9 Must-read non-fiction books for women in their 40s

There is wisdom and freedom that comes with turning 40. These books usher in the decade where a woman can forgive, walk confidently and brave new terrain all at once.

Gravel on the Side of the Road by Kris Radish

Gravel on the Side of the Road: True stories from a broad who has been there by Kris Radish

The essays in Kris Radish’s newest non-fiction read will have you laughing from beginning to end. Radish has had more than her fair share of life experiences. In Gravel on the Side of the Road, she lets readers into her crazy world of friendly murderers and near-death moments as she tells her stories with deep emotion and complete honesty.

Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett

Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett

Pulling excerpts from her popular NPR show, Krista Tippett’s Becoming Wise tackles how to live well in an imperfect world. Including sage words of advice and inspiration from her diverse roster of radio guests as well as tidbits from her own life, this book encourages readers to live their most fulfilling life. Centered around five themes – words, flesh, love, faith and hope – she explores how each affects us.

Beautiful Affliction by Lene Fogelberg

Beautiful Affliction: A Memoir by Lene Fogelberg

Before being officially diagnosed with a fatal congenital heart disease, Lene Fogelberg knew that something was wrong with her even if the doctors in Sweden didn’t believe her. When she and her family move to the United States, she’ll learn the truth about her health and will do anything she has to in order to save her own life and continue living for those she loves. 

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

One of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage follows Ann Patchett’s life from childhood to marriage and through her years of writing. A blend of memoir and literature, this book reminds us of the importance of family, friends and devotion to the things you’re most passionate about.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

After losing her mother and dealing with a divorce, Cheryl Strayed needed a break from the pressures of her everyday life. Embarking on a life-changing hiking trip alone, Cheryl set out on a trip that would ultimately change her view on life and put the pieces of her broken heart back together again.

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön

This collection of wisdom and advice from Pema Chödrön will give hope to readers who are going through a difficult time. Full of ways to deal with chaotic situations, advice about how to use harrowing emotions to your advantage, and methods to create social change, When Things Fall Apart is the perfect read for any woman in her 40s who may be facing a roadblock in life.  

The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey

The Wisdom of Sundays: Life Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations by Oprah Winfrey

Oprah brings enlightenment to audiences everywhere in this non-fiction read chock full of advice and inspiration from some of today’s greatest thought-leaders. The life lessons from Shonda Rhimes, Tony Robbins, Elizabeth Gilbert and other influential people will teach you a few new things and provide a relatable insight on life and love.  

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

Looking for meaning in her life, Shauna Niequist takes readers along with her on her quest to find her true self again. Removing everyday titles like mother, wife and writer, she encourages her audience to take a step back and simplify life. Told through a collection of essays, Present Over Perfect teaches readers the way to take back their lives.

Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts by Harriet Lerner PhD
Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.

By the time you reach your 40s, there’s no debating that you’ve experienced a fair amount of betrayal and hurt. Why Won’t You Apologize delves into the importance of a simple apology and the emotions behind forgiveness. Abandoning the idea that forgiveness is the only way to getting your life back on track, Lerner gives readers a guide to setting things right again.

(feature image courtesy of @cadence.cook)
Ashley Johnson

Ashley has always been a writer at heart, receiving a diary from her mother at a very young age. Supportive book-buying parents influenced her love of literature and storytelling as she grew up. Her love for songwriting led the way to creating short stories and the start of her own blog where she documented her life as a college student. A fan of dark plot lines, Ashley picked up Stephen King’s It and never looked back. When she is not working on her first novel or new story ideas, Ashley can be found curled up with her rescue chihuahuas or reviewing the newest liquid lipstick formula on her YouTube channel.

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