4 Books I Recommend – October 2019

Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.
– Jane Smiley

I was rocking my newest grandbaby this month more than I was reading. But here are 4 books I did finish in the past month and recommend to you.

And if you’re a nonfiction fan, here’s a great November series to follow with JulzReads and others: Nonfiction November. My first week’s post is here: My Year in Nonfiction So Far.

4 Books I Recommend October 2019

Books I Recommend


1. Indistractable
How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life
by Nir Eyal


Are you too easily distracted? Nir Eyal wrote a great book to help us look at why we get off track and what to do to get back on track. Lots of practical tips here.

Here’s my full review of Indistractable.

2. Maid
Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive
by Stephanie Land


If you wonder what it’s like to be a single mom in America, this is a great introduction. Stephanie Land writes from personal experience. When she found herself in the unimaginable position of homelessness with her little girl, she began working as a housecleaner to build a better life. I cried again and again throughout this book. If we haven’t been in these shoes ourselves, we likely know someone else who has. A great read.

3. Enlightenment Now
The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
by Steven Pinker

Enlightenment Now

This is a dense book. But an important one! Like another of Pinker’s books that I love (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined), this one also is full of data about why the world is getting better, not worse. He does point out exceptions (such as, climate change and our political culture), but overall the trends are positive, not negative. I needed this book.


4. The Lying Game
by Ruth Ware

This is my third Ruth Ware novel the past few months. These books are mysteries, but not full of gore or graphic violence, so I can handle them. This one is my favorite yet, probably because it centers around a core group of four women who have remained friends for years. When a body is unearthed on a beach in England, one of the four women quickly texts the other three: “I need you.” 


  • Something Needs to Change
    A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need
    by David Platt
  • A Thousand Lives
    The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown
    by Julia Scheeres
  • A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

* * *

What good book are you reading this month? Please share in the comments.

Want more book recommendations? I’ve just posted these:

My books on Goodreads
More books I recommend

38 thoughts on “4 Books I Recommend – October 2019

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I did read Digital Minimalism! I liked it. But I was hoping it would tell me more how to get rid of some of the massive digital clutter that I’ve collected so I probably didn’t get as much out of it as I could have if I’d had a different mindset going in.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can’t promise that all of her books are clean, but I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far. She has a brand new one that came out this fall, The Turn of the Key. I have it on hold at my library.

  1. Trudy

    Maid drew me in, Lisa. I started reading the sample pages at Amazon and got caught up in the story. I just checked our library and they have it. I reserved a copy. 🙂 Thanks, Lisa, for all your recommendations. And keep cuddling that little one while you can! They grow up so fast! So what does big sister think of her little sister? It’s quite an adjustment for her, too. Love and blessings to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yay! I’m glad your library has Maid, too, Trudy. I read it from my library’s kindle collection, but it took quite awhile to get it. Another book in that genre is Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, written by Barbara Ehrenreich, who is actually one of the ones that discovered the writer of Maid and helped her get published. I loved that book. So eye-opening!

      Big sister is adjusting, but it’s been a process. ha. She really doesn’t like me holding the baby. But she’s getting more used to it as time goes on. It’s such a precious time to me to get to be here during these first few weeks. I’m so grateful that my daughter wants me here! (And her husband says he wishes I’d stay 3 months. It’s probably my cooking and cleaning more than my company though. ha.).

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, Maid was a difficult book to read because it’s so sad to hear the reality that many people have to live in. 🙁

      I am loving my rock-rock time with the baby! I know this age flies by so quickly.

  2. Laurie

    I always look forward to your book recommendations, Lisa. I am in the process of building my next list of books (I am currently reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran”). I think I will add Maid to the list and maybe Enlightenment Now. Enjoy that new granddaughter!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I just redid my next list of books too, Laurie. I’m glad to hear that others do that! ha. I don’t always read that way, but it helps me to read the books I already have when I work a list like that.

  3. Cathy

    Maid sounds like something I’d like to read. I used to clean houses for a living. Here in Canada we get paid well. ($25-$30 an hour) Sad to see the U.S. doesn’t do the same. I was blessed that everyone I worked for was kind and grateful for what I did for them. It would be a very hard job to do, not just physically, but emotionally, if treated poorly.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s good to hear that housecleaners get paid better in Canada at least! It is hard work and deserves to be rewarded. In “Maid” she tells some awful stories about the messes she was required to clean up. But she does tell of some families who were very good to her, so that was encouraging. Thanks for sharing your experience, Cathy.

  4. Mother of 3

    These sound like great books. I think I’d particularly like Maid and Enlightenment Now. Thanks so much for sharing at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ha. It was hard to stay focused as I was reading Indistractable so your joke is well-appreciated. 🙂 But it wasn’t become of the book; it really was interesting. Playing with babies was just far more important.

  5. nylse

    I now want to read Maid. Adding it to my list.
    I just completed Jill Biden’s memoir which gave me a new appreciation for her.
    Memoir is my favorite genre.
    Stopping by from a Friday Linkup

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Maid was so interesting (but also sad in parts). Hope you will enjoy it too. I’ll have to look into Jill Biden’s memoir–I would probably enjoy it too! I absolutely loved Michelle Obama’s Becoming. Such a great woman and a great writer too.

  6. Laura Thomas

    Thanks for the recommendation, Lisa—I have added The Lying Game to my ever-growing to-be-read list! I just finished The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood—a fascinating historical fiction based on the Dionne quintuplets born in the 1930s in Canada. So good! Happy reading to you. Stopping by from #faithnfriends

      1. Laura Thomas

        Yay! Hope you enjoy it. She did a book reading event in my city and is such a lovely lady—super smart and wonderfully humble. She did a tremendous amount of research for this book—and it shows!

      1. Liz Dexter

        Thank you, although I’m not seeing any comments from you on my blog – did you have trouble getting it to accept your details or anything? I’ve checked my comments spam folder, too, so it’s a bit of a mystery. If you can remember which posts you commented on I’ll have another look. And I think I love both equally, but for different reasons and purposes!

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          I don’t remember having any trouble commenting, Liz, but sometimes my browser does strange things if I comment through Safari instead of Chrome. 🙁 I just left a comment on your Nonfiction Pairing post and I can see it myself, so hopefully it went through. (I used Chrome this time.)

          1. Liz

            Yes, I got that, a shame about any others you tried to add as they have vanished into the ether – I’ve poked around in my spam folder and found nothing. Glad to have you over there now – once you’ve commented once and been approved your comments should auto-approve now.

  7. Donna

    Congratulations on the new baby. I’ve been trying to read more nonfiction this year. Though I’m not really doing nonfiction November I’m listening to a nonfiction audiobook and I found another nonfiction book in my backlog of ARCs to read this month. See my October wrap up

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Donna! I’ve been at my daughter’s house again this weekend and have spent a lot of hours holding the sweet baby girl. 🙂 Just read your October wrap-up. Lots of interesting titles there.

  8. Danielle Hammelef

    I enjoy reading mysteries and thrillers, and like you, can’t handle/don’t like gore and violence so I’m going to check out Ruth Ware’s books. You made me so happy to find an adult mystery/thriller writer that doesn’t focus on the brutality of the crimes. Congrats on the new grand-baby!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Danielle! I got to spend the weekend with the grandbabies and had such fun. But didn’t do ANY reading. ha. My husband just finished listening to the latest Ruth Ware book and he enjoyed it. I have it on hold but it will be several weeks before it becomes available for Kindle.

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