Books I’m reading in July/August ’14

I’m in a summer reading zone, thanks to long road trips.

I veered off my 2014 reading list after an unplanned stop at the library and their “new books” shelf. (Who can resist?) Of the three books I’m reading now, only one is from my list, Les Misérables (I hope to finish it in 2014). I’ll add at least one more book in August. See other nightstands at 5 Minutes for Books.

1. Les Misérables
by Victor Hugo


Love the movie(s); love its theme of grace and redemption. I’m feeling brave enough now to dive into the (very long) book since I finished The Brothers Karamazov. So far it’s all about the bishop, who is very easy to read about.

2. The Everything Store
Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
by Brad Stone


A fascinating look at Amazon from its beginning and of its founder Jeff Bezos. His philosophy is: start with the customer’s needs and work backwards. As a frequent customer, I appreciate that (but as his employee, I’d find him incredibly harsh). I’m in the chapter where they start the Kindle (one of the greatest inventions ever).

3. Why We Eat Our Own
by Michael Cheshire


“The vast majority of these Christians are leaving for two main reasons: First, and foremost, they are tired of being treated harshly by other Christians. Second, they feel the church has lost relevance to its community and to what they are going through in their everyday lives.” – Michael Cheshire

4. One Way Love
 Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World
by TullianTchividjian


I look forward to starting this book in August. Can we ever have too much grace?


1. Being Wrong
Adventures in the Margin of Error

by Kathryn Schulz


My review here

This is a fabulous book about why we hate being wrong. But we all are wrong—a lot. This book helps us at least understand it better.

2. Talk like TED
The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds
by Carmine Gallo


Of course I have no plans to ever give a TED talk, but that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm to read this book. It’s a fascinating look at what goes into TED talks (which I love watching!) and has added quite a few videos to my to-watch list.

3. The Good Luck of Right Now
by Matthew Quick

The Good Luck of Right Now (2/11/14) by Matthew Quick

I rarely read a novel without a recommendation, but I pulled this one off the shelf because it had “Right Now” in the title. I enjoyed it, but can’t really recommend it because of one character’s constant use of the f*** word. Other than that, it’s actually a meaningful story with a good moral.

4. Invitation to Love
The Way of Christian Contemplation

by Thomas Keating


“They expected to be patted on the back. On the contrary, Jesus said, ‘Do not get excited about that kind of success. Anybody can work miracles with a little psychic energy and the divine assistance. What you should rejoice over is that your names are written in heaven.’ That is to say, ‘You have the destiny to enter the kingdom of God and to transmit the values of the kingdom to the people you love and to whom I am sending you.’” – Thomas Keating

5. Thrive
The Third Metric to Redefining Sucess and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
by Arianna Huffington


Arianna Huffington, the creator, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, had a wake-up call, and decided she needed to redefine success by a metric other than money and power. This book explains her third metric. She does a fine job with it, but it’s not much we don’t already know: sleep more, eat better, give often, love others, etc. I started skimming about halfway through.

6. Chasing Francis
A Pilgrim’s Tale
by Ian Morgan Cron


This novel (yet part non-fiction) is about the character Chase Falcon and his spiritual pilgrimage from the pulpit of an evangelical church to rediscovering an authentic faith through the writings of Francis of Assisi (whom you learn a lot about). I love Ian Morgan Cron’s writings and this one doesn’t disappoint.

7. Essentialism
The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by Greg McKeown


My review here

A perspective-shifting book. We don’t routinely narrow down what really, really matters to us, but when we do, we become an essentialist and can better live out the purpose of our lives. An easy read but a good one.

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What’s a good book you are reading or want to read this month? Please share here.


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

34 thoughts on “Books I’m reading in July/August ’14

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I’ll be reading Erik Prince’s “Civilian Warriors”; it’s the story of the rise of Blackwater. Interesting for me because I worked in that industry in its early days.

    I’ll probably also re-read a couple of Arthur Clarke’s SF novels.

    “Why We Eat Our Own” will go on the list. I’m horrified at how Christians treat one another, and how we tend to treat those of other faiths, especially Muslims.

    Interpreting the Bible to say that Islam is the devil’s invention because of what some Wahhabi adherents have done is akin to calling the Westboro Baptist Church representative of Christianity.

    It’s not surprising that a lot of Christians are fed up, and it’s up to the rest of us to take back the beauty and grace of our faith.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Civilian Warriors sounds like an interesting read. I remember hearing about Blackwater in the news awhile back, but really don’t know much at all except for what the media shared (and I’m sure that’s reliable! haha).

      I agree with you that Christians need to show the world more love, not judgment, and it’d be less turned off by us. And that includes showing love to those with very different faiths like you mention, as well as those who are close to us in faith but have minor differences. Because none of us believe exactly alike–that shouldn’t be a deterrent to living out the “beauty and grace of our faith.” (nice phrase)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You know, I don’t know if I’ve ever read a John Grisham novel. Yet. I’ve seen some movies (intense) but I should give his novels a try at some point. I have lots of family members with his books so it’d be easy to get one. Enjoy, Linda!

  2. Jerralea

    I like to read your posts on which books you are reading because you always mention an author I don’t know much about. Now I want to read One Way Love and Chasing Francis!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The author of Chasing Francis also wrote Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. It was autobiographical and was very good. I’d encourage you to read that one too. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I don’t know if it’s an audio book or not. It’s fairly new. My husband is the king of audiobooks. He has a 40-minute one way commute to work every day, so he can “read” a lot of books that way. I tend to want music in the car, but if I didn’t have the luxury of reading at other times, I’d be listening to books then instead. Gotta have ’em. 🙂

  3. floyd

    Impressive list, as usual! I’m reading David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Like all of his books it’s educational and digs deep into the heart of mankind to bring out a knew way of looking at things. I don’t necessarily agree with his take on the physical make up of Goliath, but I understand the perspective he’s reaching for.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I keep hearing good things about Gladwell’s David and Goliath. I’ll look forward to what you think when you’re done. I hope to get around to it eventually.

  4. Danita

    First of all I love your blog…it is amazing!!!! I just finished “Bridge to Haven” by Francine Rivers which was awesome …done only as Francine Rivers can do it!!! Currently reading “Team of Rivals” which is becoming a marathon…..cant sprint through this one ,” Bold Pourpose, exchanging counterfeit happiness for the joy of real meaning in life” by Dan B Allender (my favorite therapist that I never had) and Tremper Longman III, this book is based on the book of eccleasiastes (sp) its quite interesting enjoying it so far! Happy reading !!!!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Danita. My favorite Francine Rivers book is still Redeeming Love. I think it’s going to come out as a movie soon? You’ve got lots of interesting books going too. Thanks for sharing! I love to see what others are reading.

  5. David

    I love to read about what you’re reading! 🙂

    Amazon gets a lot of hype and excited coverage. I think you’re right about being an employee: have you read about the conditions in their warehouses?

    I am just past the middle of a very dreary (and very long) book on German irrationalist philosophy (from the post-Hegelians up to the Nazis). Really grim reading. The author (Georg Lukacs) is a real trouper for ploughing through so much drivel (mixing metaphors madly there).


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I’ve heard mainly bad things about Amazon work conditions in their warehouse. And after reading how driven Jeff Bezos is, I’m not totally surprised. That’s why I’m glad to only be his customer, not his employee. 😉 We have an Amazon distribution center not too far from us so I’d like to go tour it sometimes and just see how they make it all work. It’s quite a fascinating operation as I understand it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I stayed up last night to finish the Amazon book. I’m not quite sure why it fascinated me so. ha. But it’s such a diverse company that is into so many things. It definitely made me feel sorry for some of the little companies though that have to compete with Amazon. Not many winning in that scenario.

  6. Tonia

    Your list always inspires me – I now have a stack of non-fiction sitting here because I’m expanding my horizons beyond the usual fiction that I read. You seem to find/read the books that intrigue me.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Tonia. I know how you feel–when I read other people’s lists, I always add more to my own list. 🙂 That’s probably why my list is now larger than the amount of time I have left ever to read. ha. But this year has been especially good because I’m realizing that I enjoy it more when I’m selective. I still stray off my lists to pick up books that just look good at the library, but more often than not, I’m choosing selectively.

  7. Kathryn Ross

    Hi Lisa!
    Blessings to you as you plow through those books! You’re my husband’s kind of customer – he’s a career bookseller currently with Barnes & Noble. Yeah – our house is swarming with books. I prefer vintage editions and the classics and lots of art and history topics. Very picky about a lot of stuff – but am into some good reads by some of our Blogland gals that have recently launched. Maybe I’ll be on that list someday.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      How interesting that your husband is a career bookseller! After reading the Amazon book, I feel even more empathy for bookstores who are getting squeezed. 🙁 My niece worked for Barnes and Noble for awhile in New York and did enjoy her time there. She collects vintage books herself now. It’s good that you’re picky about your reading! There are so many books out there so we have to be picky.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I am reading the unabridged version, Barbara. I do fear it’s going to be similar to The Brothers Karamazov in all those tangents. The first part could have been a book all by itself, before Jean Valjean has even been mentioned. ha. But it’s been very interesting nonetheless so maybe I’m adjusting better to just flow with it.

  8. Bluerose

    I can never resist those new books at the library either! I have a list a mile long, but those new books always pull me toward them. 🙂

    Most of these are new to me, but I’m really curious about Essentialism.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I need to return the four books today that I got from the library a few weeks ago, so I may just slip back inside and glance at the new books shelf again. Just to see! 🙂

  9. Jean Wise

    as usual love your live. I will check out Talk like Ted and Why We eat our own. sounds fascinating. I just finished A More Beautiful Question and will mention it on my Thursday blog. I found it very interesting and thought provoking. I borrowed it from the library but may be one I end up purchasing…. Have a wonderful week, Lisa and keep reading.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ll be reading your blog tomorrow to hear about A More Beautiful Question. The title alone is intriguing!

      You sound just like me: I borrow a book from the library first (when possible), and if I really like it, I end up buying my own copy. 🙂

  10. Beverley

    Loved the Les Mis film and theatre, i have a copy of the book but not started it, my daughter recommends i don’t as for once it is not as good as the movie. Beside i have so many half books to finish…or maybe not as i keep getting distracted.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Unfortunately I just got a new stack of books from the library yesterday so now Les Mis will have to compete. But so far it is pulling me in very well on its own. I’ll keep you posted on how it compares to me in book form versus the other genres.

  11. Carrie, Reading to Know

    Per usual, I have NO IDEA where to start with your list. 😀 So many interesting titles.

    That one about Amazon looks interesting. I’m going to mark that one down on my Amazon wish list. Irony.

    And I’m so glad that you are reading Les Mis! I think everyone should give it a go at least once! 🙂 So rich!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ha. Yes, that is ironic – we are all quite tied to Amazon. And after reading the book, I understand why even more. It is fascinating reading if you like that kind of stuff (and I do!).

      I am surprising myself at how much I am enjoying Les Mis so far. 🙂 I hope it continues.

  12. bekahcubed

    I haven’t read anything by Tullian Tchividjian, nor do I really know much about him except that he was a member of the Gospel Coalition. Now that he’s split with the Gospel Coalition, I’m really curious about his ideas on grace vs. those of some of the current coalition members. Why is it that controversies are such a draw? It’s an interesting dynamic. I’m reminded of the passage in I Corinthians 11 where Paul says he believes that there are factions – and that there should be in order to recognize truth – but that the type of factions they had in Corinth were not good. It’s hard to know where that line goes in some of these theological debates.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve read a few things of Tchividjian’s before and really love his grace tone in his books. I didn’t follow the Gospel Coalition split very closely either. I think I read one or two posts about it (from both sides, if you want to call them sides) and then moved on. Hope they got all their issues sorted out amicably and that none of it was distracting to those seeking Christ.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m hooked on Amazon too. It’s hard not to keep returning to them over and over. And don’t even get me started on the Kindle. It’s made packing for trips so much easier and lighter. 🙂

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