Coming at you today with another fun book list, this time focusing on memoirs and non-fiction books I’ve read lately!
I’ve been a reading machine, and I love sharing my favorites with you guys! If you missed it, check out my recent list of the best fiction books I’ve read over the past few months, too.
I like to switch it up, sometimes reading for fun (usually fiction books), and sometimes reading non-fiction books or memoirs to educate myself/learn about the world. But non-fiction can also be just as entertaining as fiction books!
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Recent Reads: Memoirs & Non-Fiction Books
Here are some of the memoirs and non-fiction books I’ve read lately:
Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
This book focuses on the Galvin family, whose DNA became instrumental in research on schizophrenia when six of their twelve children were diagnosed with the disease.
Fascinating book – a bit like a medical detective story, but real life. They became one of the first families studied by the National Institute of Mental Health, and this book shares their journey and how it helped inform what we know about schizophrenia nowadays.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Glennon Doyle delves into why women strive so hard for perfection in their lives, trying to make everyone happy around them. She talks about how she reclaimed her identity and her happiness by following her heart, and not society’s expectations.
I’d had this book on my “to read” list for ages, so when the virtual book club I’m part of with some friends decided to have this book be the focus of the next call, I was really excited to have a specific reason to read it ASAP.
It was as fascinating as I thought it would be – I especially resonated with a lot of what she wrote about motherhood, and some of her insights into what it means to be a woman in today’s society.
Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein
Peggy Orenstein opens up a conversation around girls and sex education, including interviews with 70 young women and psychological studies on the topic.
This is another book that has been on my to-read list for AGES, since Riese was little and I listened to a podcast interview with the author. I highly recommend anyone who is parenting a girl read this book, or even just any woman who want to understand more how society is shaping/has shaped their own sexuality.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
This book covers the problems associated with society’s emphasis on ‘girly-ness’ and appearance when it comes to young girls. From Disney princesses to beauty pageants, Peggy Orenstein helps parents navigate how to combat these negative cultural influences.
It’s really important to me to raise a daughter who doesn’t feel her self worth is tied to how she looks, so I got on a Peggy Orenstein kick and decided to read her book geared towards younger girls, too.
I didn’t find this book to be quite as well organized/well done as Girls & Sex, but it was still really interesting and gave me a lot to think about as Riese continues to get older. Definitely worth a read if you’re a parent or caregiver to a young girl!
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
Wilkerson draws on the social phenomena of ‘caste’, laying out the similarities between three different caste systems: Nazi Germany, India, and the racial injustices of America (both past and present). She explains how this social ‘ranking’ came about, and the ways they are perpetuated – whether consciously or subconsciously.
I think everyone should read this book.
I’m not quite finished with it yet, but it’s incredibly enlightening and important in helping understand how we got to where we are today, and how you might unintentionally be helping to perpetuate inequality without realizing it. It has given me a lot to think about.
How to Be Fine by Jolenta Greenberg & Kristen Meinzer
Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer took advice from 50 different self-help books, on a wide variety of topics, and tested them out to see what works and what doesn’t.
I was a huge fan of Jolenta and Kristen’s podcast, “By the Book“, back in the first few seasons of the show (I kind of fell off the wagon and haven’t listened to it in a couple years, but they are still making new episodes I believe). The podcast follows the two women as they live by the rules of a self help book for 2 weeks, then report back on how it went.
The podcast is funny and poignant and really relatable, so I thought it’d be interesting to read their book summarizing the first 50 (!) self help books they lived by, and sharing their main takeaways.
I like their podcast better because it goes a lot deeper than the book could, but the book was great, too, and condensed hours and hours of their shows into a digestible read. A really interesting, fun, and also helpful read with lots of great lessons and takeaways you can utilize in your own life!
Me by Elton John
Elton John shares stories about his life, from growing up in London to becoming the musical sensation he is today.
This was really fascinating to read – what a crazy life most super famous people have had, and Elton John is no exception! His memoir is very real, honest, and raw, and I flew through it.
And that’s that!
I have two other non-fiction books that I’ve read recently, but they are pregnancy-related so I wrote about those in my 34 week pregnancy update post instead of including them in this post because I know not everyone will be interested in them.
So if you are interested in pregnancy book recommendations, check out that blog post for 2 books I really loved recently in the pregnancy/motherhood category.
I’m curious – what non-fiction books or memoirs have you read recently that you’d recommend? I’m always looking for new ideas to add to my list! And if you want more, here’s my last non-fiction/memoir round up post with more ideas.