4 Books to Read if You Loved “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone”
My local book club is meeting this week, to discuss Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. It started getting buzz even before publication in April 2019, and was a nominee for Best Nonfiction in Goodread’s Choice Awards. (I must take a moment here to say, if you’re looking for some fantastic non-fiction reads on a wide range of topics, follow that last link and read the nominees in that category – except for the winner. I’ve ranted about this before, and I’ll do it again: saying a book is the “best” based on how many people bought it is not accurate. There’s no way the book that won that category was better than all those others. More popular? Sure. Easier to read? You betcha. But not a better work of non-fiction.)
I read MYSTTS last month and passed it to a friend in my book club. As soon as she finished, she messaged me to gush about how much she loved it. Then she immediately asked what other books I’d recommend that are similar. I had to take some time to think on it (which is unheard of, usually book recommendations are pouring out of me if anyone so much as hints they might want my opinion) and once I came up with some ideas, I knew it had to be a post!
I’m sure there are many other readers out there like my friend. Gottlieb’s book is labeled Self Help, though it’s a beautiful memoir chronicling one therapist’s need for therapy. It’s her personal experience combined with clinical experience and research. And while it’s not quite like anything else I’ve read, here are some books that come to mind that also combine personal narrative with science and have a similar feel.
4 Books to Read if You Loved Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Would I Lie to You?: The Amazing Power of Being Honest in a World That Lies by Julie Ketteler
This book reads more like a memoir than self-help. It’s chock full of research, statistics, and anecdotes that explore what honesty means and looks like in our society. I appreciate how personal the author gets in sharing her experiences and feelings. It allowed me to connect with her in a way I generally don’t with non-fiction books. She really went out on a limb by voicing her political opinions and I like that! The fact that this book was partially born because of President Trump’s blatant lying made me feel less alone in the fact that I am troubled by it too. And I like the thought of saying, “I hate how much he lies, so what does my own relationship with honesty look like?” Going into this book, I considered myself a pretty honest person. I’m inspired by the author to maybe start my own honesty journal, as she did, to track how much I’m probably lying to myself and others in the name of politeness.
There are so many different angles in this book. She looks at honesty in the work place, friendships, intimate relationships, in parenting, and in relation to self. She breaks honesty down and quotes research that shows how dishonesty works in positive ways at times.
The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne
Convinced he could conquer his Tourette’s symptoms, Josh tried everything from harsh drug treatments to natural remedies to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. After many years, Josh eventually met a former Air Force Sergeant who taught him how to work his Tourette’s tics into submission through strength training. This is a powerful memoir about one person’s journey, and it’s more than that too. There’s a strong scientific component, as Josh learns as much as he can about his condition, the treatments, and eventually the activity that gives his body relief. It’s an all around fantastic memoir. It’s honest, funny, and gives insight into a life I could never imagine experiencing. Josh ties all the aspects of his life together seamlessly. I laughed out loud many times, and enjoyed all the literary references. It’s a unique, touching story.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
This is one of my all time favorite non-fiction books. While it’s definitely a humor book written by a comedian, it has the special component of Aziz’s partnership with Eric (a social scientist). The whole thing started with Aziz’s realization that his own experiences dating through technology (like being ghosted) were not unique to him but to his generation. He and Eric then worked with tons of people who gave them access to phones, dating profiles, email exchanges and other components of their online romantic lives. They also interviewed married couples from older generations whose dating lives were affected by different circumstances such as proximity. It’s a hilarious book for sure, and also a fascinating look at relationships with the spin of our constantly evolving modern technology.
You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy
This is more straight up non-fiction, without a memoir component, but it doesn’t read as dry or dense. It’s a fascinating exploration of how and why people are generally poor listeners. It explores how we’re taught from a young age to act like we’re listening, when in reality we’re all just waiting for our turn to speak. Somehow she manages to keep it light, even bringing in some humor while explaining the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening. The book includes conversations with some of the “best listeners” who are in jobs such as FBI agent, hostage negotiator, focus group moderator, sales, hair dresser, bartender, and radio producer. This is an important book that’s also enjoyable to read!