10 Books I Recommend—January 2022

Think before you speak. Read before you think.
– Fran Lebowitz

Here are 10 books I recommend from what I finished reading in January.

[See previously recommended books here]


1. The Wisdom of Your Body
Finding Healing, Wholeness, and Connection Through Embodied Living
by Hillary L. McBride

The Wisdom of Your Body

If you fight with your body, this book can help break it up. Making peace with how we’re made heals us from the inside out. A ground-breaking book. 

[my review here of The Wisdom of Your Body]

2. Somebody’s Daughter
by Ashley C. Ford

Somebody's Daughter

Ashley’s father was sent to prison when she was a young girl. For years she wasn’t told why. But as she grew older, she was disturbed by what she discovered. This well-written and moving memoir takes you through Ashley’s relationship with her father and with her mother and life along the way.

3. Making Numbers Count
The Art and Science of Communicating Numbers
by Chip Heath and Karla Starr

Making Numbers Count

Chip Heath is one of my favorite authors because whatever topic he writes about, it’s guaranteed to be fascinating. 

This time it’s a very interesting look at our human relationship with numbers. How we can make it better. How we can better convey numbers to each other. How to make numbers more meaningful.

For example, I read this morning that astronauts in space lose 3 million red blood cells per second. Crazy! Until I read that even on earth we each lose 2 million red blood cells per second. The 3 million still sounds absurd, but put in context with the norm, it’s a little different.

This book is full of those type examples that you’ll never see the same again.

[my review here of Making Numbers Count]

4. Grieving Mindfully
A Compassionate and Spiritual Guide to Coping with Loss
by Sameet M. Kumar

Grieving Mindfully

Dealing with loss is a difficult journey. But finding meaning through it can guide you to healing.

“Grief is the transformation of feeling love into feeling loss. It is neither punishment nor weakness. It is the mystery of suffering—that being in pain ourselves can cause us to increase our love and compassion for others.”

“Your main task in acute grief is simply to feel, with radical acceptance, what you are feeling.”

5. The Divine Dance
The Trinity and Your Transformation
by Richard Rohr

The Divine Dance

Even though the Trinity can feel like a total mystery, there are certain things we can learn by studying it. One of the great takeaways for me in this book is more clearly understanding our invitation into the divine relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And the divine relationship we can have between each other.

6. Love for Imperfect Things
How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection
by Haemin Sunim

Love for Imperfect Things

This book is full of beautiful vignettes of life’s wisdom for compassion toward others and compassion toward ourselves.

“Sometimes we want to be told ‘I need you’ more than we do ‘I love you,’ because we want to feel that our lives have a purpose. So, be brave and say honestly, ‘I need you.'”

“Because I have experienced pain, I am able to embrace the pain of others. Because I have made mistakes, I am able to forgive others their mistakes. May my suffering become the seed of compassion.”

7. Constructive Wallowing
How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them
by Tina Gilbertson

Constructive Wallowing

While you, like me, may have often been told not to wallow in your emotions, this book says that if we’ll just feel our feelings when they arise (not necessarily act on them), they serve their purpose and move on. I found the information here very enlightening and helpful.

“Wallowing doesn’t mean you’re making yourself feel bad, or worse than you already do. It just means you’re consciously letting your emotions be exactly what they are, instead of minimizing them or pretending they’re not there when they SO are.”

“Contrary to popular opinion, the people who look like they’re holding it together are often the ones who’ve fallen apart.”

8. More Beautiful Than Before
How Suffering Transforms Us
by Steve Leder

More Beautiful Than Before

We all experience suffering. It may look different on each person. Rabbi Leder writes of the pain he’s felt and has witnessed in others. He uses it to draw meaning from suffering.

“Change, “It will never go away” to “It waxes and wanes.” “It will ruin my life” to “My life can still be full of purpose and meaning.” “I have nothing to look forward to” to “There is a lot I can still do and new things I will do that I have never done before. “I will never be happy again” to “There will be many things in the future that will bring me joy.” Live with faith in the future and in yourself—one hour at a time.”

“The most important things are said with the fewest words. I love you. I’m here. No. Yes. It’s a deal. He’s gone. It’s a girl. I was wrong.”


9. How to Stop Time
by Matt Haig

How to Stop Time

This isn’t a time travel book per se, but it spans one person’s lifetime across many normal lifespans. It’s an intriguing premise done well. I don’t want to spoil it so that’s all I’ll say.

10. Wish You Were Here
by Jodi Picoult

Wish You Were Here

This novel hits close to home. It was written during and its setting is our current pandemic. The main character Diana is planning to travel abroad with her surgical resident boyfriend when the virus comes to New York City. The book takes a major plot twist halfway in. Very interesting.

Reading Now

  • Jesus and John Wayne
    How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation
    by Kristin Kobes du Mez
  • Atlas of the Heart
    Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
    by Brené Brown
  • All the White Friends I Couldn’t Keep
    Hope—And Hard Pills to Swallow—About Fighting for Black Lives
    by Andre Henry
  • The Book of Joy
    Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
    by the Dalai Lama XIV and Desmond Tutu
  • Good Enough
    40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection
    by Kate Bowler
  • The Grieving Brain
    The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss
    by Mary-Frances O’Connor
  • Wholehearted Faith
    by Rachel Held Evans with Jeff Chu
  • Fall in Love, Have Children, Stay Put, Save the Planet, Be Happy
    by Frank Schaeffer

What good book are YOU reading this month? Please share in the comments.


More books I recommend

27 thoughts on “10 Books I Recommend—January 2022

  1. Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle

    Constructive Wallowing sounds really interesting — I’ve also read in other contexts lately that it’s important to really feel our feelings, in order to heal. But that has to go somewhere and not get stuck in, well, unconstructive wallowing. Curious how the author makes that happen.

    What a lot of great books you read this month. I also loved The Book of Joy. Hope you’re enjoying that one!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, the danger of getting stuck in wallowing was a question that came up in the book. I can tend to ruminate sometimes and that’s definitely unhealthy. The author held the opinion that if we really deal with our emotions in a healthy way, they serve their purpose and move on by. I think it’s something I’d have to keep in check though.

      The Book of Joy has made me smile. I’m also listening to the audiobook, and the narrator does separate voices for the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu so that’s been fun.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ashley Ford has an interesting story and is a very good writer as well. It gets intense in places though. I heard her interviewed on a podcast before I picked up her book.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love anything written by Richard Rohr too! The Divine Dance isn’t his most recent book, but it was one that I had bought awhile back and just hadn’t gotten to. I tend to put the books I own on the bottom of the stack. lol.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s quite sad reading Rachel Held Evan’s book though knowing that she has died. 🙁 She had most of the book written prior to her getting sick, so it feels pretty seamless to know what was her original writing and what Jeff Chu had to fill in.

  2. jeremy@thirstydaddy

    There is quite a bit of variety in that list! I’m always impressed with how much reading some people are able to do. I just finished one of Anne Rice’s last books and it seemed like it took me forever to get through it #anythinggoes

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Some books do take longer than others. I don’t always read this much in a month, but I prioritized it this month and this is what happened. ha. Hope you enjoyed your Anne Rice book!

  3. JeanWise

    Constructive Wallowing intrigues me. Plus I just check out of the library Making Numbers Count. I have Atlas of the Heart sitting on my end table, That maybe a slower read with so much emotions and wisdom. Great list as usual, Thanks

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I checked out Atlas of the Heart from my library (returning it tomorrow), but after reading it, I know that I need to own my own copy. I hope it’ll come out in paperback later, but if not, I’ll buy the hardback. It is a beautiful book inside and out!

  4. Donna B Reidland

    I probably have a terrible relationship with numbers. I’m terrible at remembering them and even when I think I do, I’m often way off. LOL That sounds like a book I SHOULD read. Several others sound very interesting, too. Thanks for sharing, Lisa.

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