Books I’m reading in November ’14


1. Vanishing Grace
What Ever Happened to the Good News?
by Philip Yancey


My review here

Loved this one! I was blessed to also hear Philip Yancey speak about Vanishing Grace this month in Opelika, Alabama. He shares about 3 kinds of Christians that outsiders still listen to with respect: pilgrims, activists, and artists.

2. Les Misérables
by Victor Hugo


My review here

Finally!!! It took me almost 5 months to finish this, but I’m thankful I did. Hugo got mired down often in what seemed to me to be irrelevant details, but the story itself was beautiful indeed. And it was so much more than the films I’d seen (which were also phenomenal). I’m treating myself to a rewatching of the 2012 film today since this is my birthday!

3. Nickel and Dimed
On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich


I recommend this one, too. It’s eye-opening about how people live (or not) on minimum wage jobs in America. (I listened to the audio book—it was nicely read.)

4. Praying in the Reign
by Bruce Green


My review here

My former youth minister Bruce wrote this book on the Lord’s Prayer. He takes you deeper into this model prayer, phrase by phrase. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this voice from my past and applying it again to my present.



1. Mudhouse Sabbath
An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline
by Lauren Winner


I’m on the 9th of 11 Jewish spiritual practices that are also beneficial to the Christian community. Some you’d expect (prayer, fasting); others you might not (aging, candle-lighting). It’s good!

2. Jesus Feminist
An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women
by Sarah Bessey


My review here

Don’t let the word feminist turn you away from this one. It’s an important word for today. And it’s not just for women to hear. “Women aren’t simply or only blessed by giving birth to greatness; no, we are all blessed when we hear the Word of God—Jesus—and put it into practice. We don’t rely on secondhand blessings in Jesus.”

3. A Christian Survival Guide
A Lifeline to Faith and Growth
by Ed Cyzewski

A-Christian Survival-Guide_Ed-Cyzewski

My review here

I’ll read most anything that Ed writes because I know it’ll be insightful, well-told, and will make me think. He’s already proving that to be true in this book that I’ve just begun. “In fact, I would go so far as saying that it is unbiblical to say that there is a ‘biblical’ way to live.”

4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
by Marie Kondo


My review here

My closets are getting out of control (again) so I’m reviewing this book for a kick in the pants to tidy them up again. Instead of deciding what to get rid of, the author wants you to consider what to keep.

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


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

23 thoughts on “Books I’m reading in November ’14

  1. Barbara H.

    It took me about 5 months to finish Les Mis, too. I pondered why Hugo went into such detailed side trails with the histories of sewers and convents and Waterloo – I never figured it out, unless he was just an intensely curious man and thought all these details would be as fascinating to others as they were to him. I haven’t read anything else of his, so I don’t know if that is how he always writes. But the overall story is sheer beauty. I am looking forward to your review on this one.

    I still have yet to read Yancey and need to remedy that.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve never read anything else by Hugo either; I do wonder if that’s just his style to include superfluous details…. Not a style I prefer. ha. But his actual story-telling kept me wanting to read on and on.

  2. David

    Happy Birthday!

    I’m looking forward to your Hugo review (I have his “’93” kicking around somewhere). OTOH your book reviews are dangerous: more than once I’ve ended up reading the book.

    The tidying-up book looks fun: I’ll look out for it (See? Even your lists are dangerous!)

    Me: learning some Psalms (nice); ploughing through a biog of Schrodinger (nice but hard); and re-reading “Place”, poems by Jorie Graham (I /think/ she is religous; very nice but complete silence and attention is req’d).

    Hope you enjoy your birthday 🙂


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      So if you’ve read other Hugo works, I’m curious to know if he’s detail-oriented in all his writings? Curiously, as I was reading Yancey this month, he had a couple of references to Les Mis, about the grace found there. I love when that happens between books I’m reading.

      I read someone else’s blog posts on reading the Psalms that made me think of you. I’ll dig it out and forward it. Thank you for the birthday wishes. I hope to have a relaxing day. 🙂

      ….found the link, if you’re interested…

      1. David

        Dear Lisa

        Thanks for the link! That’s very good!

        Alas, the ’93 defeated me. It’s a shortish novel, and to the point, it was just extremely violent; incredibly violent. I had to bail out after a few chapters. I’ll go back to it sometime (I might even read Les Mis).

        Les Mis sounds more like War and Peace, which broke off the story increasinlgy often for meditations on history (what kind of leader was Napoleon, why was Suvorov such a good general, etc.). Some of these meditations were um more interesting than others, but their presence had a very strange effect on my experience of the novel (or rather my experience of the novel’s world, the lives of its characters, etc.) and especially Tolstoy pulls a huge (profoundly disturbing) practical joke at the end of the novel which you just wouldn’t get if you’d been naughtily skipping all these history essays.

        (I just noticed LM’s wikipedia page has a section on its “digressions”;)


        1. LisaNotes Post author

          Glad you liked the link. Sometimes I’m hesitant to share links in case there’s something in the post that isn’t fitting. 🙂

          So now I know not to pick up ’93. Extremely violent is definitely not my cup of tea.

          I still haven’t tackled War and Peace. And I won’t even think of it yet. Still need to recover from Brothers K and Les Mis this year. ha. I find it curiously comforting that Wikipedia has a section on Hugo’s digressions. So it wasn’t just my imagination that he digressed multiple times. 🙂

  3. Linda@Creekside

    i really appreciated sarah’s Jesus Feminist. alot of rich food for consideration there.

    and i’ve got a little devotional book for married couples as a giveaway this week.


    may this season of gratitude fill your soul with delight, Lisa. i am surely grateful that you’re in my world …

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The tidying book actually is very interesting. I was a little skeptical at first because, honestly, don’t we all know what to do? It’s just making ourselves do it that’s difficult. ha. But she brings out a few unique perspectives on both the why AND the how. I’ll share more later when I finish.

  4. floyd

    You read like Ms. Pac-man! My friend Bill just sent me “Unsinkable” and “The Other Side Of The Night” both by Daniel Allen Butler. Now if I could just swallow one of those magical cherries I could devour them like you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I have to laugh about Ms PacMan. You didn’t know I was once quite a champion at that game! ha. Many moons and books (and wasted hours) ago. 🙂 Those two titles sound interesting! Always a great start.

  5. Dawn Paoletta (@breathoffaith)

    HOw I love and miss reading your book posts. I always appreciate the stack on your nightstand. ANd congrats on Le Miserables! Happy Birthday to you! Hoping to get back into the swing…I miss this book gathering monthly. I have been reading less, writing and crazy busy (and when will that change for any of us?) …but so tired when I get into bed as of late that fall asleep re-reading the same line repeatedly…lol. Sigh. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love this book gathering every month too. Hope you can get back into the swing of things soon enough. Seasons come and go; books can get pushed aside for more important living. They’ll stick around and wait for us when later comes.

  6. Jean Wise

    belated happy birthday from me too and happy Thanksgiving. I ordered the Tidying Up book from the library too but haven’t gotten it yet. I thought it looked interesting. We will have to compare notes.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Let me know what you think of the Tidying Up book when it does come in. It’s been motivating to me to start back with some serious decluttering. I haven’t actually begun yet, but at least I’m thinking about it. 😉 Step 1, right?

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