8 Books I Recommend—July 2023

“If there was nothing else, reading would—obviously—be worth living for.
– Nuala O’Faolain

Here are 5 nonfiction books + 3 novels I recommend from what I finished reading in July. 

[See previously recommended books here]


1. All My Knotted-Up Life: A Memoir
by Beth Moore

All My Knotted Up Life

Beth Moore, a well-known author and Bible teacher in the Christian world, has written her memoir now that her abusive father and her mother who struggled with mental illness have both died. As expected, Beth is endearingly authentic and open in this book telling about the challenges of her childhood and her adulthood, including the latest chapter in her life when she finds a new spiritual community. I listened to the audiobook to get Beth in all her fullness. Highly recommend.

2. The Road Less Traveled
A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
by M. Scott Peck

The Road Less Traveled

I first read this book in the 1980s. This reread did not disappoint (to my happy surprise). Peck’s opening statement “Life is difficult” still rings true. I don’t agree with everything, but enough. Peck blends love and discipline and spirituality in a way that works for me.

3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
A Memoir of Life in Death
by Jean-Dominique Bauby

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

After a devastating stroke, Bauby—the editor-in-chief of a major magazine at the time—became paralyzed except for his left eyelid through “locked-in-syndrome.” His book is my July pick for the category of “spirituality through illness or trauma” for Lory’s Spiritual Memoir Challenge. And it was a toughie. Not because of the prose itself (it was fine), but because of the great efforts it took to get this book into the world. Every word was dictated one letter at a time by the author batting his left eyelid to someone as they wrote it all down. I haven’t yet seen the film about the book.

4. Between the Listening and the Telling
How Stories Can Save Us
by Mark Yaconelli

Between the Listening and the Telling

I definitely recommend this book. It’s a reminder to intentionally listen and tell stories of our lives. Big or small stories. Funny or serious stories. Storytelling is healing. We need more of it.

5. The Mindful Body
Thinking Our Way to Chronic Health
by Ellen J. Langer

The Mindful Body

We know about chronic illness. But we do know about chronic health? That’s what this book is about. There are some physical things we can’t do anything about, but what about things we can? Langer shows health often begins (and ends) in our minds. Fascinating. I’ll do a full review soon.


6. Thank You for Listening
by Julia Whelan

Thank You for Listening

On a lighter note, Julia Whelan, a prolific and award-winning audiobook narrator, wrote this novel about two audiobook narrators. I loved the plot of her characters Sewanee and Brock’s co-narrating a book together, but I also enjoyed the background information about book narration I picked up as coincidentals from the storyline. I listened to this one as an audiobook, of course.

7. The Measure
by Nikki Erlick

The Measure

If someone could tell you when you’d die, would you want to know? That’s the premise of this interesting novel of how the choice affects individuals and societies after each person receives a box on their doorstep containing a string depicting the measure of their life.

8. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
by Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

The characters in this novel create video games (a world I know little about). The story takes you from Sam and Sadie’s original meeting as children, on through their adult years of collaborating on games. But it’s about far more than games. It touches on very serious issues along the way. It won’t make my favorites list of the year, but I’m glad I read it.


  • Fight like a Mother
    How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the World
    by Shannon Watts
  • Your Future Self
    How to Make Tomorrow Better Today
    by Hal Hershfield
  • You Sound Like a White Girl
    The Case for Rejecting Assimilation
    by Julissa Arce
  • Decluttering at the Speed of Life
    Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff
    by Dana K. White
  • Call Your Daughter Home
    by Deb Spera

What’s a good book you’ve read lately? Please share in the comments.

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33 thoughts on “8 Books I Recommend—July 2023

  1. Barbara Harper

    I can’t imagine trying to write a whole book–much less communicate anything–by batting an eyelid. Kudos to Bauby and his helpers for accomplishing that.

    The story-telling book sounds interesting. One of my favorite writing workshops shared how to incorporate fiction in nonfiction. Stories in nonfiction help us flesh out facts and touch hearts. Sometimes even when listening to a sermon, I think, “What does that look like in real life.”

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, always appreciate your reviews!! I’m curious: Does The Mindful Body come in paperback? Can’t find that. Also, does it deal w/ neuroplasticity? I’m supposed to be reading about that w/ re: to my vertiginous condtions.TX!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think The Mindful Body will publish on September 5, so it’ll probably be awhile before a paperback edition comes out (my guess anyway). I read the advance reader version. It does address neuroplasticity in a positive way. It’s making me question my automatic assumptions about “old age.” 🙂 If I had a physical copy of the book I’d send it to you.

  3. Harry Katz

    Between the Listening and the Telling looks really interesting. I’m usually so focused on facts & figures I sometimes forget that we mostly relate to each other through stories. Adding to my TBR. Thanks!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I like statistics and facts, too, so I have to intentionally remember stories, stories, stories. 🙂 They’re very valuable and I do enjoy hearing them. They usually last longer than numbers in my memory.

  4. Lynn

    Lisa, I have not read the book but the film of “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” is excellent. I won’t say more than that as I don’t want to spoil what will be your own experience in seeing it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for your personal recommendation of the film, Lynn! I’ll have to google where to find it now. I think it was in the early 2000’s when it came out?

  5. Joanne

    Wow can you imagine the patience it must have taken to both dictate and write down that book when it had to be dictated one letter at a time and by blinking at that? That is incredible.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s hard to even imagine how they ever finished the book. While reading i, I felt like I needed to linger over each word and not take any of them for granted since they came at such a high price.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      lol. I love your assumption that you’ll likely forget the storyline later because that is me also. With a re-read, I would probably vaguely remember I’d read it before, but still be surprised at some of the twists and turns. 🙂

  6. Maryleigh

    I wouldn’t want to know when I was going to die. I want to have the determination to follow the desires of my heart even if I have to bat an eye one letter at a time to get there, and Between the Listening and the Telling sounds intriguing to this writer’s mind! Thanks for the time you put in for this, Lisa! Shalom!

  7. Kathleen C

    Lisa, thuis looks like an excellent list. There are several books I am now planning to read from it. Years ago I saw tge movie “The Diving Bell snd The Butterfly” and it has stayed with me. I hadn’t realized he wrote a book about it to. The movie is very impactful.

    I am reading a book called “The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. about how trauma can be behind some types of chronic pain and suffering. In the first half, it gives a detailed explanation about how our brains can be impacted/affected by trauma we experience and what that can do to our nervous system and the second half explores ways to bring healing and wholeness and a reduction in pain as we learn how to quiet the nervous system when triggered or with chronic pain. I want to read the book you recommend on the subject of the mind/body connection, as I work toward improving my health.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I bet the movie about The Diving Bell is really impactful. I’ll have to see if I can locate it somewhere to watch. I read The Body Keeps the Score a few months ago myself because I need to keep working on my body/mind connections. I tend to stay so much in my head; it’s been good for me to connect a few dots between emotional trauma and physical ailments.

  8. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, FYI: Just got the most interesting comment from a pop up on your blog–apparently, legit, b/c it worked. It said (something like) “You are posting too quickly; slow down.” Great advice over all! Who knew? 🙂

  9. Linda Stoll

    I’m guessing Beth Moore’s story will be at the top of my 2023 favorites list. So exceptional on so many levels. I’m ready for a re-read again.

    Thanks for all the reviews, friend. You continue to enlarge my world.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can understand now why you like Beth’s book so much. I so appreciate her authenticity to pour herself out there. She kept so much of this to herself for so long to protect her loved ones. I’m glad she now can share her story with the world.

  10. Jean Wise

    The one about stories sounds great. Just ordered it from our library. Always appreciate your suggestions and insights. Have a great weekend, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m so thankful for the multitude of information and books about the value of storytelling these past few years. I read this one via Hoopla; I don’t know if that’s an option with your library system. It’s actually my least favorite way to read a book (it’s all online; no downloads to an ereader) but they do have a great selection of the types of books I enjoy reading that my regular library doesn’t have. I’m glad you’re able to order books from your library.

  11. Liz Dexter

    Thank you For Listening sounds tantalising. I don’t read audiobooks but my husband loves them. I really want to get Tomorrow x3 but am trying to exercise a little restraint …

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank You for Listening was great as an audiobook, but my preferred method is still reading instead of listening too. I had put Tomorrow on hold at my library months ago; it took this long for it to become available. That was my involuntary restraint. 🙂

  12. Paula

    Oh how I love reading everyone’s book recommendations. I look forward to your monthly round up.
    Thanks so much for sharing these with Sweet Tea & Friends this month dear friend.

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