7 Books I Recommend—January 2023

“Read a book without thinking about finishing it. Just read it. Enjoy every word, sentence, and paragraph. Don’t wish for it to end, or for it to never end.
Matt Haig

Here are the first 7 books I’ve finished in 2023. I recommend these 5 nonfiction books and 2 novels from this month’s reading.

[See previously recommended books here]


1. Learning Humility
A Year of Searching for a Vanishing Virtue
by Richard J. Foster

Learning Humility

I’ve been a Richard Foster fan for years. While this book isn’t as impactful on me as Celebration of Discipline, it’s still an important book because it’s about humility. And don’t we all need more humility? Foster unassumingly lives it as he writes about it.

“Humility is so very appealing when we see it in another person. Conversely, when we watch someone consumed with pride it feels unnatural, deformed, twisted.”

[read more from Learning Humility here, “A Journal Page of Pride”]

2. When Life Hits Hard
How to Transcend Grief, Crisis, and Loss with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
by Russ Harris

When Life Hits Hard

I appreciate Russ Harris’s books for their practical tools. In this one, Harris specializes in walking you through grief. He provides step by step guidance not to eliminate your pain (that’s not possible), but to better live with it.

“The aim here is to allow your thoughts and feelings to be as they are in this moment, while simultaneously bringing in kind self-talk. In other words, rather than trying to get rid of unwanted thoughts, you’re acknowledging they are present, allowing them to stay, and adding some new ones to keep them company.”

3. Curveball
When Your Faith Takes Turns You Never Saw Coming
by Peter Enns


We all have unexpected curveballs that impact our life. And impact our faith. How do we account for them? How do they affect our view of God? I appreciate how Pete Enns doesn’t back down from asking the hard questions. And allows space for us to provide our own answers.

“I came to understand that my understanding of God was not adequate for handling reality. My crushed dream was an invitation—actually, an offer I couldn’t refuse—to recognize that I had been laboring under a small view of God.”

4. Gaslighted by God
Reconstructing a Disillusioned Faith
by Tiffany Yecke Brooks

Gaslighted by God

This is another book of difficult topics. Brooks discusses all the big questions we have when God doesn’t seem to act like we expect. Like the Pete Enns’ book above, this book doesn’t provide tidy answers either.

“It is only our old image of God that has proven insufficient. God is not letting go of us; we are being encouraged to let go of our old, outdated, or inaccurate ideas of who he is.”

5. 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing
Proven Professional Techniques for Writing With Style and Power
by Gary Provost

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

Whether you’re writing a book, a blog post, or an email, this book has simple tips to help you communicate more clearly. I may have read this before, but books like these are good to re-read every few years.


6. The It Girl
by Ruth Ware

The It Girl

I’m always excited when Ruth Ware publishes a new novel. This one may be one of her best ones yet. A good mystery book without gore or gratuitous violence. When a college student is found murdered, the list of suspects is very small. Intentionally? 

7. Count the Ways
by Joyce Maynard

Count the Ways

Eleanor and Cam marry, have three children, and then tragedy strikes their family. Author Joyce Maynard does a fabulous job walking us through the realistic challenges that ripple out from there.


  • The Office BFFs
    Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There
    by Jenna Fischer, Angela Kinsey
  • The Lives We Actually Have
    100 Blessings for Imperfect Days
    by Kate Bowler
  • Autobiography of a Yogi
    by Paramahansa Yogananda
  • Please, Sorry, Thanks
    The Three Words That Change Everything
    by Mark Batterson
  • Fear
    Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
    by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Anxious People: A Novel
    by Fredrik Backman
  • The Light We Carry
    Overcoming in Uncertain Times
    by Michelle Obama

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

23 thoughts on “7 Books I Recommend—January 2023

  1. Kathy Martin

    Nice looking assortment of books. I hardly ever read nonfiction but a couple of thes look like something I would read. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think Ruth Ware only has 8 or so books, but they’ve all been good. Her category of fiction is “Psychological Crime” so she always keeps me guessing until the very end of the story. 🙂

  2. Lynn Severance

    A friend just gifted me with the Richard Foster book. I’ve not started it yet but I do like the idea of it and his journey toward learning to be humble. …his taking the reader along with him as he makes his way to that goal.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you were gifted the Richard Foster book, Lynn. You could really feel his pondering along the way as you read. I felt I needed to go at a slower pace as I read it.

  3. Jean Wise

    Your lists are so good. The Renovare book club started Learning Humility this week and I am reading along with them. I love that they add interviews and extra article to accompany this book. Looking forward to this!

  4. David

    Always an intriguing list. I started a couple of Very Serious books at the beginning of the year (“My fourth Time, we drowned” and “Do not disturb” both excellent so far) but realised I was too tired (new job still new maybe; lot of travelling). Instead I reread Inherent Vice — an enjoyably mad romp, with some dark shades but a heart of gold — & now excited because Rushdie’s new one Victory City has just come out.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yeah, sometimes those heavy books are too much if you’re in the midst of your own real-life heavy stuff too (like a new job and lots of traveling!). Glad you know which books to pick up for which seasons. Let us know if you like Rushdie’s new book.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I need to remind myself of that quote more often because there are some books I read too quickly so I can reach the end. I’m doing better about just stopping a book if it’s not serving me, but it’s still hard to do. 🙂

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