For me, summer is almost always all about novels and memoirs. So let’s take some time today to talk about books, movies, television shows, and podcasts! Let the relaxing begin….

My Top 5 Books – in 3 Words

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – Un-put-downable. Timely. Stunning.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay – Bold. Unapologetic. Wise. 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson – Beautiful. Lyrical. Captivating.

Birdie by Tracey Lindberg – Heartbreaking. Unbreaking. Funny. 

What is the Bible?: How An Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform The Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell – Provocative. Freeing. Healing.

And Other Good Books I’m Into

An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation by Nyasha Junior

The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

I Found You  and The House We Grew Up In and The Girls in the Garden all by Lisa Jewell (great for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes, two faithful companions of my summers)

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family Recipes From the Kitchen of Simple Bites by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City by Elizabeth Minchilli

Ru by Kim Thuy

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King

Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery by Melanie J. Fishbane

Company Town by Madeline Ashby

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

Sex, God, and the Conservative Church by Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers

At Home in the World: Reflections on Belong While Wandering the Globe by Tsh Oxenreider

At Home in This Life: Finding Peace at the Crossroads of Unraveled Dreams and Beautiful Surprises by Jerusalem Jackson Greer

Rescuing the Gospel From the Cowboys: A Native American Expression of the Jesus Way by Richard Twiss

One: Unity in a Divided World by Deidra Riggs

Jesus Journey: Shattering the Stained Glass Superhero and Discovering the Humanity of God by Trent Sheppard

Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships by Lisa-Jo Baker

The Magic of Motherhood: The Good Stuff, The Hard Stuff, and Everything in Between edited by Ashlee Gadd :

TV & Movies

I’ll spare you all of my rhapsodizing about this past series of Doctor Who. *primal wail*

I’m currently in the middle of the new season of Poldark on BBC. George is such a satisfying villain and I am surprised by how much empathy I feel for Elizabeth.

But my newest obsession is Grantchester. Yet another PBS/ITV series currently running, I picked up the first series at the library and binged it over a weekend. Tagline is “Faith. Love. Murder.” so you knew I was all the way in. Set in post-war England, it features a curate just outside of Cambridge, a detective inspector, a murder, unattainable love, the gap between who we are and who we wish we could be, the long shadow of the war, and a delightful cast of characters who have become surprisingly dear to me. I can’t wait for the second series from the library so that I’ll be caught up.

Usually the only films I watch are on airplanes and out of all of them, the stand-out this spring was Jackie”  – a lovely and sad and thoughtful film if you’re looking for that sort of an ache and reflection.

And of course, I watched Wonder Woman. Of course! I have so many thoughts but almost all of them were encapsulated in Rev. Danielle Shroyer’s marvellous essay at Pop Theology so I’ll simply commend that to you.

Music

A favourite Spotify playlist for us is Your Favourite Coffeehouse – laid-back folk music for the backyard evenings.

I’m not a big music listener because silence is so cherished and rare. But Podcasts now…

Podcasts

 Shauna Niequist just concluded the first season of her new podcast appropriately titled …. wait for it…. “The Shauna Niequist Podcast.” I adore everything Shauna does and this was no different. She interviewed Jen Hatmaker for Episode 8 and they talked about everything from parenting to food to books so it’s a perfect listen on a summer evening walk. I’ve never subscribed to a podcast so fast.

I’ve also started listening to NPR’s Invisibilia about the unseen or unconscious forces that shape us like our ideas, assumptions, beliefs, and emotions. Utterly fascinating. I’m still in Season 1 but I’ve been told Season 2 is incredible.

Episode 99 of Sorta Awesome is called “Leaning Into the Squirm: How to Talk to Your Kids About Bodies, Sex, and Sexuality.” It’s a fascinating conversation between the two hosts, Megan and Kelly, and licensed clinical social worker LeAnn Gardener. Sorta Awesome is my favourite “girlfriend chat” genre podcast but this episode was so helpful, so practical, and empowering. A good listen for not only parents but anyone who has children or teens in their life.

And finally, Osheta Moore’s Shalom Sistas is a consistently great listen but I wanted to recommend Episode 36: Shalom in the Home with Jerusalem Jackson Greer (whose book you’ll remember seeing from up above in Good Reads) with a dash of Benedictine Monastic traditions (who doesn’t love those??) and also Episode 37: My Sista’s Keeper which is about resisting the spirit of despair when talking about race especially on social media.

Miscellany

I’m not exactly a crafty sort of person but I’ll tell you what: I’ve had sick kids and we have been staying home a lot and that equals too much time on Pinterest yada yada yada voila! Our literary garden signage!

It is ridiculous how happy this little project made me. I used this Pinterest tutorial as a jumping off point.

I’d love to hear what you’re reading or listening to or watching as we head into summer, too! Always looking out for a good recommendation!

Popsicles and backyard twinkle lights,

S.

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