Social Issues

5 Books for Your Summer Reading List

August 2, 2021

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As we enter the last month of summer, I thought I’d share 5 of my favorite fun summer reads, so you can slip them into your beach bag before summer ends! Last August I shared a post with “5 Social Justice Books for Your Summer Reading List”. It was full of books that eloquently balance engaging storytelling with informative knowledge of the social justice space - and they’re fun to read too! This month, the list consists of purely FUN summer reads. (Ok, two of the books are considered social justice books, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, and I considered them fun!) You likely may have heard of some of these, or may have even read a few of these yourself. They’re just too good to pass over, so take a second look if you haven’t actually read them yet. This list consists of books I read on vacation myself, so I think they’d be great for you to squeeze into your summer vacation too!

BTW - I'm now an Amazon Associate, which means I earn from qualifying purchases. If you purchase any of these books via the links below, I'll receive a small percent, which in turn, helps me to continue sharing resources with you!

Ready? Here we go!

1) Summer at Firefly Beach

by Jenny Hale

You could call this book a summer romance at the beach, I suppose, but it’s so much more too! Summer at Firefly Beach  follows Hallie Flynn, as she visits her aunt’s beach house where she spent many summers as a child. With many twists and turns unfolding before her, Hallie has the opportunity to make a career change and find love too! I’m not doing this book justice, as it’s the type of book you just get completely wrapped up in! Writing this is making me want to read it again! This is probably my all time favorite fiction book - summer, the beach, love, family - what more could you want in a book? Ha!

P.S. If you like this one, another great book by Jenny Hale is The Summer House. 🙂

2) Love Lives Here

by Maria Goff

I had the opportunity to meet Maria and Bob Goff at Dream Big in Tennessee a few years ago, and I certainly believe Love Lives Here is a reflection of the way they live their life - genuine and real. In this book, Maria peels back the layers of life and shows how she embraces the things that really matter to her. I love this book, because it’s such a great example of seeking purpose and instilling intentionality into everyday life - making life "meaningful" as Maria would say and “whimsical” as Bob would say!

Maria talks about raising a family, living a life of legacy, creating a hospitable place for guests to rest, and doing the things that matter. I identified so strongly with her perspective on life, and I think that’s why I loved this book so much! If you’re looking for a fresh look at love, hospitality, chasing crazy dreams, and being present with the ones you love, this book is for you!

3) Just Mercy

By Bryan Stevenson

There’s a good chance you may have already read Just Mercy, as it’s been named one of the best books of the year by: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Time, The Seattle Times, and Esquire. It’s received numerous awards and is now a major motion picture too! The New York Review of Books lists this as a book that’s “Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so...a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields.”

This book was brought to the forefront again over the past year through our country’s discussions on race and the justice system. It’s full of real, detailed stories that take count of Bryan Stevenson’s legal defense of the vulnerable in desperate need of justice. He represents and fights for people wrongly condemned, the poor, and even children. He opens our eyes to biases and corruption in our criminal justice system through stories, and recounts stories of black men being wrongly condemned and sentenced to death as an outcropping of racism. As the cover of the book says, it’s truly a story of justice and redemption! (And that’s what we’re all about over here at Lovelight Stories!) If you’re one of the few who haven’t read this yet, consider this as being your next good read. It’s a book I personally believe every American should read as part of being aware and educated on the happenings within our country. You’ll learn a ton and gain new perspectives that will leave you more compassionate and hopeful!

P.S. There’s an abridged version for teens too!

4) Daring Greatly

By Dr. Brené Brown

If I were to sum up the message of Lovelight Stories in one book, Daring Greatly would be it! I couldn’t believe it as again, and again, Brené Brown touched on what it means to have courage, empathy, vulnerability, and essentially what it means to be human - to say I identified with this book is an understatement! This book is an inspiring call to action for all of us to “dare greatly” - to dare to show up, be vulnerable in the face of fear or pain, and to let our true selves be seen. Brené helps us see how vulnerability ushers in new experiences of love, joy, belonging, creativity, and empathy. She helps us see that without vulnerability, we lose out on those experiences of a full life. To live wholeheartedly, we need the courage to let ourselves be seen! This is a book I keep close and reference often. I know it will serve you well too!

5) The Magnolia Story

by Chip & Joanna Gaines

If you follow Chip and Jo, you most likely have read The Magnolia Story , but I just couldn’t let it slip off the list, because it is truly one of my favorite books! I remember listening to it on audio book while commuting into Atlanta each day when I still worked at Korn Ferry. It was so motivating to me at the time, and had a small part in giving me the courage to leave my consulting firm to do the work I’m doing today! This is a sweet story that details the lives of Chip and Jo from the very beginning: dating, their wedding, their first flipped homes, and decor shop, raising and a family, and so much more. Listening to it on audiobook was neat, because they both read the portions of the book they each wrote! It feels like they’re sitting next to you and filling your ears full of mentorship and advice! This is just a fun, motivating, and down to earth read!


What I’m reading right now:

Evicted by Matthew Desmond - This book shares stories of families in America who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. It gives real insight into poverty and economic exploitation in America. I expect it to be just as good as Just Mercy, and it has a long list of awards too!

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi - This book was written to help us see forms of racism around us, and gain the necessary understanding to work against its harmful consequences in society. I’m expecting this to be a great book for anyone seeking to uproot any racism in their hearts through a deeper understanding.


There you have it - 5 summer reads to slip in your beach bag on the way to the pool or beach! Which one will you be reading first? 😄


Looking for more good books to read this summer?

Check out last summer's post, "5 Social Justice Books for Your Summer Reading List"!

And remember, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 😊

Stephanie Jacobs | Storyteller & Advocate for Social Justice

Explore more categories:  Personal, Personal Transformation, Social Issues

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