Six Books I Recommend – October 2017

Here are six books I recommend from what I read in October. Once a month we share our current reading lists at Jennifer’s.


Books I Recommend

1. Braving the Wilderness
The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
by Brené Brown


We may feel more disconnected than ever when we watch the news. But Brené Brown is here again to remind us we can brave the wilderness of uncertainty by understanding how we truly belong. Lots of good stories, examples, and insights.

“We seem to have forgotten that even when we’re utterly alone, we’re connected to one another by something greater than group membership, politics, and ideology—that we’re connected by love and the human spirit. No matter how separated we are by what we think and believe, we are part of the same spiritual story.”

2. Independent Publishing for Christian Authors
A Guide to the Why, When, and How for Writers
by Ed Cyzewski


I personally have no plans to publish a book, but if you might—or know someone who will—this is an informative look at the publishing industry from someone who knows. Ed Cyzewski has published both through commercial Christian routes and independently. Here he explains the differences and his recommendations. My review to come. This book is not yet published, but watch for it.

Pre-order the ebook now for $0.99.

“For all of the challenges that independent authors face, the good news is that actually producing an independent book isn’t that difficult today.”

My full book review of Independent Publishing for Christian Authors

3. How to Listen So People Will Talk
Build Stronger Communication and Deeper Connections
by Becky Harling


If only we could listen. This book shows us practical ways to improve our listening skills so we can improve our relationships. Becky Harling writes from a Christian viewpoint, using examples of Jesus’s listening abilities to encourage us.

My book review and quotes, “3 Ways to Listen So People Will Talk”

“Let your friends tell their stories. It’s okay if they get a few details wrong. They don’t need you to be the fact police. Instead, let it go.”

4. Born a Crime
Stories from a South African Childhood
by Trevor Noah


This memoir is by the comedian and nightly host of The Daily Show. Trevor Noah was born to a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father in apartheid South Africa. Because such a union was illegal at the time, Trevor’s life was one adventure after another. This book is both funny and sobering in his account of growing up in a dangerous world.

“I believed that Fufi was my dog, but of course that wasn’t true. Fufi was a dog. I was a boy. We got along well. She happened to live in my house. That experience shaped what I’ve felt about relationships for the rest of my life: You do not own the thing that you love.”

5. Of Mess and Moxie
Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life
by Jen Hatmaker


I have mixed feelings about this book because the structure is so loose, but when the insights fall into place, it’s worth the messiness you wade through to find them.

My book review and quotes, “We’re All Messy”

“When in doubt, ask yourself: What would love feel like here, to this person?”

6. Hunger
A Memoir of (My) Body
by Roxanne Gay


If you’re overweight, read this book. If you’re underweight, or the “perfect” weight, also read it. It’s tough at times, but it’s so valuable. Beautifully written, Roxanne Gay shows us how it feels to live in an overweight body classified as “morbidly obese.”

“Before I got on the plane, my best friend offered me a bag of potato chips to eat, but I denied myself that. I told her, ‘People like me don’t get to eat food like that in public,’ and it was one of the truest things I’ve ever said.”

Reading Now

  • The Four Tendencies
    The Indispensable Personality Profiles that Reveal How to Make Your Life Easier (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too)
    by Gretchen Rubin
  • The Righteous Mind
    Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
    by Jonathan Haidt
  • Downsizing the Family Home
    What to Save, What to Let Go
    by Marni Jameson
  • The Sense of Style
    The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
    by Steven Pinker
  • Dream Hoarders
    How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It
    by Richard V. Reeves
  • How to Think
    A Survival Guide for a World at Odds
    by Alan Jacobs
  • Memory Rescue
    Supercharge Your Brain, Reverse Memory Loss, and Remember What Matters Most
    by Daniel G. Amen
  • The Sacred Enneagram
    Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth
    by Christopher L. Heuertz

* * *

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


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

44 thoughts on “Six Books I Recommend – October 2017

  1. Alice Walters

    Good morning, Lisa! Since 5th grade I’ve been trying to acquire the skill of reading multiple books at once. The only time I was semi-successful was in college when it was a necessary evil. I currently have a John Mason book to go along with quiet time, and The Space between Words, both from blogging friends’ recommendations. Thank you for reading and sharing!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Reading multiple books at one time isn’t for everybody. I admire people who can stick with only one book at a time! 🙂 I get bored not having options. I usually have a set order that I read through the books, maybe 10 pages per book, until eventually they drop off one by one. The Space Between Words is such an intriguing title–I’ll have to look into that one. Thanks, Alice.

  2. Debby

    Book recommendations and reviews always get my attention. My son-in-law is currently reading the Jen Hatmaker book and has Trevor Noah’s next up. You’ve piqued my interest more.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m curious to see what your s-i-l will think of the Jen Hatmaker book. I know lots of people love that wandering style of writing; it’s not for me. But her insights made it worthwhile anyway.

  3. Bill (cycleguy)

    Hi Lisa! I’m having trouble with firefox so I’m not sure if my comment will even show up. 🙁 I have just finished reading Awaken (Homeless in Atlanta) and have just now purchased Welcome Homeless by Alan Graham. I’m thinking it will be a good read. I’m also reading Come Let us Adore Him (an advent devotional by Paul David Tripp). it has been really good. I am reading two chapters a day right now to get through it once before December 1. I’m also reading The Power of Moments by the Heaths. My at-home reading is Luther by Eric Mataxas. Huge book so it will take me awhile.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, your comment showed up, Bill. I’m seeing a theme with your first two books; I’ve not heard of either of them but they both intrigue me since they’re about the homeless. I recently ran into a fellow classmate that is now homeless and it broke my heart.
      I read Eric Mataxas’s book on Bonhoeffer a few years ago and it also was very long. But worth it! I’m sure Luther will be the same for you. Maybe one day I’ll tackle it. I’m currently reading The Better Angels of Our Natures which is my super-long book of the season so that’s enough. 🙂

  4. Linda Stoll

    Brene’s book is one I’m on the library waiting list for …

    I’m finishing up Jan Karon’s latest right now. Sometimes some light and easy fiction is good for mind and soul!

    Meanwhile, I’m always in awe that you can juggle a number of reads at one time, Lisa!


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      So many people love Jan Karon. One day I hope to sit down with her novels too. I don’t have any fiction books going right now but I can’t allow myself to start another book until I finish 3 or 4 other books first. ha. I am currently over my limit on books I can read at one time, but when they became available from the library and for review at the same time, I had no choice. 🙂 Brene’s book came available at my library much sooner than I expected. I thought I’d be on the wait list for months. Hope that happens with you too, Linda!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Hope some of these books will be interesting to you, too, Jodie! I enjoyed them all. There was one or two that I started and stopped; not enough time to read boring books. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m guessing you’ll love Brene Brown, Theresa. I’ve read several of her books (after watching her TED talk online) and loved them all. She’s very authentic and research-driven, two things that I appreciate in an author, among other things.

  5. Barbara H.

    Lots of interesting choices here! I am not familiar with Trevor Noah, but that book sounds good. I can’t imagine growing up in such a situation. I’m going to go look up Hunger.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I was able to get Hunger as an ebook from my library. I’m so thankful that my library loans Kindle books; it’s been a game-changer to be able to go online and request a book immediately (although many of the best require a waiting list). Roxane Gay’s story has some hard things in it so be forewarned. It makes me realize once again how many things I have been spared in my life by the grace of God.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The listening book is one I would quickly recommend among these six so I’m glad it stood out to you, Angela. The writing was a little too folksy for me at times (which is fine, but just not always what I expect), but the content is so important and immediately useful.

  6. Lesley

    You’ve introduced me to lots of new books here! One of my blogging friends, Gabriele, has been doing a Write 31 Days series on Braving The Wilderness so I’ve heard a lot about it this month and it sounds great.
    I’ve been enjoying Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott- great insights about writing and I like the humour she puts into it too.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, thanks for telling me about Gabriele’s series, Lesley! I just looked it up so I can read it. 🙂 Anne Lamott’s books always crack me up (as well as provide lots of thoughts!). It’s been awhile since I read Bird By Bird, but I remember it being inspirational to continue writing. Glad you’re enjoying it.

  7. Emily Wood

    Lisa, I keep seeing you on different linkups…so today I decided to visit…and I am glad that I did. I love your book recommendations. I am an avid reader and I tend to read several books at once. LOL I am going to have to add some of these to my stack!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Glad to hear from a fellow multi-book reader, Emily. 🙂 I find it more interesting to keep books going from different genres at the same time. I’m not good at it though if any are too similar. ha.

  8. ShootingStarsMag

    I really want to read Born a Crime; I hear great things. I own Hunger and need to read that soon!! I also really want to read The Four Tendencies and I’ve enjoyed Gretchen’s other self-help type of books.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I enjoy watching Trevor Noah on The Daily Show when I can, so Born a Crime adds even more to his favor. I’ve read several of Gretchen’s other books too and have loved every one; she writes in a way that really makes sense to me. Thanks for stopping by, Lauren!

  9. Michele Morin

    I just heard What Should I Read Next podcast with Gretchen and the 4 Tendencies. Quite compelling, and I guess I need to read more.
    I always come away from these monthly posts with my head spinning from all the books I see here that I want to read.
    Thanks for your hard work and diligent sharing.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I listened to that podcast today myself, Michele. I love both Anne and Gretchen so such a perfect mix. The great thing about the 4 Tendencies is that they’re so easy to understand and then apply, unlike some of the other personality systems that can be so complex (although still good).

  10. Susan

    Hunger sounds really compelling — thanks for putting it on my radar! Have you read “Grit”? I’m currently reading it, and several times I keep thinking that it is a “Lisa book” 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I read Grit earlier and absolutely loved it so you pegged me right, Susan! 🙂 I had heard the author interviewed on a podcast and couldn’t wait to read the book. It didn’t disappoint.

  11. floyd

    I got my eye on “How to Listen so People Will Talk”. I enjoyed the thoughts it provoked.

    No big surprise that I’m writing more than reading, but I am reading A Trip, a Tryst, and a Terror by Martha Jane Orlando, a fellow Christian blogger. It’s the first in a series.

    Nice job, Oh great devourer of books!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You keep writing, Floyd, because it will give me more to read! 🙂 That’s teamwork. I’ve heard of Martha Jane Orlando but haven’t read any of her books. Good for you in supporting a fellow blogger. Many of us are ready to do the same for you when your book is published.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I already have another Enneagram book that I want to read myself, Kathryn. 😉 There seems to be a lot of great material on it popping up in the past few years. I’m glad because it really helps me understand myself and others better.

  12. Jean Wise

    I;m going through a phase where I am not reading as much or in depth as much as I like. I love your lists as it reminds me this is something I value and need to be more intentional about. Need to get the Brene Brown book – she is a favorite

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think you’d enjoy Brene’s newest book, Jean. It’s deep but easy to read. We all go through seasons where we read less than others; I’m sure you’re filling your time with other meaningful things though. It’s hard to squeeze everything in. One of the hardest areas for me to be content about in life is time.

  13. Laura Thomas

    What a great line-up of books! I’ve only read Of Mess and Moxie, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I think I’ll be looking our for some of your other recommendations 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Lisa! Stopping by from #tellhisstory

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Of Mess and Moxie had some great insights in it. I didn’t always enjoy the style of mish-mash topics, but what did I expect from that title? ha. Glad you enjoyed the book, too, Laura.

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  15. Char

    What a great selection and variety. I’d love to read them all! I just finished Ann Romney’s book, In this Together – it was very inspirational and surprised me how I learned so much from her sharing. I can’t wait to start on one of yours. Which one?….. hmmmm

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I didn’t know Ann Romney wrote a book; I’m sure it was very inspirational indeed! I can’t imagine all the trials she’s been through. Thanks for sharing about it, Char!

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