Our oldest two children went straight from high school to university. This is, of course, what most students do. Students taking a gap year, however, is becoming more and more common.
Our youngest has been through some intense transitions over her past 4 years of high school. Most notably, two international moves and jumping from a private school with 30 students in her grade to a public school with 300. Not to mention all the new and unfamiliar that comes with moving anywhere – across the country or the pond.
As our daughter moves from England back to Texas, now that she has graduated, we have all come to realize how utterly spent she is. After much discussion and even more prayer, we agreed that some time for a slower transition on this journey into adulthood would be the wisest path for her. While gap years may not be right for every student, it is what we believe will set ours up for success.
Is your child taking a gap year?
Are you, like me, wondering (worrying) about how they will keep their brains from turning to mush during their collegiate hiatus? Even if they work or travel, their minds need to be nourished and challenged. Reading is one of the best ways I can think of to make this happen.
I asked a few amazing writer friends to help me compile this list. You’ll see it’s quite eclectic. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a writer, it’s that great writing comes from great reading. My writer friends obviously do a great deal of reading!
I haven’t read them all so I plan to keep this list handy. You’ll probably see a few on here to add to your reading list as well.
Gappers, start reading…
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- Falling Free by Shannan Martin
- Radical by David Platt
- Crazy Love by Francis Chan
- Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines
- Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Eliot
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Boundaries by Henry Cloud &John Townsend
- Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus
- Love Does by Bob Goff
- The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
- Rising Strong by BrenéBrown
- Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
- Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent
- The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter
- Room by Emma Donoghue
- The Tracker by Chad Zunker
- Welcome Homeless by Alan Graham
- English Lessons by Andrea Lucado
- People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
- The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
- The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
- Believing God by Beth Moore
- Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
- Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
- Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
A friend mentioned a list that she’d saved for her daughters from an older article in Seventeen Magazine. In the article, Laura Bush recommended 25 books she thinks everyone should read before the age of 25. All good books and ironically, no overlaps with the list above.
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Atonement by Ian McEwan
- Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
- Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
- Music for Chameleons by Truman Capote
- The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyoder Dostoyoevsky
- Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
- The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
- The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
- I, Claudius by Robert Graves
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- My Antonia by Willa Cather
- Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
- The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
- Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
- Ship of Fools by Katherine Ann Porter
- Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
- Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
or at your local library