Books I Recommend to Bring Us Together – Day 29 of Handmade


We usually associate most comfortably with people who are similar to us.

Even if we want to meet people outside of our culture, it’s not always easy to do if they’re just not here and not available where we are.

Except. . .

Books! They can bring us together in unexpected ways.


Books introduce us to people we wouldn’t know otherwise. And places. And circumstances.

And who knows? We might later use our new knowledge even among the people we already do know.

The four books I finished this month brought me together with other cultures that I don’t live in and brought me closer to God.

Here are the 2 novels and 2 non-fiction books I recommend from what I finished reading in October. Once a month we share our current reading list at Jennifer’s.

Books I Recommend


1. Mudbound
by Hillary Jordan


It’s 1940s in the Mississippi Delta. White city-girl Laura McAllan has had to move to farming country to live her husband’s dream. She befriends a family of black sharecroppers on their land. Each character in this novel has a unique struggle as they are forced to make a life together.

2. Stay with Me
by Ayobami Adebayo


Set in Nigeria, this book travels back and forth in time to tell the polygamous love story of Yejide and Akin. It’s painful at times as Yejide struggles with infertility, and as she learns her husband has taken a second wife.


3. How Not to Get Shot
And Other Advice From White People
by D. L. Hughley


This book is by a black comedian and satirist D. L. Hugley. He writes suggestions for how black people can avoid getting shot in encounters with police and white people. It has some rough language at times, and it is quite funny in places, but the message of danger and injustice is a serious one and it comes through loud and clear in between the laughs.

4. God of Tomorrow
How to Overcome the Fears of Today and Renew Your Hope for the Future
by Caleb W. Kaltenbach


Pastor Kaltenbach writes on a huge range of cultural issues. I don’t agree with all of his biblical interpretations, but I do agree with his tone of love and trust and hope. He invites us to respond to each other with more grace than we have been. He successfully repeats the truth again and again that relying on the God of tomorrow helps us live better today.

My review here of God of Tomorrow


  • A Prayer for Owen Meany
    by John Irving
  • The Last Ballad
    by Cash Wiley
  • Raise Your Voice
    Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up
    by Kathy Khang
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
    by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Resist and Persist
    Faith and the Fight for Equality
    by Erin Wathen
  • Remember Death
    The Surprising Path to Living Hope
    by Matthew McCullough 

Three Questions

Here are our three questions of the day:

(1) Have you traveled outside your home country?

(2) Do you have friends who are very different than you in some way?

(3) Has God ever used a book to change the way you view something or someone?

* * *

What are your answers? Please share in the comments.

My answers

(1) El Salvador and Guatemala

(2) Yes, especially in the last 5 years. It’s been eye-opening and soul-growing.

(3) God uses books all the time to teach me new things and change my mind about old things.

Get the whole Handmade series here

Handmade - Finding God in Your Story

13 thoughts on “Books I Recommend to Bring Us Together – Day 29 of Handmade

  1. Michele Morin

    I am SO dependent up on books for this very thing. When you traveled to Maine, you likely noticed how homogeneous the population is here compared with where you live. The internet is also a big help in broadening my world.

  2. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, books can make us aware of others and bring understanding of the battles they face each day. Such a good suggestion! I have traveled outside of the US and it always has been very eye opening. I do have friends very different than me and I so appreciate them as they introduce me to foods and traditions and thoughts, I’d otherwise never experience. And God uses books each and every day to broaden my understanding of both Himself and others.

  3. Beth

    How do you do it, Lisa?! You and so many other bloggers who do book reviews always amaze me! I am lucky to read through a couple of books in a few months! Thanks for always pointing out the ones that are intriguing and worth a second look! Hope you are doing well, my friend!

  4. Barbara Harper

    The Internet in general and blogs in particular have also opened my eyes to a lot of lifestyles and worldviews I might not have otherwise encountered.

    1) Nope

    2) Yes

    3) Yes

    Short and sweet today. 🙂

  5. Anita Ojeda

    Yes–I spent a school year in Spain and traveled all over Europe during holidays. I’ve also been to Canada (does that count?), Mexico, and Aruba. I have friends who are different from me, but I confess it’s not many. I’ve lived a pretty insular life. God uses books all the time to speak to me–both fiction and non-ficiton :).

  6. bill (cycleguy)

    #1- yes. Been awhile. Went to Holy Land in 1979.
    #2- Yes. It’s because I am different (or so the rumor goes). 🙂
    #3- Yes. All the time. I don’t always agree with what I read but I don’t mind being challenged.

  7. Jean Wise

    Mudbound – what a great title.

    (1) Have you traveled outside your home country? Yes and leave for Ireland this Thursday!!!!!

    (2) Do you have friends who are very different than you in some way? Some of my writing friends are “quirky” love how they view life from a unique POV

    (3) Has God ever used a book to change the way you view something or someone? all the time. One reason why I love YOUR book lists. I find treasures here I miss otherwise. Thanks

  8. David

    1. Yes. It is nice to explore and meet different people but what really hits me is the little birds and their songs.
    2. I used to be on the edge of a few very different cliques. It’s harder these days.
    3. I didn’t interpret it as God at the time but I remember feeling chastened by a philosophy book, which I bought while in a post-row grump. More recently the biography of Bonhoeffer (the German one, not the American one you reviewed) helped me start to see myself as a Christian.

  9. Trudy

    I love your honest reviews and your gift to be able to pick out the good lessons in a book you don’t totally agree with, Lisa. Mudbound really draws me in, and I just put in a library request for it. 🙂

    Though I’d love to travel to another country, the furthest I’ve ever gone is Canada. Yes, I have friends, even family members, that don’t feel the same as I do in some important (to me anyway) issues. It helps if I try to see things through their eyes in light of their background (or lack of certain experiences) and accept them as they are. I love books that help me to see life through another person’s eyes and change my thinking for the better. 🙂 Love and hugs to you!

  10. Laurie

    ALL of the books you list here look good. I am reading Quo Vadis, lent to me by my oldest son. It was slow going at first, but I really am liking it now. It is a BIG book, however. I might mix in one of the books you suggested so I don’t get bogged down. Thank you for the great suggestions!

      1. Laurie

        I never read The Robe, but I did see the movie. I would guess the books are not too similar. All of the story in Quo Vadis occurs after the Crucifixion and Ascension, in Rome. It’s a slow start, but eventually, I couldn’t put it down.

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