I’m a reader and always have been. Typically I fly through fictional books in no time, getting sucked into story lines and feeling a sense of sadness and longing when the story is over. It might sound strange, but I have actually missed characters weeks after finishing a good book. Getting engrossed in a novel or two is the type of escapism my favorite beach trips or relaxing vacations are made of.
The flip side to my passion for fiction is that I don’t feel they do anything to make me smarter or challenge my thinking. In all honesty, I got so frustrated with last novel I read that I made a vow to take a break from fiction for a few months. This fictional book, albeit interesting, was comprised of the author setting the reader up to justify adultery in the name of true love. It was a moment of clarity for me and I realized I needed a break from fairytales.
My goal for 2019 has been to read two nonfiction books a month; books that make me think.
Full transparency here: so far, this hasn’t happened. I’m averaging one and a half a month as of mid April. But that’s not bad, right?
I made a list of my favorite non fiction books that I’ve read lately. I am going to spare you the ones I could barely make myself finish, and give you the ones where I truly deliberated the author’s words and felt challenged or convicted to take action. Along with being easy reads, each book left me feeling fulfilled.
Here is a list of my 2019 must read non fiction books:
- Feel Better Fast and Make It Last Dr Daniel Amen. I’m thrilled that I read this the beginning of January, because it got my new year off to a great start. Dr Amen is obviously brilliant, but also has an exceptional ability to put the most complex medical discussion into simple, laymen terms that even this girl from small town South Carolina could understand. He taught me the importance of taking care of my brain. It’s wild, because we hear so much about our brains and the negative effects of lack of sleep, certain medications, vitamin deficiencies, and traumatic events and what they do to them. We know our brain is one of THE most important organs in our bodies, yet one of the most neglected. This book was fascinating, as Dr Amen spoke of years of research and different case studies of which he was a part. I finished the book wanting to up my vitamin intake, take up a new hobby (like starting a blog), exercise more consistently, and continue to clean up my diet. Read this one and then message me so we can talk about how incredible his data is!
- Counter Culture David Platt. After reading Radical by Platt a few years ago, I felt like scales were removed from my eyes. Not even a quarter of the way through the book, he stepped on my toes until I thought they would bleed and it made me realize I had been “churching” so wrong. Shortly after that, we ended up in a different, not better, church. Three years later, we are growing and serving at a pace I never imagined; mostly, because I didn’t realize how much servitude comes with parenting. Also because The Great Commision is now imperative in daily life, where before it was just another uncomfortable Bible story. Yes, a Bible story that frightened me and made me uncomfortable (I don’t want God to send me to the uttermost parts of the world! I have a hard enough time sharing my faith in my own town). Fast forward a few years and I started reading Counter Culture. Whoa! Platt is true to form and shockingly, yet somehow still lovingly, direct. Poverty, orphans and widows, human trafficking, the refugee crisis, and racism are just a few of the human right issues he tackles with scripture as the guidepost. Y’all. Once you know something you can’t un-know it, so read at your own risk. You’ll likely walk away with a weighted heart.
- Gay Girl, Good God Jackie Hill Perry. Let me begin this by saying that for this blog post, it doesn’t matter what you believe when it comes to homosexuality. This book reads like a long poem, as the author is an exceptionally talented poet. Her words are poignant, potent, and perspectively intriguing. The last few chapters are some of the most scripturally sound words I’ve ever read. I encourage everyone to read this book with an open mind and let Jackie Hill Perry’s words soak into your soul.
- Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. I downloaded Hollis’ Girl, Wash Your Face after it became ALL the rage in 2018. Honest moment of pettiness: I did NOT want to like the book because everyone (I mean everyone) was raving about it. Stereotypical “hustlers” and “boss babes” obsessed over this read and how moving it was for them. I read two chapters of Girl, Wash Your Face and realized Hollis is type A to the extreme. She’s a go-getter and I decided in that moment that she wasn’t for me. I couldn’t read someone who has an innate drive and natural desire to achieve blanketly coaching the masses; not all people have the same personalities or goals! So I put that first book down. Months later, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts and Hollis was on as a guest. Hearing her voice and the way she talks to people was the missing key in falling in love with her. I had it all wrong, and she’s nothing like the caricature I created in my mind. She’s real and raw, allowing her to resonate with so many different types of people. Immediately, I picked back up her first book and read it with a different mindset. Girl, Stop Apologizing is the one on this list because she’s even more upfront and direct in this book. No pretenses, no excuses. She gives practical advice to motivate and encourage each reader to live their best lives. I implemented a few of her suggestions into my daily routine and feel more centered and grounded because of it. Girl, go get the book!
- It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way Lisa Terkeurst. Okay, Lisa had a ROUGH year before writing this book. She went through more all at once than I can imagine some will in a lifetime. I was blown away from chapter one with her transparency and her ability to tug at your heart as if you’re feeling exactly what she felt. She’s open and honest and doesn’t shield you from her pain. What makes this book so powerful, for me, is that she understood we are in between two gardens, Eden and the new garden of Revelation 21. In this in between, we deal with sin natures, hurtful people, infidelity, loss, sickness, and all the other bads. While she admits at certain points that she is still healing and her future is still up in the air, she always brings the promises of God in as the foundation of her restoration. It’s powerful, y’all!
There you have it! I hope you pick up one or all of these, and share with me what you think. I also thought about listing out some of my favorite devotionals, so if that is something you’re interested in let me know. Also, I am always looking for new book suggestions! Feel free to drop them in the comments below. See you soon!