Summer time and the reading is easy….

It’s officially summer and the kids are itching to get out of school (truly have they paid any intention for the month of June anyways?).  Summer for me means long lazy days out on a porch or under a tree with a cool glass of lemonade, listening to kids playing in the background and taking the time to read a good book. Since this is the first week of summer, I wanted to share a few of my favourite books with you in case they inspire you to pick up a book this summer and explore. I love so much about these books, some of them recent favourites, others I have read and reread, and they totally changed my life, as well as my family’s. Books can do that if you let them. Like an old friend they wait, on books shelves, in drawers, or forgotten boxes, until one day you open them up and rekindle their magic.  No matter how many times you crack open a good book, it speaks to you differently, totally relevant for that time in your life.

My top five “must read” summer books for 2016 are:

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  1. Steal Like An Artist – Austin Kleon

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A super easy summer time read, this books has some really sage advice about living life as a creative. It busts myths that there is anything like an “original” thought and offers the idea that the best creatives, “steal” from others to find their own path.  Following ten easy steps to help you along to do the work , this book encourages you to  embrace your influences, collect ideas, and invent your own way forward.  Some nuggets which have stuck with me include the encouragement not to wait until you know who you’re to get started, make friends and ignore enemies, the idea that validation is for parking (amen to that), and keep your day job .  And its got great quotes by many different artists throughout too!

Why I Love It – A great mix of the practical and inspirational, you can’t help but want to do things differently after you read it. Re-reading is highly recommended!

2. The Book of Awesome – Neil Pasricha

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Written a number of years ago, this book is by far one of my family’s favourite.  Based on a really popular blog called a 1000awesomethings.com, it focuses on the small, seemingly insignificant everyday miracles that really makes for a happy life. It’s witty and wise, feel good and nostalgic, all at the same time. I used this book during a time when my oldest son was focusing on only the negative.  We would read it together and it wasn’t long before he was smiling and laughing and it gave us a starting point to talk about the smallest “good” things that made us happy that day. It started a tradition in our family where every night at dinner, we talk about the three things that made us happy and we were grateful for in our day. Now that’s truly an awesome book!

Why I Love It – Great reminder that the key to happiness surrounds us everyday. Re-reading is highly recommended!

3. Start With Why – Simon Sinek

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This book is for anyone at any point of their lives who wants to inspire others, and really communicate the “why” of what they do, especially in business. In a world where there is so much noise and things vying for our attention, focusing on the why is really fundamental to differentiate your business and truly connect with people. Using some of our most memorable leaders, from Martin Luther King, to the Wright Brothers, this book offers a powerful framework for your business to start communicating, marketing, etc with.  Read it now over summer and start up in a big way in the fall.

Why I Love It – Powerful tool to lead and communicate with.

4. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

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You most likely have heard about this book as its been pretty popular, with good reason. Written by the author who also penned “Eat, Pray, Love”, this book tackles fear, creativity, and how to pay attention to the subtle signals in the universe, that “magic” that surrounds us.  When I was reading it, there were many times where I got goosebumps and would text my friend Barb, to tell her about it. It got so bad that I had to send her the book so she would know what I was talking about (and not think I was crazy). Luckily she liked it too, and so often we can see it working in our lives, and now she writes me. Either that or she still thinks I am crazy and is just indulging me ;).

Why I Love It – A simply powerful and inspiring book that really spoke to me as a creative. Re-read to take more away with you!

5. Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson

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Jenny Lawson is the genius behind one of my favourite blogs The Bloggess , a brilliantly funny (think dark humour) blog about her life and where she deals very honestly about mental illness (disclaimer – don’t click this link if you are easily offended), and the brilliant book “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”.  I got both of these books for my son and I to read as we both love her blog (no judging my parenting either ;)).  Delivering a powerfully inspirational message to be happy, despite everything, this book encourages you to be unique and really embrace who you are. And its so funny that most of the time I have tears streaming down my face when I read it, while my husband shakes his head saying, “oh no not that book again”.  Read both of the books in fact, but maybe not while in public….unless you’ve already embraced the “furiously happy” mindset ;).

Why I Love It – OMG. So. Funny. AND she mentions Neil Gaiman and Brooke Shaden in the same book.

Those are few of my favs for this summer and ones which I will be reading again.  What are your favourites?  List them below to share!

Happy reading makes for a happy summer in my books (so many puns). Take the time to read a new book, or reread an old friend.

Jennifer

 

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