As many of you know, I am an avid reader (see my booklist posts). I also no longer read fiction, with the exception of some classics and trustworthy recommendations. This was a habit change I made in my late teens, when I realized my steady diet of novels was promoting a discontented singleness, a warped view of dating and a tendency to hide out in a fantasy world instead of bettering the real one. The choice was meant to be temporary, but once exposed to the world of nonfiction I never looked back.
While this life change has brought me immense happiness, contentment, and increased productivity, it’s not for everyone. However, if you’re primarily a fiction reader, I’d encourage you to take a challenge this month: instead of your usual fiction fare, find nonfiction equivalents that tell true stories of people, places, and events similar in setting or genre. I’ve listed five from my own armory of favorites to start you out:
Instead of a Beverly Lewis novel, read Plain Faith by Ora Jay and Irene Eash
I am just finishing this book and cannot recommend it highly enough. It has been on my book list for years, and now that I live among the Amish has gained even greater meaning in my walk with God.
A quick read, Plain Faith tells the story of Irene and Ora Jay’s journey from Plain Amish life to coming to salvation in Christ. They detail the events that progressively taught them the grace and freedom of the gospel, and what it felt like to truly leave their parents, brothers, sisters, and friends to follow Christ.
Instead of the Love Comes Softly series, read Tisha by Anne Hobbes
If you like stories of the Western frontier, this book is for you. “Tisha” is what the Eskimo children in the Alaskan frontier called their teacher – a young woman who came alone to instruct the children in a world still foreign to much of the United States. There is nothing better than a true romance, in my opinion, so this is a must read if you enjoy a genre of adventure + love.
Instead of A Bride in the Bargain, read Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freeman
Along the same vein as Tisha, Mrs. Mike is the story of a young woman (only sixteen) who meets and marries “Mr. Mike”, a Canadian Mountie. The book describes how she survived in the harsh Canadian winters, making a home as a new bride when she barely knew her husband – or the frontier, for that matter.
Instead of Confessions of a Shopaholic, read My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock
I am a huge fan of year-long experiment memoirs, such as The Happiness Project. This book is an engaging glimpse at the author’s efforts to “do something that scares you every day”. It’s an easy read and a fun story to follow along as Noelle progressively faces the things that scare her most, from bungee jumping to – ultimately – climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. (*Some language)
Instead of Something Borrowed, read MWF Seeking BFF: My Year-Long Search for a Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
I promoted this book on my Instagram while I was pregnant because it made my last trimester sooo much better! This book has helped me tremendously in making girlfriends, being authentic, and realizing that building friendships is a lot like dating. Rachel incorporates facts and research into her personal experience and colors it all with a great sense of humor.
I could share hundreds more options if I had time, but since I don’t, you can also follow me on Goodreads (Sidebar, scroll to the bottom) to see my current reads.
Up for the challenge? I hope so! If none of these fit your genre, write down your favorite things about the fiction works you read. Note the time period, cultural setting, and general plot. Then search for nonfiction books on those subjects.