I hope this summer you find at least one really great read for a lounging anfternoon. It doesn’t have to be deep or thought provoking. It can be silly, or something you don’t normally read.

After I graduated college and didn’t have to read textbooks any more I went on a bit of reading binge. I remember going through cycles of genres. Sci-fi for several months, then chick-lit, the classics, then a spell of erotica. When I discovered Hay House the entire world changed for me!

I put together this brief list of books I like with a few words about each. I have a lot more to say about each of them, and if you want to hear it, shoot me an email: sara@joyfulbydesign.com and we’ll set up a time to talk about books – one of my favorite conversations to have!

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. Incredible writing with eloquent language and a style that gives the reader hope over and over against the backdrop of war-torn Chechnya. Warning – this book just might leave you feeling like your eyes have been opened and inadvertently renew your zest to live the best life you can.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I like the stark differences the author uses in this book. It starts in Minnesota and moves to the jungle. There’s a search for a missing person that becomes a search for the self. A truly giving person is paired with an ego-maniac. The book is a well-written, pleasurable read, the kind I love for summer. It made me think.

It wouldn’t quite be a summer reading list without at least one piece of real-deal chick-lit. My suggestion is Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park. This fun read is about a pretty quirky family and a young woman who is thrust in the middle of them. The language is what you would expect from a chick-lit piece and it’s a fast, fairly light read.

If you have not yet discovered Barbara Kingsolver, let this be the summer that you do. Most recently, I read The Lacuna, which I very much enjoyed, and before that I read Flight Behavior. I read every work of hers I can find, including her nonfiction essays (she has a great one on Barbie dolls for her daughter) and I am always left feeling satisfied. Her works are full of detail and description – to the extent that you can smell the desert or feel the heaviness of a humid summer on her arms. Her characters feel like real people – she has a way of quickly getting into their heads connecting us to them.

Jodi Picoult has earned a place on my summer reading list. This is the author I go to when I want a quick read that I can count on for being a page turner. She has the gift of grabbing onto a big, often controversial issue, and building a story around it. I like that I feel connected to her characters andI appreciate how much research goes into her work.

Go forth and read – and see if any of the stories you invite into your mind and heart leave breadcrumbs in your journal.

Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb:
Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, teacher, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit joyfulbydesign.com or saramarchessault.com.

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