Books for Those Wondering ‘Now What?’

A sweet friend who recently graduated asked me to write a post about what being in that position was like.

I blogged a lot during that season of life. (Some of which you can read here, here, and here.) The truth of the matter is, it still feels like I’m in the middle of that season. It’s only been three years since I’ve been out of school.

I’m still waiting for someone to figure out I’m a fraud, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that we’re all waiting for that. This has been three years of riding on God’s grace and taking each opportunity in stride.

I’m definitely no expert, but some dear voices have spoke into my life. I’ve had some wonderful guides in this no-mans-land and I’m so grateful.

Some of these voices have been writers who’s words have come at just the right time with a message I deeply needed.

So, for anyone out there who’s trying to figure out what on earth is next, here are some of the books that guided me along my way so far.

Life Together—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Life TogetherLeaving behind my college community meant investing differently in relationships. Friends were no longer just down the hall or across campus, They were across town or out of state. It was going to take more of an effort.

Being in close community is something I have to be more intentional about, but it is something I need. Bonhoeffer unpacks a beautiful vision of what community in the church is supposed to be. The first chapter alone is a game changer and is full-to-the-brim with  encouragement and challenges for those establishing a community.

Anne of Green Gables—L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green GablesOne of the beautiful things about finishing school was being able to read what I wanted. I began reading childhood favorites. It’s been so fun.
Anne of Green Gables was a beautiful reminder of what it means to live in wonder. Anne’s curiosity and imagination are aspects I want to emulate in my adulthood as a creative. (Plus this Rifle Paper Co. edition is BEAUTIFUL!)

Five Aspects of a Woman—Barbara Mouser

The new Bible College Spinster series is coming for a search for what it means to be a well-rounded and thriving single person. Part of what has been important to me in the search is being a woman.
Hands-down, the most influential book in my time out of school has been the bible study, 5 Aspects of a Woman. Mouser’s in depth look at what God intended in creating woman has been a huge encouragement. I recommend this not only for women, but for men as well. I learned so much about my brothers in Christ while pondering the implications of this great book.

All Groan Up-Paul Angone

All Groan UpThis season of life requires a sense of humor. It also requires some brutal honesty.
Angone provides both in this great book on what on earth this season of clueless and tension is all about. “Groan” is such a good word to use for what those post-grad months (and years) feel like. He unpacks what he took from his own journey and shares them in such a graceful and loving manner. In a time I was shrugging my shoulders about my life, a friend passed along an excerpt of the book and I went right out and purchased my own copy.
If I was wealthier, I would buy this book for all my college grad friends.

East of Eden-John Steinbeck

East of EdenI was looking for a book to wreck me and this book fit the bill.
This post-grad time is the perfect time in life to grapple with Timnshel. (Which is not just a Mumford & Sons song, people!)
This book is deep and difficult, but when you’re suddenly without homework, you have time for deep and difficult. Or at least you should make time for it.

Surprised by Oxford-Carolyn Weber

Surprised by OxfordI’ve been wondering if it’s time to look at grad school and, honestly, I’m still on the fence. But for anyone wondering if that’s next on the docket, Weber’s memoir is so good. And even if you’re not wondering that, it’s still so good.
She describes her testimony—which takes place during the first year of her master’s program…at Oxford. Part spiritual memoir, part bookworm feast, part romantic-comedy—it’s just a fun book.

Bittersweet-Shauna Niequist

BittersweetProbably the hardest thing to learn in this season is that things do not go your way. More times than not, things just won’t come together the way you planned and sometimes that is painful. Being turned down for jobs, or even not getting an interview. Waiting for a significant other. Looking for healthy community. There will be times we don’t get what we’re looking for.
Shauna’s look at beauty and brokenness side-by-side was like medicine to my heart. I read it after exiting a pretty toxic community. Her vulnerability spoke right to my ache and I’m so grateful for the healing that came from this book.

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