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With a new year comes a time of self reflection. One great way to learn is to read about the experiences of others, making the new year a perfect time to read some nonfiction books.

I’ve never been a fan of traditional resolutions. To me, the run-of-the-mill culture of self improvement that comes with the new year promotes too much comparison between oneself and others. 

That being said, there may be areas of your life which you want to evolve. Just make sure that desire for change comes from you, not from a need to meet someone else’s standards. Self improvement doesn’t require comparing yourself to others.

So, when I say self reflection, I think of it more as an opportunity to look at your life and see what else you want to experience. It’s a time to embark on learning experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those around you.

With a new year comes a fresh slate to learn and share.

Here are six nonfiction books to read to help you along your journey in 2019.


1. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

There are parts of this book that I really loved and parts that didn’t quite speak to me. You Are a Badass explores a variety of topics from meditation to money and different ways to reach your goals.

While I didn’t love all the points of this book, the positive lessons outweigh any negatives. It provides a lot of helpful information about being present and grateful in your life and offers ways to help others. These are helpful reminders for any time of year. 

2. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

When I first got engaged, a friend gave me this book. I hadn’t read many self-help books before and hadn’t read any about relationships, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The Five Love Languages explains that people have different ways of feeling love. These five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Through anecdotes and instruction, Chapman explains that by understanding our own love language and that of our partner, we can strengthen our relationships. It’s full of interesting ideas and advice, plus as a super quick read, it’s worth picking up.

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming is the autobiographical memoir of Michelle Obama. The nonfiction book begins with tales from her childhood and continues to the near-present.

As a wife and mother, former First Lady of the United States, corporate lawyer, philanthropist, and beyond, there is a lot we can learn from Michelle Obama. Her writing is descriptive and engaging, keeping you invested from the start. She carefully weaves together her memories with valuable lessons, such as the importance of acceptance and tolerance or owning your own story. It’s a book that will serve to inspire you in the new year.

4. The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig

I will start by saying that I have not yet done a full Whole30 program. However, whether or not you plan to jump into a month-long dietary regimen, The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom is worth picking up.

The beginning provides an interesting assessment of our relationship with food, which aims to give you pause and really think about how you feel about what you eat. The latter part of the book is full of recipes and useful techniques.

Despite not having done the whole program, I cook recipes from this book all the time. I love the simplicity of the recipes and they taste great. (A recent favorite of ours was the salmon cakes!) If eating more healthfully is something you want to strive for in 2019, look into Whole30.

5. Bossypants by Tina Fey

OK, so, yes, this book is several years old. However, I’ve been on a real 30 Rock kick lately and that’s inspired me to take it off the shelf.

Bossypants is the memoir of Tina Fey, comedian, writer, and hero. In this book, she tells stories of her childhood and time in Hollywood along with advice and hilarity. As far as celebrity nonfiction books go, it’s one of the best. One bit of wisdom that’s stuck with me since I first read this book years ago: “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”

Whether you’re a grammar lover, a TV fan, or just looking for a funny read, make sure to grab a copy of Bossypants.

6. I’m Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears and Other Intriguing Idioms From Around the World by Jag Bhalla and Julia Suits

I love idioms. I also love traveling and learning about other cultures. This book, which was published in 2009, combines those things.

I’m Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears is a collection of international idioms. The idioms are organized by category and provided in lists, so it’s easy to just pick up and skim through.

If you’re looking for a way to broaden your horizons in the new year, pick up this book. It just might make you loosen your cheeks.

Whatever you choose to strive for in 2019, make sure to do so for you and in a way that’s healthful.

Don’t think about lowering the numbers on the scale, rather opt for a goal of more nutritious eating. Aim to learn about yourself and let that enrich the lives of those around you. Dig in to these six nonfiction books for some well-rounded guidance to help you along the way in 2019.

Happy New Year and happy reading! Cheers!

Six Nonfiction Books For the New Year

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