Six Books I Recommend – September 2016

Below are three non-fiction and three fiction books I read this month that I can recommend to you.



1. Essential Enneagram
The Definitive Personality Test and Self-Discovery Guide
by David N. Daniels


Do you know about the Enneagram? It’s a personality typing system and then some. This book isn’t my favorite (The Wisdom of the Enneagram is, so far), but it’s shorter and it’s still helpful. It offers specific practices for spiritual growth for each of the nine types.

2. Without You, There Is No Us
My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite
by Suki Kim


Excellent book by a journalist who went undercover to teach English at a boys’ college in North Korea. Kim’s stories are haunting and sad, but also endearing. I count this an important read to understand more about North Koreans.

3. The Jesus Creed
Loving God, Loving Others
by Scot McKnight


I recommend this re-read because it gets back to the basics: love God, love others. It’s what our Christianity is all about. We too often forget and get distracted.


4. The Age of Miracles
by Karen Thompson Walker


A little disturbing, this novel is a coming of age story when the earth’s rotation suddenly begins slowing down, more each day. I have mixed feelings about it, but it’s definitely a book that will get you thinking about how you would react if catastrophe struck, albeit in a gradual way like this.

5. The War that Saved My Life
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley


In another coming of age story (this won the WSJ’s Best Children’s Book of 2015), nine-year-old Ada and her brother get moved out of London during World War II to escape the bombings. But the move is interesting when you compare what they leave behind to what they move to.

6. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler


Rosemary Cooke tells the story of her life, alluding to some mysterious event that occurred early on. It takes awhile for her to reveal it, and I never would have figured it out on my own. A very unusual Β but interesting plot.

Reading Now

  • The One-in-a-Million Boy
    by Monica Wood
  • The Underground Railroad
    by Colson Whitehead
  • The Road Back to You
    An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery
    by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

* * *

What are you reading this month? Please share here.


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

28 thoughts on “Six Books I Recommend – September 2016

  1. David

    Dear Lisa

    “The Jesus Creed” looks good. I have read that “Open Mind Open Heart” twice now, and made plenty of margin notes (in pencil!). Reading these books is only the start though.

    I am currently reading Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin. I think it is really really really fantastic. It has a deeply religious feel to it. Have you heard about it? If not, here’s a recent American review (which I haven’t read yet):

    If we were friends IRL I would buy you a copy for your birthday — though I imagine your “to read” pile is quite hierarchitectitiptitoploftical already.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for telling me about Laurus. I haven’t heard of it until now. I scanned the link and it sounds interesting! But I also bookmarked it so I can return to it later and read it closer when I have time.

      I confess I had to look up hierarchitectitiptitoploftical. πŸ™‚ And it very aptly fits my reading list!

  2. Susan

    Interesting list! I have never heard of the Enneagram, but may need to look into it as personality stuff fascinates me. I remember reading Age of Miracles a couple of years ago and yes, it was kind of disturbing! I woke up for a while afterwards kind of scared about the earth slowing before remembering it was “just a book”!! I’ve heard about “Without You …” I should read it as I know embarrassingly little about either Korea.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      If you like personality stuff, you’ll like the Enneagram. Let me know if you check into it! Without You is a gentle read to learn more about North Korea, but for a broader view, check into “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea” by Barbara Demick. I read it 3 years ago and it was eye-opening.

  3. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Interesting list, though I confess that after many years of therapy I don’t really read much about personality.

    Most of what I’m reading right now is geared to remaining motivated to keep on living. I’m slipping, in that regard, and need to plug some holes.

  4. Ashley Davis

    I just finished Warriors don’t Cry and Paperboy recently. Loved both of them. I started reading A Case of Bad Taste yesterday. So far, it is a pretty hilarious book. I also picked up a few other books from the library books that we are sorting through here in Arapal (a fun task because there are sooo many books!). The first edition of Spurgeon’s sermons and The Second Coming of Sodom. I haven’t started those yet.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you loved both Warriors Don’t Cry and Paperboy too! I haven’t heard of A Case of Bad Taste but it does sound funny. Those kinds of books are good to have on our nightstands too. πŸ™‚ What fun to sort through so many books even in Arapal! Blessings to you, Ashley.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Both The War that Saved My Life and The Underground Railroad have been enjoyable (albeit painful) reads. The plots are good even though the atrocities can make you cry. The saddest part is that both stories are grounded in real life.

  5. Bill (cycleguy)

    I’ve just posted about one of my recent ones “The Grace Effect.” I’m also reading “The Imperfect Pastor” by Eswine. I am also immersing myself in several books on sex trafficking. And I’m reading “The Reason” by Lacey Sturm.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I saw your review of The Grace Effect on your blog and marked it as a to-read book for myself too. I so appreciate your passion for learning more and doing more to help those being sex trafficked. It’s an area I haven’t stepped a toe into at all yet except for prayers, so I’m all the more appreciative of those of you who are pushing forward.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s funny that after reading The War that Saved My Life, the book I’m reading now is Everyone Brave Is Forgiven. Have you read that one? It’s also a WW2 story from a British perspective (so far, anyway). Usually most WW2 stuff I’ve read in the past has mainly been from the American perspective, so this is broadening my viewpoint. πŸ™‚

  6. Susan V

    Hi there! I found you on the 5 Minutes for Books, and was interested in your opinion of “The War That Saved My Life”. I *loved* the book – for me as an adult, and my grown daughter loved it too, but she teaches 4th grade and was looking for a good read-aloud for them, and we both agreed that the abuse in this book really makes it NOT the right book for 4th-graders. What age do you think this is really good for? The part at the end was really hard for me to take – no spoilers, but I think you get what I mean. I found it fascinating how the kids didn’t know what sheets were (the bedsheets), and didn’t know how a church might be different from a bank. Have you read Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo? Another great read, but the main character’s dad ran off with the dental hygenist! Another kids’ book I *adored* was “Counting by 7’s”. I continue to look for books appropriate for a 4th grade read-aloud! I also have 7 and 8 year old granddaughters and am looking for wholesome books for them – they read above grade level, but the subject matter of so many books is just not what their parents want them to be reading!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I totally agree with you and your daughter—I wouldn’t recommend The War that Saved My Life until high school. That might be too conservative for some, but I’d rather err on the safe side where young minds are concerned. My only exception might be for children who have experienced similar abuse and who need to see they are not alone. But that would have to be on a case-by-case basis. It was eye-opening to me, too, to read of the things that they would never have heard of, like sheets! Crazy and sad. πŸ™ I have not read Ramie Nightingale nor Counting by 7’s but they sound good. Yes, it is a challenge to find age-appropriate yet engaging material for pre-teen readers. I remember that dilemma when my daughters were around that age. Hope you find some good material!

  7. Pam

    Hi Lisa! Always love these posts and your current and recent reads! This month I read God Attachment by Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Josh Straub, Wholeheartedness by Chuck DeGroat, Catching Heat by Janice Cantore (fiction), If You Can Keep It by Eric Metaxas, and Crossing the Waters by Leslie Leyland Fields. I am currently reading Red Dragonflies by Chris Rossbach and Choose and Choose Again by J. Kevin Butcher.

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