Books I recommend – December 2015


I’m excited about upcoming books for 2016! Here are the 2016 Reading Challenges I’ve joined.

My favorite 10 books from 2015 are here.

And from December’s reading, here are the books I recommend for What’s on Your Nightstand.


1. Rising Strong
The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution
by Brené Brown


My review of Rising Strong

We all fail. That matters, but what matters more is what we do next. Wonderful insights here from Brené Brown about rising again and stepping into new stories. I love how Brené thinks and how she uses research to back it up.

“Courage is contagious. . . . Rising strong is a spiritual practice.

2. Every Little Thing
Making a Difference Right Where You Are
by Deidra Riggs


Author and blogger Deidra Riggs reminds us that we each make a difference. She shares from personal experiences that when God calls, answering is the best option.

God loves you, exactly the way you are, period. You have a right to be here. You were created on purpose. Regardless of what anyone else may have to say about it, you being here is a good thing. A very good thing.”

3. Wonder
by R. J. Palacio


This may be *just* a novel, but it’s an important story about accepting differences and about fighting bullying. Ten-year-old August—a child with severe facial abnormalities—begins attending public school for the first time and narrates his story, along with the stories of those closest to him and how they are each affected.

“I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.

4. A Geography of Time
The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist, or How Every Culture Keeps Time Just a Little Bit Differently
by Robert V. Levine


How we perceive time is a mainly silent undercurrent that strongly affects many aspects of our personal lives and our culture. Levine shares his research of studies in various countries about how time is viewed. It’s more complex the deeper you look.

Still today, the idea of living by the clock remains absolutely foreign to much of the world. One of the most significant differences in the pace of life is whether people use the hour on the clock to schedule the beginning and ending of activities, or whether the activities are allowed to transpire according to their own spontaneous schedule.”

5. How We Got to Now
Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
by Steven Johnson

how we got to now

A fascinating look at the historical significance of innovations in six areas (clean, time, glass, light, cold, and sound). I haven’t seen it, but there’s also a corresponding PBS documentary.

“If you worked for an hour at the average wage of 1800, you could buy yourself ten minutes of artificial light. With kerosene in 1880, the same hour of work would give you three hours of reading at night. Today, you can buy three hundred days of artificial light with an hour of wages.

6. When to Rob a Bank
…And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner


Because I love the Freakonomics podcast, naturally I have loved the Freakonomics books. This one is a series of posts from their economics blog at Freakonomics.

7. Women, Food and God
An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
by Geneen Roth


I didn’t get everything Roth said because my problems with food aren’t always what she was talking about. But I get the gist. Don’t use food for rewards or escapes. Enjoy it but don’t depend on it.

“There are many ways to deprive yourself: You can deprive yourself of cookies or you can deprive yourself of feeling well after you eat them.”

8. Americanah
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


I didn’t always like the plotline of this novel, but I liked being in the head of the author/character as she wrote about being a non-American black in America (she’s from Nigeria). In the book the main character is also a blog writer, so you get to hear the story from different angles.

“’Thank you.’ Ifemelu wanted, suddenly and desperately, to be from the country of people who gave and not those who received, to be one of those who had and could therefore bask in the grace of having given, to be among those who could afford copious pity and empathy.”

9. Messenger (The Giver, #3)
by Lois Lowry


I loved novel #1, The Giver. So-so on novel # 2, Gathering Blue. And now returning to total enjoyment again with this 3rd book in The Giver quartet. This story ties the first two books together a little. And now I’m waiting for # 4, Son, to become available at my library so I can finish the series.

10. Awe
Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do
by Paul David Tripp

awe by paul david tripp

The concept is true: Our lives are more satisfying when we live in awe of who God is and what he is doing. When we lose that awe, our lives suffer too. Although the book is good, it was too long (to me), repeating the same message over and over, just using different words.

Currently reading: 

  • Better Than Before (by Gretchen Rubin)
  • 10-Minute Digital Declutter (by S. J. Scott)
  • Dirty Faith (by David Z. Nowell)
  • The Power of a Whisper (by Bill Hybels)

* * *

What are you reading this month? Please share here.



My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

12 thoughts on “Books I recommend – December 2015

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sometimes it takes me seeing something over and over before I’ll finally go put it on my TBR list too. 🙂 Lowry’s books aren’t usually very long and are easy and fun to read (for the most part).

  1. Linda Stoll

    The 6 adults in our family drew names for Christmas giving this year and 1 dear son-in-law gave me Every Little Thing which is waiting patiently on the little blue footstool to be picked up and savored.

    And you already know how I feel about Brene!

    Sweetest new year’s blessings to you, friend. What a gift you’ve been to me this year. Grateful I am …


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you were gifted “Every Little Thing”! I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did. It’s even more precious to me knowing a book is from a fellow-blogger too. Happy New Year, Linda! Fresh starts and new beginnings are such gifts.

  2. floyd

    I’m in the presence of reading greatness! I haven’t sniffed a book in months. I’m struggling to find any sliver of time to work on my current manuscript… but one of these days, Alice! (No I haven’t completely lost my mind, I know your name, this is Honeymooner humor).

    You certainly have a gift for a condensed summary of books, Lisa. Yes, I’d officially add that to your list.

    Happy New Year, sister! I pray blessings upon your ministries and family.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’d rather you keep working on your own manuscript than read more books from others—because one day I want to be reading YOUR book, Floyd! (And I’m old enough to catch the Alice joke right off. :))

      Happy New Year to you and yours!

  3. Sharon

    One of the things I appreciate most about your book lists, Lisa, is that you are a very eclectic reader! I tend to get caught up in a genre, and read book after book (currently on a historical mystery jag right now). There’s nothing really wrong with that, but I like your insights on books that might widen my world!

    My sister just gave me a devotional on Hind’s Feet on High Places. It contains the story, with devotional thoughts and writing prompts throughout. Do you know that I have never read this classic?! I am looking forward to it very much.

    And, I’m continuing to look to you to add some *flavor* to my reading!!


    Happy New Year!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I am definitely an eclectic reader. 🙂 It helps me to have a variety of genres to pick from. I’ve been saving my fiction books for my late night and middle of the night readings. (Not sure if that’s helpful or not, but I’m enjoying it! ha.)

      Hope you enjoy your new devotional. I’ve read Hind’s Feet several times and gain from it each time. I so relate to the main character and her fears. Happy New Year to you and your family, Sharon!

  4. Jean Wise

    Such a great list. I will have to check out AWE – that sounds like something I would like. I love how you write up the synopsis of each book. clear, concise, and inspirational! Thanks, Lisa

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think you would like Awe, Jean. Except for the repetitive parts. 🙂 I’ve been reading Tripp’s books for years, so I knew that was coming, but it’s worth wading through anyway.

  5. Susan

    I like the idea of your top 10 books for the year! My college freshman daughter read “Americanah” for an honors seminar this fall and did not like it at all. Interesting how different people view different books! The one from that class she loved was “All the Living” — I read and loved it as well. As a “Giver” fan, I’ll have to check out the Lowry book. As always, our tastes in books are quite similar and many on this list intrigue me. Happy 2016 to you!

  6. LisaNotes Post author

    There were parts in Americanah that I didn’t like too—would be interesting to swap notes with what you daughter didn’t like as well. 🙂 I’ll have to look into “All the Living”. Thanks for mentioning it.

    I’m on the 4th and last book now of The Giver series and it’s finally all coming together—I love when that happens! 🙂 Happy New Year to you and yours, Susan!

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