A Little Light Reading

Books have the amazing ability to transport me to another place. They can make me forget the weight of my own story for a while. And they can show me people, places, events, and ideas that I otherwise might never see. Is it any wonder that books light me up?

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It’s no secret that I love to read books. My mom says that when I stopped taking naps at 18 months old (gasp!) she would hand me the thickest novel she could find (most of the times it was “Gone With the Wind”) and I would quietly page through the book, sitting next to her, while she got a few precious minutes to read her own book. And I’ve pretty much had a book in my hands ever since.

When I think about those things that light me up, reading is definitely one of them. And for two different kinds of light.

First, there are those books that are just “light” reading. You know, the fluffy, fun, don’t-make-the-brain-think-too-hard kind of books that are great for reading on a beach in Hawaii. Or anywhere really when the brain needs something that’s not quite so heavy.

Second, there are those books that are “light” in the way they illuminate the mind and soul. I have been blessed by many such books, both fiction and non-fiction. They’ve given me the opportunity to see something in a new light and I have been better for reading them.

Just for fun, I thought I would share some of my favorites here:

Fiction Books that are “Light” Reading
These three books (or series) are light and fun and great for those times when the brain needs something a little lighter.

On the Fence
by Kasie West
Basically all of the books by Kasie. They take you back to that crazy marvelous time of high school and boy-girl relationships. Oh my. They’re funny, they’re romantic, and they don’t hesitate to bring up some deeper issues in there too.

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You
by Ally Carter
OK, basically all of the Gallagher Girl series too. C’mon, it’s about a spy school for teen girls! It’s got great plot movement, an awesome line-up of characters, and a little bit of romance. Fun!

At Home in Mitford
by Jan Karon
Sometimes I read grown-up books. When I know they’re not full of “yuck”. This is another series and follows a wonderful group of citizens in small-town USA. They deal with the range of human foibles, and manage to leave you sweetly uplifted at the last page.

Fiction Books that “Illuminated”
These three books are at the top of my “favorite books” list. Each of them illuminated my soul in a way that left me forever changed.

Stargirl
by Jerry Spinelli
My little girl creative self smiled through this whole book. And cried. And pondered the ideas of creativity, individuality, and selfless service to others. I’ve read it more times than I can count.

Wonder
by R.J. Palacio
This story went so deep into my heart, I have never been the same. From the uncluttered perspective of children, it asks the deep questions of both uniqueness and belonging.

The War that Saved My Life
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
I’m noticing I have an affinity for books about children who are “different”. I’ll have to think about what that says about me…. In any case, this one is set during WWII and does an amazing job of chronicling what it was like for many of the children who left the cities to try to be safe.

Non-fiction Books that “Illuminated”
These three books are at the top of my list of books that made me think. Hard. And honestly, the illumination I gained from each of them has changed my thinking for the better.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
by Greg McKeown
Remember how I mentioned that my brain likes to go in a zillion different directions? This book is magic at helping to weed out the “non-essential” and focus in on what is truly the most important and “essential” areas of your own personal life. It really helped me to be ok with letting go of things that didn’t match my “essentials” and use my energy better on those things that are my “essentials”.

Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person
by Shonda Rhimes
Written by the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and other hit TV shows (which I admit, I’ve never seen!) This book was a little hit-and-miss for me… I didn’t agree with all of her views, but what I did agree with really got me thinking. I tend to “play it safe” and therefore, miss a lot of potential opportunities. Or don’t believe in myself, with the same results. Her book is a great pep-talk, not to mention, her writing style is fantastic!

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
by Shauna Niequist
Given to me by my sister-in-law, who is truly my soul-sister, and knew this would bless me the same way it blessed her. It’s a soul-nourishing collection of essays about her journey to find peace in her present moment and letting go of whatever “perfect” is. Yeah, I needed it.

And while it should be obvious, I include them here anyway… My favorite books that light me up are the scriptures. Filled with the light of truth and with He who is the Light of the world, I spend time reading in these books every day.

Do you have favorite books that are “light”…either kind? Please share!

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