“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
– Charles Elliot
Here are 7 nonfiction books and 1 novel I recommend from what I read in March.
1. Dopamine Nation
Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence
by Anna Lembke
Where’s our balance between pleasure and pain? Have we all become addicted to dopamine hits in one way or another? This is a fascinating look at the various ways and dangers of how we pursue pleasure.
“There is a cost to medicating away every type of human suffering, and there is an alternative path that might work better: embracing pain.”
A Hopeful History
by Rutger Bregman
Are humans basically selfish? Looking back through our history as a species, Bregman writes that humans have proven we’re wired more for cooperation than conflict. Among other evidence, he sheds new light on some popular studies from years past to prove his point. This book leaves you feeling better about your fellow humans.
“When in doubt, assume the best. If your faith in someone is misplaced, the truth will surface sooner or later. . . . But if you decide not to trust someone, you’ll never know if you’re right.”
by Timothy Bella
As an Auburn University fan, I enjoyed reading the biography of our basketball great Charles Barkley from Leeds, Alabama. From his early childhood to his NBA days to his current career as a broadcaster, Barkley has never failed to speak his mind and to continue evolving as a person.
“Charles hoped to build ten to twenty affordable homes in their place. He would pay for it all himself, in part by auctioning off some of his basketball heirlooms: an American flag signed by the original Dream Team. The 1993 MVP trophy. His gold medal from the ’96 Olympics.”
a poetic reckoning with white evangelical christian indoctrination
by Marla Taviano
Marla Taviano writes short, thoughtful poetry that cuts through the platitudes and problems currently facing evangelical Christianity. If you aren’t comfortable with an honest outpouring of grief and anger at the modern church, don’t read this book.
“poetry means letting go
of the compulsion to
cover every base
cover my a**
and just let what
I wrote be enough”
5. Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?
Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World
by Brian D. McLaren
I missed reading this book when it was originally published in 2012. But 11 years later, it’s not too late; its message is still critically important. Brian McLaren writes with humility about how to be a loving Christian (and human being) to people of all religions, not just your own, to truly reflect Jesus.
“Christian mission begins with friendship—not utilitarian friendship, the religious version of network marketing—but genuine friendship, friendship that translates love for neighbors in general into knowing, appreciating, liking, and enjoying this or that neighbor in particular.”
6. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
by Sue Monk Kidd
I also missed this Sue Monk Kidd memoir when it first was released in the 90s. But it’s just as relevant today too. She chronicles the deepening of her Christian journey as she embraces all the aspects of what it means to be a woman of faith. This is my March choice for Lory’s Spiritual Memoir Challenge. For April I’ll be reading My Jewish Year.
“Ultimately our experience needs to become a force for compassion and justice in the world. We must bear witness to what we have experienced.”
Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote words through such a kind voice. This book calmed my heart as I read his wisdom on negotiating our lives of ups and downs.
“The intention of deep listening and loving speech is to restore communication, because once communication is restored, everything is possible, including peace and reconciliation.”
8. Home Again
by Kristin Hannah
This novel centers around a Hollywood bad boy who needs a heart transplant and a world-famous heart surgeon struggling with her 16-year-old daughter. Several plot twists caught me off guard, and kept me wanting to read more. Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite fiction writers.
“Uncle Francis used to say, ‘Love hurts, Angelina-ballerina, but it also heals.’”
WHAT I’M READING NOW
- The Violence Inside Us
A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy
by Chris Murphy
- Life in Five Senses
How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World
by Gretchen Rubin
A Guidebook for Your Journey Through Ambiguous Grief
by Stephanie Sarazin
- A Hole in the World
Finding Hope in Rituals of Grief and Healing
Amanda Held Opelt
- How the Word Is Passed
A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
by Clint Smith
- The Sentences That Create Us
Crafting A Writer’s Life in Prison
- The Gospel of Wellness
Gyms, Gurus, Goop, and the False Promise of Self-Care
by Rina Raphael
- My Jewish Year
18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew
by Abigail Pogrebin
- The Husband’s Secret
by Liane Moriarty
What good book do YOU recommend? Please share in the comments.
Grace & Truth Featured Post
Do you remember what you were doing 3 years ago when lockdowns began? What are you thankful that you can do again freely?
As our featured post this week, read this beautiful perspective from Lesley about March 2020 and her progress since then in light of Lamentations 3:21-24.
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- To Break or Not to Break the Chain
- On the Blog—March 2023