I admit it: I’m a genre fiction reader. Nonfiction reads rarely find their way on to my TBR. Last year only 5% of my reading was nonfiction. The majority of that was religious reading done through a church book club. The one other read was a Dr. Phil book a friend told me had really helped her. She wanted to discuss it and I found it an easy if not exactly scintillating read.
This year I’ve gotten off to a stronger start. I’ve already finished four nonfiction books but once more they are religious reads and revolve around the subject we are doing in the church book group. To shake things up I’ve begun Living with the Enemy: What Really Happened by Roy McLoughlin which details the German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII. So far I’ve found it an intense (and shocking) read. I’ve also been reading Hitler’s Furies by Wendy Lowery which details the role of German women in the Nazi regime. This isn’t exactly cheerful reading but it is thought provoking and educational. The fascinating thing about history is that it reminds us that all those times we accuse a fiction book of not having a dose of reality, we are probably wrong. Reality trumps fiction in terms of being bizarre, emotional and just plain crazy.
When I look over my favorite nonfiction reads of the last several years I realize that it is as eclectic as my fiction reading. Here are five of my favorites:
Gift of a Letter by Alexandra Stoddard – this little gem of a book is dedicated to a rapidly declining art form — the letter. Brimming with enthusiasm for her subject Stoddard gives us history, anecdotes and tips all designed to help us revive this intimate and underappreciated form of communication.
Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard – Stoddard invites us to add beauty to everyday living through simple things. It’s a lovely way to remind yourself that beauty really is all around us.
Home Warming: Secrets to Making Your House a Welcoming Place by Emilie Barnes – My home is more practical than lovely but I love to read books that describe the best ways to make a space both functional and pretty.
The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette H Elgin – This is a must read for anyone who has a passive-aggressive in their life. Wonder why you feel insulted when you technically weren’t insulted? Learn the secrets behind those conversations that have frustrated you for years.
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell – This fabulously written account of what goes into being successful is an absolutely riveting read.
A lot of these books are out of print because they are older reads I’ve picked up at various sales. Still, they are books that have moved me, helped me or enlightened me in meaningful ways. It’s nice to have books like that in your life – books that haven’t just entertained or taken your breath away with their artistry but books that have really helped you know more about yourselves or others.
So what about you? Do you read nonfiction? What are the books that top your favorites list? What would you recommend adding to my TBR?