I don’t think it’s ever happened before that all of my favorite books in a month were nonfiction, but that’s exactly what happened in October.
I read 10 books in October. Of those, I gave two perfect grades. Both were non-fiction, but super different in the subject matter.
Here are my reviews of my favorite books of October.
What Doesn’t Kill You
What Doesn’t Kill You: A Life with Chronic Illness is Tessa Miller’s story of living with Chrohn’s disease. I think I liked this book so much because I related to the author. Not because I have a chronic illness, but because she could have been one of my students or me.
Tessa was a 20-something journalist, fresh out of college, living the dream in New York. Then she began having terrible stomach problems. She thought all of the things you would in this situation. Maybe it was something she ate. Maybe she had a virus. But it just kept getting worse. She couldn’t be away from the bathroom and got increasingly sick.
It took a long time for Tessa to get an accurate diagnosis. She underwent years of doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, invasive procedures, and infections. She almost died at least once. Through it all, she dealt with past trauma and new trauma created by her illness.
Tessa’s book is a look at what life is like for people with chronic illnesses. She talks about isolation, shame, trauma, access to medical care, problems with insurance, and how it’s all exacerbated for marginalized populations. She shares her experiences and opinions, but she backs them with tons of data.
Anyone who reads this book can learn from it. It also might cause you to reconsider past thinking or at least show others more grace. After all, you never know what someone is living through.
The High 5 Habit
I don’t often say this about books, but The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit by Mel Robbins is a game-changer. It’s only on Audible, so you have to listen to it. But I would buy the book to reread and highlight it if I could.
The book’s premise is that you celebrate so many things you love in the world — from your favorite sports team to your coworkers — but you don’t cheer for yourself. Instead, you spend time being self-critical and thinking about all the things you aren’t. How will you ever live up to your full potential when the person closest to you… the person who drives all of your daily thoughts and actions… is your worst critic?
Mel says it’s time we start cheering ourselves on. So, instead of looking in the mirror each morning and thinking about all we’re not or everything we’re stressed about, we’re supposed to repeat a daily mantra and high-five ourselves in the mirror.
I’m not gonna lie. I thought it sounded kind of stupid too. But Mel really backs this idea with science, and it makes sense. So, I decided to give it a try.
The High 5 Habit got me through a big professional deadline. It stopped the negative cycle in my head. And it made me smile every day. You literally can’t high-five yourself in the mirror and not smile.
What mantra should you use? It’s totally up to you. I started with a little song from one of my favorite Tik Toks that goes, “Bitch, you’re doing a good job.” I moved to, “You’ve got this!” I followed that with, “I can do this!” The mantra doesn’t really matter, as long as it empowers you and you send a positive message to yourself.
If you know me, you also know that I love my dogs. Like stupid love my dogs. Love my dogs more than my kids love for my dogs. So, every morning after I high-five myself, I get a high five from Cash. He loves it! It makes him feel like an involved, good boy. He knows it’s coming each day. And I really smile (and usually laugh) getting a morning high five from my dog.
This month’s books are a bit different from my normal recommendations. Also, as I said, it’s super strange for me to only have non-fiction recommendations. But I still hope you’ll read one or both of them and love them.
What did you read and love lately? Let me know in the comments! I’m forever looking for something to read.
As always, happy reading!