What I’ll be reading in July ’14

Here are three books I want to continue reading into July, and two more I want to start (July is next week, ready or not!). Also here are short reviews of books I finished in June. See others’ nightstands at 5 Minutes for Books.

Chasing Francis
A Pilgrim’s Tale
by Ian Morgan Cron


I’ve been wanting to read this novel by Ian Morgan Cron ever since I finished his memoir, Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. Cron is an insightful, articulate, Christian author with something to say, and I’ve heard this book highly recommended as wisdom literature.

Being Wrong
Adventures in the Margin of Error

by Kathryn Schulz


My review here

I admit it: I want to be right—all the time, if possible. And I often think I am; just ask my husband. {smile} But the truth is, actually I’m wrong a lot of the time. I need to make peace with that. This book is very fascinating so far in explaining it all.

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
by Greg McKeown


My review here

After I read Michael Hyatt’s recent blog post, “Why You Should Flush 90% of Your To-Do Down the Toilet,” I thought I should also read this book he is recommending there, Essentialism, which is, in his words, “The best guide Iโ€™ve discovered to dismantling these ‘yes bombs.'”

Why We Eat Our Own
by Michael Cheshire


Christians have a bad reputation for being judgmental, even of each other. But if we have the good news of grace, why is this so? I hope this book can help explain it, and help me not be so judgmental myself.

Invitation to Love
The Way of Christian Contemplation
by Thomas Keating


Ah, this one is just food for my soul. I love spending time with Father Keating to enhance my own contemplative life with God.


Crazy Busy
A (Mercifully)Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem
by Kevin DeYoung


My review here

Busyness is the curse of our age. DeYoung analyzes why. This book isn’t as much a how-to-conquer-busyness as it is a diagnostic tool to get to the root of it. But in the process of understanding the causes, you do come away with some things to try.

Why You Really Can Memorize Scripture
by Daniel Morris


This is a short eBook I got for my Kindle when it was free (it’s back to $5.99 now). Morris briefly explains why and how to memorize scripture. I didn’t necessarily learn a lot of new things, but I was motivated by it to keep memorizing, so it was worth the read. I would recommend it for someone new at memorizing scripture.

Everything Belongs
The Gift of Contemplative Prayer
by Richard Rohr


This is a five-star read. I don’t know where to begin explaining it; just go read it yourself. It’s full of grace and connection and the love of God.

How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

My review here


Another five-star book. Along with the other books by the Heath brothers (Made to Stick and Switch), this one also is superbly organized, easy to grasp/remember, and entertaining to read. AND it gives you very practical tips to make more thought-out decisions.

Finding Spiritual Whitespace
Awakening Your Soul to Rest
by Bonnie Gray


My review here

Although Bonnie Gray’s book leads you to find soul rest with Jesus, first you go on a spiritual journey with her on what happened when she tried to write this spiritual memoir. Many memories were triggered that she’d earlier hidden away, and now she was face-to-face with them. It makes her story even more authentic and compelling. It’s not just a story though; it’s also meant to be a personal journal for each reader.

Apprenticeship with Jesus
Learning to Live like the Master
by Gary W. Moon

apprenticeship with Jesus_Gary-Moon

Many believe in Jesus, but how many consider themselves his apprentice? Gary Moon offers this thirty-day apprenticeship with Jesus to suggest active practices that anyone can try. I’m continuing with several of them past the 30-day period because I find them to be spiritually-enriching.

The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


My review here

Did you know Dostoyevsky was also a short-story writer? I felt like he squeezed several short stories into this very long novel. My 21st century American mindset found reading this book to be laborious at times as it overflows with extraneous details, but overall, it was one of those classic novels I just knew I needed to read. And I’m glad I did. I’m supposing the characters are going to stay with me a long time (they’ve been with me several months already).

The Four Agreements
A Toltec Wisdom Book

by Miguel Ruiz


A short but powerful book. Ruiz offers four beliefs that if grasped, can release more freedom into our lives. #1 and #4 are ones I grew up believing anyway, but #2 and #3 are challenging ones I need to integrate more into my life. Already I’m discovering that they can make a difference. The four agreements are: (1) Be impeccable with your word, (2) Don’t take anything personally, (3) Don’t make assumptions, and (4) Always do your best.


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Whatโ€™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 “What I’ll be reading in July ’14

  1. floyd

    Great list! I actually started reading Malcom Gladwell’s “David and Goliath” over the weekend, I’ve had it for close to a year and have no idea when I’m going to find time to finish it, but it’s nice to read again.

  2. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! “When we eat our own” sure got my attention! I think promoting a unity of faith is so important, and it sounds like this author agrees.
    Thomas Keating….YAY!! Love that guy. I have been dedicating time to Contemplative Prayer since Lent this year, and it’s hard…but I love it. (Blog post about that coming soon, of course.) I have the daily companion book that has quotes from many of his books. So much wonderful information to savor.

    You are a huge reader! Thank you for sharing your titles with us,

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I need to add Keating’s daily companion book to my wish list. The leader of our Centering Prayer group always began our session by reading from that book, and I always felt so rushed trying to listen and absorb, but if I had it myself, I could go slowly. I’m glad you reminded me of it so I hop over to Amazon and make a note of it. Thanks, Ceil. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. bekahcubed

    Seeing you and Barbara already finished with The Brothers Karamazov makes me feel behind. I checked it out of the library last night (Daniel had loaned his copy to his brother, so I’ll be making do with a library one) but don’t know how soon I’ll be able to get started. Then again, I must remember that I do have two months still!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It probably won’t take you three months to read The Brothers K though like it did me (or was it 4, 5?). Ha. I knew I needed to start extra early. Now my goal is to eventually start Les Mis and finish it by November. I’ll be by to visit your list shortly….

  4. David

    Dear Lisa

    Are you writing a review of Karamazov? What did you make of Alyosha? and Ivan? I read it years ago and found it very moving.

    Did you know Rowan Williams (ex-Archbishop of Canterbury) wrote a book on Dostoevsky a few years ago? “Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction”. I don’t really like the C of E and I think Rowan Williams is a twerp, but it looks like an interesting book.

    I’m still reading the Bonhoeffer bio. Grim in these later sections, but absorbing.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I hope to write a review for Brothers before too long. It’s still sinking in right now. It’s a lot to take in. My initial reaction to Alyosha (and I’ve no reason to think it won’t be permanent) is that he’s very easy to love because of his heart for God and his heart for others. But even though Ivan was often portrayed as cold, I still felt deeply for him too because of his passion for thought and knowledge and action. He wasn’t afraid of questions. Then throw in Mitya too…. The book did feel slow at times reading through all the soliloquies, and I’m not sure how happy I am about the ending, but I can see why it’s a classic. If I had unlimited time, I’d probably read it a second-time through to really grasp it better.

      I don’t know Rowan Williams. I’ll let you go first with that one. Glad you’re still reading about Bonhoeffer. He was a man faced with hard choices.

      1. David

        The Russians had a thing about endings: War and Peace ends with a huge practical joke (but meaningful, profound, etc)(so many people complained that it wasn’t a proper novel Tolstoy published an essay defending it). After writing Dead Souls, Gogol went mad and started throwing the manuscript on the fire – it is *very* spooky to read as the story gets stranger and stranger, gets more and more fragmentary and then just stops.

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          War and Peace is another classic that I’d like to read, but it’s not on my list any time soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I do prefer solid endings, and if reasonable, good ones at that. I’ll definitely avoid Dead Souls.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve been more intentional this year in the books I’m choosing, so maybe that’s why. I still leave openings, though, for some light-hearted stuff because the heavy reads are sometimes a bit much! ha.

  5. Lisa of Hopewell

    Chasing Francis is on my list, too. Lots of good stuff on your list. I was a Russian Studies major back in the day and I’ve not slogged thru Brothers even! Turgenev is much easier going! Try “Fathers and Sons”

  6. Barbara H.

    I have Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me on my TBR list per your recommendation and hope to get to it soon. I look forward to hearing what you think of this new one.

    I didn’t know that about Dostoyevsky, but he did seem to include several short stories in The Brothers K. I look forward to your review of this, too – there’s almost too much to mention to squeeze it into one review.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, there’s too much to say about The Brothers K to squeeze into one post. I’m not sure where to even begin (maybe that’s why I haven’t? ha). I don’t suppose it would work for me just to say, “See Barbara’s review.” ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Caleb Suko

    Good to see Dostoevsky on your list! Nothing beats the classic Russian authors! Have you read “Demons”? I’m slowly working through it in Russian, it’s a bit of a challenge with the rich and old vocabulary but well worth it!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      No, I’ve never read Demons. And I can’t imagine reading anything in Russian. I have friends who adopted from Ukraine a few years back and they learned smatterings of Russian; such a difficult language indeed. So kudos to you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Amy @ Hope Is the Word

    I’m impressed that you finished The Brothers K. Whew! I don’t think I’m up to it this year, especially since I tackled Gone with the Wind earlier this year (not on the same plane, I know, but still LONG) and am embarking on Great Expectations this month.
    I’m really interested in that prayer book–Everything Belongs. Off to check it out!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Gone with the Wind used to be my favorite book when I was much younger. I probably need to re-read it now as an adult and see what I think. I do remember it being long. And I also loved the sequel (not by Margaret Mitchell) “Scarlett”. I hear there’s a prequel coming soon centered around Mammmy, “Ruth’s Journey.” I know I’ll have to read that too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Tonia

    I’m always so impressed with your reading lists. I read by the seat of my pants (aside from a few reading challenges) but I need to be more intentional about adding some non-fiction – you make them sound so intriguing.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I go through seasons where I read through a list and other times where I let it fly. This year I’ve been more intentional than ever, which probably means next year I’ll decide day by day. ๐Ÿ™‚ Or not. ha. Who knows? I really have enjoyed finally getting to some books that I’ve wanted to read a long time but kept deferring, and the reading challenges get the credit for that.

  10. Jean Wise

    As usual, a wonderful list and I gained the titles of a few new ones for my list. I just ordered Chasing Francis through the library so will be reading that this month too.

    Just finished Atlas Girl.

    keep reading!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I wish my library carried Chasing Francis. I broke down and bought it (a rarity for me–I’m a big library fan myself), so I’m hoping it’s as good as everyone says. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ve only read excerpts of Atlas Girl so far. I look forward to reading all of it one day. Emily’s writing always draws me in.

  11. Darlene @ Lost in Literature 108

    Glad to see you finished The Brothers K!! And don’t feel bad, I told you that it took me 11 months, reading some other things along side it of course. I still haven’t reviewed it either but I am going to.
    I was not expecting the ending, not sure how I feel about it either.

    I have been very intentional in my reading for the last few years. I’m about to spend a few months freeing myself up to read just for pleasure. (Except reading whatever my book club picks.) I just need the break.
    Right now, I am reading Our Mutual Friend by Dickens, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Undaunted by Christine Caine.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Darlene. That does make me feel better about how long it took me to read the Brothers K. I do wish the ending had been more defined, but I guess he’d written long enough. ha. I know Les Mis will probably take even longer to read so I’m preparing myself for several seasons with it.

      Sounds like some serious reading you have going on. After this year of reading challenges, I might take a break from my lists too and make more trips to the library for whatever catches my eye. (Although, I am truly enjoying working my lists this year!)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Being Wrong has definitely been eye-opening! It’s making me wonder if I’m really right about anything. ha. Uncertainty is uncomfortable, but I’m trying to make better friends with it.

  12. Pingback: What I Am Reading in July | Healthy Spirituality

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