Life-changing nonfiction books you can finish in a day
The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work”

The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work”

$8.95$5.17
“Quotidian” means “ordinary,” or “everyday,” and in this slim volume (88 pages!) Norris affirms the inherent worth of the mundane tasks that consume our everyday–the cooking, the cleaning, the dishes, the diapering. “What is it about repetitive acts that makes us feel that we are wasting our time?” Norris asks. Yet she insists that our daily activities are anything but trivial, and have the power to shape our souls, if we let them. A beautiful book worth reading over and over again. Take note: the text is largely contained within Norris's longer memoir Acedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life. 89 pages. More info →
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How She Does It

How She Does It

$4.99$2.99
Okay, so this is MY book. But it totally belongs on this list! This short guide unpacks cultural trends involving work/life balance and gets to the core of HOW you can make your work goals fit into your unique family situation. Inside, you’ll find the personal success stories of 30 women who found--by playing to their unique strengths–-solutions that really work for their families. 90 pages. More info →
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The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills

The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills

$9.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Audible)
This pithy little guidebook is devoted to deliberate practice. Skipping over abstract theories, Coyle shoots straight for the practicalities, sharing 52 ways to put more effective practice into your life. This surprisingly readable guide is packed with fascinating insights and practical tips covering diverse fields like sports, music, art, math, and business. I avoided reading it for a long time because the cover's little gold seal made it look like a gift book. Don’t make that mistake—this book is a gem. 160 pages. More info →
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Zen In The Art Of Writing

Zen In The Art Of Writing

$10.53$3.99
Bradbury is remembered for his inventive stories and fantastically creative mind. In this essential book for writers, he shares his process and spills his secrets. Bradbury dishes a surprising amount of practical advice for a book with the word "zen" in the title. 158 pages. More info →
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Pray, Write, Grow: Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together

Pray, Write, Grow: Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together

$6.99$1.99
I heard Anne Lamott say once that everything she knows about writing also applies to faith, and everything she knows about faith also applies to writing. She wasn't the first writer to make that connection and she certainly won't be the last. Cyzewski explores the interweaving of writing and faith, and specifically prayer in this thought-provoking and genuinely useful little book. The book is written from a Christian perspective (albeit a generously inclusive one), and as the author himself says, "if you're already inclined to both write and pray, you may as well figure out how they can help each other." Indeed. 94 pages. More info →
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The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

Jacobs's manifesto aims to convince readers everywhere: reading is supposed to be fun! I expected Jacobs to be stuffy, but he won my heart when he called Harold Bloom a snob. Lots of good nuggets and insights for book lovers, plus inspiration to expand your reading list and spend more time between the spines. This book is best enjoyed slowly, a few pages at a time. 162 pages. More info →
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Gift from the Sea

Gift from the Sea

$7.99$4.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)
This short book was first published in 1955 yet still feels fresh and relevant for today. Lindbergh muses on womanhood, solitude, busyness, contentment, growing older, and more. Equal parts memoir, meditation, and practical guide, this one is worth coming back to again and again: you'll discover new insights with each reading. 130 pages. More info →
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The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style

$19.801.95 (AUDIBLE DEAL)
This is THE classic style guide for writers of all sorts. In their distinctive witty style, Strunk and White advocate for clear, concise, and accurate English. Time magazine named it one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923. 105 pages. More info →
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The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful

A decorating book that's much more than a decorating book. Myquillyn Smith walks the reader through all fourteen (!!!) homes she's lived in as an adult, explaining how she learned to create a beautiful home despite the many limitations. Her mantra is "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful," and she'll fill you with confidence that you, too can create a beautiful, welcoming home that also feels lived-in and loved-on, despite your own lovely limitations. Practical and inspiring. 198 pages. More info →
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One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way

Kaizen is the Japanese art of making significant changes through small, simple steps. I loved this book for its straightforward explanation of the kaizen concept and the numerous anecdotes showing the method put into practice. A short, easy read and well worth the time if you're interested in habit formation (or kicking your Diet Coke habit). 182 pages. More info →
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As a Man Thinketh

As a Man Thinketh

$5.39
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Allen believes the quality of your thoughts are responsible for the quality of your life. This short book (first published in 1902!) prompts you to examine how, and why, you think the way you do. My mom first gave me this little classic; it's one of her favorites. 80 pages. More info →
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The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

$7.39$1.49Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)
The publisher describes this instant classic as The Art of War meets The Artists Way. I call it a good kick in the pants. This is THE BOOK on breaking through your creative blocks everything else is derivative. You'll resonate with so much of what Pressfield says about the many forms the Resistance takes, and how to combat it. I recognized myself over and over in these pages–and I'd thought I was the only one. 192 pages. More info →
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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death

Following a catastrophic stroke, Jean-Dominique Bauby spent several weeks in a coma, then wakened to a new reality. The 44-year-old sharp, high-living editor of French Elle was now a victim of "locked-in syndrome": he was mentally alert but unable to move or speak. Through sheer determination and a dose of the miraculous, Bauby learns a new way to communicate: by blinking to "speak," selecting one letter at a time, as someone read aloud a new alphabet rearranged in order of the letters' frequency of use. The diving bell of the title is the sheer weight of his useless body, but the butterfly is the human spirit that flies free. A wonderful and moving memoir. 132 pages. More info →
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The Alchemist

The Alchemist

This is the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of treasure and sets off on a journey to find it, meeting all kinds of interesting characters along the way. This little book has been on the bestseller lists for years and has over a million ratings on Goodreads. 197 pages. More info →
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A Briefer History of Time

A Briefer History of Time

In response to reader demand, Hawking wrote this shorter and more accessible version of his instant classic A Brief History of Time Make no mistake: it's still dizzying and more than a little daunting for non-scientific types, but I found most of Hawking's explanations about the science and nature of time to be intelligible and even enjoyable.176 pages. More info →
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A Room of One’s Own

A Room of One’s Own

$7.95$0.99
Woolf's long essay about society and art and sexism is thoroughly of its time and timeless. She argues that a woman must have money and a room of her own (literally and figuratively) in order to write well. It's a little slow to get into but keep at it: this is one of Woolf's most accessible and rewarding works. 112 pages. More info →
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What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

$2.99Audiobook: 2.19 (Whispersync)
In this short, practical guide, Vanderkam examines how and why successful individuals depend on their morning routine, and how you can do the same. She profiles a wide variety of individuals, who do all kinds of things with their early hours: exercise, spiritual practices, family time, creative work. The common thread: they’re all intentional about using their mornings well, which is crucial to success. You can finish reading this in an hour, but don't skip the time diary exercise. It will change your mornings—and your life. 192 pages. More info →
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Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

In this short memoir of sorts, Lamott distills everything she's learned from a lifetime of praying down to the basics. She wanders a bit, but there are so many gems in these pages. 102 pages. More info →
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Night

Night

"What does it mean to remember? It is to live in more than one world, to prevent the past from fading and to call upon the future to illuminate it." In this moving memoir, Wiesel recalls his experience as a young boy with his father in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps in 1944-45, during the Holocaust at the height of World War II. It's amazing how much Wiesel packs into 100 pages. "Never shall I forget ... " 132 pages. More info →
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The Getaway Car

The Getaway Car

$2.99$2.51
Everyone knows Ann Patchett, but readers tend to overlook this e-only mini-memoir. Patchett sketches a path from childhood through the completion of her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. Stops along the way include her college years, a failed marriage, the Iowa writing program, and a waitressing stint at TGIFriday’s. I loved this one enough to include it in the summer reading guide. A great read for any Patchett fan, but an absolute must-read for writerly types. 46 pages. More info →
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