|Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash|
I gave you my fun fiction reads last week. Those are just the books I read so I can go to New York City or London or the year 1732 instead of living inside my own house with all of its dirty dishes and laundry and children. Those are the books I take to get me through my kid's swim practice and waiting for him to get out of Chess Club. But these books... Non-fiction books. These are my bread and butter, man. These are the books that change me, challenge me, make me say, "yeah, me too." These are my true love, even if they are more difficult and take more time. Here are the Non-fiction books I read in 2017 in no particular order:
1.Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
Let's talk about Steinbeck for a minute. You see... He was tough for me back in the day... by that I mean, when Mr. Walters told me to read The Grapes of Wrath and I tried for a while, but ended up just BSing my way to an A through all of the class discussions and never reading the book because it was just too... ugh. That's how I feel about Steinbeck's work sometimes. Other times, I have all the heart-eyes for his work. Like in Travels with Charley. This book took me back to my month on the road in the American West. It took me back to November of 2003 when I packed up Ralph (my purple Ford Ranger) and wandered around camping alone in some amazing places. I loved traveling along with Steinbeck and his dog, meeting the folks and feeling the feeling of freedom on the road.
2. The Road Less Traveled by Heidi Renee
This is the story of a warrior mom who just does what she has to do to give her son the most normal life possible. Her story of adopting and beginning to raise AJ is that of someone who refuses to give up, and it makes me so proud to call Heidi my friend. You can find her book here:
3. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
4. Smarter, Faster, Better also by Charles Duhigg
Both of Duhigg's books combine deep research with engaging story-telling. The stories that illustrate his research on habits and how we get better at things are memorable and interesting. Definitely worth the read.
5. The Dip by Seth Godin
So... I feel like Seth Godin's best work is in his blog with short pieces that give you food for thought for the day, and that style hasn't translated well into book-format for me. That being said, The Dip seemed to conquer his normal hiccup, and held my attention well. Also, it's a very short book, so... concise seems to work well for Mr. Godin.
6. The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield
This was my favorite book of 2017. It was inspiring and encouraging and engaging. I loved part of it so much I ripped out the last page and hung it on my joy wall to remind me that I was born to write, born to be uniquely me, and if I get lazy, I am absolutely robbing the world of what I was born to do.
7. Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
Ah, the controversial Jen Hatmaker. First, let me say that we can occasionally disagree with people who write things that we love to read. And we can agree with people whose writing sucks, and we can be kind about it all. And all of this nonsense about her and the church and same-sex marriage... Just whatever, man. She has studied and worked very hard to come to the beliefs she holds, and she loves and serves Jesus dearly and better than I ever have. I love Jen Hatmaker's books (at least her more recent books). She is real and raw and so much like me. And her books bring women together. I think you'll like it.
8. Payoff by Dan Ariely
It was good. I don't remember what this book was really about, but I remember it had important information in it that I wanted to remember.
9. Deep Work by Cal Newport
See... This book reminded me that the way I work is in long focused spurts with no interruptions... perfect for a Stay-at-Home-Mom. It was great to have the validation that this is just how some people work most productively, but it was also encouraging to read that we can do deep work by showing up continuously. If you're working on something that needs deep concentration and intense focus, read this... Though I think it might be better as an audio book...
10. Design Your Day by Claire Diaz-Ortiz
I was hoping that this book would give me a little more insight into how to be more productive during my day, and maybe it did a bit... but I feel like it was mostly just more of the same advice on how to be productive... advice that I just still can't figure out how to implement as a 38 year-old scatter-brained Stay-at-Home-Mom.
11. Grace Eventually by Anne Lamott
So... Anne Lamott is a little weird. But she is also an absolutely beautiful struggling soul, and I love her writing dearly. She is real and open and vulnerable. She is so easy to relate to. Her stories and insights, and me toos are some of my favorites.
12. Finish by Jon Acuff
This book is great advice for those of us who never finish anything. It's engaging and encouraging and funny and helpful. Everything I hope my writing could ever be. You won't be sad about reading this. It might even help you reach some of those 2018 goals.
Love you guys!