My Favorite Nonfiction Books This Year So Far – Nonfiction November Is Here

Nonfiction books are magnets to me. I do love a good novel, don’t get me wrong. But nonfiction is my true love; I’m a sucker for interesting data and profound truths.

So I’m excited to discover Nonfiction November. I’m joining JulzReads and others to celebrate nonfiction books all November (actually beginning October 28). Week 1 linkup is here.

If you’d like to join, too, get all the info here:

Nonfiction November

There’s also an Instagram challenge, #NonficNov, if that’s more fun to you.

My Year in Nonfiction So Far

Week 1 – My Year in Nonfiction So Far

1. What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

So far, it’s a 3-way tie:

  • Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
  • Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
  • Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending

2. Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?

Again, a 3-way tie:
(1) Productivity, (2) Politics/Justice, and (3) Relationships


  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
  • Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done
  • Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
  • 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think


  • The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump
  • Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents
  • The Time Is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage
  • Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger
  • I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations
  • The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure
  • The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church


3. What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Becoming by Michelle Obama

4. What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Challenges like these help me stay engaged with what I’ve already read instead of letting the books drift into obscurity. I also love getting new recommendations from other nonfiction readers (not that I need to add to my TBR list, but I will!).

* * *

What’s a favorite nonfiction book you’ve read so far this year? Please share in the comments. I’d really love to know!

Want more reading recommendations? My monthly book recommendations are here.

Other #NonFicNov books:

59 thoughts on “My Favorite Nonfiction Books This Year So Far – Nonfiction November Is Here

  1. bill (cycleguy)

    I have several I would recommend. A Change of Affection by Beckett Cook was an excellent read of one whose life was changed. Confronting Christianity by Rebecca Mclaughlin is one of my picks for Book of the Year. Rachel Denhollander’s book “What’s a Girl Worth?” is another of my picks for the award. That ought to add to your TBR list! 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I always appreciate your recommendations, Bill. I’d already added What’s a Girl Worth to my TBR list thanks to you, but I just found it on NetGalley now so I’ve requested a review copy to speed up my reading of it.

      But, in other news, the baby was awake a lot last night (I’m grandma-ing again this week) so I likely won’t get much reading done again this week. 🙂

  2. Stacey Pardoe

    I love these recommendations, Lisa! I really appreciated Ruth Haley Barton’s latest nonfiction, Invitation to Retreat, this summer. Even in a season of life when leaving my family for more than 2 hours at a time isn’t a realistic option, Ruth’s words challenged me to make small moments of retreat a lifestyle!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think that’s the downside of us reading so many books, Michele. 🙁 They can get lost in the shuffle. Yet I have to believe that even when we forget, the book has already done its work in us just because we read it. Trusting the Lord to make that happen.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I read Educated last year and loved it, too! It’s one of those books that stays with you, yes? Her story was so traumatic. It’s a beautiful witness that she came through as strong as she did.

  3. Patsy Burnette

    Thanks for the book suggestions, Lisa. I don’t think I have read any of these.


    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    BTW, my favorite NF right now just might be my own story. 🙂 The Heart That Heals: Healing Our Brokenness Through the Promises of God. Available at Amazon

  4. David

    Did you write a review of Enlightenment Now? I liked that book a lot. There were a few Big Things I took umbrage with, but I loved Pinker’s optimism and humanism (as in value of humanity).

    I’ve come back from your country with a stack of non-fiction books, and photos on my phone of a few more. Reading Range showed me that academic monographs are not the only non-fiction.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      No, I haven’t written a review of Enlightenment Now. I’m not sure I’d know where to begin. I highlighted SO many passages. I didn’t agree with everything either, but like you said, I love Pinker’s posivity; he helps restore my hope in the world.

      Glad you were able to peruse many of our books here, David! Did you visit Strand in NY? It’s a unique bookstore that my niece introduced us to when we visited there a few years back.

      1. David

        I had Strand on my list but didn’t make it — next time. I visited Bluestocking in NY (& excellent ramen place next door) and a branch of Word in Jersey City where we were staying. Both were the kind of bookshop I didn’t think existed any more — place with character, small but carefully selected & intriguing range of books. I was even impressed by the bookshops in the airport. Looking forward to going back already (not just for books).

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          Sounds like you made the most of your time here, David! My niece loves those kind of bookstores too (especially after she worked for awhile in a Barnes and Noble). I’m not as up on them since I don’t buy many books. But being an avid library user, I enjoyed visiting the NYC Public Library when we visited. 🙂

  5. Martha J Orlando

    My favorite non-fiction to date is “I’d Rather Be Reading” by Anne Bogel. Just excellent for every bookworm out there! Personally, though, I like fiction over non-fiction for pleasure reading.
    Thanks for the great list of titles, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thriving as an Empath is one that I’m continuing to enjoy. It’s a daily devotional. Some days are more pertinent to me than others (and some I don’t fully agree with). But overall it’s an inspirational way to begin each day.

  6. Bryan G. Robinson

    So out of the political books you read, which one would you recommend the most? I’ll be honest that I’m steering clear of most political books, but I feel like I do need to read more. Where do you think I should start among the books you read?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Actually, the one I would most recommend isn’t one that I read this year but read 2 years ago: “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt. It was a thorough look. It helped me have more compassion for all sides instead of just “my” side.

      From this year’s list, I’d suggest “I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations”. It’s written by the podcasters of “Pantsuit Politics”. They do a great job of encouraging us to have conversations without the conflict.

  7. Trudy

    I’m always awed by the wide range of your reading, Lisa. I lean more towards fiction, but the book I’m reading right now is probably my favorite nonfiction so far this year – Glorious Weakness by Alia Joy. Love and blessings to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ooh, I read that one, too, Trudy! I felt so humbled by her rawness to share some of her hardest moments. The title is so perfect for the book. I want to see my weaknesses as glorious, too, but I’m not quite there yet. 🙁

  8. Barbara Harper

    I saw this at Semicolon’s and thought about doing it. I’d have to go back and look at what I’ve read, though. 🙂 I should keep a running list so I don’t have to compile one at the end of the year. I can’t read too much nonfiction at once–I think my brain needs a lot of processing time for nonfiction. But I definitely learn from it.

    I can’t imagine myself reading anything willingly about politics. 🙂 My husband loves that subject, though. I need to read one on productivity that I got at your recommendation, since I keep being frustrated at not getting any more out of my time than I do.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      And I can only read one fiction book at a time. 🙂 I tend to speed-read through some of the nonfiction books, but I feel like I have to pay close attention to every detail in a novel in case I’ll need that piece of information later. ha.

  9. Kim Southwell

    My favorite non-fiction so far this year is “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way” by Lysa Terkeurst. God has used/is using it to help me continue to trust Him though circumstances sometimes overwhelm.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That sounds like a great book, Kim. I heard Lysa interviewed on some podcast about it, and she really got my attention. I need to add it to my tbr list. Thanks for sharing about it.

  10. Lou

    I have been on the library hold list for the Becoming audiobook for several months, and I still won’t reach the top of the list until May 2020 – clearly it’s a popular choice this year. Happy reading this month!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I had Becoming on hold at my library for months too. It was for a hardback copy. The audiobooks are usually harder to come by for me, too. But as we know, time flies, so May will be here before we know it. ha.

  11. Laurie

    So many good books here, Lisa! Thank you so much for this list. I really do like to get recommendations from friends for books to read. I’m trying to think of the last non-fiction book I read. I think it was Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott, which I liked. I am currently reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, which is non-fiction. I wanted a better understanding of life in that Muslim country under Ayatollah Khomeini. I don’t love the book, but I like it and it does provide a lot of insight.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Anne Lamott always makes me laugh and also pause to reflect over things she says. I’ve liked all her books I’ve read so far. Reading Lolita in Tehran sounds interesting. It sounds like you read like me – even if a book isn’t that great, if it teaches us something we want to know, it’s worth our time.

  12. floyd

    You are a machine!!!

    I’ve been so busy I have read almost nothing. But I did buy Malcom Gladwell’s “What the Dog Saw”…. now if I could just find time to read it…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It really is a different experience once your kids start leaving the nest. (And it often happens so much more quickly than we expect!) I found the book to be helpful even though my kids have been out of the house for a few years now. I’ll stop by to check out your post!

  13. Jean Wise

    wow, I now have four requests from the library! I love your lists and like you prefer non-fiction over fiction. This is our month!! I did order Doing Life with Your Adult Children – I never had any idea how difficult parenting adult kids were so looking forward to gaining some wisdom in this area. Thanks for that suggestion

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I just love that we can make requests from our libraries so easily these days! I’m currently reading the ebook version of Washington Black, but I have the audiobook on hold (might take a week or so) and also the hardcopy book (available now). The ease encourages me to do it. 🙂

  14. Liz Dexter

    I can’t read books about politics at the moment as it’s all too horrendous over here in the UK, but I did really enjoy Harriet Harman’s “A Woman’s Work” about her life in politics – a different memoir to the men’s ones I’ve read as she constantly shows how teams of people working together have supported her in her work, rather than claiming all the glory for herself.

    And “Lovers and Strangers” by Clair Wills, a history of immigration in the UK post-war in people’s own words, is likely to make my top ten of the year.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for sharing those titles, Liz. They both sounds interesting! I definitely enjoy people who share the accomplishments instead of thinking they alone accomplished great things, so A Woman’s Work would be good to me, too.

      We have our own horrendous political situation here in the U.S. now too so I feel your pain, even though our respective situations are different in the details.

  15. Rachel

    Fantastic! Someone who reads social issue / justice books. I’ll watch your blog. 😁 I am trying to read more such books this coming year. I found a book suggestion list called Literature for Justice made by the National Book Foundation which will be a good place to start. I’m also reading The New Jim Crow this month.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I haven’t heard about Literature for Justice but I will definitely look it up now! Thanks, Rachel. I read The New Jim Crow and found it to be very enlightening; hope you do the same. glad we’ve found each other. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      My hands-down favorite productivity book is Getting Things Done by David Allen. It really helped me get organized with projects and next steps. I don’t do everything he suggests, but a lot of it. It made a difference for me. Other favorites are from Laura Vanderkam: 168 Hours as well as Off the Clock. I read her books this year and they’ve been so helpful in reorganizing my weeks, not just my days. Hope you find some you enjoy, Katie!

  16. Pingback: Nonfiction November-Week 5- New To My TBR – The Intrepid Arkansawyer

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