Everyone is coming out with their fiction reads for the summer and y’all know me well enough to know that your girl struggles getting into fiction. I can enjoy fiction but it’s just really hard for me to find a good one! I’m a natural hypochondriac so stories of cancer and illness aren’t exactly relaxing. I also get really into a book when I’m reading it.
When I was newly married reading The Paris Wife, about Ernest Hemingway and his wife, which detailed his affairs, I got irrationally paranoid about my own husband! 100% not warranted or fair. And a major yikes!
I’ve talked to so many others who aren’t big into fiction for their own reasons so I thought it would be fun to share some non-fiction books that give major summer vibes. Maybe it’s something that’s a bit more laidback or just appropriate for the new season.
So here’s 11 non-fiction books to add to your summer reading list:
The Art of the National Parks by Fifty-Nine Parks – After visiting several national parks last June (blog post coming next week about where we went!) I am kind of obsessed with seeing more! This book shares beautiful illustrations and summaries of each along with some fun facts.
Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday by me – This book was made for summer. Or should I say, this book was made for the three months your kids are home full-time and possibly having you want to escape mom-life for a bit. Check out this blog post for a quick encouragement to get you started this summer.
Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl – I shared about this book in this post. It’s one of my favorite “close to fiction” books. It’s the story of the food critic and Gourmet editor’s life and as a food lover and journalism major who thought she was destined to work in magazines. It was fascinating!
Artists: Their Lives and Works by DK – Over the last 7 years, especially in seasons of lots of anxiety, art books have been the best nighttime read. It’s ok if I get distracted and I get to simply enjoy beautiful artwork. This book, instead of featuring paintings, gives a little history of each artist.
Take Back Your Family by Jefferson Bethke – This is a non-fiction book that has the potential to greatly alter the way you parent, but it’s also really easy to read and filled with stories of families throughout history that make it a great pick for summer. When I read it, I truly tried to read it slower than normal so I could process everything but also just savor it longer.
Dolly Parton, Songteller by Dolly Parton – In college, I wrote a dozen or more songs and recorded it with a friend. No, I’m not a singer and no I’ll never actually sing them out loud with anyone. I think the girls and Tyler have only heard me do it a handful of times and I made Tyler stand outside the door of the room I was playing in so I didn’t have to see anyone seeing me. But, I do really love the art of songwriting and think this would be a fun read about the stories behind Dolly Parton’s songs.
Led, Not Driven by me – If you want to slow down this summer, thisbook was written for you! I have a naturally ambitious and driven personality. A few years ago, I realized the success I craved for and finally reached didn’t satisfy. I went on a journey to slow down my pace and learn to live following God instead of constantly running ahead of him and backtracking. It’s more like diary entries and intended to be read slowly and processed through. You can even watch videos from the book club we hosted for it earlier this year here.
The Office BFFs by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey – The most consistent for-fun podcast I listen to is Office Ladies but I actually forgot they wrote a book and think it would be a fun read for the summer!
Memory Making Mom by Jessica Smartt – If you’re looking to be really present this summer with your kids, this book may be just the inspiration to give practical ideas on how and honestly just remind us that this is important to us keeping the topic front of mind.
The Lazy Genius Kitchen by Kendra Adachi – With the girls home all summer, I work less on business stuff, but as they are getting older, I still have time for projects around the house. Enter, trying to figure out how to cook consistently. I love the way Kendra approaches problem-solving and started this book but think summer will be the perfect time to finish and actually implement as we have a slower pace for afternoons of no homework.
The Garden by Jon Gordon – I fly though a good business book that’s pretty much a fable instead of dense book on a specific topic. Gordon wrote this fable about overcoming fear, anxiety and stress and I think the story-driven nature would make it an encouraging but laidback read.
What’s on your reading list for summer? I want to hear and add some more non-fiction books to mine. 🤓