Non-Fiction Books For September

September is for new pencils, graph paper, and non-fiction reading.

September is for new pencils, graph paper, and non-fiction reading.

There’s something about seeing kids go back to school that makes me want to learn everything all at once. I’m sure I can’t be the only book worm reading my kids’ texts after they go to bed at night. With that in mind, here are 16 non-fiction books that will get you in the September back-to-school reading spirit.

Books That Teach You To Do Things

On Writing by Stephen King - Stephen King writes so much he makes it look easy. In this book though you get the background into the hours and hours he puts into his craft. Part how-to and part memoir of a great American writer, he reads the audiobook himself, and it it superb.

100 Recipes: The Absolute Best Ways To Make The True Essentials By America's Test Kitchen - This book is exactly as promised. The best way to cook almost everything you’d want to cook. I love it, and check it out of the library at least once a year.

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith - This book is a good antidote to my personal decorating style which is “It doesn’t have to be beautiful to be good enough.” Give it a try if you need a change in your house, but don’t have tons of time or money.

Random Facts About Things You May Never Have Thought Much About

A Clearing In The Distance by Witold Rybczynski - You may not think you care about the trials and tribulations of Frederick Law Olmsted, but this book is super fascinating. I read it when I was visiting the Biltmore Estate, but that’s not required to enjoy it.

The Residence by Kate Andersen - A look at the presidents that you won’t get anywhere else. You can have feelings about politics and campaign promises, but can you really trust a politician if they don’t teat their pastry chef well?

The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong by David Orr - A deep dive into one of America’s most quoted poems. It’s a short book well worth the time.

Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson - One of my earliest school memories was my teacher bringing in a glass jar of ashes from Mt. St. Helens. Then it seemed like I didn’t hear another thing about it until I read this really interesting book. Now I’m obsessed.

Leaving Home

Grandma Gatewood's Walk by Ben Montgomery - This is a good one for East Coast hikers who are feeling their years. Anything you’re worried about doing, this lady in her 60’s did it in keds.

Walking With Plato by Gary Hayden - I liked the intermingling of philosophy and walking, and I really liked the relationship of the walkers. This is a nice, soothing book if that’s what you’re in the mood for.

The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau - Everyone needs a quest, and this book will help you realize that. Plus it’s fun to read about what other people are doing in the name of pursuit.

Apollo 8 by Jeffrey Kluger - This is a great book about man’s first Moon orbit, and if you get the audiobook the recordings of the chatter between Houston and Apollo 8 will take your breath away. This was one of my favorite listening experiences ever.

Braving It by James Campbell - This father and daughter adventure story was sweet, and made me realize my kids are capable of more than I give them credit for.

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November Quick Lit

Reading in a tent, just a few short weeks ago.

Reading in a tent, just a few short weeks ago.

Each month I link with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit as a way to talk about the books I liked, but didn't review.

For three quarters of the year I am a very mindful, list driven reader. This time of year I use reading as a form of self-care, and pick up whatever feels good. This is what has felt good lately.

I really enjoyed Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry. It's about a woman working on Wall Street in 2008. I have never made $500k a year, or had anyone grab my butt at work, but other than that this book reflected my experience more than any other working mom book I've read. I loved the tangent at the end that seemed to say the financial crisis would have never been so bad if a few more women had been in leadership positions.

I'm getting ready to host a family Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, and Immoveable Feast by John Baxter really got me in the mood. It's about a family's Christmas feast in Paris, and the background of each of the courses. If you really love putting together huge dinners, and sourcing each ingredient, read this book.

My son and I are reading through this series by Lauren Tarshis, and we both love it. We started with I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980, and quickly followed that with I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic. My son claims to "hate reading" but he begs me for one more chapter each night for like five chapters. (I can't wait until I can hand him Into Thin Air!)

Lakeshore Christmas by Susan Wiggs wasn't the best book I've ever read, and I don't think I'd seek out anything else from this series, BUT when I needed something simple to read on a dark night it fit the bill. It's a classic bad boy meets good girl and she makes him believe in Christmas and fall in love type story.

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