Each month we share what we’ve been reading at Jennifer’s. Here are 6 non-fiction books and 2 novels that I recommend from what I finished in January.
1. Stalling for Time
My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator
by Gary Noesner
A fascinating book! Noesner was an FBI hostage negotiator for years, and shares story after story of his cases. (The book is also very well-written, a huge plus for a memoir that’s not by a professional author.)
2. Reading Your Life’s Story
An Invitation to Spiritual Mentoring
by Keith R. Anderson
While this book is about spiritual mentoring, it’s also about just learning how to have more spiritual conversations with each other, a “holy task with a sacred purpose.”
A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer
by Priscilla Shirer
Don’t just talk about praying, pray. If you want to get more excited to pray, Priscilla Shirer will fire you up. Her real-life stories and Bible scriptures are motivating. She breaks up the book into different prayer strategies to guard against our weak spots.
4. Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing
by Jamie Holmes
Not only does it matter what we know, it also matters how we deal with what we do not know. Uncertainty makes us anxious, but our methods to counteract it (sticking with the first answer; making up stories in our minds; premature decision-making; etc.) often make things worse. This was a very interesting book about making peace with not having closure on everything.
“In an increasingly complex, unpredictable world, what matters most isn’t IQ, willpower, or confidence in what we know. It’s how we deal with what we don’t understand.”
5. Wherever You Go, There You Are
by Jon Kabat-Zinn
This isn’t my favorite book on meditation, but it’s a good one (and it’s time-tested since 1994).
“People think of meditation as some kind of special activity, but this is not exactly correct. Meditation is simplicity itself. As a joke, we sometimes say, ‘Don’t just do something, sit there.’ But meditation is not just about sitting, either. It is about stopping and being present, that is all.”
6. The Organized Mind
Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
by Daniel J. Levitin
Another fascinating book! So far it’ll make my Top 10 Favorite Books list at the end of the year. We often feel overwhelmed with the increasing amount of information that floods us every day. Levitin uses the latest neuroscientific research to show us what works in managing our homes, time, and energy, including this principle:
“The most fundamental principle of organization, the one that is most critical to keeping us from forgetting or losing things, is this: Shift the burden of organizing from our brains to the external world.”
7. Still Life
(Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1)
by Louise Penny
This is my first Louise Penny novel (also her first), and I’ll read more (there are twelve Gamache novels so far). This murder mystery was skimpy on violence (I have a low tolerance), yet heavy on motive and details.
“My books are about terror. That brooding terror curled deep down inside us. But more than that, more than murder, more than all the rancid emotions and actions, my books are about goodness. And kindness. About choices. About friendship and belonging. And love. Enduring love.
If you take only one thing away from any of my books I’d like it to be this:
8. All the Bright Places
by Jennifer Niven
I don’t know if this book would be good for teens with suicidal tendencies (it has triggering incidents), but I do think it would be good for their friends to read so they can better understand. It’s a young adult novel about teenagers Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meeting on the ledge of a bell tower at school, and their blossoming friendship through tough times.
- The Lake House
by Kate Morton
- Idiot Brain
What your Head Is Really Up To
by Dean Burnett
- Letters to a Young Muslim
by Omar Said Ghobash
- Seeking the Light of God’s Comforter
When Challenges Dim Our Hope
by Lynn L. Severance
- Words on the Move
Why English Won’t—and Can’t—Sit Still (Like, Literally)
by John McWhorter
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What’s a good book you’ve recently finished? Please share here.
- Do We Talk about Suicide?
- On the Blog – January 2017