I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately. I was so surprised by the recent conversation here about fiction vs. non-fiction, and how many of you said that you vastly prefer novels. I love a great story, of course, but I can't go long without reading a good memoir or personal essay.
Regardless of genre, one of the best things I've read lately is She Matters: A Life in Friendships by Susanna Sonnenberg. On the surface, it's a recounting of the author's girl friendships from her childhood, through the college years, into early adult and motherhood. But it touched me. I totally got it.
I'm a friendship analyzer, and currently some of my longest friendships are going through a shift. So it's possible that this book just hit me at the right time, but I really think there are some universal women truths in Sonnenberg's story. Further, she doesn't make herself the hero of the story. I'm not entirely sure the author and I would be friends. She takes the blame when it's due and, like in my own life, I could see the vines of complication weaving through every plain fact.
Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin is a follow up to her Happiness Project. I enjoyed both, but I almost think I like Happier at Home better. It's an easy read with lots of tips on how to feel more connected to your space and your family. I'm a fan of Gretchen's blog and newsletter, and she's not afraid to show her flaws.
Look, budget slow-cooker meals this book is not. It's obvious that Rubin's life is comfortable in Manhattan and that she and her husband are both educated with all the options in the world. So her approach isn't coming from a place of hearty discontent, which is exactly what I loved about both books. Life is in the details, and the little tweaks to her life that Gretchen Rubin suggests and embarks upon are more than just food for thought.
Jen Hatmaker and I have some mutual friends and I've really enjoyed everything I've ever read on her blog. Like Happier at Home, Hatmaker's latest book 7 is an experiment where the author takes on a new challenge each month, the focus here being to strip life's excess.
I was hesitant for a long time to pick up this book because I was worried it was going to make me want to go live in a tent with only a can of beans and my Toms. But 7 was nothing like what I expected. The tone of Jen Hatmaker's writing is casual, you feel like you're reading from a friend's email. The structure of 7 adds to this, it's written as a diary with various facebook posts and dialogue thrown in. So it took me nearly half the book to get used to this (where I think I would have been more on board if I'd known in advance - I was thrown mostly because I needed to adjust). Her personal commentary is laugh out loud funny and rather than being holier-than-thou, Hatmaker's Christian persective is intimate like a best girlfriend. The best part of the book for me was the council of friend's Hatmaker gathered to take the journey with her, weighing in with opinions and their own challenges.
What are you reading lately? Going through a genre phase like I am?
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