11 Books I Recommend—December 2022
—Grace & Truth Linkup

“A peasant that reads is a prince in waiting.”
– Walter Mosley

Here are 9 nonfiction books and 2 novels I recommend from what I finished reading this month.

[See previously recommended books here]


1. How to Keep House While Drowning
A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing
by K. C. Davis

How to Keep House While Drowning

This book says you don’t exist to serve your space; your space exists to serve you. You don’t have to do everything in the most efficient way (my personal struggle), but in whatever way gets the job done. Davis’s philosophy is very freeing: “Anything worth doing is worth doing partially.”

2. The Anthropocene Reviewed
Essays on a Human-Centered Planet
by John Green

This is a lovely collection of essays about random things related to the Antropocene (our current geological age) when human activity is influencing the planet. It includes beautifully written stories about Green’s experiences with things such as Piggy Wiggly and sunsets and Scratch ‘n’ Sniff stickers.

3. Platonic
How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—and Keep—Friends
by Marisa G. Franco

I was surprised by the depth of this book about friendships, including chapters on initiative, vulnerability, authenticity, anger, etc. Lots of good advice here based on scientific data (yet easy to read).

4. The Myth of Normal
Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture
by Gabor Maté

I’m still processing this dense book about our culture and health. What is considered normal? Why? And what should we do about it?

5. The First Christmas
What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Birth
by Marcus J. Borg

I read this during Advent for a fresh perspective on Jesus’ birth stories. Some passages were a little dry for my interest, but overall it was enlightening.

6. The Grief Recovery Handbook
A Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Devastating Losses
by John W. James

Recommended by my counselor, this book is a classic for helping us move through our losses, not to “get over them” (as if that were possible), but to handle them appropriately, including writing a good-bye letter to each one.

7. In the Shelter
Finding a Home in the World
by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Such a delightful surprise to discover this deep, brooding Irish poet in his wrestlings with faith and life. I’ll hear him in person in a few weeks and this book definitely has whetted my appetite for whatever message he will share about spirituality.

8. No Time Like the Present
Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are
by Jack Kornfield

I love the quiet, gentle yet powerful wisdom of Jack Kornfield from his podcasts and his writings. This book takes us through stories and examples on topics such as the dance of life, responding with love, aging with trust, and starting where we are.

9. This Chair Rocks
A Manifesto Against Ageism
by Ashton Applewhite

This Chair Rocks

At least in the West, there’s a large bias against the aged. We often depict older people as out of touch, annoying, and just in the way. But Applewhite refutes these myths about later years in a refreshing way, while also staying realistic about its genuine trials. We don’t have to dread getting older.


10. Big Lies in a Small Town
by Diane Chamberlain

An excellent murder mystery novel about a 22-year-old artist in 2018 serving a prison sentence until she’s freed to restore an old post office mural in a North Carolina town. The story flips back and forth between 2018 and 1940 when the mural was originally painted.

11. True Biz
by Sara Nović

True Biz

As a deaf child, teenage Charlie never learned sign language or about the deaf culture. When she transfers to a boarding school for the deaf, a series of events provide quick introductions for her into the deaf community. I learned a lot of valuable lessons about it, too.


  • Learning Humility
    A Year of Searching for a Vanishing Virtue
    by Richard J. Foster
  • The Lives We Actually Have
    100 Blessings for Imperfect Days
    by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie
  • Curveball
    When Your Faith Takes Turns You Never Saw Coming
    by Peter Enns
  • The It Girl
    by Ruth Ware

What good book do YOU recommend? Please share in the comments.


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May we “enter into quiet communion with the One who modeled this gift so we can learn to see more clearly and hear more sharply.”

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11 thoughts on “11 Books I Recommend—December 2022
—Grace & Truth Linkup

  1. Jean Wise

    Interesting a spiritual director also recommended the Grief Recovery book to me as I work with a directee going through multiple losses. It has helped her and me name much of what is going on and give us tangible ways to be grounded during grief. Also just got the Learning Humility book – the Renovare book club is reading this in Jan. I think I will order In the Shelter. Love his accent and words.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I don’t know how I have missed hearing about The Grief Recovery Handbook all these years. I found it really helpful to have such practical exercises. I haven’t written the letters yet, but I did make a Loss History Timeline.

      I finished Learning Humility just today! It was a little rambly to me for a Richard Foster book, but I’ve been a big fan of his work for a long time, so I enjoyed getting to peek into his journal (that’s what it felt like).

      And yes, I love Pádraig Ó Tuama’s accent too! 🙂 I think I first heard him on Krista Tippett’s podcast On Being. I’m excited to hear him in person in 2 weeks along with Ilia Delio!

  2. Lynn Severance

    The book I read during Advent is one that has been in my bookcase a few years but only pulled out to read ‘this year’.

    “The Womb of Advent” by Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones.
    He has 4 weeks of elegant reflections using various Scriptures and pulls his reader in to the positiveness of ‘waiting’. The most creative and lovely part of this eloquent book is that each day, he shares with his reader, what is going on ‘in Mary’s womb’ based on what we know of a child’s development those last 4 weeks in utero.

    At the time he wrote this (or took notes to write this book) he and his wife were expecting their first child – a high risk pregnancy that had her on bedrest. So they knew well how ‘their child’ was developing but for his book, he tells us how the Christ Child was developing, awaiting his birth into our world.

    I loved this book!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The Womb of Advent sounds like such a rich and mesmerizing book, Lynn. I’ve not heard anyone take that approach! I hope you’re doing well. Happy New Year, friend!

  3. cheriee weichel

    Both The Anthropocene Reviewed and The Myth of Normal are on my want to read list. I’ve added both of them to my MustReadIn2023 pile that I’m working on.
    Happy New Year and happy reading this coming week.

  4. Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle

    I read The Myth of Normal this month too. I feel as though I need to buy it and read it again to fully process it; lots to think about there. I was somewhat disappointed by the final section about healing, which could have brought together a lot of the recent developments in addressing trauma, but didn’t. Maybe because so far there are not effective ways of dealing with it on the societal level, but hopefully the hard work many people are doing individually to heal themselves will someday have a more widespread effect.

  5. Liz Dexter

    I read a lot of great mid-century Dean Street Press novels in December but really enjoyed their modern novel, Reading the Ceiling by Dayo Forster. Of your list, I really want to read The Anthropocene Reviewed and I loved True Biz! Happy January reading!

  6. Stacie @SincerelyStacie

    My cousin is reading the Grief Recover Handbook right now. She lost her mom (my aunt) unexpectedly Thanksgiving week. I’m glad to know it is a helpful resource.
    I also read and loved John Green’s book last year. Great reflections on things I hadn’t given much thought to before.

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