Christmas wishlist – non-fiction

Are you a non-fiction reader? I flit between adult fiction, adult non-fiction, young adult fiction and children’s fiction – variety is the spice of life! If you usually read fiction, try a non-fiction book for a change. Is there a topic you’d like to dive deep into? Is there someone you’d like to learn about?

If reading fiction gives us empathy, reading non-fiction will broaden your mind.

Here’s a selection of wonderful non-fiction books I’ve recently enjoyed or bought with the intention to read over summer, on topics as diverse as mindfulness, creativity, spirituality, memoir, finances, health, poetry and parenting.

The gift of presence, a mindfulness guide for women by Caroline Welch – my kids are always rolling their eyes when I mention the word mindfulness but in this age of constantly beeping devices, we need mindfulness more than ever. We need conversations with no typing fingers, meals at home and coffees at cafes without scrolling, clear minds with no multi-tasking. Welch discusses the four Ps – presence, purpose, pivoting and pacing. I haven’t read this one yet but plan to read it ‘mindfully’ during January when there are less distractions.

Untamed, stop pleasing, start living by Glennon Doyle – this memoir by New York best-selling author is a call to women to ‘stop pleasing, start living.’ It’s the story of Doyle’s journey to leave her marriage with her three kids and build a relationship with her new partner, former soccer player Abby Wambach. I read this one as a mini-bookclub with three friends – so many discussions!

The body keeps the score, mind, brain and body in the transformation of trauma by Bessel Van der Kolk – an interesting read on how our bodies can hold on to trauma for years. Van der Kolk draws on his years of experience in treating people with trauma, from veterans to abused children. If you suffer from chronic pain, this one’s for you.

David Whyte Essentials by David Whyte beautiful poems about just about everything with a brief explanation or background about each poem. There’s nothing like reading evocative, lyrical poems over summer. Perfect for dipping in and reading a poem a week.

Simplicity parenting, using the extraordinary power of less to raise calmer, happier and more secure kids by Kim John Payne – I read this book over and over when my kids were little. Payne’s non-judgemental, gentle voice taught me patience and creativity and understanding for my kids in that period when the days were long but the years short.

Wild Mercy, living the fierce and tender wisdom of the women mystics by Mirabai Starr – Starr weaves in her own stories through her exploration of women mystics, looking at topics such as mothering, remembering the Sabbath, caring for the Earth and dying. A fascinating read with an invitation to explore your own spirituality.

More myself, a journey by Alicia Keys – Keys wrote and performed one of my favourite songs ‘This girl is on fire’ so I am keen to dive into her memoir. As a writer, I’m always interested in other creative people’s stories, whether they’re artists or musicians or weavers. Another book to add to the summer reading pile!

A promised land by Barack Obama – clearly a man who needs no introduction! I bought this doorstopper of a book for my husband’s recent birthday, and will read it myself when he’s finished.

The barefoot investor for families by Scott Pape – I bought this one for my kids, and my teenagers have flicked through it. There’s a particularly good section on putting together a resume in order to find casual work. My then-fourteen-year-old son found it useful – and voila – success – he was hired as a supermarket shelf-stacker. I wish my fourteen-year-old self had seen the page on compound interest, though!

This one wild and precious life, a hopeful path in a fractured world by Sarah Wilson – I heard Wilson interviewed when her book came out a few months ago – she was her usual articulate and authentic self. Looking forward to reading this one over January – all about her hikes, her thoughts on the environment and her ideas for making changes.

Creativity, Inc, overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration by Ed Catmull – another one to read over summer! Catmull dreamt of making the first computer-animated movie – and he did, with Toy Story. Storytelling, creating memorable characters, achieving dreams – this is my sort of book!

I hope you’re inspired to pick up a non-fiction book to read over summer. Perhaps it’s a design book or a travel one, maybe a teach-yourself or a book on astronomy or a biography. Let me know if you have a recommendation!

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