I listened to a podcast conversation where the host and guest mentioned listening to audio books. One woman said she doesn’t often listen to books because she can’t stay focused. The other suggested listening to novels as they are more entertaining and capture attention with story. Both agreed that they much preferred listening to fiction and reading an actual copy of non-fiction.
I get their point, but I’m the complete opposite!
Rarely can I make it all the way through a non-fiction book. BUT if I’m listening to it – and especially if the author is reading it to me – I am hooked.
Plus, I like that I can multi-task. Listen to a book + vacuum the kids’ rooms. Pop in my headphones + sautee the vegetables. Pick up where I left off + weed the yard. Or, just listen and do nothing else.
I think because I enjoy listening to podcasts so much, my brain does well taking in the information of non-fiction. In fact, listening seems to hold my attention better than if I were to read the same book. The only downfall is that it is nice to have a physical copy of a book to highlight or take notes in if something, in particular, jumps out at me. To combat this, I will often pause the book, open the notes app on my phone and write down whatever it is that I want to remember. It’s not a perfect method, but it works.
Lately, I’ve listened to a handful of really excellent non-fiction writing and read one (and actually made it all the way through!). Here they are, in no particular order:
Tailor Made by Alex Seely
With her soothing Australian accent and vulnerability, Alex Seely instantly feels like a wise mentor. She guides us gently through recognizing lies that have burrowed themselves deeply into our hearts and helps us find the truth in the midst of it. I paused this one many times to write down wisdom, like this:
“The world is waiting to see the glory of God revealed through his children. But if we stay bound to our insecurities then we will never step into the fullness of who he created us to be.”
Remember God by Annie F. Downs
Annie has long been a favorite voice in my earbuds with her podcast and I equally (or maybe even more so!) enjoyed listening to her tell us her story of learning to remember God, even when life isn’t going as you hoped. So good.
God Has A Name by John Mark Comer
Another favorite podcast voice – his smart teachings through Bridgetown Church are always profound and practical (a perfect combination in my book). I listened to this book and the following one in the matter of a few days and must relisten to both. This one reminds us of what God says about Himself – apart from our own perceptions (perhaps misperceptions?) of who He is.
Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human by John Mark Comer
Here’s the process I’ve been going through: first, figure out who God actually is. Second figure out how that redefines my identity. Third, understand what that means for how I live in the world. This book helps with the third part. It’s convicting (he teaching on Sabbath is one of the very best) and he helps us realign our expectations about work and rest and life. I loved this book.
The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by Emily P. Freeman
I have only just started this one – it just released one week ago! – and just know I will come back to it again and again. I have a hardcopy because it felt like a book that I would want to underline, but I also adore Emily’s voice so much that I wanted to hear her read it to me and so I have the audio version as well. Do you listen to her podcast? If not, definitely do. This book was born from the insights she shares with us weekly and I’m just so very excited about her guidance to help us be mindful about decision-making.
You Who?: Why You Matter and How to Deal with it by Rachel Jankovic
She grew up thinking she wanted to either be a cheerleader or a missionary and you know what? She’s both. THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. I read it all the way through in a day and a half because I couldn’t stop. It spoke to all of the little weird catches in my heart I feel when I read the modern-day motivational quotes (You’re enough! You weren’t made to be small! Go after your dreams! You deserve it!). Rachel is unashamed, unapologetic and truly makes her readers think. Her Instagram is pretty great, too.
Self to Lose – Self to Find: A Biblical Approach to the 9 Enneagram Types by Marilyn Vancil
The Enneagram continues to rise in popularity. When asked what my favorite resources are for understanding the personality typing system, discovering what type you are and viewing it in light of who God says you are, this book is at the top of my recommendations. I was under the spiritual direction of Marilyn Vancil and her mentorship to me has been one of the single most transformational things in my life. I am so grateful to her and this book. It is now available in audio form if that is more your thing. Although I would still suggest getting a hard copy so you can refer back to it again and again.
A few books that are on my list to listen to next:
The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions by Knox McCoy
I find Knox McCoy to be super hilarious and love the way he mixes pop culture and faith. I need to read/listen to this one next. Also, don’t miss his podcast, The Popcast. It is my go-to when I just need to laugh.
What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage by Paul David Tripp
Honestly, I don’t love a marriage or parenting book. I don’t know why. It especially makes no sense since my degree is in child and family psychology. You would think I would eat these up! But, no. However, as I have been undergoing great spiritual transformation, so has our marriage and this book feels like it would be a helpful tool to enhance the growth.
You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan
This marriage book looks really good, too. As the description says, “Setting aside typical topics on marriage, Francis and Lisa dive into Scripture to understand what it means to have a relationship that satisfies the deepest parts of our souls.”
Point of View: A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and Freedom by Elisabeth Hasselbeck
I have always loved Elisabeth Hasselbeck – from her days on Survivor: Australia (best season ever!), to her time on The View. She has been making her podcast rounds promoting her new book and I ADORED her conversation with Annie F. Downs (listen here). It made me feel like we would be friends and so, of course, I want to read her book.
Taste and See: Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers by Margaret Feinberg
The Bible is full of stories using food as an illustration for deeper truth – and much of it is lost on us since we are neither farmers nor live in a primarily agrarian culture. If you’re a foodie, this will be especially fun for you.
The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships by Suzanne Stabile
My love of the enneagram continues and I’ve been meaning to get this book for a while. It helps us look at relationships through the lens of enneagram to help understand, offer grace and improve communication.
Whew! That’s quite a list. Have you read or listened to any non-fiction that you’re loving right now? I’d love to hear!
I need a book about not looking back thinking I made the wrong choice and how to love what I have so I don’t waste the rest of my life.
Just listening to Educated by Tara Westover. Well written autobiography
Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve already added some to my to-read list! :)
“You and Me Forever” is one of the best books EVER!! I wouldn’t necessarily call it a marriage book but more a book about discipleship. I’ve been recommending it to everyone – married couples as well as singles. It is SO GOOD!
I also LOVED “Gay Girl, Good God” by Jackie Hill Perry. It´s such a powerful story and Jackie reads the audiobook herself which makes it even more powerful. A must-read!
I’m listening to Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequst this week. It’s short – only 4 hours but I am loving it. So refreshing for a girl that is go go go.
Thanks for this awesome list, and the podcast recommendations woven throughout.
I can say that “What Did You Expect?” is not your normal marriage book. In fact, it’s one of the only marriage books i’ve read and taught through that is so raw and honest about marriage. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!
I love all this recommendations and totally agree that I prefer to listen to non-fiction. Emily, question for you or any of your readers… do you have a source for Christian audio books that is affordable/free? I borrow audiobooks from my local library (both old-fashioned CDs and digitally), but am always very disappointed that they never carry any Christian books. Of course, I can purchase them, but I just didn’t want to miss out on another option if it exists! Thanks.
Scribd! It only costs a $8.99/month and they have a lot of Christian books/audiobooks. I could send you 2 free months if you’d like to try it out.
Thank you for the book recommendations…I’ve just started using my time more wisely in the car and have been listening to podcasts (Proverbs 31 is excellent) and books. I appreciate the list! Totally off topic, but I love how you did your eye makeup…would you share what you use?
I’m with you – I’d much prefer to listen to non-fiction! I think it has something to do with listening to the author share their own words. The fiction books I’ve tried to listen to always put me off when the narrator tries to do different voices for the characters! But I love listening to non-fiction while I drive, though I do wonder if I retain less by listening instead of reading.
Thank You for this list Emily, I am grateful :)
love this list, definitely grabbing a few. You and me forever is AMAZING, a great book to read with your spouse!
I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me that very question! I’m almost through Your Future Self Will Thank You by Drew Dyck and I’m recommending it to everyone I see. He’s making a case for self-control, but it’s not at all boring.He’s speaking to those of us who waste more time than we want on our phones and eat what we know will make us feel crummy and wish we spent more time in prayer, etc, etc. He also brings a faithful interpretation of the Bible to the conversation. in fact, I told my 8th grade son if he would read this book, we could discuss getting a social media account. Highly recommend!
I will look into it! Sounds like something I would love.
I just finished a book and The Next Right Thing begins tonight! I’m excited and I love how her book feels. I’m probably the odd one that really loves how a book looks and feels. My next read
After that is Be Brave, Eat Cake by Melissa Radke. I heard her on Mike Fosters podcast and knew I needed to read it!
This is an awesome list! Remember God was so good! I listened to it in the car and it was like going on a road trip with Annie! Highly recommend. I just received the Next, Right Thing so I will be digging into that this weekend. One not on your list that I just finished was “Sick of Me” by Whitney Capps. This was one that will strike a lot of nerves but is truly impactful. https://www.amazon.com/Sick-Transparency-Transformation-Whitney-Capps/dp/146279288X another one that I recently finished that was really good was “An Intentional Life” by Karen Stott
Your recommendations are always spot on for me from podcast to books to cloths. I commute two hours a day so audiobook recommendations are always welcome! A bonus most of them are available on the hoopla app which is a win! Thank you!!
I love your shirt – where did you get it? Thanks for the list of books!
I just bought it at Gap: https://rstyle.me/~aPDZN