My 5 Favorite 2019 NonFiction Reads, Part 1

I’m listing my favorite top five nonfiction reads in reverse order in two parts. This week I’ll write about books five, four and three. Next week I’ll write about my top two favorite 2019 nonfiction reads.

I almost always prefer the audio version of a book. I grew up in a household where the TV was on a lot, so I have better listening comprehension than print comprehension. It’s also easier to multitask while reading, which means it’s easier to find the time to read more.

5. The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge
by Beatrice Chestnut

What It’s About:
The Enneagram is a personality system like Myers-Briggs. While the Myers-Briggs system deals with a person’s cognitive processing preferences (how they take in and use information), the Enneagram deals with how you defend yourself from your childhood wounds.

The Enneagram system uses nine basics types, those types can further be broken into three subtypes per type, for a total of 27 different subtypes.

What I Learned:
Regardless of how ideal or traumatic your childhood was, you have emotional wounds that formed your own unique defenses for dealing with the world. The defense system you created in childhood forms the basis of how you interact with the world as an adult.

This is really good system for getting information about your blindspots in dealing with others, and using that information to grow in ways that help you better cope with life.

What I Liked About It:
The Enneagram is also a fantastic tool for writers because it provides a template for 27 different character wounds that you can then customize with individual details and variability to build your characters’ story arcs.

This is also a good tool for understanding your own parents since their Enneagram personality type influenced your personality, too.

Finding out my dad is a type seven helped me understand why most people think my viewpoint is so optimistic, when I tend to think of myself as the cynic of the family. Turns out my dad is the most optimistic of all 27 subtypes.

Audiobook Details:
This is one of those books where having the printed version might actually be more useful, because I found myself wanting to go back over the material again and again.

_____

4. Blowout

by Rachel Maddow

What It’s About:
The book focuses on three key stories: fracking in Oklahoma, the oil industry’s history and record of accidents and greed, and Russia’s gas and oil history and current situation.

The three issues tie together to make the three big points of Maddow’s thesis:
1) the oil and gas industry has a record of incompetence and has almost no plan to deal with their inevitable the accidents,

2) life gets worse for the majority of citizens of a state or country that discovers oil, while a tiny subset becomes enormously wealthy,

3) Russia’s extreme mafia-like corruption has strangled its business sectors, therefore oil and gas is its only economically viable sector.

What I Learned:
The Russia information is especially important for understanding the GOP-Ukrainian story and their conspiracy theories about Ukraine.

Oil and gas are Russian’s only functional industries. But because of their corruption and incompetence, they lack the equipment or technical know-how to drill in their oil-rich arctic regions. Since Putin got caught meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, U.S. companies are blocked from working with Russia to provide equipment and technical knowledge. So Putin is pretty desperate to get those sanctions removed. Plus, Putin would love to have control over Ukraine’s gas companies.

What I liked About It:
Rachel starts the book much like she starts her show, laying out the history and cast of characters the listener needs to know before presenting the evidence needed to make her case. Like with her show, she uses story to draw the listener in, making you want to find out what this seemingly unrelated anecdote has to do with whatever explosive current event is going on. Because Rachel is a master storyteller, at the end all the pieces click in place and dozens of seemingly unrelated parts suddenly paint a much bigger coherent picture.

Audiobook Details:
If you are a Rachel Maddow fan you’ll love the audiobook because it’s like listening to an extended version of her show.

_____

3. Shrill
By Lindy West


What It’s About:
Lindy West is a Seattle based comedy writer, feminist, and fat woman (her words) who tells her life’s story in a series of think pieces. She talks about how fat shaming convinced her that being quiet and shy was the safest path as a kid, then follows her journey of finding her voice through her love of comedy, and finally how she learned to use her voice to advocate for body acceptance and feminist issues.

What I Liked:
Lindy has a unique voice that manages to be insightful, compassionate and funny all at once.

What I Learned:
I started reading Lindy West when she wrote for Jezebel, but had no idea that she used to write for Seattle’s The Stranger with Dan Savage as her boss. Or that she actually schooled Dan about why fat shaming doesn’t work.

I also learned she made a TV show about her life based on this book. It’s also called Shrill, has two seasons on Hulu, and is just as delightful as the book.

Audiobook Details:
I love listening to audiobook memoirs because it’s like having a cool, funny friend tell you their life story. Lindy’s compassion really comes through in the audio, too.

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Next Week: My top two 2019 non-fiction reads

3 thoughts on “My 5 Favorite 2019 NonFiction Reads, Part 1

  1. Thank you for sharing. I am in the process of making a list of books to read this year, so now I have some titles to look into and possibly purchase. This makes me miss belonging to a book club. I miss sharing perspectives and insights on a book!

  2. Pingback: My 5 Favorite 2019 NonFiction Reads, Part 2 | Rowena Eureka

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