Books and songs for summer 2021

It’s the blog post you’ve all been waiting for.

Actually, it’s just me. I’ve been waiting for this one. I’m about to head back to school so I wanted to give you my books and songs for summer 2021. I started this series not really thinking it was going to be a series, but here we are! I love music and I love books, so the combo was absolutely necessary. Plus, you, the reader, get to know a little bit more about me. If you want me to learn more about you, comment down below!!

Books and Songs

Books for summer 2021

The Grief We’re Given by William Bortz

I’ve watched an infinity of summer suns bleed into a horizon I was so sure I would step foot on / and never did—I can still taste copper”

I read this early summer and actually mentioned it in a different blog post. It’s such a beautiful poetry book if you’re walking through grief or trying to understand it. I just stumbled upon it due to the title and I underlined almost everything in it. As humans, we try to balance our desires and the realities of life, and these poems confront the difficulty of not getting what you want and living with the consequences.

Moral of the Story: Grief can be heavy, so it’s good to know you’re not alone.

Related Post: Dreams, Grief, and Fruit

Remember God by Annie F. Downs

“I want to know Him. Really know Him. And I want to know if He is kind.”

This is the theme for Remember God. People of faith have to wrestle with this. After you’ve journeyed for a little while in faith, troubles come, and suddenly we have to contend with who we know God to be. And sometimes we’re questioning that. That’s okay. I am a questioner at heart. That’s why this blog exists! I just loved Annie writing about her year in trying to remember God and all the ways she watched him show up. We’re allowed to wrestle with who God is. To wrestle is a necessary part of the faith journey.

Moral of the Story: God doesn’t always show up the way we want him to. But he is always kind.

Related Post: Fighting for faith on a winding path

Marry Him: The Case for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb

You can marry the most perfect person in the world and you’ll still have problems to work through.”

This isn’t Lori Gottlieb’s most famous work but it’s the one I picked up. Given my Sociology of the Family class, this book fits right in. Gottlieb talks about her personal dating history and what she learned from friends, both men and women, about the dating world. There’s this concept that there’s no such thing as settling, when in reality, we all settle – it’s just who we decide to settle with.

The general dating scene (there are exceptions) starts with people dating casually earlier on and then in the late 20s dating more seriously. And then what we look for while we are dating isn’t exactly the best. Gottlieb gives a guide to dating with warnings on what not to do. There are definitely some critics to this book, but everything lined up with my Sociology of the Family class statistic-wise. It’s a good read if you’re interested in dating more seriously.

Moral of the Story: Date with intention early on.

Related Post: What I’ve Learned from The Defining Decade

The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin

We’re searching for something spectacular to convince us of God’s presence. Yet it is in the simple things, common events and common longings, where God may be found.”

If you’re like me, interested in all things Christianity no matter the denomination, this book is for you. Martin goes into Ignatian spirituality in great depth, talking about decision making, friendship, building a relationship with God, prayer, charity, poverty, etc. It’s filled to the brim with information and slowly you can use it in your daily life. I really loved reading about prayer-that’s just my current fascination, but I also enjoyed the section of discernment. Martin tries to combat the pervasive idea that our desires are bad, because our desires can actually point to the way God is moving our hearts. It’s an intriguing theology.

Moral of the Story: Go towards consolation and peace. There you will find God.

Related Post: Decisionmaking & Kevin Brockmeier

Songs for summer 2021

I Wanna Kill You by Citizen

I’m so excited for these songs. I have tons of Citizen songs on here. Their album is one of my favorites for summer 2021, and 2021 in general. It’s just an incredible ride!

This is the first single they released and I absolutely fell in love!!! It’s a fun, upbeat song, but has some very serious lyrics. I definitely relate to not wanting to cling to pain anymore. This is such a good synopsis of the whole album Life in Your Glass World. Sonically, I’m in love and highly recommend listening to this tune.

Glass World by Citizen

This is the next Citizen song. It’s one of the slower ones on the album but immediately became a favorite for me. Again, sonically, the lyrics go SO well with the melody. It’s about valuing a relationship and wanting someone to come to you when they feel like they’re falling apart – because that’s friendship.

Same Power by Jeremy Camp

If you’re a Christian, this song reminds you of the truth of the Holy Spirit, which is so needed in a world where we can find ourselves with spiritual amnesia. Jeremy Camp has become a favorite for me, so I can’t wait when his new music releases in the fall!!

Lord Send Revival by The War Within

This might be the song that has been on my brain this summer. Like seriously, it’s catchy, it’s a prayer, it’s incredible, and it’s been covered so many times. It’s a good one for your worship playlist.

When Nothing Hurts by Riley Clemmons

Riley Clemmons’s Godsend album was a godsend. SO DARN GOOD. And this song is my favorite. It rings true with my spiritual life, so I love that it’s her crying out to God for help in this area. It feels dancy without feeling super pop-the music doesn’t belittle the message of the song at all.

Who Else by Bethany Barnard

First off, I’d like to thank the That Sounds Fun team for making me look into Bethany Dillon who is now Bethany Barnard. I totally thought this woman who I first listened to at the very, very early stages of my faith journey just fell off the earth. Turns out, she just got married. THIS SONG – is gold! It’s real and raw and exactly what I’ve felt like I’ve been missing in female-led worship.

I love worship music but it can feel like toxic positivity sometimes. I love when Christians get real about the hard parts of faith in worship. Bethany is referring Jacob wrestling with God and his renaming as Israel. I don’t know what I love more – the reference to Scripture or the honesty of having your heart and your mind in 2 different places when it comes to faith.

Caught in those Reeds by Chris Renzema

If you’re a doubter, welcome to the club. You’re welcome here. You can lay your burdens down. And I’ll be right by your side.

Edge of the World by Citizen

This might be my favorite song of 2021. Is it too early to say? Sonically, it’s my favorite of the Citizen album, and it’s given me a dream tattoo (see below). Just because things reached the end, doesn’t mean it’s the end. Not with a friendship, you’ll be okay. Not with the death of a dream, you can dream again. Rarely are you out of the race. Sometimes I need to hear that.

“And though I feel undone, I got more to offer”

This, as usual, was a long one. 

I wish you lovely reading and listening this post for summer 2021! Stay safe, friends!!

Signing off, 


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