I ♥ books. I Always have, since I was a youngin’. When I was in elementary and middle school my Grandma, seeing how much I enjoyed reading and how quickly I went through books, would pay me $5 to write a one page paper after every book I read. I believe I have her to thank for my ability to synthesize information and write clear cohesive papers. Sometimes, I still stick my palm out for a 5 spotter when I close the back cover of a book I’ve just finished…you could imagine the perplexed look on my Husband’s face…
I have come a long way from Babysitters Club, R.L. Stein (Fear Street NOT Goosebumps- I was and am very particular about that), and VC Andrews (actually, I haven’t come a long way from VC, if you gave me another one of her books I would probably dedicate an entire evening to finishing it, I love them all!). I love books (and writing) so much that I was an English major on several occasions in college. I took entire courses on Native American Literature, Asian Literature, Shakespeare, and Chaucer. I loved every minute of it, from the story telling methods of the Native Americans to the Old English of Chaucer, and don’t even get me started on old Billy Boy, I love me some Shakespeare (I think that is how he would put it).
I am definitely a fiction girl. My absolute favorite book is Jane Eyre, I have read it at least 3 times; and I love everything that Jane Austen has ever written. I consider myself a feminist, but (wo)man, can I get caught up in an old fashioned romance set in Victorian times (or earlier). Period pieces really drag me in and although I usually don’t enjoy science fiction I was OBSESSED with Wicked. I read all of the books in that series, over a few weeks, on a park bench in Queens, during another summer of reading fun. Just so you know I wouldn’t recommend going beyond Wicked…the other books in the series by Gregory Maguire are just not up to par, especially, A Lion Among Men, but I was dedicated to finishing all of them. That same summer I also read Anna Karenina, to which a friend responded when she saw me carrying it, “Wow, that looks scary.” It is long, and depressing and yet, really good.
Non-fiction never did it for me because even if it was well written, there was no surprise at the end (usually). Below I will review the list of non-fiction books I have finished and make recommendations.
Any who, I am a busy lady. I have a full-time job that requires me to commute between states, I take graduate classes for fun during the fall and spring semesters (you can ask questions like, “what the heck does “for fun” mean?” later), I have a side Wedding Planning business, an apartment to clean, a husband, a cat and a HUGE family with lots of birthdays, so there just isn’t a lot of time for reading.
Summer, though, is perfect. Classes are done, the train is less crowded (thank you teachers who get the entire summer off), and the weather allows for outdoor reading, another one of my favorite things. Now that I am a Vegan and becoming a little obsessed with this healthy/healthier eating thing, I thought it would be fun to come up with a summer reading list that is mostly made up of books around health and wellness. I have a Master’s Degree in counseling, and holistic wellness is very, very important to me. So, I asked around to see what others were reading in this topic area and decided that I would compile a list of recommended reads for this summer.
The list here is the non-fictions I have read and in my next post I will be compiling a reading list for health and wellness non-fictions that others recommend (And that I intend to read).
The Vegan Mama’s Non-Fiction Reads and Recommendations
Lucky, Alice Sebold – Highly Recommend but not for the faint of heart
This book feels so real that you almost forget it is a memoir, which is probably how I got through it. I remember having to put it down a few times because it was just so emotional. I read it as a teenager; it was actually circulated by many of the women in my family. I don’t think I remembered until after I finished that it was a true story. It was so good; sad, triumphant, and good. I then read her follow-up fiction work, The Lovely Bones (no I didn’t see the movie), and The Almost Moon. The Lovely Bones was very good; The Almost Moon was not of the same caliber but I am glad I read it.
I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This, Bob Newhart- Recommend if you like funny
Yes, he was around way before my time, but I enjoyed watching old episodes of The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart, when I was growing up via Nick at Night. I find his dry humor quite amusing and so his memoir was one of my Christmas presents. I finished it. It is easy to finish a book when the story is so interesting. He has been around a long time and also, the man is just hilarious! Did you know he started out as an accountant? See, now you want to read it don’t you…
Eat, Pray, Love & Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert –Highly Recommend
Eat, Pray, Love changed my life. I felt like a more powerful woman after I read it, I felt like I could do anything. I recommended it to everyone, and everyone who read it got something different out of it. It is a really descriptive, detailed book, which a lot of people don’t like. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book and had no problem getting through any part of it. If you want to feel like an empowered woman, read it. No, I didn’t see the movie, and I probably never will.
Committed, I waited and waited, for this book to come out. It was the follow-up to the most inspiring book I ever read. It was REALLY good, it was funny and insightful and there was clearly a lot of research that went into its making. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t get that same sense of empowerment from it, and I had to keep reminding myself that although Elizabeth Gilbert is smart and funny, she isn’t ACTUALLY an expert on marriage. Still though, I would recommend it.
Feeding the Hungry Heart- Geneen Roth- Good read for those who are interested in the topic
This book is dedicated to those who realized at some point between hiding the gallon of ice cream from their family and eating alone in a bathroom that maybe, just maybe, they needed a change. Personally, it was and still is a huge issue for me. This book was very anecdotal with stories of women who can now laugh at what they would do to eat and not be noticed while doing it. But it also makes the reader evaluate bad habits. For me, it was great. I didn’t feel judged or preached to, I felt understood.
The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls – Recommend but definitely not for the faint of heart
In 2009/2010 I was part of a book club at my job at the time. Someone chose this book, and it was really good. It was also, VERY real. I actually had to put it down in the middle of chapters, because my stomach would churn and I could sometimes feel my heart breaking. That makes for a good book in my opinion. This is a memoir of a woman who grew up in a “dysfunctional”(whatever that means) poor family. The only thing that some of the book club members questioned was how she could have such vivid memories from when she was a 3 year old, which is where the book starts. But, still, I think it is a true memoir of hardship and eventual success (sort of). Who cares if the early memories may be a little inaccurate, do you know how accurate your memories actually are?
Bossypants, Tina Fey – GO READ IT NOW! Unless, you are a sexist and completely un- interested in laughing…
I laughed, I cried (because I was laughing so hard), and I wished it was longer. It is the least memoir-y of all memoirs. Brilliant, she is just brilliant. I laughed out loud so many times in public places reading this that it was embarrassing.
The Kind Diet– Alicia Silverstone- I think by now you know that I HIGHLY recommend this book
Just read it.