I know that reading is becoming more and more of a luxury as I’m balancing raising my family and running my business, but I still try to carve out intentional time for it. It’s no more possible to be a quality author who doesn’t read than it is to be a painter who’s never set foot in a museum or a world class athlete who doesn’t follow their own sport. It’s not about comparison or trying to be “the next so-and-so,” but there is something to be said for soaking up the finished product of those who excel at your chosen craft, to immerse yourself in inspiration and remember just what it is you’ve set out to accomplish. And so my own bookshelf has come to contain more and more acquisitions from women I admire, who have vulnerably poured their very selves onto the pages and offered them up to the general public for open consumption, in what I consider to be the ultimate act of bravery. Today I’m sharing with you my top five recommended reads from women such as this, and I hope they inspire you even a fraction of the way they’ve inspired me.
If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers
by Hannah Brencher
I pre-ordered this book almost the day it became available on Amazon. If you have ever heard Hannah Brencher speak, or have read her incredible blog, then you know she is easily one of the most gifted wordsmiths of our generation. Every phrase is not only dripping with incredible wisdom, but it’s so deeply vulnerable and authentic that you can’t help but feel like you’ve known Hannah forever, and you’re immediately invested in her story. This book is her personal memoir, telling an incredible story of how she found purpose by leaving letters to strangers all over New York City, and eventually founded an international organization called The World Needs More Love Letters, bringing people to together to write thousands of letters and cards to those in need of encouragement. The book will inspire you to love deeper, dream bigger, and live with a passion for others in a whole new way.
Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose
by Lara Casey
This is the quintessential read for any woman who has a dream to do something bigger than herself, but simply doesn’t even know where to begin. How do you go from the day to day routine to making huge things happen and dreams come true? Lara helps us learn how to break down goals into achievable steps, let go of our crippling fears, and finally leave the excuses behind as we step into the life we never knew possible. She also markets a corresponding product called Power Sheets that can help you apply what you’ve learned in the book and start converting your dreams into actions.
by Amy Poehler
Have you ever watched Amy Poehler on television and thought, “She’s so cool I wish she was my best friend.” Well as silly as it sounds, when you walk away from her book you almost feel like she is. Amy certainly wasn’t messing around when she penned her debut book, as it’s full of personal details, intimate thoughts, and a signature brand of honesty that makes you feel less like you read a book and more like you had a date over coffee..scratch that, over margaritas. You wont be able to see the funny girl quite in the same way, but you’ll definitely love her even more.
Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity
by Jen Hatmaker
Although she is far better know for her book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Interrupted is in many ways far more personal and powerful. In fact, Hatmaker herself even admits within the pages that when fans ask her which one book of hers they should read, it always comes hands down back to this one. Jen has the most unique ability to perfectly walk a tightrope between the sacred and the sarcastic, and in doing so shares powerful truths within layers of laugh out loud wit and real life stories of the messy reality of real life ministry. The book is downright challenging, but never sanctimonious, and it’s near impossible to walk away from it without having your very perspectives of faith and religion shaken and reconstructed from the ground up. It’s so powerful in fact that I never seem able to hold on to a copy for very long, as I’m known to excitedly give them away to others almost as soon as I finish it. I find I could read it every year and consistently glean something new, and Im planning to read it again – as soon as I get my hands on another copy.
Restless: Because You Were Made for More
by Jennie Allen
Have you ever hidden your dreams away because somehow you felt that you should always be content and never want more? Ever tried to talk yourself out of feeling that restlessness because you were convinced that following God meant ignoring your own dreams and passions in order to be fully dedicated to His plan? Jennie Allen has eloquently tackled this all too pervasive struggle asking, “What if this feeling wasn’t a bad thing? It could be a longing for more of God and a catalyst to living the life that was designed before the foundations of the earth were laid.” Using the Biblical story of Joseph the Dreamer, Jennie helps guide us through identifying our passions, our giftings, our hopes and dreams, and even our deepest pains,all with the purpose of seeing the bigger picture – how they all weave perfectly together in God’s greater purpose for our life. The book is empowering, and reading it leaves you more aware that you were created with a purpose, and that your passions and dreams are anything but random, but markers pointing the way to your full potential, and ultimately to your greatest callings.