Reading Recap: The Month I Became a Nonfiction Reader

Published by The Connected Reader on

I generally bring some ambitious energy to January. 

It’s a combination of the post-winter break return to routine, the new year, and my birthday being at the beginning of January. 

It’s like the world screaming at me to CHANGE YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW. 

I’ve learned to take a breath and channel this feeling in healthy ways to avoid the spiral of trying to maintain 37 new routines. 

One way this energy is showing up in my reading life is in compelling me to read more nonfiction this year. This month, I read six books and four of them were nonfiction. And it felt good. I felt my brain taking in the information, working in a good way, making sense of it, applying it, and connecting with others about it.

Today on the blog, I’m sharing the books I read this month. 

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Share in the comments below so we can connect!

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Happy reading, y’all!

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty – I have been meaning to read this book for years but the 18 hour audiobook length kept deterring me. Friends, I listened to it in a week. I could not put it down. It is a page-turning look at how one family’s business contributed to the opioid epidemic and you cannot look away.

Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be – My child self, adult self, and parent self felt so seen reading this book. Implementing the strategies has been a challenging process, but it feels right to me and that hasn’t been true of things I’ve tried in the past. It feels so hopeful; like the work I’m doing to support my children in being adults who are connected to their bodies and feelings will actually make a difference, especially as I’m doing it alongside so many other parents.

Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song – If you are a Sara Bareilles fan, you should listen to this. If not, you can probably skip it. I will reiterate the listening part; Bareilles sings at the beginning of each chapter and she is very funny in her delivery of certain parts. I read the version that was originally published in 2015, so a lot of the recent success Bareilles has experienced is not included. There is an updated version from 2019 that includes more about her Broadway work on Waitress.

The Most Precious Substance on Earth – I picked this one up from the recommendation shelf at the library. I’d never heard of the title or the author. All of this is unusual and exciting for me. I enjoyed this one for the 90s nostalgia and connected with the narrator’s descriptions of being a high school English teacher. The narrator experiences several traumas as a high school student and never gets the support she needs to recover from them, and that left me feeling frustrated for her – but I suppose that sort of ending would have been an entirely different story.

Under Lock and Skeleton Key – This is a cozy mystery about a family of magicians suffering from a curse, with a narrator who identifies as mixed race (as does the author) and a world filled with characters from different racial and cultural backgrounds. All of this is exciting for a genre dominated by white authors and characters. I enjoyed this setup, but I found the mystery hard to follow and I felt like there were too many loose ends.

Happier Hour – I cannot with this book. My brain is exploding. Throughout, the author states that happiness is a choice, including emphasizing it in a way at the end that made me feel shame and failure if I wasn’t choosing happiness. I am not a psychologist, but this viewpoint just seems unaligned to reality. We live in a world where there are so many factors preventing people with marginalized identities from choosing happiness. I found the lack of acknowledgement of this outrageous. If you are in a place of privilege to be able to choose happiness, then you may find some of this book as a good reminder to be more intentional, but otherwise this is a no for me.


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