8 Books I Recommend—October 2021 + 1 Minute Video Review

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
– Marcus Tullius Cicero

Below are 8 books I recommend from what I finished reading in October plus a 1-minute video review.

Don’t forget that Nonfiction November begins Monday, November 1. Find the details here for this reading challenge.

[See previously recommended books here]


1. Where the Light Fell
A Memoir
by Philip Yancey

Where the Light Fell - Philip Yancey

How did Philip Yancey turn into a wonderful spiritual writer about suffering and grace? Now we can know. This is his memoir. It’s a hard story (he went through difficult seasons), but a beautiful one.

[click here if you can’t see the 1-minute book review]

[see more quotes here from Where the Light Fell]

2. Soundtracks
The Surprising Solution to Overthinking
by Jon Acuff


If your brain works overtime, spinning in circles, this is a helpful book to jump off the overthinking treadmill. We all have soundtracks we play in our mind; switch to a better one. Jon Acuff is an easy-to-read author with good content.

3. Leaving the Witness
Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life
by Amber Scorah

Leaving the Witness

This memoir reads like a novel. Amber Scorah chronicles her journey as a devout Jehovah’s Witness. But when she decides to get out, everything changes. A fascinating read.

4. Shoutin’ in the Fire
An American Epistle
by Danté Stewart

Shoutin' in the Fire

As a white woman, I don’t know what it’s like to live in a Black body in white Christian spaces. But Danté Stewart explains it. He writes beautiful, heart-wrenching prose that cuts to the bone. You have to feel something when you read his words.

[more here about Shoutin’ in the Fire]

5. Preventable
The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response
by Andy Slavitt

Preventable Andy Slavitt

Want to hear what happened behind-the-scenes during the pandemic in 2020? Andy Slavitt kept notes from his multiple interviews and eye-witness accounts as it happened. It’s very interesting yet sad to read. And also important material for next time. (I also recommend his ongoing podcast about the pandemic, In the Bubble)


6. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
by Charlie Mackesy

The Boy the Mole the Fox and the Horse

Although the font is a little difficult to read, this simple, short book is a poignant story of a curious boy meeting new friends. He learns about life and love and being kind. A quick but powerful read.

7. One True Loves
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves

The story pulled me in from the first chapter: Emma Blair is engaged to her old friend Sam when she gets a phone call from her presumed-dead husband Jesse. He’s alive. Now what?

8. The Book of V.
by Anna Solomon

The Book of V.

Three stories in one. (1) A reimagining of the Esther story from the Old Testament, (2) a banished senator’s wife in the 1970s refuses to perform a humiliating act in front of guests, and (3) a modern day woman in Brooklyn tries to keep her life together. I love how the stories overlap (note it does get raunchy in places).

Reading Now

  • Your Story Matters
    Finding, Writing, and Living the Truth of Your Life
    by Leslie Leyland Fields
  • Abuelita Faith
    What Women on the Margins Teach Us about Wisdom, Persistence, and Strength
    by Kat Armas
  • Reasons to Stay Alive
    by Matt Haig
  • Benefit of the Doubt
    Breaking the Idol of Certainty
    by Gregory A. Boyd
  • I Take My Coffee Black
    Reflections on Tupac, Musical Theater, Faith, and Being Black in America
    by Tyler Merritt

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

My books on Goodreads
More books I recommend

16 thoughts on “8 Books I Recommend—October 2021 + 1 Minute Video Review

  1. Martha J Orlando

    This has to be at least the third time a fellow blogger has recommended Yancey’s book, Lisa. That usually shouts “must-read” to me, so I’ll be looking into it. Thanks for all your reviews.

  2. JeanWise

    as usual love your list. I am rereading soundtracks. Yes easy to read but lots of truth in it too. My self talk needs some positivity.

  3. Gretchen

    Some interesting reads this month! I have heard so many good things about The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. I’ll have to try and get my hands on it.

    Have a great November!

  4. Lois Flowers

    Lisa, I already had a hold on “Where the Light Fell” at my library, and now I’ve added “One True Loves” as well. I’m currently in the middle of “Murder Your Darlings” (thanks to your recommendation). I read a little a time … it’s good food for thought as I work on my own writing projects. 🙂

  5. Kathy Martin

    Interesting assortment of books. I like your combination of fiction and nonfiction even though I tend to avoid nonfiction. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  6. David

    Nice video review! I really should do something like that to practise getting to the point — last time I tried I was just getting into my stride when the timer went.

    In October I finished 2 Kings and started 1 Chronicles (I don’t want to race through but if I can finish Chronicles & Ezra-Nehemiah so that I am reading Isaiah over Advent and Christmas I’ll be very happy).

    Also read a lovely little book called The Soul of Wine: Savoring the Goodness of God by Gisela H. Kreglinger (2019). Good on savouring God’s gifts, on work as prayer (the author is from a Franconian wine-making family). Wine is very much part of my life, so this voice was helping imbue normal life with a Christian light.

  7. Danielle Hammelef

    I hope you are enjoying I Take My Coffee Black–I have a copy of this to read soon and think it will be an important read for many. One True Loves sounds like a novel I’d really enjoy.

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