Books I’ve Read Lately: Non-Fiction & Memoirs

I’ve been reading a ton this year, and today I’m excited to share some of my favorite recent reads with you!

You may have seen part 1 of my recent reads list (Books I’ve Read Lately: Fiction) back in August. This post (part 2) will feature the memoirs and non-fiction books I’ve read recently and that I’ve enjoyed or found useful. 

As I mentioned in part 1, reading in bed before I go to sleep is one of my favorite ways to relax and wind down from the day, but when I’m reading something non-fiction that requires more intense concentration, I sometimes will read during the day, too, when Riese is napping.

I usually alternate between reading fiction/for fun books and non-fiction/more educational books – often I’ll be reading one of each concurrently and will pick up whichever one I’m in the mood for when I have some time to read. 

Without further ado, here are some recent non-fiction faves! 

Please note the links in this post are affiliate links.

Non-Fiction Books and Memoirs I’ve Read Lately

Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey

Raising White Kids helps white families come up with a plan to educate their children on how to be inclusive in a diverse society that’s plagued by racial injustice.

I’ve found this book to be incredibly insightful and helpful as I work to understand how to adequately educate Riese about racism and race in an age-appropriate way. I especially found it useful to learn why the “colorblind” approach, while well intentioned, is not actually helpful in the long run. 

Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler’s Journey Home by Matthew Kepnes

Ten Years a Nomad is a love letter to the art of travel, written by a man who traveled around the world for 10 years before returning home. In this book, Matthew has compiled his favorite experiences and philosophies from his adventures.

This book is written by a fellow blogger, Matt of Nomadic Matt. As someone who absolutely loves travel, I knew I’d enjoy this book and find it interesting and fun, and I was right. I read this book right at the start of the world shutting down, so it was really nice to have a mental travel escape to wander into every night before I went to bed. 

I will say I found the book a bit repetitive and a couple times a little confusing because he jumped around in time, but overall it was an enjoyable read for anyone who likes to travel and/or who wonders what it’s like to spend 10 whole years roaming the globe. It was also interesting reading a fellow blogger’s musings on balancing work, social media, and real authentic life.

This book is a combination of memoir and an exploration of the why behind the reasons people want to travel. I identified with a lot of the restlessness and wanderlust he shared in the book, especially in terms of my former early/mid 20 something self (I moved to Prague for a year to teach English back in 2008 because of that wanderlust, and also backpacked around Europe right after college for a month with a friend), but I also resonated with his reasons for stopping traveling so much, too.

While I love having adventures, it’s also really nice to have somewhere to call home – and people there that make it feel like home, too, because you’ve spent enough time there to build those connections.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

In this memoir, Lori Gottlieb (a therapist) explores the depths of her own patients lives, while also delving into her own life during sessions with her quirky therapist.

I loved this book.

I’m a big proponent of therapy, and psychology has always really fascinated me, so it was really interesting to soak up the author’s musings on her (fictionalized, but based on real) clients as well as her own idiosyncrasies.

It’s funny and revealing and very illuminating – highly recommend. It will help make you more aware of your own personal obstacles and strengths, too. 

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

This memoir explores poverty in America, written by a single mom who worked as a maid so she and her daughter could scrape by.

Reviews of this book are all over the map, and I wouldn’t say it’s the most amazingly written or necessarily the “best” book or memoir on the subject of poverty in America (and the reviews on Amazon reflect that – people had lots of thoughts on this one), but either way I think it is a worthwhile read. 

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi

Stamped explores racism in America – including the history behind it – and how to be antiracist in a society that continues to circulate racist ideas.

I found this book incredibly eye-opening and think it should be required reading for everyone growing up in this country. This is a “remix” of Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning book, and it’s technically written for young adults, but I found it helpful that they broke the information down into a less dense format. 

Open Book by Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson opens up about her life in this poignant and surprisingly raw memoir. It spans all the way from her childhood in Texas, to her struggle with alcohol and past relationships, to her current career and family life.

Things have gotten a bit heavy here so let’s lighten them up with this one – Jessica Simpson wrote a memoir and it’s AMAZING. Like, seriously amazing. I could not put it down.

This book is well written (by a ghostwriter I understand, but apparently Jessica was very involved and they used some of her diaries, too), incredibly honest and open, and absolutely fascinating. It felt like you were being invited into the inner thoughts and struggles of a super close friend, but then suddenly she’d mention something you remembered watching on TV or reading about in a magazine (yes, “is this chicken or is this tuna?” makes an appearance, of course) and you’d get a fascinating inner look into how that situation actually went down, or how it affected her personally. 

Honest, refreshing, and relatable, whether you are a Simpson fan or not! 

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

The Sound of Gravel is the true story behind one girl’s life growing up in a polygamist cult in rural Mexico, as her father’s thirty-ninth child.

Wow. This memoir was riveting. Well written and completely absorbing – it will horrify you while also giving you hope. 

Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

This memoir follows Barack Obama’s journey after the death of his father, as he looks back at his parents’ lives. From small town America to Hawaii to Kenya, Obama seeks to understand his heritage and the truth behind his father’s tumultuous life.

I had this book on my to-read list for a very long time, and I’m so glad I finally sat down and gave it a shot this month. 

It’s an exploration of race and the struggles of the black community in America, as well as an interesting look at Obama’s earlier life and upbringing, well before he went into politics.

He’s an eloquent and poetic writer, and I found his musings to be fascinating, especially as he explores his own personal struggles with identity, growing up as the child of a black father and a white mother.

And that’s that – all the “of note” non-fiction books and memoirs I’ve read recently! 

Have you read any interesting books recently? 

I’ve already started reading some of the fiction recommendations you all left over in the comments section of my part 1 post (Books I’ve Read Lately: Fiction), but I’d be curious if you have any non-fiction or memoir faves, too. What’s currently next on my non-fiction reading list is White Fragility, but I’m always interested to hear more recommendations! 

Let me know in the comments!

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