Books briefly noted: Non-fiction

Looking for a new non-fiction read? Amy Pagliarella has you covered.

Life in Five Senses

Gretchen Rubin
Penguin Random House, 272 pages | Published April 18, 2023

Rubin helps us kick life up a notch with a new book subtitled “How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World.” When an eye doctor warned Rubin that she could go blind, she realized how much she was tuning out. She takes us with her on a journey to deeply appreciate each sense and to connect bodily experiences with the soul. The result is deeper relationships and increased vitality. As she explains, “feeling the full range of sensation made me feel more present, more alive.”

Lincoln’s God: How Faith Transformed a President and a Nation

Joshua Zeitz
Viking, 334 pages | Published May 16, 2023

Dramatic stories of Abraham Lincoln often categorize him as a martyr whose zealous Christian faith drove him to declare war on slavery. Zeitz, a historian and writer, suggests that the truth is more complicated. Lincoln was not a churchgoer, yet he balanced a growing personal faith with a pragmatic approach to using faith to rally the country for war. Lincoln’s God observes Lincoln, the Civil War and American society through the lens of faith, with new insights for history buffs.

The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness

Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz
Simon & Schuster, 352 pages | Published January 10, 2023

Harvard University has been studying two generations of the same families for over 80 years to determine what makes for a happy, fulfilling life. The answer? Relationships.

A team of researchers meet regularly with men born in Boston’s inner city or students at Harvard (eventually adding their wives), assessing their physical health and conducting days-long interviews. The result is a more comprehensive study of human flourishing than ever attempted. Waldinger and Schulz, the study’s current directors, share anecdotes and observations from their subjects, drawing conclusions to help us all live our best lives.

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