If you pay any attention to the books that get reviewed around here, you’ll know that I rarely read nonfiction (although I did make efforts to branch out last year). However, there are at least a few nonfiction books that have made a big impression on me…
The Journals of L. M. Montgomery – This has to be closing in on 2,000 pages, putting all the volumes together, and forms a powerful account of one woman’s life. Montgomery had such a flair for character and description in her fiction, and that comes into her journal as well. It is nonfiction, and she wrote it over the span of 50 years, but it often reads like the most fascinating (and at times, heart-wrenching) of stories. I know that Montgomery died over 70 years ago, but after reading her journals, I can’t feel it.
If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland – Ueland doesn’t discuss the practical side of writing, and certainly not the publishing side, but she beautifully explores the spirit of writing. Encouraging, uplifting, almost spiritual, she explores the meaning and the inspiration of writing. If you have a passion for writing (or any creative pursuit), let no one ever tell you that it isn’t important.
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff – This one has a bit more fiction in it than the others, considering it’s an exploration of Taoism through the characters in Winnie the Pooh, and Hoff includes conversations with the characters. An odd but very appealing blend of Winnie the Pooh and philosophy, it’s charming, sweet and will actually make you think in very serious ways. Anecdotally, I knew a girl in college who was Taoist, and she recommended this book.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – Somewhat story-like, somewhat a how-to, Gretchen describes her year of exploring ways to be happier. It wasn’t that she was unhappy, precisely, or that there was anything truly wrong with her life–but she decided to seek out ways to appreciate, value and improve her daily life. It may make you want to start your own happiness project, trying different ways to make life better–everything from making your bed in the morning to making new friends.
Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle – This is a lovely book with very small snippets of wisdom. Few pieces go on for a full page, so it’s easy to dip in and out, and I never lose the thread of a theory. Tolle offers insights on mindfulness, getting over your own thoughts, and learning to really know yourself.
I have a general sense that most of you reading this are also fiction fans…but do you have any favorite nonfiction books to share?