When I was a child, the library in my rural hometown would put on this huge reading program each summer. Each child would get a reading log where they could record the books they read in each category - fiction, art, science, biography, etc. There were prizes as well as well as different events each week whether it was a storyteller, a visiting children's author, or a fun activity. I have always enjoyed reading (There was one point I even considered being a librarian. What 1st grader do you know that has her own checkout system for loaning books to friends and classmates? Not even kidding). Now that I'm an adult, there's still something about summer that gets me excited about reading. If you're looking for a good read to pick up over the next couple of months as you lay out on the beach or curl up on your couch, check out our recommendations below.

The Measure of Success by Carolyn McCulley and Nora Shank discusses the tension women feel about work and the home, and with Carolyn being a film producer and writer and Nora a stay-at-home mom, their two different perspectives give greater thought and depth to their subject. Broken into three parts, their book looks at the story of work throughout history, a theological understanding of the purpose, rest, identity, and ambition of work, and the life cycle of work in a woman's life from childhood to empty nesters. This is one that I'm currently reading and enjoying, especially after hearing Carolyn speak on the subject at our recent Young Singles Conference.

This month, BH Women is hosting two women's gatherings on the subject of hospitality, and The Hospitality Commands by Alexander Strauch has been a helpful resource in looking at how hospitality is a launching pad for the gospel and what the Bible says about the topic. It also gives helpful hints in practicing hospitality - all of this in 53 pages! So if you want a quick yet meaningful read, this is a stout choice!

In last summer's "The Cross and Christian Sexuality" sermons, Pastor David referenced The Hole in our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung, and in this book, DeYoung looks what the Bible says about sanctification and holiness and how to live faithfully, especially in a world that does not cheer us on in our pursuit of godliness. To give you a snapshot (not snapchat, people) of the book, "It's all too easy to turn the fight of faith into sanctification-by-checklist. Take care of a few bad habits, develop a couple of good ones, and you're set. But a moral checklist doesn't take into consideration the idols of the hearts. It may not even have the gospel as part of the equation. And inevitably, checklist spirituality is highly selective. So you end up feeling successful at sanctification because you stayed away from drugs, lost weight, served at the soup kitchen, and renounced Styrofoam. But you've ignored gentleness, humility, joy, and sexual purity" (34).

I watched a rom-com (romantic comedy) this past week and received a reminder of how Hollywood's idea of romance is neither realistic nor loving, but such movies and TV shows make it difficult to recognize what is biblical about sex, dating, and relationships. In Sex and the Single Christian Girl, Marian Jordan Ellis shares her powerful story about looking for love in all of the wrong places while offering biblical truth and practical advice on how to find healing from your past mistakes and how to fight temptation. Much of the content of this book correlates with Marian's "Cherished" podcast series, which can be downloaded from this site in case you want to listen or pass it along to a friend who isn't a reader (sadly, those people do exist) or doesn't have as much time as they would like to read.

Maybe you don't have time to read a book cover to cover. Let's face it, as women we lead busy lives. So if you're tired of buying yet another book that is just going to sit on your to-read stack for months (or years!), consider checking out Today's Christian Woman, a weekly online magazine that isn't afraid to tackle tough, real issues that women face such as sex, parenting, faith, and community. This week's magazine focuses on "Why Church Still Matters" and includes articles on "When Your Child Doesn't Like Church," "How to Regain Trust in the Church When It's Been Broken," and "5 Reasons to Quit the Church But Why You Should Stay Anyway."

Let us know your thoughts and what's on your reading list for the summer. We'd love to hear from you!