All in Nonfiction

There Will Be No Miracles Here

There Will Be No Miracles Here is an example of exactly why I love to read memoir. Actually, I really love to listen to memoir audiobooks (as I did with this one) — the author often reads the book themself. And this book is incredibly honest, raw, and thought-provoking.

Three Women

I’m not giving this a star rating because Three Women is a difficult book to review. On the one hand, as the hype around this book suggests, the writing is really good, and the subject matter is gripping. However, there’s a big asterisk there: The publicity around this book has been extremely problematic.

Elements of Fiction

I liked but didn’t love this book, and I think that’s because it was very different from what I’d expected. This book is much less of a guide to fiction (reading or writing), and more like a love letter or an ode to fiction.

The In-Betweens

The In-Betweens is a fascinating, journalistic look into a world that quietly exists right under all of our noses — the religion and community of Spiritualism. Her neutral but relatable reporting will leave you thinking long after you close the book.

An American Sunrise: Poems

Did you really expect me to give the first Native American to be named Poet Laureate of the United States anything less than five stars? Thank you so much to W. W. Norton for sending me a free finished copy — I enjoyed it so immensely.

I Miss You When I Blink: Essays

Rating: 4/5 | I Miss You When I Blink was a delightful little book of essays. Mary Laura Philpott dives into herself, finds her way around, and then lets us in to see. It's an example of creative nonfiction at its best, the story of an average woman's life (if any of us can be called average) made poignant. A glimpse into the human experience that makes us feel seen and hopeful. (Click the post to read more.)

Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States

Rating: 5/5 | I chose Real Queer America for my office's Pride Month book club. I wanted to read something by either a cisgender woman or a transgender person, and I wanted to spark conversation about experiences that even our very diverse team had not considered before. This. book. was. it. Samantha Allen's prose is clear and impactful, yet warm and fun. I'm so, so glad I read it, and I can't wait to talk about it more. (Click the post to read more.)

From the Corner of the Oval

Rating: 3/5 | From the Corner of the Oval was fast-paced, well written, and suuuuper juicy. It's clear that Beck Dorey-Stein is a great writer, and her ability to observe, recall, and retell a story is what all creative nonfiction writers are striving for. Her personal story was not really my favorite, but I absolutely can't deny that she wrote this book really, really well. (Click the post to read more.)

The Summer of Dead Birds

Rating: 5/5 | I impulse-purchased this book after seeing it on Feminist Press' Instagram channel. I've never disliked anything they published, and it looked beautiful, so I bought it. A+ DECISION, DEEDI. The Summer of Dead Birds was a heartbreakingly beautiful story told in poems that I will surely lend to many people and read several times over. (Click the post to read more.)

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

Rating: 3/5 | The Culture Code was one of the Next Big Idea Club's selections. It's one of those nonfiction business books that could be summed up much more succinctly, but the addition of a lot of colorful and interesting examples expanded it out. I enjoyed it, but I have read a lot of leadership books and didn't really learn anything new here. (Click the post to read more.)

The Trial of Lizzie Borden

Rating: 4/5 | Y'all. This mystery is WILD. I'm not usually big on true crime, but I'm so glad I read this one. Cara Robertson has spent her life — literally, this started as a thesis paper — researching Lizzie Borden's story. She's able to paint a rich history of what we know about the crime, and about the trial. (Click the post to read more.)

Heavy: An American Memoir

Rating: 5/5 | This may have been the most personal memoir I have ever read. Laymon isn't just writing about his life; he's practically writing poetry about his soul. I kept being re-surprised, over and over, at just how many of his deepest, darkest, most private thoughts, feelings, and actions were put down into words for the world to read. (Click the post to read more.)

All You Can Ever Know

Rating: 4/5 | All You Can Ever Know is Girls' Night In Club's February book pick, and I really enjoyed it. I listened to the audiobook, which was well narrated. Nicole Chung is a really great writer, and her storytelling sheds light on experiences that many people do not often see or understand. (Click the post to read more.)

Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

Rating: 3.5/5 | I read Joyful as part of my subscription to the Next Big Idea Club, and it was really, really interesting. Ingrid Fetell Lee is a designer who's spent years researching the aesthetics of joyful things (like confetti and balloons and the Rockettes). Then she goes into how you can bring the same aesthetics into your own surroundings (short of throwing confetti around your home). (Click the post to read more.)

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Rating: 4/5 | Anyone who reads a fair amount of nonfiction will tell you: Too many nonfiction books say pretty much nothing new. Refreshingly, When is not one of those books. I read it as part of my subscription to the Next Big Idea Club. It taught me new things about myself and about the world and gave me real-life takeaways that I can implement. I only wish that it had been longer! (Click the post to read more.)