In researching the titles for this list, I was blown away by how many incredible Non-Fiction books are coming out this year. As an avid Fiction reader, I have made it my challenge to read one Non-Fiction book for every three Fiction books I read. This list of new and noteworthy Non-Fiction titles will make that easy!
Inheritance: A Memoir Of Genealogy, Paternity, And Love by Dani Shapiro
The acclaimed and beloved author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets–a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she made last year about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden the story of her own life.
When Death Becomes Life: Notes From A Transplant Surgeon by Joshua D. Mezrich
A transplant surgeon discusses the pioneers, science, and ethical challenges of organ transplantation as well as the ways that organ transplants have revolutionized medical care, and offers illuminating stories of his own patients.
A riveting saga in the history of rock ‘n’ roll: the decades-long rivalry between the two men who innovated the electric guitar’s amplified sound—Leo Fender and Les Paul—and their intense competition to convince rock stars like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton to play the instruments they built.
Breaking And Entering: The Extraordinary Story A Hacker Called “Alien” by Jeremy N. Smith
This taut, true thriller takes a deep dive into a dark world that touches us all, as seen through the brilliant, breakneck career of an extraordinary hacker – a woman known only as Alien.
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, And A Mother’s Will To Survive by Stephanie Land
A journalist describes the years she worked in low-paying domestic work under wealthy employers, contrasting the privileges of the upper-middle class to the realities of the overworked laborers supporting them.
Say Nothing: A True Story Of Murder And Memory In Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville’s children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress–with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.
Patrick Radden Keefe’s mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past–Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.
The extraordinary true story of Odette Sansom, the British spy who operated in occupied France and fell in love with her commanding officer during World War II–perfect for fans of Unbroken, The Boys in the Boat, and Code Girls.
Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, And Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani
New York Times bestselling author and Girls Who Code founder/CEO Reshma Saujani inspires us to discover the power of female bravery. Do you ever feel crushed under the weight of your own expectations? Do you often lose sleep ruminating over a tiny mistake or worrying about what someone else thinks of you? Do you run yourself ragged trying to do it all at home and at work, with a smile and not a hair out of place? Have you ever passed up an opportunity–a new relationship, new job, or new challenge–because you’re afraid you won’t immediately excel at it? For you, is failure simply not an option? You’re not alone. As women, we’ve been taught from an early age to play it safe. Well-meaning parents and teachers rewarded us for being quiet and polite, urged us to be careful so we don’t get hurt, and steered us to activities at which we could shine. Meanwhile, boys were expected to speak up, get dirty, play rough, and climb to the top of the monkey bars. In short, boys are taught to be brave, while girls are taught to be perfect. As a result, we grow up to be women who are afraid to fail. So terrified of not doing everything perfectly, we tamp down our dreams and narrow our world, along with our opportunities for happiness. As too many of us eventually learn, being afraid to take risks, to use our voice to take a stand or ask for what we want, even to make mistakes, leads to a lot of disappointment and regret. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In a book inspired by her hugely popular TED Talk, Reshma Saujani shows us how to end our love affair with perfection and rewire ourselves for bravery. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with girls and women from around the country, stories of women changing the world one brave act at a time, and her own personal journey, Saujani shares an array of powerful insights and practices to make bravery a lifelong habit and enable us to be the authors of our biggest, boldest, and most joyful life.
Louisa On The Front Lines: Louisa May Alcott In The Civil War by Samantha Seiple
Louisa on the Frontlines is the first narrative nonfiction book focusing on the least-known aspect of Louisa May Alcott’s career – her time spent as a nurse during the Civil War. Though her service was brief, the dramatic experience was one that she considered pivotal in helping her write the beloved classic Little Women. It also deeply affected her tenuous relationship with her father, and inspired her commitment to abolitionism. Through it all, she kept a journal and wrote letters to her family and friends. These letters were published in the newspaper, and her subsequent book, Hospital Sketches, spotlighted the dire conditions of the military hospitals and the suffering endured by the wounded soldiers she cared for. To this day, her work is considered a pioneering account of military nursing. Alcott’s time as an Army nurse in the Civil War helped her find her authentic voice–and cemented her foundational belief system. Louisa on the Frontlines reveals the emergence of this prominent feminist and abolitionist–a woman whose life and work has inspired millions and continues to do so today.
As a teenager, Mallory O’Meara was thrilled to discover that one of her favorite movies, Creature from the Black Lagoon, featured a monster designed by a woman, Milicent Patrick. But for someone who should have been hailed as a pioneer in the genre, there was little information available. For, as O’Meara soon discovered, Patrick’s contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, her career had been cut short and she soon after had disappeared from film history. No one even knew if she was still alive.
As a young woman working in the horror film industry, O’Meara set out to right the wrong, and in the process discovered the full, fascinating story of an ambitious, artistic woman ahead of her time. Patrick’s contribution to special effects proved to be just the latest chapter in a remarkable, unconventional life, from her youth growing up in the shadow of Hearst Castle, to her career as one of Disney’s first female animators. And at last, O’Meara discovered what really had happened to Patrick after The Creature’s success, and where she went.
A true-life detective story and a celebration of a forgotten feminist trailblazer, Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady from the Black Lagoon establishes Patrick in her rightful place in film history while calling out a Hollywood culture where little has changed since.
Act Natural: A Cultural History Of Misadventures Of Parenting by Jennifer Traig
From ancient Rome to Puritan New England to the Dr. Spock craze of mid-twentieth-century America, a history of Western parenting explores techniques ranging from the misguided, to the nonsensical, to the truly horrifying.
We Are Displaced: My Journey And Stories From Refugee Girls Around The World by Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai introduces some of the people behind the statistics and news stories we read or hear every day about the millions of people displaced worldwide. Malala’s experiences visiting refugee camps caused her to reconsider her own displacement– first as an Internally Displaced Person when she was a young child in Pakistan, and then as an international activist who could travel anywhere in the world except to the home she loved. In We Are Displaced, which is part memoir, part communal storytelling, Malala not only explores her own story, but she also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her journeys– girls who have lost their community, relatives, and often the only world they’ve ever known. In a time of immigration crises, war, and border conflicts, We Are Displaced is an important reminder from one of the world’s most prominent young activists that every single one of the 68.5 million currently displaced is a person– often a young person– with hopes and dreams.
A collection of personal essays explores the complexities and paradoxes of growing up black in the South with a white surname as well as the author’s experiences with interracial marriage, international adoption, and teaching at a Northern white college.
Empty Planet: The Shock Of Global Population Decline by Darrell Jay Bricker
Explores the pros and cons of a declining global population, including worker shortages, lower risk of famine, and greater affluence and autonomy for women.
The Trial Of Lizzie Borden: A True Story by Cara Robertson
The remarkable new account of an essential piece of American mythology–the trial of Lizzie Borden–based on twenty years of research and recently unearthed evidence. The Trial of Lizzie Borden tells the true story of one of the most sensational murder trials in American history. When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple’s younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone–rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople–had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she or didn’t she? The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Immortalized in rhyme, told and retold in every conceivable genre, the murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror, but one typically wrenched from its historical moment. In contrast, Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden’s culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden offers a window onto America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties.
The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction And Purpose by Oprah Winfrey.
Everyone has a purpose. And, according to Oprah Winfrey, “Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible.”
That journey starts right here.
In her latest book, The Path Made Clear, Oprah shares what she sees as a guide for activating your deepest vision of yourself, offering the framework for creating not just a life of success, but one of significance. The book’s ten chapters are organized to help you recognize the important milestones along the road to self-discovery, laying out what you really need in order to achieve personal contentment, and what life’s detours are there to teach us.
Oprah opens each chapter by sharing her own key lessons and the personal stories that helped set the course for her best life. She then brings together wisdom and insights from luminaries in a wide array of fields, inspiring readers to consider what they’re meant to do in the world and how to pursue it with passion and focus. Renowned figures such as Eckhart Tolle, Brene Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jay-Z, and Ellen DeGeneres share the greatest lessons from their own journeys toward a life filled with purpose.
Paired with over 100 awe-inspiring photographs to help illuminate the wisdom of these messages, The Path Made Clear provides readers with a beautiful resource for achieving a life lived in service of your calling – whatever it may be.