8 Books I Recommend + Video Review – April 2019

Here is a list of amazing books I finished this month.

Some of them I started months ago, but only came to the end of them in April. They were such a treat of entertainment, information, and story.

8 Books I RecommendApril 2019 LisaNotes

Books I Recommend


1. Everybody Lies
Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

[click here if you can’t see the 1-Minute Book Review]

Everybody Lies

Would you guess that people are more honest on internet surveys versus phone surveys, and will admit more if they are alone when filling out a survey than if others are in the room? Or that someone who mentions God was 2.2 times more likely to default on their loan? I find this type of data fascinating. This book is full of interesting information. It’s been called Freakonomics on steroids.

2. The Universal Christ
How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe
by Richard Rohr

The Universal Christ

Do you ever read a book that you know is important, even while not totally grasping it? I’ll need a second reading for this one. But I do understand enough to see we underestimate the meaning of “Christ” when we tack it on to Jesus as if it’s just his last name. No quick and easy answers here, but there are beautiful ones. Sorry I can’t explain it better; it’s still sinking in. Read it and explain it to me?

3. Blindspot
Hidden Biases of Good People
by Mahzarin R. Banaji

The Blind Spot

Scientists say that much of our minds (80-90%) work unconsciously. So we should stay aware that we all have blindspots. This is another interesting and important book about waking up to hidden biases we all carry. If we’re honest, it will challenge us.

4. The Fifth Risk
by Michael Lewis

The Fifth Risk

Author of Moneyball, The Blind Side, The Big Short, and more. I’ll read what Michael Lewis writes. Here he delves into the risk of remaining ignorant, especially related to how our government operates. We’re worse off when we’d rather not know. Long-term consequences follow willful ignorance.

FYI, Michael Lewis has recently started a podcast, Against the Rules. I’ve listened to a few episodes and found it interesting.

5. The Innocent Man
Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
by John Grisham

The Innocent Man

No, this is not a novel. It is John Grisham’s first non-fiction work. But not to worry: it reads like a novel. This is a true story about Ron Williamson, a once-promising pro baseball player from Oklahoma, sentenced to death row. But for a murder he didn’t commit. Grisham untangles the mess of witnesses and evidence and prosecutors. It’s a complicated but fascinating story.

6. Shade
A Tale of Two Presidents
by Pete Souza

Shade-Pete Souza

If you love beautiful pictures of real-life historical events and people, you’ll enjoy Pete Souza’s work. As Chief Official White House Photographer during Barack Obama’s presidency, he has amazing photos he shares in this book. For contrast, he juxtaposes each photo from the past with a tweet from the current president. If you follow Souza’s Instagram account, you know Pete is a pro at throwing shade, thus why he titles his book, Shade.

7. The Cleansing Flood
A Poetic Memoir of the Grief Journey
by Dr. Melissa McCrory-Hatcher

The Cleansing Flood-Melissa Hatcher

Melissa’s oldest son quit breathing one day. Unexplained. Unexpected. There aren’t words for the kind of grief that follows. But Melissa has now found some. Her words are stirring. Powerful. Melissa and I met in person at a contemplative retreat that changed us both.

My book review of The Cleansing Flood

8. Long-Distance Grandparenting
Nurturing the Faith of Your Grandchildren When You Can’t Be There in Person
by Wayne Rice

Long-Distance Grandparenting

If you follow my blog, you know we had our first grandchild a year ago and life has forever changed. And tune in Tuesday…I have another announcement to share!

This is a great book for grandparents who don’t live in the same town as their grandchildren. I highlighted suggestion after suggestion from the author for ways to stay connected despite physical distance.

My book review of Long-Distance Grandparenting


  • Never Split the Difference
    Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It
    by Chris Voss
  • The Poisonwood Bible
    by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Here and Now
    Thriving in the Kingdom of Heaven Today
    by Robby Gallaty
  • Dreyer’s English
    An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style
    by Benjamin Dreyer
  • Doing Life with Your Adult Children
    Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out
    by Jim Burns
  • I’d Rather Be Reading
    The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
    by Anne Bogel
  • The Lost City of the Monkey God
    by Douglas Preston
  • Off the Clock
    Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done
    by Laura Vanderkam

* * *

What good book have you read this month? Please share in the comments.

My books on Goodreads
More books I recommend

43 thoughts on “8 Books I Recommend + Video Review – April 2019

  1. Beth

    Oh my! I’ve got to get that Long Distance Grandparenting book, Lisa! My heart aches to be closer, but no go so far! Thanks for sharing your many book offerings with us! You, Michele and Sarah are some of my favorite book reviewers!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love Michele and Sarah’s book recommendations! And yes, you would love this book, Beth. It’s very helpful, and will be more so as our little ones grow older.

  2. Martha J Orlando

    Such interesting recommendations, Lisa! What am I reading now? A book called “Right Side Up Thinking in an Upside Down World” by Ron Gallagher. Can’t say enough great things about the author’s Christian reflections and his eloquent writing style.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for sharing about the book you’re reading, Martha. Even the title sounds interesting! I appreciate getting a good recommendation from someone who loves a book.

  3. jodie filogomo

    Gosh, I need more reading time to get to all of these!!
    I’m so intrigued with that Everybody Lies.
    And Grisham is always a good read, I didn’t realize he was starting to write non fiction.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Everybody Lies was definitely an interesting book, Jodie. I kept having to close it and talk it over with Jeff when I’d learn something quite unusual! 🙂

      This is the first non-fiction book by Grisham; I hope he’ll write more.

  4. Lesley

    I’m always interested by your book recommendations, and impressed that you manage to read so many! I’m enjoying The Next Right Thing by Emily Freeman just now.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I had been reading some of these books for months. ha. I started Richard Rohr’s book in November (yikes!). 🙂 It took me that long to get through it, and I still didn’t comprehend it all. I need to start again, but not yet. I want to read The Next Right Thing too! I keep hearing good things about it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree, Kathryn; we do all have blindspots. We just usually can’t identify our own until someone else points them out, or some situation arises that makes them obvious. The book has links to several quizzes that reveal our blindspots, but some I couldn’t bear to discover. 🙂

  5. Michele Morin

    I’m sorry to say that I break the tenth commandment whenever I read your book lists, Lisa.
    And you do such a great job with your video reviews. I’ve been trying to get back into making videos to go with my reviews, but there are some days when I just cannot face the camera!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ha. That’s how I feel when I read your book lists, too, Michele. You always have several books that I’d love to just sit down and read cover to cover. I hope you will do some more video reviews soon. I never feel like facing the camera either; I just keep forcing myself to do it to hopefully get over my stage fright. I may take them all down one day. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Are you enjoying The Great Alone? I read it earlier this year and really liked it. I even got my husband to listen to it on audiobook (he would never sit down to read it, ha; too long!). 🙂 I like to keep a novel going too, amidst the nonfiction. I’m currently reading The Poisonwood Bible and savoring it at a slower pace (but it is a library book, so I can’t go too slowly).

  6. Barbara Harper

    Quite a hefty list! I read Anne’s book earlier this year. It was pleasant, but Karen Swallow Prior’s Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me resonated with me much more.

    The subtitle to Doing Life With Your Adult Children sounds both funny and true!

    Off the Clock sounds great, too. I don’t know how I can feel so pressured and yet not make headway on the things I want to do. Some days are better than others. I don’t want to feel driven all the time, but I do need to find ways to be more productive.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I relate to a lot of what Anne says in her book. I hope to read Booked as well. Sometimes it feels funny reading a book about reading. 🙂 But I like it, of course.

      I’m really enjoying the Adult Children book so far (as much as the grandparent book–it’s nice having books for these stages of life too). And Off the Clock has me doing something that I haven’t done before: keeping track of all my time. She suggests doing it for 2 weeks just so you’ll know what to adjust. But it’s been painful. I don’t want to see all the ways I waste time when I assume I’m being so efficient. ha.

  7. floyd

    Sounds like a great list! I already got and have started reading Mellisa’s book.

    That Grisham sounds like one I’ll have to add to my list!

    Thanks, sister! And I hope I won’t ever need that book for long distant grandparents…?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad to hear you got Melissa’s book, Floyd. I’m guessing it will stir up emotions in you, although you might not actually cry like I did. ha.

      The Grisham book was especially good knowing that the story is true (or, maybe worse because it’s true?).

      I hope you won’t ever have to be a long-distance grandpa either!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad to hear that you loved Never Split the Difference too! I already can tell it’s going to be in my Top 10 list for this year’s readings. I have a library copy but I might need to own this book for keeps. So much interesting and useful info. I had heard Chris Voss interviewed on a podcast (Donald Miller’s StoryBrand) and that’s how I got interested to track down the book.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ll find the tiniest snatches of time to pull out a book and read. But several of these books I have been reading since last Nov/Dec; I’m just now finishing them this month. 🙂 Thankfully I have a great library with both real books and Kindle books available for free.

  8. Jean Wise

    I just ordered the Universal Christ since it was recommended by a friend. Almost didn’t because I too have trouble reading Rohr. He is so deep and often not clear to my simple brain. But I decided it called to me and perhaps a few words here and there will sink in. Great list once again, Lisa. thanks

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, I’m glad you ordered The Universal Christ so you can explain it to me, Jean! 🙂 When I read it in small chunks, I get it. But when I think back over the entirety, I have trouble piecing it all together. I’ll definitely have to reread it grasp it better.

      When I listen to the podcast about it, it makes more sense. I wish I had listened to it as I was reading along. It might be helpful to listen as you go. If you’re interested, it’s here.


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