Book Recommendations from a Non-Fiction Reader


I read slow.  And I only read non-fiction.  And I haven’t historically read a lot of books.  But that’s okay.  I’ve started making it a habit to read on the regular, and to be honest, that “regular” is 30 minutes per weekend.  But I’m convinced a little of something on the regular moves you forward a lot more than talking about and not taking any action about something — so if 30 minutes is what I’ve got, 30 minutes it is!  So, after slowly but surely chipping away at books, here are a handful I thought were worth landing on your nightstand too.


Me Talk Pretty One Day (by David Sedaris):  You guys, I was about 10 years late to this party!  I think the title turned me off in the past.  I guess I thought the book was a memoir about someone improving their speech?  No, no, it’s David Sedaris telling very short but hilarious life stories, some of which are borderline inappropriate.  Sedaris released a number of other books too which I can’t wait to check out — his latest is a collection of journal entries from 1977-2002.  If you’re a writer and need to reenergize your witty self or you just need a quick laugh, read this book.


Bird by Bird (by Anne Lamott):  This book is for the writers.  Lamott has written several other successful books and as a result has taught several writing courses.  She packaged up all her best writing tips and tricks and put them in this one book.  While a fair amount of the chapters have to do with fiction-based writing, as a non-fiction writer it’s helping me think about things differently and provides great ideas to get your mind going while reinforcing the discipline of actually sitting in the seat and writing words.  This is what I’m currently reading (I’m about 75% of the way through).


For the Love (by Jen Hatmaker):  This book has been out for awhile, matter of fact, Hatmaker is currently taking pre-orders on her next book.  But if you want a Christian-based book that alternates between spiritual-talk and just pure silliness and humor. . . this is your book.  Hatmaker has a huge following on social media, I’ve seen her speak at several conferences, and she’s just likeable by covering topics we can all relate to in some fashion.  She also just started a podcast called “For the Love with Jen Hatmaker.”  Just for good measure, I’ve added a photo of when I had a chance to meet her last month.


Present Over Perfect (by Shauna Niequist):  I’ve talked about this book before throughout blog posts and on a podcast interview.  It’s one of my favs.  It’s about trying to not always feeling like you have to push and achieve and instead focus on being present in the moment; hence, the title.  Niequist is a speaker and author of several other books.  When I listen to her it makes me want to gather my best friends around my dinner table and talk about life.  She also just started a podcast called “The Shauna Niequist podcast.”  I highly recommend this book!

Uninvited (by Lysa TerKeurst):  This book hits on feelings of being left out or rejected.  Honestly, when I started reading it I wasn’t coming from any sort of place of being left out or rejected per se, but I loved listening to TerKeurst speak at several conferences and Santa brought me the book so I thought “why not?”  And then a few pages in was like “oh, yup, have totally felt that way before.”  What I like about this book is that she weaves in biblical truths in a way that I had never read or understood before.  It’s a good one.  And in full transparency, I still need to finish it.  I got sidetracked by other books when I got 3/4 of the way through and I hate things unfinished so once I close up “Bird by Bird” I’ll come back and finish this one.


A Walk in the Woods (by Bill Bryson):  I haven’t read this book myself, BUT, Chris just read it on a recent vacation and catching glimpses of him cracking up while we were on the plane or having him read me passages from the book while in the middle of the La Guardia airport made me feel it was worth adding to this list.  From what I’ve gathered from Chris, it’s about a guy and his friend who hike the Appalachian Trail, and Bryson writes in a way that even the short blurbs Chris told me about made me intrigued — and I never thought I’d be one to read about someone’s hike on the Appalachian Trail.  I figured it was good since he left the book out so he can let his best friend borrow it.  This is probably a good gift idea for the outdoorsy people in your life.