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Young woman lying on grass reading book.

Reading is one of the most powerful ways you can better yourself and your life…unless you have some munchkins underfoot.

I asked some friends for their summer reading recommendations. My favorite response was a FB message from Christa Gagnon (she gave me permission to post.)Screenshot 2016-06-02 16.08.03As you can see, my Top Ten is down to eight, but they’re great recommendations.  Ironically, the eight responses are from people with lots of books and no little children in their homes.

Kathy Fowler

All the lightKathy Fowler knows my reading is typically serious, non-fiction. No regrets after following Kathy’s suggestion on this page turner of a novel:

“ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE” – by Anthony Doerr – A Pulitzer Prize winner about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.


the-girl-on-the-trainMarty ChanMarty Chan is one of Edmonton’s favorite authors, playwright and writers-in-residence. He’s serious about writing but doesn’t take himself seriously. He dressed up like “The Cat in The Hat” for one of his book readings at Audrey’s Books – ever tried to turn book pages with Cat paws?  Thanks Marty for your support and your recommendation:

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” by Paula Hawkins debuted at #1 on the NY Times Bestseller list in 2015. Over 2 million copies have been sold.

Screenshot 2016-06-02 20.48.19

Heather Screenshot 2016-06-02 20.57.37Friedman is the Chief Booklover for Indigo/Chapters. Cool job and she excels at it.  I’ve never gone wrong with Heather’s picks:

“PUMPKIN FLOWERS” by Matti Friedman – “An award-winning Canadian-Israeli writer shares the true story of a band of young soldiers, the author among them, charged with holding one remote outpost in Lebanon, a task that changed them forever and foreshadowed today’s unwinnable conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.”

Jodi EllaMinnowPeaGraff is more widely read and reads more widely than anyone I know. Novels, biographies, fiction, history, Jodi Grafftravelogues, poetry, art, treatises and more. When she shares a favorite its worth noting:

“ELLA MINNOW PEA” by Mark Dunn – Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Ella finds herself acting to save her friends, family, and fellow citizens from the encroaching totalitarianism of the island’s Council, which has banned the use of certain letters of the alphabet as they fall from a memorial statue of Nevin Nollop. The result is both a hilarious and moving story of one girl’s fight for freedom of expression.”

Courageous Compassion

Margaret Gibb is the founder and director of “Women Together.”  Margaret Gibb

“COURAGEOUS COMPASSION” by Dr. Beth Grant – “Courageous compassion has many faces in many places around our globe. But like Jesus, it takes a bold compassion to bless, restore, and empower those whom the powerful view as weaker and less important.”


When I need a fresh perspective, I turn to Tamara Thibodeau. TamTammy Thibodeau2 was in my youth group 25 years ago and has recently served as a pastor to youth in Quebec. Her top pick:

“KEEPING THE FEAST” by Milton Brasher-Cunningham – “This book is about what nourishes us: food, faith, family, and friends, and how all of those elements are essential ingredients of Communion. In fact how every meal of our lives holds an invitation to the Sacred Meal…Communion means we have a chance to take our failure seriously and re-frame the story. It reminds me that what lies beyond failure is love rather than success.”

david-wells-02David wells bookIf you want a mental tone-up to go with your tan, my friend David Wells has a book for you. Rev. Wells is the General Superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (a long title with even broader responsibilities). I know its summer holiday time but this book is the kind of  heavy lifting our leaders do.

“PENTECOSTALISM, SECULARISM AND POST CHRISTENDOM” by Bradley Truman Noel – A counter-intuitive approach to the changing landscape of faith in Canada from a Pentecostal perspective.

“FAR AND AWAY: REPORTING FROM THE BRINK OF CHANGE”Far and Away by Andrew Solomon – “Ranging across seven continents and twenty-five years, Far and Away takes a magnificent journey into the heart of extraordinarily diverse experiences, yet Solomon finds a common humanity wherever he travels.”



In the rare case that none of these books reach out and tickle your fancy, take a look at last year’s list.

12 Hot Summer Reads

APPLICATION: Have you read any of these books? I’d love to read what you think about the book. Are you reading another new favorite you think other peo9ple would enjoy?  Please leave a comment below.

I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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