Summer Reading List

Summer Reading

Summer Reading List

By Charity Hagains MA LPC-S

Summer is here!  If you have been counting the months until those longer days arrive, wait no more!  School is out, vacations are booked and the usual status quo has shifted.  For my literary buffs I have two precious words:  Summer… Reading.  Words that strike fear into the hearts of high school students everywhere have a very different meaning for us adults.

A vision of beach reading promptly comes to mind (insert ocean waves and salty air).  New romance novels, Sic-Fi thrillers and Historical fiction decorate the shelves of every Barnes & Nobel across the country, just waiting for those who see summer as the holy grail of relaxing beachside with a book.

I am the first to grab for a paranormal romance novel or sci-fi thriller trading my real-world to-do list for this fanciful portrayal, but  we can’t live on fiction alone.  It is for this reason that I offer my readers a deeper and more meaningful path to literary satisfaction.

Balance is important in our lives, as well as our reading.  Fictional worlds are fun without doubt, but don’t discount the more meaningful and inspirational works that depict a real life joy.  One of the reasons I love my fiction is there is always a great story that has difficult conflicts and mysteries, but the best part is always in the end.  When you have spent 10 hours reading a book, investing in the lives of the characters and riding their emotional roller coaster, there is nothing better than a nice neat “They lived happily ever after” ending.  And then it’s real life again…

In an effort to balance out the real-life issues we all face and the fantasy we all enjoy reading about, I offer…more books.  I know, I’m a literary junkie…but what’s a therapist to do?  Here are some of my favorite books for inspiration and information that help to balance the fantasy fun.  They aren’t boring homework that keep the teacher from having to spoon feed information to their students.  No, these are books to help those of us who seek growth stay inspired.

One hour of therapy a week is never enough to keep you jazzed up about becoming all that you desire to be.  Even assignments given by therapists aren’t enough.  I believe that, if you want change, it is a daily continuous process that requires the ideas of many rather than your own singular thought process.  To that effect, this list covers many topics in which my clients frequently seek growth.  So I challenge my readers to grow this summer!  Grow in yourself, your relationships, your career and your family!  I hope this is a helpful list to motivate you on your path.

“Gifts of Imperfection” Dr. Brene Brown.

This book focuses on building a positive self worth through living a whole-hearted authentic life.  If you are someone who seeks the feeling of acceptance, from others as well as yourself, this book is for you.  Delving into her research on shame and vulnerability, Brown embraces our need for connection and self acceptance.

“Self-Compassion” Dr. Kristen Neff

In a culture that is so familiar with being our own worst enemy, Neff teaches her readers how to become their own best friend.  Acceptance through self-compassion instead of motivation through self-recrimination drives us to achieve our goals, yet still feel positive about who we are.  If you are someone who beats yourself up on a regular basis, this book is a must read!

“Scream Free Parenting” Hal Edward Runkel LMFT

If you are reading this and feel like your children drive you crazy, if you are searching for ways to feel more secure in your parenting, this book is for you.  Parenting in our current day and age is so indescribably difficult that even the most poetic authors struggle to describe the depths of this endeavor.  It’s okay, we all feel that way.  We search for ways to prepare our children for every possible scenario and usually become overwhelmed at the idea.  Our emotions over take us and the fear that they might face failure, pain or rejection becomes so magnified we feel helpless.  If that sounds like you, this is your book.

“How To Listen So Kids Will Talk and How To Talk So Kids Will Listen”  Adel Faber and Elaine Mazlish

A renowned favorite of parents and therapist alike, this book helps parents who crave a way to communicate with their kids.  Be them toddler or teenage, this book will aid you in creating a way for you and your child to understand one another and feel heard.  There is no more frustrating situation than wanted to communicate with someone and yet not being able to effectively do so.  I can’t sing this books praises enough!

“The Happiness Advantage” Sean Achor

I found out about this book via Ted Talks (another addiction of mine), and finally I felt like someone combined scientific data with entertaining and meaningful insight.  If you are someone who says “I will be happy when…” this book is for you.  “I’ll be happy when my children are old enough to take to fun events.”  “I’ll be happy when I get that promotion.”  “I’ll be happy when I make a million dollars.”  “I’ll be happy when I loose 20lbs.”  These statements are contrary to achieving any of these goals; and while I frequently try to explain this to my clients, it is difficult to conceptualize.  “The Happiness Advantage” gives you scientific data to understand this claim and practical application for how making yourself happy leads to goal achievement.

I hope your summer is filled with inspiration and enjoyment.  I know that after this year we all need a bit of sunshine.  This summer I wish for you to purposely fill your heads and hearts with words that uplift and invigorate your spirits so that you all may achieve all that you are capable of!