February 11, 2012

Love of Reading: Nonfiction Favorites

Jessica's note: This is a guest post written by Megan of Sorta Crunchy. Be sure to check out Megan's inspiring blog and all the other posts in the Love of Reading series!

What a treat it is to visit with you here at Quirky Bookworm today! 
Reading book reviews is one of my favorite pastimes, and even though I don't read as much fiction as Jessica does, I always find something that piques my interest here. I love that she is celebrating a Love of Reading Week! What an honor to be invited.

Jessica asked me to share a few of my favorite non-fiction reads. This isn't a stretch for me at all because I (unfortunately) rarely read fiction these days. Instead, I'm almost always reading something in the realm of parenting, family life, or faith. I thought I might share with you some of my all-time favorites in each category, as well as what I have been reading recently.

My favorite book for the early years is Dr. William Sears' The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two. This book means so much to me - it was the first parenting book I read that encouraged me to trust my maternal instincts and taught me how to view parenting as a beautiful process instead of a series of instructions in a formula.

For a philosophy on raising children, I really loved Heartfelt Discipline: The Gentle Art of Training and Guiding Your Child by Clay Clarkson. This one is hard to find, but it is so, so good. It is based in the Christian faith, and his main focus is on how we are entrusted with parenting so that we might prepare the hearts of our children to receive and respond to the gospel. Excellent, excellent book.

I have to confess that I haven't read much recently in the way of parenting because my friend and co-author Laura and I are preparing to release our own book on parenting in the next few months. It's titled Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby's First Year and will tell how we discovered spiritual growth and redemption in the first twelve months of our parenting journey, even if we didn't do everything by the book.

Family Life
Probably my all-time favorite book on family life is Amanda Soule's The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections. Amanda (you may know her as Soule Mama) and her gentle, warm, inviting view on family life as a life from which all kinds of creativity can spring forever changed the course of our family. Not only are the projects accessible even to non-crafty-types, the philosophy is also one that translates into every season of life as a family.

My current read in this category is Helen Lee's The Missional Mom: Living with Purpose at Home and in the World. I love how she shares with honesty and inspiration her family's journey into counter-cultural living that is focused on the spiritual principles instead of caving to what society deems as important.

The vast majority of the non-fiction I read has to do with my spiritual faith. Goodness - I don't know if I could EVER pick an all-time favorite! Two that I return to time and again because I continually need to be reminded of their truths are Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel and Madline L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. In Ragamuffin Gospel, I am reminded that the prevailing power of the gospel is grace. I have such tender affection for Manning's words - they truly changed my life. And Walking on Water changed me in a different way. L'Engle's words of advice and encouragement for the spiritually-minded artist helped me to know that creative living is a concrete and powerful way to honor the Creator.

I recently wrote about my current favorite in this category: Jen Hatmaker's 7. Even if you aren't a spiritually-minded person, I think you will find Jen's story of giving up excess in 7 areas of life over 7 months to be truly fascinating and challenging!

I have so many books that Megan has mentioned on her blog saved on my to-read shelf on Goodreads! But I'm especially interested in reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, because it sounds like it could be life-changing.

Are any of the books Megan recommended already on your favorites lists? Have any new non-fiction pieces found a place in your heart lately?

For six years, Megan Tietz has written about faith, family, and natural living at SortaCrunchy. In addition to her forthcoming book on parenting through the first year, she also contributes to Simple Mom and A Deeper Story. She lives on the windy plains of Oklahoma with her husband and two daughters and many, many books

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