What’s on My Nightstand? Nothing but nonfiction!

What's On Your Nightstand

Looking over my list this month, I haven’t had very good luck with my selections. Most of the books were mediocre. My best read was a children’s novel!

COMPLETED (links are to my full reviews)

Children’s literature

  • The Time Garden by Edward Eager – 2 stars. I would have loved this book as a child but it just wasn’t good as an adult reader.
  • Meet the Austins by Madeleine L’Engle – 3.5 stars. Great book, would make a good read-aloud. I can’t wait until I have children and can share quality literature with them.
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry – 4 stars. My favorite read during the month of November!

Christian Fiction

  • John 3:16 by Nancy Moser – 3 stars. A quick read. I stand by what I’ve said before: her historical fiction is better!
  • Thicker than Blood by C.J. Darlington – 3.5 stars. A good debut novel. Can’t wait to read more!


  • Fernande: The Story of a Courtesan by Alexandre Dumas – 3.5 stars. A very serious book by the author of The Three Musketeers. Great moral application, still applicable today.

Secular Fiction

  • The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus – 2 stars. I bought it to read on a plane. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
  • My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – 3 stars. This was my first Picoult book. My sister-in-law loves her books so I’m giving the author a try.


  • Lost in Shangri-La (Memoir) by Mitchell Zuckoff – Still working my way through it. It’s a good story but I’m reading it in spurts.
  • Eight Cousins (Children’s Lit) by Louise May Alcott – Almost done! This will be another favorite.

For the month of December, I am tackling something completely different, something very unusual and difficult for me. For 31 days, I will be reading nothing but nonfiction books. Why? I came across a video on TED about 30 day challenges, trying something new for 30 (or 31) days. As evidenced by my list above, I read fiction almost exclusively. It is only recently that I’ve been branching out and reading classics. I decided it’s time I push myself even farther out of my comfort zone and try reading nonfiction only for 30 days.

What’s on my reading list so far:

  • The in-progress books listed above, except for Eight Cousins. I should have that novel finished tomorrow.
  • Behind the Veils of Yemen: How an American Woman Risked Her Life, Family, and Faith to Bring Jesus to Muslim Women by Audra Grace Shelby – A review copy that I am very excited to start reading.
  • December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World by Craig Shirley – A review copy. I had no idea this was such a huge book (544 pages!) until I received it in the mail.
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman – If I am somehow able to finish all the books I am currently reading, plus the two review copies, I will tackle this book.

Whew. I am not going to pressure myself to start and finish all of these books before Christmas. I will do the best I can, but hopefully with the variety I have in my stack, I will not find myself longing for a novel. One can hope!

31 days of nonfiction

Happy December reading!

10 Thoughts on “What’s on My Nightstand? Nothing but nonfiction!

  1. You are brave! 🙂 I've tried to add in more non-fiction, but I still have to alternate with fiction! I've read a few on your list that I really enjoyed.

  2. I enjoyed The Giver too. Thanks for your take on all these. Valuable info!

    I'll be checking out that TED video…Thanks for providing the link.

  3. Since you have read Eight Cousins and liked it you might want to look into the sequel Rose in Bloom. I enjoyed both!

  4. Sounds like a great challenge. Look forward to hearing about it when you update!

    The Giver is my favorite YA book. You need to read The Hunger Games, if you have not already!

    Eight Cousins sounds like one too.

    Happy Dec Reading Friend,
    Amy @ Missional Mama

  5. I LOVE Meet the Austins!! There are others in the series, and they're all great. They have a different feel, but my daughter and I liked them.

    Your current stack is heavy (Literally and figuratively)

  6. I've read that book by Lois Lowry, "The Giver." It's an interesting read. I used to read quite a bit of children's literature after I took a children's literature class at the local junior college when I was unmarried.

    You still amaze me with how fast you can read. For example, I could NEVER read so many non-fiction books within 31 days! At any rate, enjoy your reading! 🙂

  7. I can't wait to hear your thoughts about "Behind the Veil". I had the opportunity to read/review it and I really liked it…there was some parts I had mixed feelings about, but the book, overall is really good and it was interesting to read her experiences…

    Great list you shared…really enjoy seeing what you are reading.

  8. I just read Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom for the first time this month and enjoyed them both. I really need to re-read Little Women.
    My non-fiction reads tend to consist of things like Charlotte Mason's Education series, other books on education (applicable to homeschooling), and how to books like, Design It Yourself Clothes, Patternmaking Simplified by Cal Patch (highly recommended), and Home From the Hardware Store (fascinating). And of course cookbooks, currently – The Dreaded Broccoli Cookbook.

  9. Lots of good stuff there (and BTW, your comment about my blog about Jesus' return and the toe scum on the statue in Daniel — priceless!). I often prefer non-fiction to fiction; esp. most current fiction just doesn't cut it for me, so enjoy your month! I, too, love The Giver and used it when I taught. I read the Nanny Diaries years back and was amazed/horrified in a trainwreck sort of way!

  10. Thats a lot of books! Hoe you have a happy thanks giving tomorrow :0)

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