7 Books I Recommend – May 2018

Here are 7 books I recommend from what I finished reading in May, including a 1-minute video review. I also include 3 Honorable Mentions this month. Once a month we share our current reading list at Jennifer’s.

Books I Recommend

1. Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics
A 10% Happier How-To Book
by Dan Harris

I’m experimenting this month with a quick 1-minute video review of one of the books here. (It’s also an exercise in humility for me. This video was no makeup, no prep, no edits.)

[Click here if you can’t see the video]

And here’s more encouragement from Dan Harris about meditating:

“Meditation is unlike anything else you do in life, in that here, “failing”—that is, noticing you’ve gotten distracted and starting again—is succeeding. When you wake up from distraction, that is the magic moment, the victory. And it is a victory of real consequence.”

2. The Sin of Certainty
Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our “Correct” Beliefs
by Peter Enns

Everything we believe about God isn’t accurate. Can we admit that? We’re human. Or do we put more faith in being right than we put in God himself? This was a great book for my One Word this year: Mystery.

“The problem is trusting our beliefs rather than trusting God.”

“We have misunderstood faith as a ‘what’ word rather than a ‘who’ word—as primarily beliefs ‘about’ rather than primarily as trust ‘in.'”

3. The Way of Abundance
A 60-Day Journey into a Deeply Meaningful Life
by Ann Voskamp

My review and quotes from The Way of Abundance

What do we do with our brokenness? Ann Voskamp has the best little stories with deep insights. This powerful devotional is taken from her online essays and from her book, The Broken Way.

“Nothing is more necessary than finding God and falling in love and deeper into Him. . . . What you are in love with decides what you live for. What you are in love with decides what you get out of bed for.”

4. 42 Seconds
The Jesus Model for Everyday Interactions
by Carl Medearis

My review and quotes from 42 Seconds

I love how Medearis gently shows us we can do more to connect with people. It doesn’t have to be complex. In small everyday interactions, we can show Jesus to others. A wonderful book.

“Being kind like Jesus means caring enough to learn why a given question matters to an individual. Which usually means asking another question, and another, and another, and listening.”

5. A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L’Engle

I’ve read this beloved classic novel several times already, but I re-read it again in preparation for seeing the movie. (Have you seen it yet?) I don’t always like the fantasy genre, but Madeleine L’Engle makes it more than just that.

“Don’t be afraid to be afraid. We will try to have courage for you. That is all we can do.”

More on that here, “Don’t Be Afraid to Be Afraid.

6. Girl, Wash Your Face
Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be
by Rachel Hollis

My review and quotes from Girl, Wash Your Face

Not necessarily new material here, but Rachel Hollis is blunt about reminding us what NOT to believe about ourselves. When we believe lies instead of God’s truths about us, everyone suffers. She encourages us to become more aware of those lies and let them die.

“Have you ever believed that you aren’t good enough? That you’re not thin enough? That you’re a bad mom? That you’ll never amount to anything? All lies.”

7. When Crickets Cry
by Charles Martin

This novel is a sweet story about a broken-hearted heart surgeon who has given up his practice, and his encounters with a little girl who needs a heart transplant. Written from a Christian perspective, it is inspirational without being preachy.

“She opened heavy eyes, tilted her head, and said, ‘Reese, hope lives here, and death can’t kill it.'”

Honorable Mentions

Leaving Time
by Jodi Picoult

You’ll learn a lot about elephants in this novel. This book has an interesting storyline about a family who cares for displaced elephants, but it’s about a lot of other things too, some of which I found interesting, and some of which made me uncomfortable. I liked it, but didn’t love it.

“Lately, she had been afraid to fall asleep. Instead of a nap, Jenna called it the Leaving Time. She was certain that if she closed her eyes, I would not be here again when she opened them.”

Natural Causes
An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer
by Barbara Ehrenreich

My review of Natural Causes

I love the premise of this book: we obsess too much about keeping our bodies alive, or as the subtitle suggests, “Killing ourselves to live longer.” Many chapters were on target and interesting. But other chapters really got bogged down in minutiae. So I can’t give it my full recommendation.

“Still, we persist in subjecting anyone who dies at a seemingly untimely age to a kind of bio-moral autopsy: Did she smoke? Drink excessively? Eat too much fat and not enough fiber? Can she, in other words, be blamed for her own death?”

The Excellence Dividend
Meeting the Tech Tide with Work that Wows and Jobs that Last
by Tom Peters

This is a business book with a great message: put people first, whatever business you are in. Treat your employees right and they’ll treat your customers right. Do everything with excellence. However, the formatting of the book drove me crazy so I only give it a partial recommendation. The font size changed often; there were lots of all caps; much of the book was still in outline form. This distracted me immensely from absorbing the content.

“EXCELLENCE is not a long-term aspiration. EXCELLENCE is the ultimate short-term strategy. EXCELLENCE IS THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES.”

Reading Now

  • A Storied Life
    by Leigh Kramer
  • Everybody Always
    Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People
    by Bob Goff
  • I’m Still Here
    Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
    by Austin Channing Brown
  • Five Stars
    The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great
    by Carmine Gallo
  • What Truth Sounds Like
    Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America
    by Michael Eric Dyson

* * *

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


My books on Goodreads
More books I recommend

25 thoughts on “7 Books I Recommend – May 2018

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m so excited that you’re writing a book, Sarah. I know it will be awesome. (I think prolific readers often write the very best books, so I have confidence in you!)

  1. Lesley

    I liked your video and these sound like great recommendations as always. The Sin Of Certainty sounds particularly interesting. I am really enjoying Echoes Of Exodus by Alastair Roberts and Andrew Wilson. It is highlighting lots of connections between different parts of the Bible that I had never noticed before!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I haven’t heard of Echoes of Exodus but I love that theme. I just got the Kindle sample! Thanks for sharing about it, Lesley.
      The Sin of Certainty was definitely a thought-provoking read. Too often I want things to be clear-cut, but much of the Bible is not that way. God would rather me trust HIM than trust that I’ve got the book all figured out. 🙂

  2. Debbie Putman

    I always enjoy reading your reviews and adding books to my list of what to read. 42 Seconds intrigues me. I just finished Kyle Idleman’s book and journal, Not a Fan, as well as the video. I heartily recommend it!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think I only read “Not a Fan” in the teen version, but I could see even from that version how good it was. I wasn’t aware there were so many other resources connected with it. Thanks for sharing that, Debbie!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love hearing what other people are reading, too. Unfortunately it just adds to my ever-growing to-read list though. If I did nothing else but read, I still couldn’t finish all the books on it. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Leaving Time left me with conflicted feelings, but it was intriguing enough to keep me reading until the very end. It is crazy that May is already over! It’s true that times does fly quicker the older we get. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I still haven’t seen the movie. Sigh. I thought it would be at Redbox or on Netflix by now, but not yet. So I’m still waiting. I missed the window of when it was on at the theater. I rarely think a movie is better than a book, but I hope it will still be very good.

  3. Jean Wise

    always love your list and my copy of 42 second arrived today so will soon be reading it. Keep up the video reviews. I enjoyed seeing and hearing you “in person” Well done!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Well, I may try the video reviews for a few months and see if I make progress in not detesting them as much. ha. I’m not a fan of seeing myself in photos or videos. 🙂 I hope you like 42 Seconds. I found it to be so practical.

  4. Alice V. Walters

    Dear Lisa, what would I do without the reading recommendations of Sisters in Christ and Amazon Wishlist? Instead of being overwhelmed by choices, I tuck those recommendations in my wishlist. Every time I place an order (which is fairly often), I add a reading treasure. Thanks for taking the time to read and share.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad this is helpful, Alice. I love seeing what others are reading as well. It does help to hear what “real” people like and don’t like. 🙂

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