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Summer Book Review: Non-Fiction - You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

Updated: Jul 9, 2019



I always try to have a good mix of genres while reading, and some of my favorites are true stories. I've always felt reading memoirs and biographies help me see a different side of the story, develop empathy in my own heart and understand how two seemingly "same" lives can look completely different. Non-fiction has always fascinated me because these aren't characters being manipulated by some devilish author, these are real people - me, you, they, we - who are navigating life without being able to turn to the last page to see how it turns out! Fascinating. Love it.

Ooh, I just got goosebumps.

The summer has been a good one for reading and I'll be bringing some great recommendations this week - but I'll dividing them up. For today's post? Non-Fiction. All of these are books I'd recommend, although I do not condone all that is in them -but isn't that the point of reading a book that challenges your thinking?

With that, here are my reviews - and click on the titles to be taken to Amazon to buy up some books for that upcoming trip...you know you want to...



The Ministry of Ordinary Places by Shannan Martin - Shannan and her family live in Goshen, Indiana, where they minister out of their home by welcoming and inviting others in. (Fun Fact: I was born in Goshen!) While I've read a few hospitality books, this one managed to push open the door in my mind even further regarding hospitality and showing the love of Jesus. Definitely recommend this book. Be ready to be challenged.

"God allows us to feel the occasional burn of isolation not only because he wants to rescue us, but also because often, in order to recognize the ache of those around us, we first have to feel it for ourselves."

4 out of 5 pitchers of lemonade on a porch.



Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital by Dr Eric Manheimer. Dr Manheimer was the medical director at Bellevue Hospital, the largest public hospital in New York. He takes a look at twelve different patients and how treatment was provided and what fights he had to take on and what lessons had to be learned to best help the patients through cases involving obesity, immigration and the cost of healthcare. He also talks about his own fight with cancer. While I felt the writing could have used editing - the fast pace of his talking helped you feel the energy of the hospital. For those of you watching recent TV- this is the book that the new show, "New Amsterdam" was based off of. (PG-13)

"This was too much for anyone, too much responsibility. I was used to all kinds of issues and trauma, death and dying, organ donor calls, blood, and cardiac arrests. The heart and soul of a teenager was something else. If I *** this up, there would be no place to hide."

3 1/2 out of 5 gauze bandages to wrap up a good read.



Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. I wish my review could just be adjectives: Wow. Cool. Inspiring. Troubling. Difficult. Trevor Noah grew up as Apartheid was ending in South Africa. Born of a white Swiss/German father and a black mother, the fact that Noah was mixed was against the law, and thus begins his story. Trevor's humor and insight make his writing riveting and I honestly felt honored to hear his story. If you only read one book from this list: Choose this one. (PG-13)

"I was nine years old when my mother threw me out of a moving car. It happened on a Sunday. I know it was on a Sunday because we were coming home from church, and every Sunday in my childhood meant church."

5 out of 5 copied CDs.




Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb. Love this book! Lori reviews her own work as a therapist and gives insight to the struggles and growth her patients faced (including general psychological principles sprinkled throughout) and she talks about her own growth experienced with her therapist. The book moved along well, the patients she introduces us to are interesting and well-developed as characters providing a backdrop for Lori's own processing of the situations in her life. I really enjoyed this book. (PG-13)

"'Your feelings don't have to mesh with what you think they should be,' he explained. 'They'll be there regardless, so you might as well welcome them because they hold important clues.'

How many times had I said something similar to my own patients? But here I feel as if I'm hearing this for the first time. Don't judge your feelings; notice them. Use them as your map. Don't be afraid of the truth."

4.5 out of 5 Kleenex boxes (every good therapist has a box on their desk...)

And that's it! My review of the best (so far) of my Summer 2019 Non-Fiction Reads! Let me know if you read any - and what you think of them! (Amazon links are my affiliate links - which help me earn a couple cents if you buy using them!)

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