Kelly's May Recommendations

Each month, I publish a newsletter full of recommendations for books, podcasts, and other fun things. You should sign up for it. Click “Newsletter” at the top of this page and sign up. This is always free, and I never share your information with anyone else. Amazon doesn’t want direct links in emails, so I put the links here for you to go find your next great read or listen. Yes, it’s annoying. Thanks for understanding.


The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman: Do you ever struggle to make decisions? Do you wonder what you should do next? Do you pray for wisdom and discernment, but you just aren't seeing the light? Do you look at all the decisions that need to be made and decide to take a nap instead? If so, Emily P. Freeman's The Next Right Thing is the devotional book for you. Spurred by her popular podcast (one I've recommended in my newsletter before), The Next Right Thing lines out devotionals and practical steps to make decisions in love.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak: Ten years in the making, this part coming-of-age story, part family saga, part myth chronicles the life of the Dunbar boys, their extraordinary mother, a mule, a typewriter, and a bridge builder. From the best-selling author of The Book Thief, this story weaves narrative and myth together, mirroring The Odyssey in scope and descriptive style. The book is funny and warm and heartbreaking and sometimes confusing, but the writing is breathtaking. I'm glad I made the effort.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: Wildly popular right now, this gem of a novel deals with a mysterious girl who lives alone in the swamps of South Carolina. The plot centers around a murder mystery, but at its heart, the book explores abandonment, loneliness, and the restorative properties of nature and friends. Sometimes the narrative choices bugged me, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport: After his best-selling book Deep Work, Newport found that people believed in his principles about work ethic, but they were more interested in his social media habits, which were non-existent. Newport has an email address and a blog. No Facebook, no Twitter handle, no Instagram. He rarely texts, and he leaves his phone in his work bag when he gets home. Newport doesn't shy from unpopular opinions, and this one is a doozy: You can be successful without an online platform. Social media isn't as fantastic as people make it seem. Rather than completely eliminating all of social media, Newport poses a minimalist approach. Cut everything and slowly add back what you need. The book is fantastic.

Atomic Habits by James Clear: I'm halfway through this book, but it has already made a profound impact on my daily habits. Clear shows us the practical steps to add good habits and eliminate bad habits in our daily lives to produce lasting change. 

Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans: I learned about Rachel Held Evans’s death while Tyler and I were on a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway after a conference. We stopped to stand on the beach, watch the waves, and see some dolphins at play. I have always wanted to do this exact thing - take a drive on the PCH, stop and look at the ocean, put my feet in the sand. But the experience, after learning of Rachel’s death, was marked with sadness. I’ve never grieved like that for someone I didn’t know. I’ve loved Rachel’s work for a long time. Searching for Sunday is my favorite, but I highly recommend Inspired and A Year of Biblical Womanhood as well. Eshet chayill, RHE.

Note: Each of the links on my blog are affiliate links. If you buy something on Amazon using these links, I get a little kickback from Amazon at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting my work.


This American Life, Episode 674: "Get a Spine!" An excellent episode of This American Life that deals with people who stand up for themselves, including a fascinating deep dive into the skewed bias toward mammals in scientific journals, and a textbook study at how to apologize and how to forgive.

Sara Barton: David and Bathsheba, Keynote for Pepperdine Bible Lectures. I saw this sermon live, and I cannot fully describe the electricity in the room that night. This is a message that brings truth to light, and it gives me hope of possibility.

One Great Book with Anne Bogel: The brains behind the Modern Mrs. Darcy website and the What Should I Read Next? Podcast, Anne Bogel has a new podcast where she takes a book from her shelf that somehow missed the connection to the hype train. The episodes are short and sweet, right around ten minutes, and she recommends books you will more than likely have available at your library or for cheap on Amazon. 

Links to Other Fancy Things:

Best Writing Advice: From Austin Kleon 
Best Life Advice: When a guest list turns into a life lesson
Best Slow Clap to Standing Ovation: Can We Talk about Christians and Game of Thrones?
Best Book Recommendations: Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading Guide. It's an annual favorite.
Best Printable: This delightful & free summer reading chart by Everyday Reading 

Kelly Wiggains