Hello, all you Rad Readers,
A roundup of my own personal, all-time favorite non fiction reads. The ones I found to be most memorable, thought-provoking, as well as life changing. Hoping you too will find thought and life changing inspiration within the one’s you might choose to give a read to!
The Body Keeps Score by Bessel van der Kolk. This book is excellent. Gripping and fascinating with regard to the science behind the human body and mind, coupled with trauma. How even if our minds might forget, our bodies remember (and how this is made apparent).
Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto by Anneli Rufus. This one turned on it’s head, how I feel with regard to my own temperament and tendency toward loving alone time, as well as being an introvert. A much needed book, in a sea of cultural messages which claim outgoing and extrovert is the better way to be. (Not so. This book has tons of research and evidence that introversion is just as good, if not even better in some ways, than extroversion).
Read here the article I wrote inspired by this book, called One is Company.
Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. My jaw hit the floor on reading this. I always knew wheat/flour/bread/pasta were not great for you, but whoa. They are way worse than I ever imagined or thought. This is a MUST read for anyone who wants to lead their healthiest, most disease-free life.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I was blown away by both, the content of Gay’s essays, as well as her prose in general. She is an insightful, wise, well spoken woman, and a fantastic writer at that. Read this book. It will open your eyes to crucial aspects of our culture which everyone should be well aware and informed of. As well as, over which we need to take action.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. SO many life changing, thought provoking, inspiring insights in this book, which are relevant to everyone, and be applied to all human lives. Phenomenal read.
Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. This one changed everything I thought I knew about food. It offers a wealth of information on the health benefits we gain from each individual fruit and vegetable, as well as how to prepare each to get the most nutritional bang for your buck (example: did you know, the longer you cook tomatoes, the MORE cancer fighting compounds you get? However, the longer you cook broccoli, the quicker you destroy it?).
This book changed how I eat and prepare my food. Further, her writing is engaging and conversational, not dry nor dull.
The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr. Oh my gosh, what a great book. If you either love the written word, or long to be a writer, you must read this one. The prose is unique and fabulous. And the concepts she teaches about memoir, insightful and very worthwhile.
American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. Wow, did this one jar me. The stuff in this book with regards to the private, inner lives of teen girls, heart breaking, very eye opening, riveting. Highly recommend this read, to both women and men alike.
Necessary Endings: the employees, businesses and relationships that all of us must give up in order to move forward by Dr. Henry Cloud. This book changed how I think of endings, whether in connection to relationships, a job, or a personal project or particular life phase. It’s something everyone should read. It teaches one how to diagnose: should you have hope in a certain situation, or is it something that has reached it’s end point and needs to be let go.
Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self by Sarah Breathnach. I love this book as a whole. It’s a series of mini vignettes on topics of life, love, forgiveness, personal growth, ect. Found so many life altering gems in it.
You Play the Girl: on Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, and other Mixed Messages by Carina Chocano. This is a crucial and excellent read, on the topics of feminine stereotypes, and how much they harm and undermine women throughout our culture. She also writes in a voice that is witty and very readable. Highly recommend.
Why We Get Fat, and What To Do About It by Gary Taubes. I was shocked by this one. With research backed science, Taubes turns on it’s head, our belief that weight loss or weight maintenance is a simple equation of calories in versus calories out. It isn’t. It’s more about what specifically we are eating, and has little to no correlation with calories. Don’t buy it? You need to read it for the science that proves it. It will change your life.
The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity by Esther Perel. A very thought provoking and thought altering read, and a much needed one culturally. Challenges the very black and white, automatic blaming, one sided way in which we tend to look at infidelity. Offers varying viewpoints which will expand your thinking and open your mind on this topic. A fascinating and engaging, as well as important read.
Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel. Another one that will challenge an aspect with which we think of romantic relationships. This one, with regard to desire in long term relationships. Can we want what we already have? Is it possible to maintain desire when with someone over the long haul? To be excited by the same person for years? This book addresses those questions.
How to be an Adult in Relationships by David Ricco. The best book I have ever read on relationships. The title is misleading. It’s about so much more than. Essentially, it’s a book about love in general. The stages of love that every single romantic relationship goes through. Healthy adult/child love, and what this looks like. How being a healthy, mature adult means that when a relationship is no longer working, this means letting it go. It’s a phenomenal book. Chock full of incredibly gems and insights.
The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass. This is a great one for all aspiring writers. Maass offers some counter-intuitive thoughts with regards to what makes a story great. That it isn’t necessarily the prose, but more, the actions of the characters (check out the book for more in depth on this) that elicits an emotional reaction in readers. And, that we do not tend to remember books with the best prose, but more, with the most emotionally affecting stories. He tells us in this book, exactly how to create that type of story.
The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm. One of the best books I have ever read about love, simply put. This one blew open my mind and altered my thinking, with regards to many ways I thought about this topic prior to reading it. Excellent.
Fearless Writing: how to create boldly and write with confidence by William Kenower. Inspiring and validating for all writer’s and even creators. He makes eye opening points, such as the fact that “good” or “bad” writing (grammar aside) is subjective. Proving such with the example of showing the reader two contrasting reviews on one author’s book. One of the reviews mentioning how clunky and awful her prose is, while another reflecting on how lyrical and lovely it is!
He talks about how there will always be people who will find worth and joy in your writing, and what you have to say. While there will always be those who will not connect with, understand, nor be into your writing. That this is a given, and not to let it dissuade you.
It’s an uplifting book to read as a writer.
The Soulmate Experience: a guide to creating extraordinary relationships by Mali Apple. This is another phenomenal, as well as counter-intuitive to the usual relationship advice one tends to read, book. Things such as, being brave enough to venture to the edges of personal comfort with regards to your relationship. Exploring these edges together.
Sugar Blues by William Duffy. As a dessert devotee and lover of all things sweet, this book delivered a sobering shock. I learned just how bad sugar is for you, having had no idea with regards to details of such prior to reading it. Such as, excessive sugar consumption causes hemorrhoids, just how addictive sugar is, that it wrecks your skin and gives one a whole host of health problems. While I still enjoy sugar, I am much more aware, as well as careful with regards to my consumption of such.
Reality Bites Back: the troubling truth about guilty pleasure TV by Jennifer Pozner. This book shocked me, and opened my eyes wide to the truth behind “reality” TV, which could not be further from reality. All of it, yes all, is scripted, provoked, posed, and completely contrived and fake. People are manipulated and pushed into scenarios in order to elicit the most potential drama for viewers. Many of the actors and actresses, even downright degraded and emotionally harmed. This is a fascinating, jaw dropping, and enlightening book.
Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss. This book filled my heart with a sense of inspiration, hope, and comfort when reading it on my getting divorced. The insights within, aligning with a typically Buddhist mindset. The idea that the universe does not make mistakes. That everything which happens to us, both positive and seemingly negative, are exactly what are meant to be coming our way. All of it, contributing to the person we are meant to become.
Great book with helping to shift one’s thinking with regards to stressful or upsetting things which will befall each of us throughout life.
The Friendship Factor: how to get closer to the people you care for by Alan McGinnis. The best book I have ever read on friendship, and certainly a phenomenal one with regards all personal relationships. I’ve read it several times, highlighted numerous paragraphs and passages, and found such worth in this book with regards to all relations in my life. This one is a life changer for sure.
The Paleo Manifesto by John Durant. While I do not identify as totally Paleo, this book was still revolutionary for me. Learning about the harms of not just wheat/grains, but also lactose, as well as sugar.
This book sheds light on the fact that, our current Westernized lifestyle very much goes against the grain of how our bodies are meant to move, what they are designed to ingest, and how they are built to work. It’s an enlightening, inspiring with regards to health, very worth reading.
Zoo Story: life in the garden of captives by Thomas French. This book is an emotionally moving, gripping account of both: what life is like in a zoo for the animals, as well as the people who work there, and a weight-in on the contrasting ethics of zoos. I’ve read it twice and both times, was hooked as well as blown away.
Writing down the bones by Natalie Goldberg. One of the quintessential, must read titles for those who both love the written word, as well as writing. It will fill you with excitement for writing, as well as inspiration. After reading it, I bought my own copy.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown. This is a great book, giving one a reality check in terms of considering what in their life truly matters (hint: it’s roughly 20% of what you imagine are “all my priorities and must dos”). This book helps to put that into perspective, starkly.
Toxic Parents by Susan Forward. This is an excellent one, in terms of giving perspective, as well as feelings of support for those who have dysfunctional or toxic parents (sadly, that’s many of us). Even if your parents are not overly badly behaved or outright toxic, this book can offer valuable insight in terms of how to work through dysfunctional patterns of behavior with family members. A very helpful and worthwhile read.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Ignoring the crass title, this book is surprisingly profound and inspiring. So many of his points are counter-intuitive, deep, thought changing ones. I’ve read it twice and highly recommend. Powerful thoughts, all while making you howl with laughter along the way (Manson is hilarious!).
On Writing by Stephen King. Part memoir, part how-to on writing, this is neither dry, nor dull. On the contrary, it’s a gripping read for both those interested in memoir and Stephen King, as well as budding writers. I was shocked to learn that one of those assumed tall tales heard about celebrities was, in this case, actually true. Stephen King was so addicted to coke that he did in fact sit and write with Q-Tips stuck up his nose, to prevent bleeding. Jaw dropping. Thus, this book can appeal to many differing interests. Loved it.