While my reading preferences are heavily skewed toward fiction–specifically romance and fantasy, I do make a little space in my reading life for the occasional nonfiction tome. Here are five that I loved last year (whether or not I finished them).
The Power of Full Engagement, by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
This was a dense, tough-to-read book, but I struggled through it and found their theories on energy management to be very interesting. This is the oldest nonfiction favorite on this list (I believe it was published over a decade ago, but I’m too tired to look it up, so I shall learn to live with the discomfort of not knowing all the things all the time). The basic idea was that if we manage our energy through taking care of our bodies, we’re able to accomplish more. When I put it like that, it sounds very commonsense, and there’s more to the premise than this, but that’s the very basic idea.
Finish, by Jon Acuff
First off, this one made me laugh out loud a couple of times, which gets huge bonus points. There’s a line where he talks about not folding laundry and leaving it on the sofa for his kids to pluck clothes from like urchins at a street fair, and I laughed because…that’s how I roll. If I’m on a deadline, the laundry goes unfolded. I mean, at least it’s clean, right? ANYWAY, if you have projects that you want to finish and you’d like some tips on finally getting them DONE, this would be a great book for you. It’s practical, easy to read, and funny.
Burnout, by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
I haven’t finished this one yet, but it was going great up until I hit some writing deadlines and then the library demanded I return their copy. As soon as my schedule frees up, I’ll be requesting it again. I loved the practical tips, as well as the easy-to-read prose. Reading this book felt like talking to friends.
Atomic Habits, by James Clear
Ah, this is another one that I didn’t finish reading due to those pesky library limits on renewing a borrow over and over (and over) again. Along with Burnout, it’s on my list of books to finish reading in 2020. What I liked about Atomic Habits was the way he breaks down habits into smaller portions and explains how to link them to existing habits and routines. I need this in my life right now.
Digital Minimalism, by Cal Newport
This is the winner of 2019. This book resonated with me, from my overuse/abuse of social media, to my need to just leave my phone alone. Or at home. Okay, I still haven’t left my phone at home. I just can’t. But I do frequently turn on the “do not disturb” setting and set the phone aside for hours at a time. A year ago, this would’ve been unheard of for me. I’m a Digital Minimalism acolyte, even did the thirty-day paring down of my digital media consumption (yep, that’s right, I put The Vampire Diaries on hold for an entire month). As with Newport’s book Deep Work, I got so much value from this one.
How about you? Did you read any nonfiction books in 2019 that rocked your world? Tell me about them!