Four non-fiction reads this fall!

There is nothing quite like a gray fall morning with a blanket, a cup of tea, and a good book. Unless of course, it’s a sunny fall morning that’s unseasonably warm so that I can sneak out onto the patio one last time and soak in the sun with a blanket, a cup of tea, and a good book!

Simply put, you can’t go wrong giving over a little bit of your fall to good reading in snuggly blankets. And whether you’re trying to soak in the last ounces of sun and warmth, or you’ve given over to a cozy spot snug and warm indoors, there’s just something delightfully comforting about turning the pages of a book while the leaves and seasons turn around you.

I tend to keep an impossibly long list of books to read, and while I generally don’t like reading more than one book at a time so as to fully engross myself in one storyline, I do find that from time to time I enjoy bouncing back and forth between a fiction and a non-fiction read simultaneously. Some non-fiction is just a bit too heavy to sit down and devour for hours at a time, and it can be nice to supplement the doses with something lighter…or at least less “real life!”

That being said, the non-fiction reading I’m doing this fall has been exceptional, and while I’m simultaneously reading the fictional and substantial Red Queen series, there are many nights where my non-fiction reading gets the bulk of my time and attention. Perhaps it’s a little easier to be reflective and introspective as the weather changes and seasons turn, but there’s something about this time of year that just makes non-fiction go down a little smoother. So whether you’ve been meaning to do a little non-fiction reading or you’ve never given it a go and are diving in for the first time, here are four titles to add to your list this autumn reading season!

Talking to Strangers – Malcolm Gladwell 

If you’ve never read a Malcolm Gladwell book before, this should be stop number one on your non-fiction reading tour. If you have read a Malcolm Gladwell book before, the recently released Talking to Strangers will not disappoint you! Gladwell’s style is to take a commonly held social structure or belief and turn it on its ear to figure out the inner working of what we do, why we do it, and why it’s probably wrong that we do it that way! In Talking to Strangers he examines the tools and strategies we are hardwired to use in trying to understand people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to objectively and reasonably talk to strangers, Gladwell asserts, we open ourselves to conflict and misunderstandings that have a profound impact on our communities and world.

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true? Gladwell digs into these questions and more all the while challenging the reader’s own thinking and prejudices in how they interact with those around them. In a country and world more polarized than ever, his message and insight should be mandatory reading!

Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage – Beth and Pat McCord

Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage by [McCord, Beth, McCord, Jeff]

Admittedly, this book is going to have a target and niche demographics. But if you’re married, and have a mild interest in the enneagram, and consider yourself a Christian, then you’re likely going to find something of value in this book. Scratch that. If you’re married…OR have a mild interest in the enneagram…OR consider yourself a Christian, then you’re likely going to find something of value in this book. That’s how much good stuff is packed in this brand new offering out October 1, 2019.

Enneagram coach Beth McCord unpacks common questions and misunderstandings that plaque many couples, using the lens of the enneagram to explain why a partner may act the way the do, and how the other partner can best respond based on what that behavior represents and/or is motivated by. Pastor Jeff McCord offers a Christian perspective, but it does not feel heavy-handed, and as the enneagram is deeply rooted in the Christian tradition, it won’t feel jarring to anyone who’s done some enneagram study. At its heart, this book strives to prepare couples to better support each other, communicate, understand differences, and resolve disagreements.

And if analytics is the kind of thing that dazzles you, between Good Reads and Amazon this book has over 300 ratings, and not a single review under 3 stars. In fact, of it’s 119 Amazon reviews, 118 are 5 star, and 1 is a 4 star review. I’m not the only one raving about this book!

The Lost City of the Monkey God – Douglas Preston 

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by [Preston, Douglas]

If you want to trick yourself into reading non-fiction, then you need the kind of story that’s told as a narrative with twists and turns that are almost stranger than fiction! An expert non-fiction narrator might even make you forget that the tale they tell is, in fact, real-life and not a made-up impossibility. Such is the case in The Lost City of the Monkey God when Douglas Preston tells his story of venturing with scientists deep into the rainforest to map the region, and in the process coming across evidence of a long lost metropolis and a horrific, incurable jungle disease.

Built on the foundations of journalist Theodore Morde’s work, which ended with his tragic and unexplained suicide after supposedly finding the city of the monkey god in 1940, Preston walks up to the edge of civilization in search of history, and comes away having made one of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century, only to risk losing it all to the hidden perils of the rainforest!

Loaded: A disarming history of the second amendment – Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

I try very hard to walk away from the political lines when writing and sharing blog posts, so take that to heart as I recommend this book as I truly believe it firmly and convincingly straddles the political aisle in terms of perspective and ultimate conclusion.

True, author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is not a fan of guns and believes the laws surrounding them are inexplicably lax. However, she does not offer the host of usual progressive talking points. Nor does she give a pundit’s answer as to how and why we as Americans should fix gun violence. Instead, Dunbar-Ortiz exposes the roots of gun culture in America, the construct of second amendment constitutional law, and the blind spots that both liberals and conservatives lose sight of in the relentless debate over gun control and the role of lobbyists and the NRA in Washington.

Regardless of what party you might affiliate with, or where you fall on the political spectrum, this book will challenge you. I was viscerally upset at times while reading. And it left me deeply unsatisfied with the conversations that are being had around guns and the talking points of both sides. If meaningful and lasting debate and/or change is ever going to be possible in this country, our leaders will need to grapple with at least a fraction of the history and precedent explored in this book!

Happy reading!


Published by Kate

A former Wisconsinite, Kate now resides in southeast Minnesota with her husband where she teaches high school English and theater. She recently completed her master's degree in learning design and technology, and continues to study and advocate for arts integration in the classroom. A recipient of the RISE America grant for high school theater, Kate is working to innovate and expand theater opportunities for the students at PIHS. An avid distance runner, concert pianist, and want-to-be wine aficionado, Kate's blog "ink." is a passion project, embodying all the best parts of life: friends, food, wine, thoughtful conversation, style, and sass!

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