9 Books I Recommend—June 2023
—Grace & Truth Linkup

“Books are the training weights of the mind.”
– Epictetus

Here are 7 nonfiction books + 2 novels I recommend from what I finished reading in June. 

I used my free month of Kindle Unlimited in June, so I’ve noted those books below if you’d like to read them for free, too. 

[See previously recommended books here]


1. Imagine Reading This Book
How Mental Pictures Influence Your Decisions
by Nick Kolenda

Imagine Reading This Book

I adore books like this one. Kolenda pulls back the curtain on why we make unconscious decisions. For instance, if you have an August 1 deadline, you’ll be much slower to make progress than if you have a July 31 deadline, even though there’s only one day’s difference. Highly recommend!

“Every decision is dictated by the ease and vividness of a mental picture. Instead of ignoring this flaw in our brain, we need to acknowledge and understand it. If we understand motivation, the true motivation behind our decisions, we can make better decisions.”

2. I Am a Human
A Memoir on Grief, Identity, and Hope
by Pierce Taylor Hibbs

I Am a Human

After losing his father at a young age, Hibbs wrote this short book connecting the humanity in all of us, especially in light of death. Hibbs reminds us that instead of denying our uniquely human traits, we need to embrace them: transience, limitation, perspective, and hope. This book fits perfectly into my One Word: Human theme this year. [Available for free on Kindle Unlimited.]

“​Loss is devastating. It brings us down to the dirt. But that is where plants grow. That is where we grow. ​Transience. Limitation. Perspective. Hope. Our humanity is here.”

3. Write for Life
Creative Tools for Every Writer
by Julia Cameron

Write for Life

The infamous writer of the classic book The Artist’s Way guides us through six weeks of tapping into our creativity. Whatever your project, Cameron offers a soothing, gentle, yet practical voice to prod you along your path to get it done.

“Writing leads to writing. One topic leads to the next. What I write matters, but that I write matters more.”

4. The Enneagram of Emotional Intelligence
A Journey to Personal and Professional Success
by Scott Allender

The Enneagram of Emotional Intelligence

I was reluctant to read yet another book on the Enneagram, a personality tool I find useful, although as art, not science. [See my Enneagram series here: 20 Ways to Practice the Enneagram.] But I’m glad I read one more book. Allender connects the dots between our Enneagram type and emotional intelligence. I discovered new thoughts here worth exploring. [Full review later.]

“Emotional intelligence, it turns out, is the single biggest predictor of success—of far greater importance than IQ. . . .Eurich’s research concluded that 95 percent of people believe they are self-aware, but only 10 to 15 percent of people actually are.”

5. All About Love: New Visions
by bell hooks

All About Love

I’ve always heard about bell hooks but never read her works other than occasional quotes that pop up many places. This book gave me more insight into her prioritization of love in our everyday spiritual lives. [Available for free on Kindle Unlimited]

“A commitment to spiritual life necessarily means we embrace the eternal principle that love is all, everything, our true destiny.”

6. The Wrong End of the Table
A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in
by Ayser Salman

The Wrong End of the Table

This was my June pick for the Spiritual Memoir Challenge. Salman writes with both humorous and serious tones about her experience as a Muslim American, and her questions about being Muslim enough. She is expert at educating you as she entertains you through her stories.

“It’s okay even if my Muslim behavior is different from the Muslim behavior you expect—all I know is it’s real and authentically mine. And I hope that if any of you question your own authenticity or legitimacy, you’ll give yourselves a break, too.”

7. Uncultured: A Memoir
by Daniella Mestyanek Young


Excellent! Another memoir, Young writes of her experience in The Children of God cult. Her stories are harrowing of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. But at fifteen years old, she walked away. Her story continues through her years in the Army. You hate that her stories are true, but we need to hear them and bear witness.

“The first rule of cults is we are never in a cult. It’s always them, not us. There is always someone else to blame: the others, the outsiders, the unchosen.”


8. The Love of My Life
by Rosie Walsh

The Love of My Life

In this perplexing mystery you meet Emma, a marine biologist with a past you can’t quite figure out. Walsh does a superb job pulling you into a story you don’t understand (for awhile), but that you care about. Emma’s husband Leo is in the same position. I really enjoyed this one.

“She’s very smart, my mother, and until that point I’d thought her to be quite robust as well. But my silence broke her. She developed an emotional destitution that she still can’t seem to rein in.”

9. Winter Garden
by Kristin Hannah

Winter Garden

This isn’t my favorite Kristin Hannah book (some sections felt slow), but once the story ramped up about Meredith and Nina’s strange Russian mother Anya, I wanted to keep reading. Anya’s mother tells a story within the story that is as riveting as the main story. [Available for free on Kindle Unlimited as syncing ebook and audiobook.]

“They would always be a family, but if she’d learned anything in the past few weeks it was that a family wasn’t a static thing. There were always changes going on. Like with continents, sometimes the changes were invisible and underground, and sometimes they were explosive and deadly. The trick was to keep your balance.”


  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    A Memoir of Life in Death
    by Jean-Dominique Bauby
  • Thank You for Listening
    by Julia Whelan
  • The Measure
    by Nikki Erlick
  • All My Knotted-Up Life
    Beth Moore

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

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14 thoughts on “9 Books I Recommend—June 2023
—Grace & Truth Linkup

  1. Debbie Wilson

    “For instance, if you have an August 1 deadline, you’ll be much slower to make progress than if you have a July 31 deadline, even though there’s only one day’s difference.” That brought me up short! It’s so true. Thanks for the list.

  2. Maryleigh

    You’ve blessed the socks off me, Lisa. Sometimes in relationships, we can only see the peacocks and cats, the tomatoes and violets – and we dismiss them as not significant. Yet, they have the ability to be more significant than the surface shows. Showing up with open-handed, expecting good out of a meetings and people – even though it’s not what you’d expect or “want” – God brings something important to our soul! Shalom, my friend – and Thank you. ~ Maryleigh

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Always love your recommendations, *and* the coming attractions!! How does Cameron’s Write for Life differ from The Artist’s Way?

  4. Susan Chapman Sikes

    I love seeing these suggestions. I don’t know where I’ve been for a while in the reading world, but I just recently found out about Kristin Hannah. I’m reading The Nightingale and loving it! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Paula Short

    Imagine Reading This Book sounds interesting. And I can see how our mental pictures play a part. I’ve got to tell you I love when you share book recommendations. while I’m slowly coming out of my reading funk, I appreciate reviews and recommendations.
    Thanks bunches for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month sweet friend.

  6. Diane

    Many years ago at the Telluride Film festival I saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It was stunning, one of the most emotional films I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if it’s still available but if it is please rent it. I enjoy your diverse selections of books

  7. Diane

    Several years ago at the Telluride Film festival I attended a preview of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It was very emotional and so well done. If it is possible I would recommend viewing it. A true to the book adaptation I enjoy your diverse recommendations

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