Wondering what are some good books to read this summer?
Maybe you’ve got a vacation planned (with some much needed time by the pool), or you know you’ll have more breathing room in your schedule now that school is out.
Either way, summer is a wonderful time to find a really good book to read! Finding a great summer book to read is a treat I give myself this time of year.
Here are 10 book recommendations for great summer reading, divided by category.
They’re not necessarily the newest or hottest book releases (although some are)!
But if you and I were chatting over coffee, and asked me “Do you know of a good book to read?” these are the books I’d wholeheartedly recommend.
NOTE: I’m recommending these as books for an adult to read, and wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for kids (unless otherwise noted). Although they are all high quality reads, many of them contain intense subject matter and I would highly caution parents to preview.
Non-Fiction Good Books to Read :
by Chip and Joanna Gaines
Are you a huge fan of the HGTV show Fixer Upper like I am? Then you’ve got to read this book!
The Magnolia Story tells the behind-the-scenes tale of how Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines grew up, fell in love and built their business helping families buy and create beautiful spaces in homes that needed a bit of fixing up.
I love that this book shares a closer glimpse into this couple’s lives, and tells some crazy stories (that usually involve something outrageous that Chip has done!). I had to read some of these stories out loud to my husband and kids (who also watch the show) because the stories were simply hilarious!
Best of all, there’s a beautiful testimony woven throughout the book of God’s faithfulness and miracles. The faith aspect of their story (the Gaines family are Christians) is highly prevalant without being potentially “preachy” to those with different faith beliefs. Joanna also has some encouraging messages to women about her own struggles with perfectionism.
This was an easy and enjoyable read that I’d highly recommend!
Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Brought Them Together
by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
I read Same Kind of Different earlier this year and couldn’t put it down, especially at the end.
Oh my gosh–if you’re looking for an inspirational story of what it’s like to step outside your comfort zone, this has to be the book you read this summer!
In a nutshell, it’s the story of how the lives of two men from completely different socio-economic classes collide, and most of all what happens when we choose bravery over fear, and right over wrong–regardless of the consequences.
A major motion picture of the book (starring Renee Zellweger and Greg Kinnear) is planned for release soon.
by Laura Hillenbrand
My grandpa (a World War II veteran) handed me this story a few summers ago and insisted that I read it.
Honestly, I wasn’t really up for a “war book” or another book on history (even though it took place in the 1940s, one of my favorite eras), so it sat on my shelf a while.
But when I finally opened the pages and quickly became engrossed in the story, I kicked myself for not reading it sooner.
This book taught me so much about the human condition, what we can endure, and how God uses every life circumstance to create a remarkable tapestry of story that connects us all. It gave me a fresh new appreciation for the trials and horrors of war that this generation endured, and reminded me that hope lives even in the darkest places.
If you haven’t read it, you’ve got to. The movie is good, but not as good as the book. And when my boys are a little older (mid-late teens), we will be giving them a copy to read too.
Note: There is a young adult adaptation of the book that we’re going to preview this summer for our 11-and 13-year-old boys. Again, I haven’t read it, but it might be a great way to young adult adaptation of the book.
by John Maclean
Our family was introduced to this book in an unusual way: My husband met the author.
One day while attending a meeting, my husband sat next to John Maclain, a paralympic wheelchair athlete who was paralyzed 25 years ago in a cycling accident.
John was technically a “paraplegic,” but incredibly, John was able to stand and even give a presentation during the meeting! My husband was fascinated and wanted to learn more about his amazing story of hope, healing and miracles in John’s book.
John’s remarkable story–and his triumphant spirit–is captured in his memoir as he shares what has happened to him over and over the past 25 years as he’s asked himself , “How far can you go?” (a question originally posed to him by his dad right after the accident).
Talk about an inspiring and miraculous story!
While it’s great for reading on your own, I’d highly recommend this as a family read aloud as well (we read it aloud to our kids)!
Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
by Katie J. Davis
This is the true story of a remarkable eighteen-year-old young woman who gave up her very comfortable American life to serve wholeheartedly and demonstrate God’s relentless love to some of the poorest on the planet.
Katie’s desire to make a difference is at once revolutionary and strikingly simple. The book walks through Katie’s journey as she moves to Uganda, adopts thirteen children and begins a ministry that is dramatically changing so many lives.
This book will inspire you to say “yes” as you step out in faith for God!
by Bob Goff
Watch out–this book could change your life!
The book itself is not incredibly complex, honestly. But in a world filled with self-absorption and selfishness, Love Does is such a refreshing dose of goodness that it makes you want to life this type of “Why not?” lifestyle too.
You will think to yourself, “What?! No way!!” on more than one occasion in this book. The stories really are incredible!
Bob Goff’s relatable tone makes the book a warm and welcoming invitation to explore what it really could mean if we simply let go of our fears and societal pretenses so that we could simply say “yes” to authentic love in action for others.
Christian Fiction Good Book to Read:
by Francine Rivers
This book. (If you were sitting next to me, I would be holding it close to my chest and shaking my head in disbelief).
Redeeming Love will rip your heart open and sew it back together at the same time. That’s the only way I can describe it.
I’ve probably read it three or four times (more than any other fiction book) and know the story inside and out and it still gets me every time! That’s because the story itself is an overarching allegory of the boundless, unmatched, relentless love of God.
Every time I read this novel, it hits me in fresh new way and ministers deeply to my soul. Read this book with a prayer journal (and tissues) nearby because you will be touched and moved (and won’t be able to put it down)!
Note: While the author does a fantastic job of keeping the story clean, I will warn you that there are some incredibly intense (and possibly disturbing) scenes in this book, especially in the beginning. I do think that young women especially need to read this book, but I would definitely wait until my daughter’s late teen years to share this with her.
Fiction Good Book to Read:
by Anthony Doerr
Non-Christian fiction is always tricky for me. I want to keep up on the latest fiction book releases, but I have been burned too many times by books with inappropriate content, so I often don’t consider them.
However, I heard over and over about All the Light We Cannot See (from multiple people) that it was an absolute “must read.” I mean, it won the Pulitzer Prize, for goodness sake!
So (last summer!) I put my name on this list to reserve a library copy. And literally, just a few weeks ago, a copy became available.
I loved the books’ imagery and poetic retelling of life in Europe during World War II. The novel offers a fresh perspective on this fascinating time in history by telling the story of two everyday people caught up in the midst of this dramatic historical moment.
I’m recommending it with reservations since the book talks about some disturbing topics (the Holocaust, Hitler Youth, etc). You can check out the Plugged In book review to decide if it’s a good fit for you.
Faith & Culture Good Book to Read:
by Francis Schaeffer
This is an epic classic that I try to read every few years because of it’s sheer brilliance to seamlessly tie the pieces of history together into one narrative.
How Should We Then Live? takes the reader on a heady journey from the fall of the Roman Empire to modern times, explaining how major cultural events (art, music, books) shifted the politics, economics and belief systems throughout the centuries.
It demonstrates over and over–through the telling of history–that God’s truth must be the foundational truth for a society if it is to flourish.
When I first read it, I couldn’t believe how history made so much more sense to me. I wish I’d had this book when I was sloughing through my high school history courses!
The book answers the very important question: “How did our western culture shift to its current state, and what should our response be?”
And with the highly volatile state of our current culture, this book is more relevant than ever.
I have begun reading parts of it to my kids to supplement our homeschool history studies, and when they are in high school, it will be required history reading for them.
It’s not easy reading (Schaeffer can be a little wordy) but there’s so much richness here! Truly a must read.
Self-Help Good Book to Read:
by Robert McGee
I read this book several years ago and I still think about the great power contained in its pages. It was life-changing for me.
We all wrestle with questions like, “Why am I here?” “Why have the events in my life happened to me?” and “Am I really worthy of love and acceptance by others?”
McGee describes how performance, approval, blame and shame have so many of us trapped and unable to experience the fullest life God wants to give us.
It is one of those books that you start thinking, “I’m not sure if this is for me…” and you finish with half a box of used tissue and a journal full of tear-stained pages.
One person in the reviews describes it as the perfect book for someone who has a head knowledge of God, but has somehow disconnected their heart from the depths of God’s love for them.
I would agree, and I included it here because I know so many moms in this place (even if they don’t realize it). I still find myself here sometimes too.
If you find yourself wrestling with some deep spiritual issues right now, this is a wonderful reminder that your true worth is in Christ. This could be the life transformation you need this summer!
Business Good Book to Read:
by Dave Ramsey
Many of us moms have small businesses we manage (like, hello, running a website?!), and Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership is a compact book full of rich wisdom on starting and running a successful business.
I love how these principles are applicable to any business–whether a multi-million dollar corporation or a home-based entrepreneur.
And I trust Dave’s advice because my husband and I not only paid off $100K in debt through his savvy money-management lifestyle strategies, but Dave is someone who has both succeeded and failed in business so he understands what works and what doesn’t.
This book is never far from my nightstand, and I would highly recommend it to any fellow entrepreneur mom!
Parenting Books to Read:
Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl: Guiding Your Daughter from Her Teens to Her Tweens
by Dannah Gresh
I have an eight-year-old, and she is the only girl in a house full of boys.
It’s been evident since the day she was born that this fiery, passionate little girl (with a tender, compassionate heart) was made very differently from her brothers.
Since the beginning, I have loved her femininity. And, truth be told, I have also been terrified of it, mainly because I remember that transition to womanhood in the teen years (and the sometimes-bumpy road).
From the first chapter, the book is honest and candid about what our girls are facing and will go through in this transition (which, at one point, made me put the book down because I wasn’t emotionally ready to handle it yet!).
What will keep you reading is the hope, encouragement and practical tips found in the pages. It shares how we as moms can confidently lead our girls through this transition, and that we don’t have to succumb to the fears we may have for them as they progress through the teen years. Great stuff, indeed.
by Tony Evans
Our church just recently went through a parenting series and they used Raising Kingdom Kids as the basis for the teaching.
I enjoyed reading it because not only does Tony give excellent parenting advice about raising children to love God, you hear stories from his children (many of them well-known themselves for their own Christian teaching ministry) about what it was like to grow up in a house with a “kingdom mindset.”
If you’d like to raise kids that pass on the baton of Christian faith, Raising Kingdom Kids is a great read!
Marriage Good Book to Read:
by Gary Thomas
The book’s subtitle sums it up well: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”
This book is a refreshing glimpse at what our marriages could look like if we are willing to step out of the way and let God use the trials and imperfections to bring spiritual transformation. There’s lots of great “food-for-thought” material in here.
My spouse and I worked through the book together and it sparked some great discussion on how God can use some of our biggest struggles to bring us closer to Him (both as a couple and individually).
This is a super read if you’re willing to take a fresh new look at how God may want to work in your marriage!
There you have it! These are my top 14 books to read this summer!
Here they are in one place:
The Magnolia StorySame Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them TogetherUnbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and RedemptionHow Far Can You Go?: My 25-Year Quest to Walk AgainRedeeming LoveAll the Light We Cannot See: A NovelHow Should We Then Live? (L’Abri 50th Anniversary Edition): The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and CultureThe Search For Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s EyesEntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the TrenchesSix Ways to Keep theRaising Kingdom Kids: Giving Your Child a Living FaithSacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?
Which book will you read this summer?
Enjoy reading all these good books! Let me know in the comments which books are your favorite, or if you have any to add to the list.
And if you loved this list, would you share it with a friend? There’s always someone asking, “What are some good books to read?”