6 Books I Recommend – May 2017

6 Books I Recommend May 2017_LisaNotes

Here are six books I recommend from what I finished reading in May. Each month we share what we’ve been reading at Jennifer’s.

Books I Recommend

1. The New Jim Crow
Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander


This book is eye-opening. Read it. You’ll learn things you didn’t know. Such as, “more African American adults are under correctional control today—in prison or jail, on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”

If we truly believe we’re all made in the image of God, we need to understand how we’re treating all segments of our population, not just some. Did you know that the majority of illegal drug users and dealers nationwide are white, but three-fourths of all people imprisoned for drug offenses have been black or Latino?

“We should hope not for a colorblind society but instead for a world in which we can see each other fully, learn from each other, and do what we can to respond to each other with love.”

2. The Power of Off
The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World
by Nancy Colier


Another very good book. Most of us  constantly check our phones or computers. Yet we’d rather not. This book shows more mindful ways to engage with technology. It includes a 30-day digital detox program as well as spiritual practices to stay connected with life.

More here, “Where’s Your Phone Right Now?

3. When Everything Changed
The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present
by Gail Collins


There’s so much I didn’t know. Even though I lived through these past five decades, this research and compilation of stories about women in America during this time period was enlightening. We truly have come a long way in a short time, and let’s not slow down yet.

4. A More Beautiful Question
The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
by Warren Berger


It’s a simple tool we all have: questions. Yet one we underutilize in most aspects of our lives. This book encourages you to stay inquisitive and ask better questions.

More here, “Why Don’t You Ask? And Why You Probably Should

5. The Undoing Project
A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
Lewis, Michael


Michael Lewis writes such interesting stories about real life events, such as The Blind Side, Moneyball, and The Big Short. This is another good story, about the friendship and work between two Israeli psychologists (Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman) on how we make decisions.

6. What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures
by Malcolm Gladwell


A hodgepodge of interesting topics, this is a wonderful compilation of Malcolm Gladwell’s articles previously published in The New Yorker. Stories include why we have more brands of mustard than ketchup, Cesar Milan as the dog whisperer, and the difference between our choking versus panicking in important moments.

Reading Now

  • Small Great Things: A Novel
    by Jodi Picoult
  • 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You
    by Tony Reinke
  • The Joy of Living
    Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness
    by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

I finished the novel Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, but it didn’t live up to its hype for me. Although I liked the storyline of refugees on the run, I wanted more emotional undertones.

I started the novel The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett, but oh my. I had to stop. The constant flipping between 3 different versions of the same story was mentally taxing and not enjoyable.

* * *

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


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

38 thoughts on “6 Books I Recommend – May 2017

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ooh, I read Chase the Lion a few years back and really enjoyed it! I think it was my first Mark Batterson book. It hooked me into reading more when they came out, and I’ve enjoyed every one. I haven’t read A Family Shaped by Grace but what a wonderful topic.

  1. Lesley

    Thanks for sharing these recommendations- you always discover such interesting books. I hope you like Small Great Things- I thought it was great- and I was looking at The Versions Of Us the other day and wondering about reading it. I didn’t, and your comment makes me think that may be a good thing. I recently enjoyed Redemption Road by Lisa Ballantyne.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I am really, really enjoying Small Great Things right now! Glad to hear you thought it was great. I had no idea what it was going to be about, so it’s been surprising all along the way. I haven’t read Redemption Road but it sounds good too. The Versions of Us is a great idea, but it was just too complicated to keep up, especially as a novel that I was reading for fun, not to have to work. 🙂

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, you offer such a helpful service to us via these thoughtful book reviews. Thank you. Delete repeated word I’ve taken some of your recommendations and have always appreciated them. And I’m so glad you are reading Reinke’s book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I. Have you ever considered writing a blog about how you read? You seem to read several books consecutively. Do you purchase them all, use the library, etc? I would just love to know your reading habits sometime. Do you take notes or scribble and highlight the pages? Do you journal about what you read? Stuff like that. At any rate, I do appreciate all your efforts on this.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I am definitely enjoying Reinke’s book (and being convicted by it as well!). I would like to write a post one day about how I read; just haven’t done it yet. But thanks for spurring me on to get to it sooner, rather than later. The majority of books I read are library books (either real books or Kindle books), and yes, I do love to keep several books going at the same time. It keeps me from getting bored. I often take notes if it’s a library book, or highlight if it’s a book I own. Thanks for your questions, Lynn. You’ve got me thinking. 🙂

      1. Lynn D. Morrissey

        Ah, this is great, Lisa . . . . giving us a preview of a future blogpost, just to whet our appetites! Here is a book I own (bought as a hardback at a used book sale), and one I have still not read, but hope to. It’s called How to Read a Book: The Intelligent Guide to Reading by Mortimer Adler. Now, I’m spurring myself on to read it. You are likely already familiar w/ it, and perhaps many of your readers as well. thank you for encouraging, thoughtful sharing!

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          I hope you enjoy reading How to Read a Book when you get around to it, Lynn. I read it several years ago, and although I can tell you nothing specific in it, I do remember it taught me to look at books through a more critical and logical eye.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ha. You’re right about that, Michele. The New Jim Crow as well as When Everything Changed were both books that were difficult but engaging. Small Great Things, while also containing some very, very heavy material, is my go-to pleasure book at the moment! Can’t wait to get back to it tonight after supper. 🙂

  3. Susan

    Ha — I can imagine the flipping amongst 3 versions of the same story would quickly become tiresome! That’s fascinating about more blacks being incarcerated than had been slaves. I’m wondering if that means a more are imprisoned than I thought, or less were slaves…?? Malcolm Gladwell is always interesting — that book sounds good (as do all your reads, as usual)!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, the 3 versions approach really fascinated me, but there were SO many details within each story that I couldn’t keep straight. I felt like I needed a spreadsheet to keep things straight, which is not necessarily an enjoyable way to read a novel. ha.

  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Interesting recommendations. Getting a bit hard for me to read – concentrating past pain is difficult – but I can highly recommend some movies…”The Martian”, “Star Trek Beyond”, and “Star Wars – Rogue One”. Notice an escapist theme? 🙂

    A day late, but here’s a nice Memorial Day poem. I hope it’s OK that I reproduce it here.

    If you are able,
    save them a place
    inside of you
    and save one backward glance
    when you are leaving
    for the places they can
    no longer go.
    Be not ashamed to say
    you loved them,
    though you may
    or may not have always.
    Take what they have left
    and what they have taught you
    with their dying
    and keep it with your own.
    And in that time
    when men decide and feel safe
    to call the war insane,
    take one moment to embrace
    those gentle heroes
    you left behind.

    Major Michael Davis O’Donnell
    1 January 1970
    Dak To, Vietnam

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The poem is beautiful and moving, Andrew. I’m glad you shared it here. Thanks also for the movie recommendations. I haven’t watched any of the newer Star Wars movies (and it’s been a long while since I’ve seen the older ones). I loved The Martian! Both the book and movie.

  5. Barbara H.

    You always have interesting book lists, and often heavy ones. I like your last quote from The New Jim Crow. I wonder what it would take to get there and why we as a country are not there yet.

    I would have trouble with the back and forth of three different version of the same story, too – I have a hard enough time keeping one straight sometimes.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know what you mean about the story lines; sometimes it is difficult enough with just one. 🙂 The premise of the book was admirable to present the ways that one or two changes here or there can really change a life, but I couldn’t remember in which version the main character was a devoted husband, in which one he was cheating, etc. Not to mention all the small details that accompanied each one. It got to be overwhelming.

  6. Laura

    Wow, this is a fantastic list! And none of these were even on my radar. I love getting new tips for my reading list. I have a book review coming up later this week, but one that I’d recommend is Love Does by Bob Goff. Have you read it?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I have read Love Does, but it’s been awhile. I remember being very inspired by it. And by Bob himself! What an incredible man he is, so full of enthusiasm for people. His example is amazing. Thanks for sharing that here, Laura.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ooh, that’s what I want to do too, Kathryn. 🙂 We went on a road trip this past weekend, and I spent a lot of the time with my nose in that book. I hope to read more tonight!

  7. Bill (cycleguy)

    The summer so far has been hard on my reading but here is what I am reading and in my cue: Bringing Out the Best in Your Wife by Norman Wright. The Imperfect Disciple and Unparalleled by Jared C. Wilson. Hope Heals by Katherine and Jay Wolf. That’s about it although I do plan on making Grace is Greater by Kyle Idleman and new purchase.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I always appreciate your reading list, Bill. Such books for growth and learning and helping others. Thanks for sharing it! I’d love to hear more about Bringing Out the Best in Your Wife—such an intriguing title.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree with you, Alyson: summer would be a great time for a digital detox. Since reading The Power of Off, I’ve checked my email less and am trying to shut things down earlier in the evening. So that’s progress in the right direction anyway. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s always fun to discover new books! That’s one reason I love participating in this every month because I enjoy seeing what everyone else is reading and adding more to my to-read list (that I could never finish in 3 lifetimes!).

  8. Trudy

    Thank you for another great list, Lisa. What the Dog Saw really captures my attention. 🙂 I enjoy watching Cesar Millan. His gift is amazing. I read inside the book at Amazon how the author wanted to get inside his head to what he was thinking, but then she thought an even better question was what the dog thought. 🙂 Sounds interesting. Love and hugs to you!

  9. Laura Thomas

    You always find such fascinating books to read, Lisa! I have a stack on my to-be-read pile right now, but these ALL look worth reading! Thanks so much for sharing… stopping by from #TellHisStory 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re welcome, Laura. I’m similar: I’ll have my own stack of books that I’ve been eagerly wanting to read, but then I’ll see the next new shiny book on the “new” shelf at the library, and want to add even more to my pile. 🙂

  10. floyd

    I’ll have to check Gladwell’s newest. I’ve read all of his work. Great stuff.

    I always feel like a slug when you post your reading materials! But, I did pick up a new book… one step at a time!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I always enjoy Gladwell’s work too. This book was published a few years ago, but the content is still just as relevant. If you’re a podcast listener, he does occasional episodes at his “Revisionist History”. They’re always interesting too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *