10 Books You Should Read This Summer

As a part of our value to Bring the Spark, we want to give you an alumni-curated reading list just in time for summer. Each of these books has sparked something in the reader. So if you’re going on a trip or you just need a bit of inspiration, sift through this list and pick up something you might like as recommended by our very own alumni community. Enjoy!

Overwhelmed - Brigid Schulte





1. Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte

Submitted by Melissa Reed (’03): “As a woman who can at times feel overwhelmed by all my roles – mother, wife, friend, employee – and by my to-do list – laundry, cooking, exercising, sleeping, trying to have a hobby – this book helped me see there are different ways to structure my schedule, distribute relationship roles, and manage life-work balance.  It helped me feel more freedom to create a schedule and priorities that work for me.”


Unbroken - Laura Hildebrand







2. Unbroken by Laura Hildebrand

Submitted by Kirsten Skidmore (’94): “A true World War II story of Louie Zamperini, a promising Olympic runner and Army bombardier, and his account of survival, resilience, and redemption through incredible circumstances and capture. This extraordinary story is a page turner and will leave you changed and inspired.”


The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman





3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Submitted by Thomas Gage (’07): “Gaiman is the kind of author who seems to look at the world sideways. The Ocean at the Bottom of the Lane captures the nostalgia of childhood with a fantastic/fairy tale twist and paints a beautiful, melancholy world where the infinite can be found in a puddle.”


The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls

4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Submitted by Diana Hiebert (’14): “I love this memoir (and everything Walls writes) because it is both outrageously funny and devastatingly poignant as the author relates tales from her childhood within a dysfunctional family. It’s a wonderful coming-of-age story that details Walls’ lifelong journey of striking the balance between accepting her place in her family and boldly making her own way.”


Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo Dallaire

5. Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Dallaire

Submitted by Amanda van Rietschoten (’09): “Romeo Dallaire’s account of being the UN mission commander in Rwanda during the genocide. I believe that it compels readers to deeply search their own hearts and biases and motivations for life choices.”


Prayer - Richard Foster

6. Prayer by Richard Foster

Submitted by Jared Crossley (’07): “This book is a theologically sound practitioner’s guide to prayer. What I love about this book is how Foster explains abstract concepts with concrete stories and writes in a way that is profound without being difficult to read. It has helped me both understand and practice prayer more faithfully.”


Startup Owner's Manual - Steve Blank and Bob Dorf

7. The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf

Submitted by Brady Schlecker (’10): “This powerful book completely altered my understanding on how to start a business. It provides a step-by-step, near-encyclopedic reference manual or how-to for building a successful, scalable startup. Throw out the business plan and dive into validating your business model.”


Fifth Business - Robertson Davies



8. Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

Submitted by Erik DeLange (’15): “If you’re a recovering Calvinist like me, love mythology, or simply love a beautifully constructed story, look no further than Fifth Business. Canadian writer Robertson Davies writes a captivating fictional memoir, which follows Dunstan Ramsey as he learns what it means to own his place in the story, and live it fully. As Padre Blazon says, ‘Forgive yourself for being a human person, Ramsey, that is the beginning of wisdom, that is part of what is meant by the fear of the Lord.’ ”


Daring Greatly - Brene Brown

9. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Submitted by Jenna Kastelein (’17): “Brene Brown highlights shame as a major issue in our society, and promotes vulnerability as the way to combat it. Writing in a way that is accessible, personal, and challenging, she sees the bigger picture and invites the reader to recognize the importance of vulnerability. It provides considerable food for thought and has opened my eyes to the importance of being vulnerable and honest with myself and others.”


Quiet - Susan Cain

10. Quiet by Susan Cain

Submitted by Erin Grypma (’14): “As an extrovert with introverted family members, Quiet gave me a greater understanding of what it means to be introverted. I could not, until this book, comprehend the need to recharge away from people or problem solve independently.  Not only do I now understand it, but my relationships have improved as a result.”

Do you have a book that inspired you? One that changed the way you thought about something, gave you a new perspective? One that gave you an idea? Share it with the TWU Alumni community!

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