Staff Blogger: Rena Arter, Advancement & Communications Intern


As summer approaches, time spent at the beach becomes more and more. It’s a great place to relax and take away the stresses of the day.

The day to day activities can weigh heavily on you physically and mentally. One great way to unwind is to head to the beach, or Lakeside dock, with a good book. For the warm, sunny days on the beach, here’s a list of a few great reads to keep you stress free.

 Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

morrieTuesdays with Morrie is a captivating memoir about sports columnist, Mitch Albom, and how he reunites with his dying mentor and college professor, Morrie Schwartz. The story is told by Mitch, as he writes about thirteen Tuesdays spent with Morrie up until his last day.

This book shares with the reader lessons that Albom learns from Morrie during their Tuesdays together; something everyone can learn from. It’s a captivating story that will open your eyes to the smaller things in life you may not have noticed, and will leave you wanting to read more.


Things You Won’t Say by Sarah Pekkanen

wont sayThings You Won’t Say is a breath-taking story about Jamie and Mike Anderson’s marriage. Mike is a police officer, and after his best friend and co-worker is shot in the line of duty, his marriage with Jamie takes a drastic turn.

This book is about the consequences of holding in the things you won’t say, and how it impacts Jamie and Mike’s relationship and their loved ones.

Author Sarah Pekkanen incorporates topics of today’s society, such as police brutality and shootings, as well as creating flawed characters that are relatable to the reader.

Although Things You Won’t Say is about a failing marriage, it’s a story every woman, and even man, can relate to. It brings to life the struggles of holding in things you don’t want to say and how it affects your life.

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

marigoldsA Fall of Marigolds is about the stories of two women that are brought together by a simple scarf. The two stories take place in different eras, but both women are trying to live life after losing a loved one in a tragic way.

Nurse Clara Wood lost the man she loved when he fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in Manhattan. In 1911, she finds herself caught in a dilemma as she cares for an immigrant who’s own loss is similar to hers. He also happens to be wearing a scarf that carries a significant meaning in Clara’s life that causes her to confront the truth about what happened to the man she loved.

In Manhattan’s Upper West Side in 2011, widow Taryn Michaels is living life fully, until a picture is published in a magazine. This picture forces her to remember the day that her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers on 9/11. Taryn has a reconnection with the scarf that will make a bigger impact on her life than she could ever imagine.

Author Susan Meissner does a fantastic job of incorporating these two very different stories. It’s an empowering novel that tells of the struggles of losing loved ones and the journey of dealing with reality and overcoming darkness.

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson

goddessIn Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Cooking, she shares several interesting recipes in a cookbook that is accompanied by notes on the enjoyment of being in the kitchen.

This cookbook not only touches on common anxieties of baking, but integrates the satisfaction that comes from baking something extraordinary.

How to be a Domestic Goddess is a great resource for moms who love to cook, or those who may just want to bring new, freshly baked cakes, muffins and bread into their home.

Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope by Desiring God

mom enoughMom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope by Desiring God is a book containing 24 contributing stories from seven young mothers who share their trials and worries of being a mother.

These seven mothers have learned to treasure God and depend on his grace to help bring them out of times of doubt and error that come with the role of “mother.”

Mom Enough may portray and address the worries and struggles you have gone through, as these stories are very relatable since they are the first-hand accounts of other mothers.

The Picnic Cookbook by Laura Mason

picnicPicnics are a summertime classic among families. The Picnic Cookbook contains the perfect recipes for not only picnics, but any type of meal in the great outdoors. The recipes in this cookbook range from picnics, family feasts and bonfire nights, to food that can be packed for long walks and road trips.

Lakeside is the perfect place for picnics, and so is the beach. This is the perfect cookbook for any outdoor occasion.

Are you having company over for a holiday weekend? Why not head outside to enjoy the weather with your meal? This book offers great recipes for a variety of outdoor occasions, and is a book any woman should have in their kitchen.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson

small stuffRichard Carlson’s book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff helps readers learn how to keep from letting the small things in life get to you. Dr. Carlson walks readers through making small daily changes to helping them live a stress-free and calmer life. He also teaches the reader to live in the present moment, lower tolerance to stress, trust intuitions and more.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… is a book that can help you relax and be stress-free. Reading this book on the beach would make a great way to unwind after a long day.

The Rocks by Peter Nichols

rocksThe Rocks by Peter Nichols is a mysterious and romantic book about two honeymooners that were driven apart suddenly in 1948. Nichols takes readers on a journey through a double love story, traveling back in time through the eras to unravel what happened in the past that split the young couple. These events may have even shaped their unrelated children’s own love lives.

Peter Nichols creates the setting of this story along the Mediterranean Sea, which provides a calming and beautiful scene for such a mysterious plot. Dive into this whirlwind novel, while relaxing on the beach or Lakeside dock.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

jane austenPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a story set in the early 19th century following Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s five unmarried daughters and their intrigue of eligible Mr. Bingley and his friend Mr. Darcy. The reader follows Elizabeth Bennet, the second oldest of the Bennet daughters, as she deals with upbringing, morality, education, manners and marriage in the society of the British Regency.

Pride and Prejudice is a classic and timeless story that has gained the interest of people everywhere. This epic story can be translated into the everyday lives of people in our day and age, even though it was written two centuries ago.

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley

before i goIn the novel Before I Go by Colleen Oakley, Daisy receives the news that she has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer…after being four years cancer free.

With as few as four months left to live, Daisy considers how her husband’s life will be after she has passed. She struggles with the thought, until she stumbles upon an idea: She has to find her husband a new wife before she goes. During her search, she begins questioning her decision.

Before I go is a story about Daisy’s struggle of determining what is more important, her husband’s happiness when she’s gone, or her happiness while she is still alive.

This book really makes you think what you would do if you were in Daisy’s situation. The struggles of the character as she deals with cancer and trying to be happy while making the one she loves happy at the same time is all too real. It’s guaranteed to be a hard book to put down.


Now that I’ve shared a few of my top books for the summer, what books are you excited to pick up and read as you lay in the sun? Which books from this list jumped out at you? Have you read any of them? And if so, comment and share your opinions about them below.