7 Books I Recommend – February 2017

7 Books I Recommend

Here are five non-fiction books and two novels I recommend from what I finished in February. Each month we share what we’ve been reading at Jennifer’s.


1. Words on the Move
Why English Won’t—and Can’t—Sit Still (Like, Literally)
by John McWhorter


If you’re a word person, you’ll likely love this book as much as I do. McWhorter walks us through the way language evolves, reminding us not to get so attached to the “right” words because language is always changing.

[my semi-review of Words on the Move]

2. Seeking the Light of God’s Comforter
When Challenges Dim Our Hope
by Lynn L. Severance


Life is challenging. How do we maintain hope in the midst of the tough times? Lynn walks us through 60 devotionals based on her own challenges—and victories. This is a beautiful book birthed from Lynn’s experiences in victorious faith. I’ll be reading through the last 40 devotionals for Lent.

[my review of Seeking the Light of God’s Comforter]

3. Peak
Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool


This will likely make my Top 10 of 2017 books. Contrary to what we often think, the secret to expertise isn’t innate talent or IQ, but focused, deliberate practice. Whatever the skill, Ericsson makes a scientific case from research that, “Generally the solution is not “try harder” but rather “try differently.” Fascinating information!

4. When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi


Beautifully written, this is the heart-wrenching story of the 36-year-old author’s discovery of stage IV lung cancer, just as he was about to complete his final training as a neurosurgeon. Lesson I learned from it: Be present in your daily life now; pay attention to what you’re doing, who you’re with, why you’re here. Excellent book.

5. Idiot Brain
What your Head Is Really Up To
by Dean Burnett


Another interesting book on the brain. As marvelous as the brain is, it’s also fallible, funny, and confusing. This book is engaging and humorous, but also seriously researched by its neuroscientist author. One takeaway for me? Don’t trust my memory 100%. Our brains are very biased to tilt events toward our favor instead of what really happened. (Maybe it really wasn’t me that always saved the day?)


6. The Lake House
by Kate Morton


This novel is a mystery set in England. It begins with 16-year-old Alice Edevane and goes back and forth in time between her youth and old age, to resolve the disappearance of her baby brother. I love books that catch me off guard, and this one did repeatedly.

7. Gods in Alabama
Jackson, Joshilyn


The title drew me in since I live in Alabama. This novel is about Arlene who left Alabama after making three promises to God if he would do her a favor, yet finds herself having to break her promises to return there. It’s a mystery about lies and truth. This book does have some disturbing scenes and bad language, so if that would bother you, skip this one.

Reading Now

  • Becoming Wise
    An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living
    by Krista Tippett
  • Slavery by Another Name
    The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
    by Douglas A. Blackmon
  • The Naked Now
    Learning to See as the Mystics See
    by Richard Rohr

* * *

What good book have you read lately? Please share here.


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

35 thoughts on “7 Books I Recommend – February 2017

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Krista’s writing is so good. Do you listen to her “On Being” podcast, Michele? I love her interviews. She finds the most interesting people to talk to and brings out such spiritual conversations with each guest.

  1. Barbara H.

    Words on the Move, Idiot Brain, and Peak sound really interesting! When Breath Becomes Air sounds heartbreaking but valuable. I’m always challenged by the variety of your reading material.

  2. Pam

    I always love your recommendations, Lisa! I am currently reading Jon Meacham’s book, American Lion (Andrew Jackson in the White House). I always enjoy Jon Meacham’s biographies and had not read this one. Just finished a novel set in Sugarcreek, OH, not far from me entitled The Sisters of Sugarcreek and found it a charming book that truly depicted what I know of this area. Have a blessed week!

  3. Cathy

    You have some great recommendations here. ‘Words on the Move’ sounds so interesting and I’ve had my eye on ‘When Breath becomes Air.’ Glad you liked it. ‘The Lake House’ sounds intriguing. I haven’t read anything by Kate Morton before, though I do have her ‘The Forgotten Garden’ on my bookshelf.

    I see you are reading ‘Slavery by Another Name’ which I’d never heard of, but will be adding it to my long list of TBR’s! I recently finished a book called, ‘The New Jim Crow’ which was about a similar subject. It was fascinating and I highly recommend it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I read the sample of The New Jim Crow and would love to read it all. I hope my library has it. Thanks for recommending it! Slavery by Another Name is excellent but it’s very long and full of details. It’s quite tragic to hear all the things that once went on. The book is very heavily researched so he shares lots of names and places particularly here in Alabama. 🙁

  4. valerie

    There are always so many books to read! I currently have like 6 on a waiting list. I would love to read Idiot Brain since I don’t remember what really happened sometimes.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I have too many books on my waiting list too, Valerie. I always look forward to the next book before I finish the current one. That’s likely one reason why I keep several books going at one time. Never a chance to get bored with reading. 🙂 There’s always some book that is calling me from my stack.

  5. Mary Geisen

    More books for me to love! Thank you for sharing some new titles that I will be putting on my list. I’m wondering if you have read any Richard Rohr books before and what you thought??? I knew him once upon a time when he lived here in Cincinnati.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I have read a few Richard Rohr books and absolutely loved them. He is a deep thinker and challenges me to see things from a new perspective. I’m awaiting an Amazon shipment now that has his book on the enneagram in it. Can’t wait to start it! How neat that you knew him in Cincinnati.

  6. bekahcubed

    Pretty much all your nonfiction picks sound wonderful. Unfortunately, I’m feeling feeling a bit lacking in reading time now that Tirzah Mae has given up her nap – and since we’re likely to be swamped with paperwork now that we’re starting along the journey to foster-adopt. But the books will still be there on my TBR list when this season moves on to the next, right?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a fun journey ahead, Bekah! I’m sure your home will be a blessing to many children in the upcoming years. Yes, the books will still be there when the next season arrives. 🙂 My reading has gone through cycles as well, depending on which stage of parenting I was in.

  7. Ruth

    I like your non-fiction picks; they all sound interesting. I feel especially drawn to the one on the brain. It’s interesting how differently people think. And I’ve definitely heard older couples correcting each other on what happened years earlier because they both remember it differently. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.
    Your neighbor at Moments of Hope.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Those were some really great non-fiction finds. I was glad to discover them all. Yes, it is funny how people “remember” facts very differently, each one certain that he or she is correct. 🙂

  8. Barrie

    Wow, you always read a lot and I am continually impressed! I like Kate Morton, but haven’t read this one- Peak has been in my sights- that concept intrigues me: that people who are good at things, but not talented often succeed if they are consistent and practice on a regular basis. I love that idea. Keep on plodding away, and you just may become an expert!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Peak was a fascinating book! I learned a lot in the book that I might could apply just to my everyday life too, like memorizing scripture better. So much of practice depends on how deliberate it is, instead of mindless. Thanks for stopping in, Barrie.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve really enjoyed Becoming Wise so far. I’m having to read it slowly because her writing is more precise than many authors today. She makes smart word choices that have a lot of meaning.

  9. Cheryl Gerou

    Hi from your neighbor at Thought-Provoking-Thursday. I have often looked at Kate Morton books, but never have picked one up to read. I think I have changed my mind. Thanks for sharing this great list, it encourages me to take more time to read. May your soul be refreshed as you enjoy reading, a wonderful blessings of life. Reading is a favorite of mine also.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, reading definitely refreshes my soul. It’s my go-to activity when I have a few spare minutes. Glad you enjoy reading too, and I hope you find more time to do it! That’s always the hardest part.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve heard Joshilyn Jackson’s books are great on audio; now hearing you say it reinforces that I need to listen to one of her books via audio next time instead of just reading it. Thanks, Nise’!

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