Hi, my friends! How are you? We’re talking about the best nonfiction books today.
Even though I often tell you about what I’m reading in my weekly current faves post, it has been a very long time since I’ve recapped my favorites all in one place. That’s what you’re getting today.
I read almost every night before bed and get through a lot of books. And the following ones stick out as favorites, all for different reasons.
The five best nonfiction books I’ve read in the last six months
Let’s do it …
“Open Book” by Jessica Simpson
*Top line: I devoured this! And everyone I’ve talked to who has read it felt the same.
Jessica Simpson’s “Open Book” certainly deserves a spot in a book recommendations post. It was so captivating. Every time I opened it to read, I read for at least an hour, sometimes more, staying up way past my bed-time on multiple occasions, getting through it in just a few days. It was just so HONEST!
We don’t really hear too much about Jessica Simpson these days, because she doesn’t perform any longer. But she does run a billionaire-dollar fashion brand, and apparently she’s got a new Amazon show in the works too. Nonetheless, I used to be a huge Jessica Simpson fan, especially when she was on “The Newlyweds” show on MTV with then-husband Nick Lachey. It was one of the first real reality shows, and I ate it up. Did you?
“Open Book” is all about Simpson’s life, and she pulls from journals that she’s kept her whole life too. And boy does she put it all out there, talking about abuse, alcoholism, lying, drama, divorce, dating other celebrities, Hollywood, plastic surgery and everything in between. And I’m pretty sure she wrote the book herself, which I always appreciate from celebrities (as they often have a ghost writer). I just floated through the words on the pages, consuming it so quickly. It was completely enjoyable. And like I said, just so honest.
If you have any interest in a celebrity autobiography, this one is worthy. Highly recommend!
“One Day You’ll Thank Me” by Cameran Eubanks Wimberly
*Disclaimer: This is not a “good” book by any means, and it’s totally fluff, but I really enjoyed it.
Okay, okay, let’s get this out of the way: This title, “One Day You’ll Thank Me: Essays on Dating, Motherhood and Everything In Between,” is not an award-winning book at all, but it’s super enjoyable, so it deserves a spot based on that. And the only reason you would know of this author is if you’ve seen Wimberly on “The Real World” or on “Southern Charm” — neither of which she is on any longer.
It seems like Wimberly wrote the book herself (rather than having a ghost writer), and the writing style is not great, but it’s real stuff. She doesn’t use great transitions or grammar, and her sentence structure is terrible. But that’s neither here nor there, because it sort’ve pulls you in anyhow. Also every chapter, or “essay” as she calls it, features a quote about motherhood from a famous person, and I liked that a lot.
I thoroughly liked reading this book, and I read it over the course of just two nights — devouring it, because of how easy it was to read and digest. (Whereas, it took me more than a month to read the last nonfiction book I had, because it was so much more meaty.)
Wimberly talks a little bit about being on “The Real World,” she fully gets into the things her body went through while pregnant and postpartum, then she totally dishes on the realities of being a stay-at-home mom and her choice to have only one child. And while I think she’s honest, she’s NOT as honest as Jessica Simpson, so I prefer Simpson’s book to this one, but still liked this one a lot.
I think Wimberly kept it super real with how she divulged some gross details that anyone wanting to become a mother may want to know, and I appreciated that. But of course, my favorite parts were when she talked about what it’s like to be on reality TV. I actually wish she talked more about the reality TV part, but maybe there’s something in her contract that won’t allow her to do that.
I read this book after finishing a wellness book that took me a long time to read, so this was a nice breather. It was light, sometimes funny, and very much relatable too.
So who would like this book? If you’re pregnant or hoping to be pregnant and want some real talk on what it’s like. If you’ve watched “Southern Charm” and have any interest in Wimberly herself. Or, if you really just want an easy and quick diversion from whatever you’re currently into. I’m glad I read it, and I’m also glad I checked it out of the library and didn’t have to pay money for it. 🙂
“The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives” by Brian Moylan
*Top line: This is my latest read, and one that I also totally devoured. It’s very well done and funny.
This one, “The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives” by Brian Moylan, is so good, and it had to be on this list.
My mom sent me this book before our recent Jamaica trip, and I took it as my plane reading. I read it on the plane there and back finished it up when I got back. It reads so easily, and I didn’t want to put it down. The writing is great. The details are stellar. And it’s so well presented too, with a ton of humor and gossip. There’s also a lot of history of reality TV and how the whole industry started (based on soap operas, believe it or not), which is quite interesting.
The author, Brian Moylan, had some connections to members of production and the cast of all the “Real Housewives” series, and he gives us all the juice. He tells us what it’s like to get cast for the show, how the production teams put together the seasons and episodes, and how reality TV came to be what it is today. And he even tells us how so many of the housewives learn to deal with their new-found fame. He has first-hand interviews with some former housewives too, which is pretty cool.
And, of course, if you’re a Bravo fan, I would order this right away. It’s very Bravo heavy, and you learn a lot about how Bravo works.
It’s super entertaining. Loved it!
“Atomic Habits” by James Clear
*Disclaimer: This book isn’t all that fun to read, but the content is very worthy.
I had this book, “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear, on my list for a while before I finally bought it and dug in. It was fairly easy to read, the research and stories backing up the claims about human psychology were good, and the writing was solid too. I got a lot out of it.
But I will not say this was my favorite nonfiction book to read, maybe because the idea of habit forming can be a little dry. The author, James Clear, is a great writer, but he isn’t super funny or entertaining. In fact, I fell asleep while reading this book quite often (granted, I only read at night in bed before actually going to sleep, so I’m used to falling asleep while reading, but it happened very fast with this one). However, I pressed on, because the content was very valuable. And I can definitely see why it is a New York Times Bestseller. It’s got real advice. Doable advice. And that’s something we all need, especially when it comes to behavior change.
I think this book would be super helpful to anyone who wants to create better habits, make changes in their life and certainly if they want to break bad habits. Clear gives some interesting research, stories and anecdotes from sports teams, university professors, science experiments and even his own life. The chapters are short, and each chapter has summary bullet points in the end, which I’m a big fan of to help with comprehension.
It took me about three weeks to read this book, because I only read small sections at night. But I can see myself going back to it one day for another skim through to refresh on the content.
Moral of the story: Don’t set out to rip through the pages smiling and laughing, but you will get helpful tips and insight into how to make positive impacts in your life in doable ways. Also, this would be one to share with family and friends who need it, especially if someone in your life knows they need to make changes but doesn’t know how to start.
And if you (or someone in your life) can even make one small “atomic” habit based on reading this book, and that habit creates positive ripples in their or your life in the future, it’s worth reading the 250+ pages. Wouldn’t you agree? Three cheers for baby steps in the right direction.
“Body Love” by Kelly LeVeque
*Disclaimer: I think this book has a lot of valuable information, but the author suggests some nutritional guidelines that I find WAY too strict, and I would not follow in my own life. If you choose to read it, please take some of the advice and leave some of the advice too.
Have you heard of Kelly LeVeque? She’s a celebrity nutritionist who has been all over social media for the last couple of years, and I finally got around to reading her first book, “Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever,” which she wrote in 2017. To give you an idea of LeVeque’s star power, the back of the book has testimonials from former clients like Jessica Alba, Molly Sims, Chelsea Handler, Emmy Rossum and Kate Walsh — some big names.
LeVeque is famous for her “Fab Four” method, which is her signature formula for including fats, fiber, protein and greens into every single meal. She’s a big proponent of the Fab Four Smoothie for breakfast, and she shares a ton of smoothie recipes in her first book. Here’s the deal: I love the idea of smoothies, and I enjoy them, but I have never craved a smoothie for breakfast and just have a hard time wrapping my head around that as a means to start your day. And LeVeque’s first tip in the book is for everyone to have a Fab Four Smoothie every single morning, which should hold you over until lunch.
Moving on: LeVeque believes in “light structure based on the science of balanced blood sugar and eating to satiety.” She focuses a ton on your blood sugar, keeping it stable throughout the day with eating the right foods, because if you eat too many carbs or too much sugar, you tend to crash, and then your body craves more carbs and sugar. It makes total sense, and she spends a lot of time in the book talking about this and how to avoid it. And as she says, if you elongate your blood-sugar curve, you’ll burn more fat. She’s against snacking, unless absolutely necessary, and I get the science behind why — but I like my snacks, so I wasn’t a fan of that tip.
The book itself reads pretty well, and it’s super informative. LeVeque does a great job of explaining the science that you need to know, while making it reasonable and understandable for the everyday person too.
She also gives grocery shopping lists, meal-prep hacks, healthy food swaps, tips on exercise, sleep, lifestyle and more. It’s definitely not just a nutrition book, but instead a healthy lifestyle book. It sort’ve reminded me of Cameron Diaz’s “The Body Book” which I wrote a whole post on, but I think I enjoyed the Diaz book more.
Nonetheless, I love how LeVeque gives a loose structure to help people feel better and achieve better health in an easy way, without a specific meal plan or without the need to track macronutrients. I’d definitely recommend this book, and I may consider reading some of her other books too.
And that concludes my list of the best nonfiction books I’ve read in the last six months. Right now, I’m reading another nonfiction book that I can already tell will go on my next list. More on that soon.
We’ve got a short week over here, with some classes and work, before we fly out to Orlando for a wedding. Yay! Have an awesome day, friends!
Other posts you may like …
- The seven best books I read in 2020
- The five best documentaries I’ve watched recently
- Five things on my must-watch and must-read list for early 2021
Questions of the day
What have you read lately that you enjoyed?
What’s something you read lately that you did not enjoy?
Do you read hard/soft-cover print books or digital books?