Friday, December 18, 2020

Book Reviews | Not the Year for NonFiction

As I look back over my books read list for this year, it's apparent that this was not the year for lots of nonfiction reading. Of the 89 books I've read (so far), only 25 are nonfiction, with 21 of those being read during the first half of the year. As the pandemic continued and civil unrest and election news seemed to take over everything, I gravitated toward good fiction.

Here's a quick review of the four nonfiction books I've read since the beginning of July.


The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World had been on my to-read shelf since early 2019. I have mixed feelings about this book - I agree with the premise that we need to empower women as one way to make changes in our world and found the stories interesting. On the other hand, it was somewhat depressing reading the stories of abuse and poverty around the world and I often couldn't relate to the author, Melinda Gates (wife of Microsoft's Bill Gates). Since my thoughts were somewhat divided on this book, I added it to our personal library until I decide if I want to revisit it in a year that's not already filled with so much hard news.

Next, I was asked by TCK Publishing if I'd like to review one of their recent books, so I chose The Art of Writing by Peter Yang (which I received free in exchange for an honest review). I chose this book because I thought it would be good inspiration and a reminder to be continually conscientious about improving my writing here on the blog and in my newsletters, etc. The contents list the "four principles for great writing that everyone needs to know" as economy, transparency, variety, and harmony. So, I was excited to dive in; however, I found this book to be lacking and really cannot recommend it. The author didn't really follow his own guidelines, the examples were sometimes distracting, and some paragraphs were so disjointed or superfluous that I had no idea what he was trying to say. I'm glad it was a thin book, otherwise I would have simply put it in the donate pile without finishing it.

(On the other hand, this blog post from TCK Publishing is a great read looking at why stories are important to our lives and culture.)

These last two books from our personal library are ones I've just read as part of enjoying the Christmas season. 


Windows on Christmas is a small but lovely volume that shares a look at Christmas from various perspectives or "windows" beginning with Mary & Joseph and including the angels, the shepherds, Anna and Simeon. Christmas Stories for the Heart is another small volume that is filled with lovely stories of Christmastime, some of them I've heard or read other places (or at least some version of) while others I did not remember as it's been quite a few years since I read this book that we received as a wedding gift (almost) 19 years ago.

How about you? Did you gravitate toward fiction books this year or take the opportunity to include more nonfiction or (as some have said) simply quit reading and binge watch Netflix? 


  1. I am jealous you are getting any reading done at all; even if it has been a bit disappointing. I briefly considered Melinda's book as well, but think I will pass. I am just not able to concentrate on books for long periods of time, and I hope I can cure that during January.

  2. I've read more books this year than ever before, and have tracked my reading more carefully. I usually read more non-fiction than fiction, but this year it's been 50-50. I think I've read more contemporary fiction than usual, but this is the first year I've kept this kind of record so I can't be sure. I, too, had mixed feeling about Melinda Gate's book. I read a library copy and was glad I had.


Thanks so much for your comment - it's like a ray of sunshine in my day!