Books I’m reading in October


1. Bloodlines
Race, Cross, and the Christian
by John Piper


My review here

Piper says encouragement that conversations about racism still need to be had. It’s not just a thing of the past“This deeply felt sense of race as a continuing, painful, and pervasive issue in America means that talking about race continues to be difficult. . . . But holding our tongues does not usually advance understanding, deepen respect, warm the affections, or motivate action.”

2. One Way Love
Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World
by Tullian Tchividjian

One Way Love_Tullian Tchividjian

I admit I didn’t love this book as much Tchividjian’s Jesus + Nothing = Everything (and perhaps my expectations were too high), but it’s still a very worthwhile read calling us back to celebrating God’s grace instead of our works. “Paul knows that licentious people are not those who believe the Gospel of God’s free grace too much, but too little.”

3. How I Know God Answers Prayer
by Rosalind Goforth


My review here

This is a short personal account of ways Goforth saw God answering her prayers as a missionary to China. It’s an inspiring little read that might inadvertently prod you to keep your own accounting of how God has answered your prayers. “I find it most difficult to record just what ‘asking and getting things from God’ meant at that time, but it now seems to me to have been the very foundation of the whole life.”

4. Four Cups
God’s Timeless Promises for a Life of Fulfillment
by Chris Hodges

Four Cups_Chris Hodges

Pastor Chris says, “I’m committed to seeing people saved, delivered, redeemed, and fulfilled. Here’s how we define success at our church: when people are moving from where they are to where God wants them to be.”

5. My Spiritual Journey
by Dalai Lama XIV


I read these next four books partially for my month’s assignment of One Word: Compassion and to prepare for hearing the Dalai Lama in Birmingham, Alabama, last Sunday (very interesting experience!). This book is a spiritual autobiography of sorts, in particular his journey as a human being, as a Buddhist monk, and as the Dalai Lama. “I try to treat every person I meet like an old friend, and that gives me a real sensation of happiness.”

6. A Simple Monk
Writings on His Holiness the Dalai Lama
by Tom Morgan


This was a beautiful picture book and short essays about the Dalai Lama written by others.

7. An Open Heart
Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life
by Dalai Lama XIV


Here the Dalai Lama talks about the path to becoming a more compassionate person. “Our compassion for others grows as our recognition of their suffering does.”

8. Taking the Path of Zen
by Robert Aitken

taking the path of zen

I read this book at the recommendation of a new Buddhist friend I met this month in my quest to learn more first-hand about another religious tradition. While I’m not a Buddhist, I still found teachings here that are helpful in my Centering Prayer practice in Christianity. “Rest is the essence of patience. Cultivate rest.”


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


My review here

Because Christians are often more known for dispensing guilt instead of grace, Philip Yancey has written this book to point us back in the right direction. Very good so far! If it works out, I hope to attend his book tour in a few weeks to hear him speak on this.

2. Les Misérables
by Victor Hugo


I still love some parts, and get terribly bored in others. But it’s still worth it. And the end is in sight (I’m 80% there). I look forward to indulging in watching the 2014 film again when I finish.

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


Most interesting! I’m listening to the audio version of Ehrenreich’s experiment to see how possible (or impossible) it is to survive in America on minimum wage. While her temporary experiences can’t replicate someone’s lifetime of poverty, it can open our eyes a tad more to how difficult it is. (I tipped the maids at my last hotel much better as a result. When we know better, we do better, per Maya Angelou.)

4. Praying in the Reign
by Bruce Green


My review here

This is my sentimental favorite of the month. It’s written by one of my dear youth ministers from my teenage years. He’s now a preacher in Opelika, Alabama, and has written quite a good book on the Lord’s Prayer. I’ll share more when I’m finished.

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


Winner shares 11 Jewish spiritual practices that would benefit Christians. I’ve barely started (only read the Kindle sample while awaiting my “real” book to come in). I’m reading this for our next book club discussion and so far, so good.

* * *

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


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

21 thoughts on “Books I’m reading in October

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m usually surprised at the end of the month myself. ha. I rarely read one book from start to finish, but keep several going at the same time, so it usually takes me more than a month to finish any one particular book. 🙂 So many interesting books out there!

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Currently re-reading Peter Hart’s “Bloody April”, about the Battle for Arras in April 1917.

    Highly recommended – Peter Hart is the best of writers on the Great War.

    Next up is Craig Breedlove’s “Spirit of America”,, on his attainment of the Land Speed Record in the 60s.

    Love the Dalai Lama – I come from a Zen tradition which I still practice. Zen and Christianity are not incompatible – most Christians don’t realize that Buddhism is a way to practice one’s underlying faith, rather than being a stand-alone religion.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I wonder which war is your favorite to read about, Andrew….

      I’m discovering what you’ve known for awhile then…that Zen Buddhism has some complimentary practices with Christianity. One thing I’m discovering with their way of meditation is to keep eyes open. With Centering Prayer I always closed my eyes, but now I’m discovering I stay more rooted in God’s presence in the now, stay more alert in the moment, with eyes wide open.

      1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

        It’s funny, but I can only find a level of heart-peace in war. Not uncommon among those with combat-induced PTSD, from what I understand. There is a starkness of moral choice that calls to mind, and defines, the questions of why we are in this life to begin with.

        Ps. 144 says it well.

        Centering prayer and Zen meditation have a lot in common; I understand centering prayer to be “prayer without the need for words”, while meditation is prayer without words or images. It’s simply openness, and a recognition of one’s intimate connection with the Almighty.

        We are the ones who impose distance, like recalcitrant children declaring their independence by sliding away when you sit next to them on a bench.

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          The life and death of war–I’m guessing war pulls both into focus like nothing else can. “Starkness of moral choice”–an apt phrase.

          Openness does seem very key to both Centering prayer and meditation. A letting go of expectations….

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t Yancey wonderful? I’ve loved everything of his that I’ve read. I signed up last night to hear him near Auburn on his Vanishing Grace book tour. I’m very excited about it. I’m sure your Fri nite group is amazing!

      Well, actually I rarely sit around and read unless I’m in a car or on vacation. I try to read when I wake up early or can’t sleep at night. Otherwise I just carry a book around with me cooking supper, folding clothes, etc. It’s amazing how much you can get read in bits and pieces! 🙂

  2. Tonia

    I haven’t read Philip Yancey in ages – you’ve inspired me to order a new book. Very neat that you’re going to hear him speak.

    Les Mis is on my ‘someday’ list…. (which is much too long)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yancey is good for us all now and again. 🙂 I love his emphasis on grace, regardless of what he’s writing about. My someday list is WAY too long as well. I’ve finally realized there’s not enough time left in my lifetime to read everything on my list.

  3. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    One more – for when I get a Kindle. It’s the story of the water-speed-record holder Ken Warby, and delights in the title of “World’s Fastest Coffin on Water”; about 85% of the people who tried for that record got killed.

    Here it is on Amazon – worth a look, to see just how mad Aussies really are.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks. Just got the sample sent to my Kindle. I need to recommend it to my husband, along with the other two books you recommended, because they all sound like topics he’d be interested in as well.

  4. Barbara H.

    I don’t think I have ever read anything of Yancey’s but I’ve heard nothing but good about him.

    Yay for progress on Les Mis! I don’t know of any other book that has such beauitful parts yet such tedious other parts.

    Looking forward to your review of Goforth’s book.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re so right about Les Mis. ha. Sometimes when Hugo is in the midst of telling the story, I don’t want to put it down. But then he wanders down a trail about who a house belonged to a hundred years ago, etc., and he loses me. Perhaps that interests someone though. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I don’t always agree with Piper, but his central message that we are happiest when we are honoring God has stuck with me for years now and made a positive change in my faith. I’ve been wanting to read Bloodlines for several years but hadn’t, for no particular reason. So when I got a chance to review it for free, I knew it was my time. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *