7 Books I Recommend – July 2019

When we come out of a book, we’re different.
– Jacqueline Woodson

Every month I share the best of the books I just finished. Here are seven books that I recommend from July’s readings.

7 Books I Recommend July 2019

Books I Recommend


1. The Myth of a Christian Nation
How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church
by Gregory A. Boyd

Myth of a Christian Nation

Was this really published back in 2005? It feels very 2019. This book still serves as a current wake-up call, urging us to rein in our hunger for political power and instead go about doing the things Christ would do. I find it very thought-provoking.

Is it the church’s mission to overpower the world, or rather to serve those in the world?

“Only what looks like Jesus qualifies as a kingdom-of-God activity. Slaughtering, enslaving, cheating, conquering, and dominating are not the sort of activities Jesus engaged in.”

[click here if you can’t see 1-Minute Book Review]

2. The Enchanted Hour
The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction
by Meghan Gurdon

Enchanted Hour

I loved reading aloud with my two daughters as they were growing up, even long after they could read for themselves. And now I love reading with my granddaughter. So I don’t need to be sold on the virtues of reading-aloud; I’m already a believer.

Yet I am still inspired by this book about the importance of reading aloud at ALL stages of life, including reading to those who may be bed-ridden and/or dying. Filled with research, beautiful excerpts, and practical tips, this is a relevant book for all of us.

3. Glorious Weakness
Discovering God in All We
by Alia Joy

Glorious Weakness_sm

This book is grace for our tender spots. Alia Joy writes with humility and rawness about her own hurts and weaknesses in a way that we all can relate to. Sometimes the book felt a little too dark for me, but if you hang in there, she always lets the light of Jesus shine back through again.

“His words served as a reminder of the Christian response to suffering—we enter into it together, share in it together, lament with each other.”

My book review of Glorious Weakness is here

4. Thriving as an Empath
365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People
by Judith Orloff

Thriving as an Empath_sm

This is a daily devotional for sensitive people. It focuses on gratitude, on small daily practices, and on self-care. I started reading a review copy this spring. I have benefited from the short reflections each day on how to protect our time and energy in balanced ways while staying engaged with the world.

“Finding this balance is the art of healing. Inwardly you can say, ‘This is not my burden to carry.’ It is impossible to fix someone. Everybody deserves the dignity of their own path.”

My book review of Thriving as an Empath is here

5. Just Show Up
And Other Enduring Values from Baseball’s Iron Man
by Cal Ripken Jr.

Just Show Up

I remember in 1995 when baseball’s “Iron Man” Cal Ripken broke the MLB record for playing in the most consecutive baseball games: 2,131 games. Then he kept playing, eventually reaching 2,632 consecutive games.

So when I saw his book title was the mantra I’ve been using for years—Just Show Up—I had to check it out from my library. I’m glad I did. It’s about his life, but it’s also for our lives. It’s about integrity and determination and character.

And some baseball thrown in, too.

“We do our best, we hope we’ve done the right thing, and then the next day, we show up again, ready to hit a baseball, or make a ruling, or raise a kid, or be kind to the person serving us in a store.
We only get a few innings on this planet, after all. May as well show up, ready to play, for every one.”

(He also made me feel better about streaks that I like to keep; maybe I’m not so weird after all? “A streak is not an end in itself. It’s a way of doing things.”)


6. Before We Were Yours 
by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours

A beautifully-told story that goes back and forth in time, this novel tells about five siblings living in a shanty boat in Memphis in 1939, and then a present-day family with a yet-to-be discovered past. Even though this is fiction, it revolves around a real-life scandal of a Memphis adoption agency.

“It’s funny how what you’re used to seems like it’s right even if it’s bad.”

7. I Let You Go
by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go

I’ve never been caught off guard at a plot twist as much as I was with this novel. The story begins with a horrible accident: five-year-old Jacob is killed in a hit-and-run accident. The novel then keeps you engaged, switching narration back and forth between involved parties, including the police investigators. I’d read this one again.


  • Where the Crawdads Sing
    by Delia Owens
  • The Weather Machine
    A Journey Inside the Forecast
    by Andrew Blum
  • Stop Being Reasonable
    How We Really Change Our Minds
    by Eleanor Gordon-Smith
  • Crossing to Safety
    by Wallace Stegner
  • What If God Wrote Your Shopping List?
    52 Ways to Find Freedom from “Stuff”
    by Jay Payleitner
  • The Art of Mindful Reading
    Embracing the Wisdom of Words
    by Ella Berthoud
  • While the World Watched
    A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement
    by Carolyn Maull McKinstry

* * *

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

My books on Goodreads
More books I recommend

sharing with The Modern Mrs Darcy

45 thoughts on “7 Books I Recommend – July 2019

  1. Alice V Walters

    Dear Lisa, I never cease to be amazed at how you can read multiple books at one time, and seven in a month…Wow! I read 3 nonfiction books this spring that were a huge redirect for me, but the novel I’ve been enjoying since JANUARY is still only have read.

    I’m thankful I can always find something on your list to grab hold of. I’ve already pre-ordered THRIVING AS AN EMPATH. FYI: If you pre-order now there’s a 52% discount from the cover price. It’s a win-win!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I hope you’ll enjoy Thriving, Alice. I really have. Each day is short enough to be a quick read, yet enough to meaningful. There are a few “out there” kind of things 🙂 but overall it’s solid wisdom.

      Oh, and I didn’t know about the discount. That’s wonderful! Thanks for sharing that.

  2. Martha J Orlando

    Like Alice, I’m amazed that you can read so many books at one time, Lisa! And the amount? Incredible! These are some great suggestions for our own reading lists, and is so much appreciated.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think it actually helps me read more books when I read more than one at a time. If I’m not in the mood for one book, I can just grab another. 🙂 As long as they’re not too much alike. I can usually read several non-fiction books at once, but only one novel at a time. Can’t explain that. ha. Have a great day, Martha.

  3. Laurie

    I am in need of some good book suggestions. Thank you for sharing yours. You always have such interesting picks. The book by Aliah Joy and the daily devotional book look especially intriguing. I have been wondering about “Before We Were Yours” for a long time now, but have just never added it to my cart.

    I will be interested to hear what you think about “Crossing to Safety”!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I really enjoyed Before We Were Yours! Some parts were a little predictable but the storyline moved along at a good speed, which I like. I’m getting near the end of Crossing to Safety. I’ve enjoyed it so far, even though it doesn’t have a big plot line (which I usually need). It’s been a gentle read. 🙂

  4. David

    That one-minute book review is a good idea! But … are you reading from an autocue?

    I loved reading aloud to my son when he was little. It was so relaxing I would gradually fall asleep, my recitation gradually diverging from what was on the page, until I was brought back by his protests or laughter.

    I am reading a story book! “The Weight of Ink” by Rachel Kadish. Highly recommended.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sometimes it was hard to keep my eyes open too when I was reading with my little ones, especially if it was the same book again and again that they wanted. 🙂 The Weight of Ink looks like a lofty read! You’re obviously not afraid of long books. And yes I was using an app on my phone to read the quote.

  5. floyd

    I might have to read the Cal Ripken book. I so respect the ones that do this life with perseverance. That’s the foundation of any type of success in my opinion.

    You’re still my reading hero!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’d probably appreciate the Cal Ripken book, Floyd. Lots of integrity in his life principles. And although I’m only an average baseball fan, that part was good, too. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes! I’m so glad you read those too. I felt the exact same way about I Let You Go, and that’s a rarity for me to keep reading and reading in one long sitting! 🙂 But I couldn’t stop once I started getting near the end.

  6. Linda Stoll

    i’m really struck by that nudge to read to those who can not read for themselves … i’ll be starting to do that this evening.

    gosh, i needed that invitation today, Lisa …

  7. Jean Wise

    love your lists. Just ordered a few from our library. I am a weather geek so your next read about the weather machine intrigues me. Ordered that one too. Thanks for expanding my world, Lisa

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The Weather Machine starts off with a lot of history, so I only skimmed that part. 🙂 But it does have some very interesting nuggets nestled even in there. Still reading.

  8. Mother of 3

    I just LOVED Before We Were Yours! It was such a great book and I could not believe that I had never heard anything about this piece of American history before.

  9. bill (cycleguy)

    Hi Lisa! Sorry I’m late to this party. I have not read any of the books you recommended but then again, my reading lately has been very focused and limited in scope and time. I just finished the new book by Costi HInn called “God, Greed, and the Prosperity Gospel.” Excellent! I could barely put it down. I am reading another good one by David Rupert called “Living a Life of Yes.” Glynn Young recommended fiction books by Jonathan Dunsky. I just finished reading the first two of them. They are good murder mysteries and both have surprised me with their ending. I’d recommend them. I have others in my cue but have not been able to get to them.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      A book you can barely put down…that’s the kind of books I like to hear about. Thanks for sharing about God, Greed, and the Prosperity Gospel. I’ll get the Kindle sample. I’ve read David Rupert before as well, so I’ll also check out Living a Life of Yes; I really admire him. Thanks, Bill!

  10. Tina Truelove

    Wow, you really read a lot! When do you have time to write? Like someone else commented, I’m amazed that you can read so many books at one time. The books on your list seem interesting. When I work through the stack sitting next to me, maybe I’ll give a few on this list a read.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Honestly, I just read in snatches of time here and there. And it all adds up. Mainly I read early in the morning or when I go to bed at night. I don’t watch a lot of TV, so that makes a difference too.

  11. Tammy Kennington

    Hello, Lisa.

    What a wonderful list! I may have to dive into Before We Were Yours and Thriving as an Empath. I’ve also heard amazing things about Where the Crawdads Sing and Educated. I’m currently reading Beautiful Warrior (pre-release) by Tina Yeager and Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patty Callahan. I highly recommend both!


  12. Debbie Kitterman

    Lisa, thanks for this amazing books. Surprising I have not read any of them – several are going on my list though. Also, congratulations, you were the most viewed post from last weeks linkup at #TuneInThursday and you are being featured tomorrow.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      There are so many books available to us now, it’s probably amazing that any of us ever read the same ones anymore! ha. Thanks for sharing about my post on your blog. I appreciate your faithfulness in hosting us every week, Debbie.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yay for you reading aloud to your high schoolers, Anita! I wish I’d had a teacher like you when I was in school. 🙂 Your students are so blessed to have someone as dedicated as you are.

  13. Pingback: 4 necessities to surviving relationship attacks + Tune In Thursday #122 | Debbie Kitterman

  14. Stacey Pardoe

    I’m definitely adding a couple of these to my reading list, Lisa! It’s always a treat to see what’s happening in your world and glean from what you’re learning! Thanks for this!

  15. Elena

    I am adding The Enchanted Hour to my TBR right now! And luckily it is availablle on Overdrive for audiobook! I really enjoyed Before We Were Yours, though it was very sad at times. And Where the Crawdads Sing is one of the most beautifully written books about nature. It was a unique reading experience. I am reading Crossing to Safety right now too! I started it in the spring and put it away for a few months because I liked it but it just didn’t seem like the right season for it. Now I am liking it even more.

    Here are my recent reads: https://elle-alice.blogspot.com/2019/07/july-book-reviews.html

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love when books are available on Overdrive! That’s what my library uses, too. I’d like to know what you think about Crossing to Safety when you finished. It was beautifully written, but I’d have liked more of a plot. The characters are sticking around in my head even though I finished it. 🙂

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