4 Books I Recommend – July 2017

4 Books I Recommend-July-2017_LisaNotes

Here are four non-fiction books I recommend and two fiction books that I half-heartedly recommend from what I read in July. Once a month we share our current reading lists at Jennifer’s.

Books I Recommend

1. Glory in the Ordinary
Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God
by Courtney Reissig


Do you ever wonder if your work at home matters? To your family? To society? To God? This book gives a thorough look at why your work DOES matter. I could have used this pep talk when I was in the thick of it, raising kids and homeschooling, but I find Courtney’s words still pertinent to me now in my empty nest.

My review here of Glory in the Ordinary

2. This Fight Is Our Fight
The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class
by Elizabeth Warren


I don’t know if I agree with all of Elizabeth Warren’s politics, but I do love her passion for people. This was a library book that caught my eye when I was perusing the shelves. Warren is a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts who has a lot to say about how the American middle class can be helped.

3. Born to Run
A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
by Christopher McDougall


These are some crazy runners. Not just marathoners. Ultramarathoners. This book is an intriguing story about a tribe in Mexico (the Tarahumara Indians in the Copper Canyons), American distance runners, the mysterious runner Caballo Blanco, and a reporter’s journey in the middle of it all. It mostly reads like a novel, with a strong narrative thread throughout the whole book.

4. Fuel Your Faith
A Practical Guide to Igniting a Healthy Spirituality

by Jean Wise


I love reading Jean Wise’s spiritual blog at HealthySpirituality.org, so I knew her book would be good. She writes chapter after chapter on ways we can keep our faith on fire for God, including downloadable resources, prayers, and practical suggestions. I highlighted over 50 passages, including this one:

“Remember God is the fire. We cannot begin to contain him, to harness him, or to control the heat of his spirit. But we can nurture the sparks, awaken our conscious, and open the flue of our hearts to let his light inward to our souls.”

And right now you can get the Kindle ebook of Fuel Your Faith for free on Amazon!

Half-Heartedly Recommend

5. The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt


I liked it and I didn’t. This novel begins with a 13-year-old boy whose life is changed by a terrorist attack in NYC. The plot always moved along nicely. But I had trouble connecting with the main character and his decisions. In the end, I am glad I read it, but it is long and investment of time.

6. Me Before You
by Jojo Moyers


This novel was very engaging. Like The Goldfinch, part of me liked this one, too, but part of me didn’t like it at all. It’s about an out-of-luck common girl who becomes the caregiver for a rich quadriplegic man. I thought I’d predicted the ending early in the book, but I was wrong.

Reading Now

  • Reading People
    How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything
    by Anne Bogel
  • The Turquoise Table
    Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard
    by Kristen Schell
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature
    Why Violence Has Declined
    by Steven Pinker
  • Small Victories
    Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace
    by Anne Lamott

* * *

What good book have you read lately? Please share in the comments.


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

31 thoughts on “4 Books I Recommend – July 2017

  1. Jean Wise

    wow I am humbled and honored to make your list today, Lisa. Thank you so much. I must tell you when you wrote how much you highlighted some of the passages, it made my heart skip. I listened and belong to Compell, Lysa Terkerst’s writers site and one aspect of writing she emphasizes is to create sentences that others will want to underline. I am working on this craft and your words encouraged me to keep going. Again thank you so much and for the review on Amazon too. You know how much that means to a writer. And thanks for spreading the word that the book is free as an e-book. You have blessed my day!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad I blessed your day, Jean, because you blessed mine every time I opened up your book! It was fun getting to read more of your wisdom each day beyond your blog posts.
      I also enjoyed the many quotes you included in your book. I realize that takes time to curate as well, so thank you for passing along these gems!

  2. Karen Grosz

    Glory in the Ordinary sounds like something I would like even in my empty nest state too. Have you considered Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate? It is based on a true story. I really enjoyed the characters. You might like it too.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I haven’t heard of Before We Were Yours so I’ll have to look into that one, Karen. Thanks for the recommendation! I appreciate hearing real people’s thoughts about books before I read them. 🙂 And I especially like books (and movies!) that are based on true stories.

  3. Barbara H.

    Wasn’t Me Before You made into a movie not long ago? If it’s the one I am thinking of, there was some controversy about the ending. But I don’t know if the book and movie end the same way. Glory in the Ordinary sounds good.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, Me Before You was a movie. I haven’t seen it, but I saw some reviews that said the ending was very different from the book (but I didn’t read those reviews too closely, in case I end up watching the movie some day). Maybe I would like the movie ending better!

  4. Lesley

    I always like reading your book recommendations! I especially like the sound of Fuel your Faith. The Way Of Hope by Melissa Fisher is one I recently enjoyed and wrote about on my blog recently.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Fuel Your Faith is indeed a very inspirational book, Lesley. And well-written. Jean knows both her topic and her craft so it’s always a pleasure reading her work. I haven’t heard of The Way of Hope so I’ll have to go look into that one and read what you wrote on your blog! Thanks for sharing about it here.

  5. Bill (cycleguy)

    Hi Lisa! I just finished reading Martha Orlando’s Glade series. I would highly recommend them as easy, casual reading. I loved them. I am reading Awe by Paul David Tripp. Eye-opening book at awe and what he calls Awe Wrongedness (AWR). I highly, highly, (did I say highly) recommend Grace is Greater by Kyle Idleman. It is a must for all readers (IMHO). I’m also reading The Word-Centered Church by Jonathan Leeman (but it has taken a back seat to AWE).

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Wonderful, wonderful recommendations from you, Bill! I haven’t read any of those books but I have read some of Paul David Tripp’s books (loved them). I appreciate the titles; I’ll look into them and add them to my to-read list. Hope you’re recovering well!

  6. Susan

    I like the way you grouped these — on the “winners” your enthusiasm made me want to read even those I normally wouldn’t be drawn to 🙂 I need to read Glory in the Ordinary. I’m struggling a bit to find relevancy and meaning in my almost-empty nest.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I wish I had had Glory in the Ordinary when I was in the thick of it with raising my own kids. Even though I knew in my head that our work as mothers is always valuable, it’s still good to get that outside affirmation. Praying that you’ll work up to your empty-nest in positive ways. The transition is a little difficult to get used to, and sometimes leading up to it can be the hardest part of all. I’ve been over the hump for awhile now, though, and highly recommend this season of life. 🙂

  7. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, I always appreciate your book recommendations, especially because you share brief synopses. And you are honest. I’ve not read half-hearted recommendations before :-), but I surely have been half-hearted in my approach to some books. Usually, I don’t finish them, because life is short, and there are so many great books yet to read. I read that advice once in this neat little book, The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life, where author Steve Levenger helps you to let go of guilt for not finishing books that don’t meet your expectations. Thanks, Steve! https://www.amazon.com/Little-Guide-Your-Well-Read-Life/dp/1929154178/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501038411&sr=8-1&keywords=steve+levenger
    And Jean’s book sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for the recommendation. Need to ck it out. And along the lines of fire and passion, may I recommend to you Carol Kent’s book, Unquenchable: Grow a Wildfire Faith that Will Endure Anything. Carol is a wonderful, authentic Christian and excellent author (and personal friend). She shares what to do when you lose your passion for Christ. Yours truly has her story in this book (in my own words). https://www.amazon.com/Unquenchable-Wildfire-Faith-Endure-Anything/dp/0310330998/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501038976&sr=1-3&keywords=unquenchable
    And you ask what I am currently reading. Try Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore. He is fair and balanced in his approach to politics and the Gospel, patriotism, loyalty to God and His Kingdom, etc. Very thoughtful, deep, and soul-searching. Enjoy!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      (So it looks like my original reply didn’t post, but I apologize if you get this more than once anyway, Lynn!) I appreciate your recommendations! All these books sound very interesting to me so I’ll get the samples sent to my Kindle of each of them.

      This is advice I need to take to heart: “I surely have been half-hearted in my approach to some books. Usually, I don’t finish them, because life is short, and there are so many great books yet to read.” I’m not sure why I’m so reluctant to stop a book I’m not enjoying, but I’m getting better at it as I get older too. 🙂

      1. Lynn D. Morrissey

        Ha! I get that Lisa. For one thing, if you have purchased the book, you hate to waste it by not reading it. Still, you have to weigh your time (and life) against what is not enriching it. Just a thought. 🙂 And we’ll not talk age, huh! Ha again!

  8. David

    Dear Lisa

    Nest not empty yet here. I can see myself looking into “Glory in the Ordinary”. Ironing clothes or washing dishes “Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam” is definitely something I do: fends off pettty resentment and random bad moods. Ironing is becoming a time when I mull over some Scripture or a Christian blog I’ve been reading.

    I’ll be v interested to read what you think of Pinker. I haven’t read The Better Angels of Our Nature but I like Pinker’s humanism and his optimism. He has a book coming out next year (on the Enlightenment) which I’ll be reading.

    I am just finishing Life Together by Bonhoeffer. He describes how a Christian community — like a monastery or what he calls a family fellowship — should work. Like everything I read by or even about him I found it inspiring, confusing, confirming and convicting. It’s only a little book but trying to describe it I’m just rambling. Might post later.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think you’d like Glory in the Ordinary because it fits in with what you’re saying here. There are so many “mundane” tasks that we all have to do and it’s our attitude about them and/or the time spent doing them that often makes the difference.

      I have really enjoyed reading Pinker’s book. It is fascinating subject matter! But it’s long so it’s taking me awhile, and it’s very full of statistics, some of which are too detailed beyond my attention level so I scan. But his premise that we actually have much less violence over time is convincing me.

      Your take on Bonhoeffer is accurate for me, too. He inspires me and confuses me as well. 🙂 I’ve never regretted reading anything by him.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I guess it was a slow reading month, June. 🙂 I got sucked too heavily into the two long novels, which I ended up feeling ambivalent about, so that’s that. ha.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Well, I was torn about mentioning the novels because they did have some good things about them, but just weren’t the complete package for me. Hopefully that makes sense. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Lora.

  9. Ashley Davis

    I bought Glory in the Ordinary for my friend, Kendra. It looked like a really good book for Mommies.
    Sadly, I haven’t read anything in a while. Just my Ruth study book.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Hope that Kendra enjoys the book! I would definitely recommend it for young mothers especially, but if one can overlook the mothering references, the overall principles are good for any of us who wonder if what we are doing really matters. And we all wonder that from time to time. ha. Hope you’re doing well, Ashley!

  10. floyd

    You are my “Go to” on all things book! Thanks for the info. I like Jean’s quote.

    I’ve been reading Tripp’s book given to me by the guy eighteen comments above me! It’s a daily devotional and it is powerful.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I keep hearing about Tripp’s book so I need to move it up on my to-read list. I know Tripp has quite a way with putting profound thoughts into words I can understand. Thanks for the suggestion, Floyd.

  11. Kathy Martin

    Interesting assortment of books. I seldom read nonfiction and like getting insights on good ones. Come see my week here. Have a great week!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      And I don’t read as much fiction, so I appreciate hearing from others who can recommend good novels! Just visited your list and got new ideas. Thanks, Kathy!

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