I’ve been reading nonfiction almost exclusively for several years now, so I am excited Kim, Becca, Lu, and Katie are hosting Nonfiction November - a month dedicated to reading and celebrating nonfiction - again this year.
This week Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness asks about our year in reading. I’ve read 17 nonfiction books to-date in 2015. Here they are in chronological order along with my opinions:
French Women Don't Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitudeby Mireille Guiliano
Intrigued by the title, I picked this one up from the library on a whim. I had read Guiliano's previous book French Women Don't Get Fatseveral years earlier and was looking for a book dedicated to appearance. Unfortunately, this book was mostly a recap of her previous work and was disappointing.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Businessby Charles Duhigg
I enjoyed this one while reading, but no longer remember much of it - except for the horrible story of casinos taking advantage of a woman with a gambling addiction.
Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch--Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foodsby Jennifer Reese
I read this one for my live healthy on a budget challenge. Despite being entertaining and informative, I never made a single recipe from the book.
Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A. J. Jacobs
This is another book that wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted practical, researched health tips, instead this book read like a gimmick.
Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gainby Portia de Rossi
A must read for anyone wanting to learn what it is like to have an eating disorder. De Rossi provides an honest account of what was going on inside her head while suffering from anorexia and bulimia.
Ride of Your Life: A Coast-to-Coast Guide to Finding Inner Peaceby Ran Zilca
This one offered good advice, but I was left wanting more.
Buying In: What We Buy and Who We Are by Rob Walker
A bit dated, but still informative.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I know many of you loved this book, but it didn’t work for me and I now find Amy Poehler annoying. I was looking for more of a feminist manifesto. It seemed to me Amy didn’t really want to write this book and only did so because she couldn’t find a way to get out of it. I preferred Tina Fey’s Bossypants.
The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Doby Clotaire Rapaille
I don’t have any comments on this one because I can’t remember anything of substance from this book.
Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change and What to Do about Itby Vivian Diller Ph.D.
I read this one after spotting it on a list of recommended reading for a female mid-life crisis. It was a decent book written by a psychologist that deals with understanding the emotions women experience as we age. (To be honest, so far I'm not too concerned about my aging looks).
The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness by James Altucher
I read this over the summer when I was feeling overwhelmed at work. I wasn’t expecting it to offer anything new and didn’t plan on finishing it, so I was surprised by how helpful it actually was.
Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World by Megan Feldman Bettencourt
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This was a great study of forgiveness.
Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life by Jane Pauley
This book was a light and somewhat informative book on reinvention.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
This is the best book I've read all year and have been recommending it to everyone. In addition to teaching me about racial history and the great migration, it provided an eye-opening lesson on living in the moment. This is the book I think about most often.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Areby Brene Brown
This book taught me that comparison is the cause for much of our unhappiness and that creativity is the key to meaning. It is a good self-help book.
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
I read this one to learn more about living in the moment, it was helpful, but I started losing interest towards the end.
Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyevaby Rosemary Sullivan:
I loved this book. It provided insight into Stalin, his family and life in Russia during and immediately after his regime. Life for Svetlana doesn’t necessarily get better when she defects to the US. She was looking for freedom, but wasn't prepared for our freedom of the press. The chapters she writes about Ogilvanna Wright (the wife of Frank Lloyd Wright) and Taliesin are highly entertaining and not favorable.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwideby Nicholas D. Kristof:
I have 20 pages left to read in this book, but want to mention it because I am sure it will go down as one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read.
This process of listing my year of books has been an enlightening experience. I see a pattern of trying to come to terms with my age, searching for help in dealing with work stress and attempting to figure out what to do next. I also realized I don’t want to write about health and have abandoned my life healthy challenge. I am hoping reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is the beginning of a new direction for me.
Books from this list I’ve recommended the most:
The Warmth of Other Suns and Stalin’s Daughter.
What nonfiction topic do you not read enough of?
I am always reading to learn something new or to fulfill a book challenge I've set for myself or to write a review I’ve committed to. I’d like to spend more time reading nonfiction - that reads like fiction - with the sole purpose being to read a really good book.
My reading picks for nonfiction November are:
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreamsby Alfred Lubrano
What are you reading for Nonfiction November? What was your favorite nonfiction read this year?
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