7 recent nonfiction reads.

7 recent nonfiction reads

Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

This month I’m rounding up my recent nonfiction reads, and there have been plenty. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been reading: link up a post or tell us in comments.

Nonfiction round-up
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

I was a little afraid to pick this one up because I feared it would be heavy and heartbreaking. It is those things, but it's also incredibly hopeful. Stevenson's story-driven account describes his work with the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit legal organization he founded, and closely follows the story of Walter, a man sentenced to Alabama's death row for a crime he didn't commit. Moving and beautifully written. More info →
Write without Crushing Your Soul: Sustainable Publishing and Freelancing

Write without Crushing Your Soul: Sustainable Publishing and Freelancing

Before reading this helpful guide, I didn't even know how much I didn't know about the world of Christian publishing. Cyzewski has an impressively vast writing and publishing background and shares heavily from his own experiences and those of his peers. If you're a writer of faith, you'll appreciate his straight talk on the ins and outs of the industry, as well as how to save your soul (and your sanity) from the unusual demands of the writing life. More info →
My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

I'd forgotten how good Reichl's food writing is: I loved this so much, I can't even tell you. This collection truly is as much memoir as cookbook: there's a story to accompany every single recipe. (I only made one recipe—the marinated london broil—but it was a hit.) I happened to sit down and read this (like a novel) right after we got back from New York, and I especially loved the copious number of NYC stories: I kept googling Manhattan shops, neighborhoods, and restaurants while reading. I checked this out of the library and I already miss it: this might be a keeper. More info →
The Gift of Failure

The Gift of Failure

Will and I talk a lot about natural consequences in our parenting, but when it's time to put those principles into practice, we wonder if we're doing the right thing. This book answers that question with an emphatic YES. If we want to raise self-reliant, resilient adults, we need to let them fail. I especially appreciated Lahey's in-depth treatment of what these principles look like in action for kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens. More info →
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

This isn't a productivity book, exactly: McKeown's point is that instead of trying to get more done, we need to focus on getting only the right things done. Ironically, this book about ignoring the inessential felt a little padded to me. My favorite takeaway was the "monk mode" strategy McKeown relied on to write this book: he shut out the world from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every day to focus on his "essential" project for that season. More info →
Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith

Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith

I'm not sure the concept of this book would have made sense to me in my early twenties, but nearly 15 years later, I understand what it means to be "out of sorts"—it's that disoriented feeling that comes with personal growth and change. In a spiritual sense, it's that time when you're having to figure out everything you thought you once knew "for sure" all over again. Those who feel that they're still sorting through their faith, or sorting through it again, will relate to Bessey's personal journey. My favorite line: "If our faith doesn’t change and evolve as we go through our lives, then we simply aren’t paying attention." More info →
Money Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference

Money Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference

This topic won't be new to readers of Crystal's popular blog Money Saving Mom, but much of the content is. Crystal calls this a hands-on manual to help you discover your passions and talents and turn those into a profitable business. I most appreciated the behind-the-scenes looks at Crystal's own business: what's made her successful, and what mistakes she's made along the way. More info →

What have YOU been reading lately? 

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  1. Victoria says:

    I can’t wait to read more Reichl! I just read Delicious recently and now I’m ready for anything else she’s done! Have you read Voracious by Cara Nicoletti yet? It’s a memoirish cookbook that I FLEW through just before reading Delicious.

  2. Thank you for the great suggestions! Looking forward to checking out The Gift of Failure and Money Making Mom. I enjoyed Essentialim, but totally agree that it felt padded in spite of being pretty short. Now I’m reading The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. Similar message to Essentialism, but not quite as inspiring.

  3. Lorri Castro says:

    Still working on The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I’m almost done and I love this book so much. Looking forward to reading most of these on your list too.

  4. Sarah M says:

    I just pinned the Essentialism and the Sarah Bessey book to my book board for later, and I’m next in line for Riechl’s at the library (can’t *wait*). I just finished Gretchen Rubin’s “Better Than Before” (LOVED it) and Mary Oliver’s new one, “Felicity” (just okay), and am now reading “Chasing Francis”, which is really, really good. I’m only about 60 pages in. It’s actually sort of similar to one of my favorite all-time books (“Sophie’s World”), and I realized why–in the back Cron explains that this genre of novel is called Wisdom literature; partly true, partly novel, partly history, partly memoir-y feeling. If that makes any sense!
    Sarah M

  5. Dana says:

    Thanks for the recommendations! They all sound amazing.
    I just ordered the Cyzewski book. It is just what I need at the moment. I will keep the others in mind for later. The Jen Hatmaker one will be up soon, I think.

  6. liz n. says:

    “Just Mercy” is still on my TBR list. An old friend from college works with the Equal Justice Initiative, so I really do need to get to this one and compare Stevenson’s story with the ones I’ve heard from her. They’ve taken on no easy task.

  7. Cassie says:

    I can’t wait to check out Ruth’s new book. I love her writing so much. I have been sitting on Essentialism for a long time, now I have the push I need to get it read this winter.

  8. Jeannie says:

    Your nonfiction reads all look great, Anne. (This was a nonfiction-only month for me, too, though I only read 2 books.) I’ve just finished Bessey’s Jesus Feminist and look forward to reading Out of Sorts soon.

  9. Cindy Z says:

    Essentialism shook up my thinking a little bit, and in a good way! Just picked up another of your recommendations, Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and even though people call me a social butterfly and the life of the party, I checked all but one on her introvert quiz. Talk about things suddenly making sense! I love your blog and while I rarely comment, I ALWAYS go check out the books you mention. Thank you for being such a wonderful source of book information and enthusiasm!

  10. Breanne says:

    I just finished a great non-fiction and wanted to read more, so this is perfect timing for me. I just read Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr and found it fascinating on so many levels, especially reading some of the back story of All the Light We Cannot See.

  11. donna says:

    As always, thanks for the recommendations Anne! I’ll be reading ‘Just Mercy’ in the winter. Looking forward to it!
    I’ve been focusing on getting through the fiction picks from my fall reading list.
    Although I did pick up The News Sorority by Sheila Weller and I definitely recommend it!
    I plan on starting Five Days at
    Memorial by Sheri Fink next
    Recent fiction I loved:
    Room by Emma Donoghue. Just finished re-reading it last week. If you haven’t read it
    yet, I highly recommend it!
    It’s so well written and
    compulsively readable,
    hilarious at times and
    poignant at others. I read it in
    a few days on both occasions.
    A Fairy Tale by Jonas T. Bengtsson – This book was translated from Danish. It’s a great story and a really well executed translation. Check it out!
    Happy reading!

  12. Andrea says:

    I just happened upon A Three Dog Life, by Abigail Thomas, while browsing biographies at the library. It is a memoir of how her life changed after her husband sustained a traumatic brain injury that changed his. But really, it is also a series of essays on wonder, change, loss, growth and joy in life. It is a very positive, well written book and I recommend it!

  13. I’ve been hearing great things about The Gift of Failure and My Kitchen Year. Can’t wait to read Out of Sorts.

    I just finished The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton (speaking of great nonfiction) and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate (so much fun).

  14. Melissa says:

    I LOVE all the nonfiction books. I really excited to read Money Making Mom, but I just finished Jesus Feminist and LOVE Sarah’s voice. I am intrigued to pick up Out of Sorts. I can totally relate to you – being “out of sorts” is not something I could’ve related to in my 20’s. I think Sarah has a great way of articulating a tension I may sense and feel but can’t put words to.

  15. Judy says:

    Ruth is so fantastic. I recently read Delicious and LOVED it. (I found it in a Little Library) My Kitchen Year is on my wishlist.

    Do you follow her on Twitter? She’s fantastic.

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