Six Books I Recommend – December 2016

Every month we share what we’ve been reading at Jennifer’s.

This month I also shared my Top 10 Nonfiction (and Fiction) Books of 2016.

I didn’t complete my 2016 Reading Challenges this year, but I got close enough. I stopped reading some picks out of boredom, I couldn’t find others at the library, and I discovered many more books that I did want to read instead, especially books published in 2016.

For 2017? I’ll likely skip a year of reading challenges and  instead read books off my Kindle and interesting library finds.

For December, here are six books that I recommend and why.



1. Tribe
On Homecoming and Belonging

by Sebastian Junger


We all need to belong. Junger looks at soldiers returning from war and others who have known, then not known community, and the effects it has on us.

“Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. It’s time for that to end.”

2. The Great Spiritual Migration
How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian
by Brian D. McLaren


My book review here

McLaren wants to see the church continue to move forward, not grow stagnant. He presents some encouraging challenges for the church in this book.

“Repeating sixth grade six more times won’t teach you what you’ll learn in seventh through twelfth grades, so it’s time now to grow up and move on in liberation.”

3. 7 Days of Soul Care
A Guide to Letting God Do the Extraordinary with Your Ordinary
by Dolly M. Lee


My book review here

Who doesn’t need to take better care of their soul? Dolly walks us through a seven-day journey of personal stories, scriptures, journal questions, and prayers to help us better connect with God.

“Every act you do with our extraordinary God isn’t ordinary— it’s exceptional because it is infused with his holy presence.”


4. A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman


I almost stopped reading this book after 50 pages because it was slow. I’m glad I didn’t. Although it appears to be a simple story of a grumpy old man and his interactions, you realize it’s much more as Backman unveils the backstory of Ove’s life.

5. The Sparrow
by Mary Doria Russell


This novel was written in 1997 and set in 2019 and beyond (which made it interesting to see what they incorrectly predicted for us). In a very mysterious plot, the story unfolds about a Jesuit priest and his companions who travel to a newly-discovered inhabited planet. There is a sequel, Children of God, that I hope to read in 2017.

6. The Prophet
by Kahlil Gibran


This re-read of Gibran’s poetry was equally as good as the first time I read it. Originally published in 1923, this is a series of spiritual musings by a fictional prophet who discusses life with a group of people before he sails home.

“You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link. This is but half the truth. You are also as strong as your strongest link.”

Reading Now

  • Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing
    by Jamie Holmes
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are
    by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
    by Daniel J. Levitin
  • The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth through God’s Eyes
    by Robert S. McGee

* * *

What are you reading this month? Please share here.


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

34 thoughts on “Six Books I Recommend – December 2016

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can go ahead and tell you that I really like The Search for Significance! I read it years ago and put it on my all-time favorites list back then. I decided it was time for a re-read this year. I won’t finish by the end of 2016, but that’s okay. 🙂

  1. David

    Dear Lisa

    The Junger sounds good, and timely. I’ll seek it out.

    Did you like the Sparrow? I thought it was a bit of a pot-boiler I’m afraid. Using the Jesuits was interesting, but treatment didn’t seem especially religious (I read it in my “pre-Christian” days). It did make me wonder about CS Lewis’ science fiction novels.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Junger’s book was very interesting. It made me appreciate the sets of communities that I have scattered around here and there, both in person and online.
      I did like The Sparrow, and particularly the Christian aspect of it. I can imagine it might feel troublesome to those who aren’t comfortable with doubts, but I found it addressed serious questions that people have with faith. I’m curious what the sequel is like.

  2. Lesley

    It’s always good to get new recommendations and I haven’t heard of any of these! I read “The Search for Significance” a while ago and thought it was good. I have just posted a list of the top 10 books I have read this year.

  3. Barbara H.

    As you know, I enjoyed Ove, too. At first I thought it was going to be like a book version of the movie Up, and there were similarities, but there were so many more layers to it. The Sparrow sounds interesting as well – always fun to see what predictive books got right.

  4. Pam

    Always love your book lists and comments! You never fail to add to my reading list! (Received 5 books at Christmas!!! Now which one to start first!) Need to finish Batterson’s Chase the Lion and then decide.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      5 books at Christmas? You got a good haul, Pam! Congratulations. 🙂 I have an Amazon gift card that I need to spend on books. I read Chase the Lion a few years back and really loved it. I’m hooked on Batterson’s books.

  5. Betsy de Cruz

    I read this yesterday, Lisa, but didn’t get to comment. I always love book recommendations. You have some interesting ones on there. I want to read 7 Days of Soul Care too, and I love the book “Search for Significance.” I’ve done Bible studies based on that book with women in my Middle Eastern country, and it’s been life-changing. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      How encouraging to hear that you’ve had such great results with Search for Significance. I read it years ago and was greatly impacted by it, so I thought it was time for a re-read. I’m curious to see how it affects me years later.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I love talking about books any time and all the time. How do I make my reading choices? That’s a good question. ha. I collect titles as I read across the web and from mentions in other books and from blogs and personal recommendations and whatever pops up at the library. 🙂

  6. Karen Grosz

    Have you read any of Charles Martin’s books? I just finished Long Way Gone. It is terrific. It is a retelling of the Prodigal Son. I read Charles Martin for the first time with A Mountain Between Us in Oct. and I fell in love with his reading style. Can’t wait to read another of his books. Hope you try him…based on your reads, I think you would like his books.

  7. Jean Wise

    love your list as usual. I think your idea of library finds is right on. I preorder all the time from our local library but think next year I need a few times of just going there in person and wandering the shelf. What a neat afternoon that could me. Thanks for the idea.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It is definitely great fun for me to go to the library and peruse their newest shelves. I almost always find something unusual and interesting to read there. I do a lot of holds as well; so grateful for our libraries!!!

  8. bluecottonmemory

    Dolly’s book was refreshing. The best book I read this year, really the best probably in over a decade was “The Insanity of God.” I dragged some of my crew to the movie – and they went under duress only to leave saying, “It was amazing.” It’s a little slow in the beginning, but left an impact that I am still sorting out. It is definitely a book for our times. Wishing you God’s Shalom in this new year! ~ Maryleigh

  9. Laura Thomas

    Oooo you have some interesting picks here! I pulled my top 6 for the whole year—it was not easy! Here’s to many great reads in 2017. Happy New Year, my friend! Stopping by from #CoffeeForYourHeart ?

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