Spring 2018 Nonfiction Preview: From Basketball to Borneo

Spring 2018 Nonfiction Preview: From Basketball to Borneo

Ah, spring. You may be thinking about spring cleaning, and we say hop to it! There are so many must-read nonfiction books coming out this season that you’re going to need all of the extra shelf space you can muster. Whether you’re planning on picking up Roxane Gay’s new anthology or the previously unpublished book from Zora Neale Hurston, there’s a fantastic read for you on this list. Start clearing off those shelves!

The Last Wild Men of Borneo

For nonfiction readers who want to go on an adventure, look no further than the latest book from Carl Hoffman. In it, Hoffman tells the story of two men: Michael Palmieri and Bruno Manser. Both men went to Borneo, separately, to explore: Palmieri in the 1970s, and Manser a decade later. The similarities in their stories essentially end there, however: The two men would meet very different ends. Palmieri would find his fortune and become a big-deal art collector. Manser, however, would seemingly fall off the face of the earth. Pack your bags, and get ready to visit the rainforest in this fascinating story.

On shelves: March 6

Tomorrow Will Be Different

Sarah McBride has made enormous contributions to the LGBTQ community through her work as the National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign. Here, she writes about her life experiences as a transgender woman and an activist. Readers will learn about McBride’s coming out and transition, the tragedy of being widowed at the young age of 24, her speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and so much more. This book will inspire readers and move them to tears. Plus, there’s an introduction by former Vice President Joe Biden.

On shelves: March 6

Disappointment River

You may have heard of the Mackenzie River, which runs through the northwestern part of Canada. What you might not know, however, is the story behind its namesake: explorer Alexander Mackenzie. In Disappointment River, author Brian Castner tells the story of Mackenzie’s journey of over 1,000 miles looking for the Northwest Passage. Castner also traces the paths that he believes Mackenzie traveled and writes about the experience. If you’ve got the itch to go on an outdoor adventure, this is the perfect book to pick up this season.

On shelves: March 13

Patriot Number One

Lauren HilgersPatriot Number One will take readers to the streets of Flushing in New York City, where they’ll meet Zhuang Liehong. Zhuang has a long history as a protester in China, and he called Hilgers shortly before moving to New York City because he feared trouble back at home. Zhuang and his wife, Little Yan, settle in Flushing, Queens, and Hilgers tells the story of their experience in the large Chinese community there. For readers interested in immigration, Chinese culture, and the challenges of attaining the American Dream, this is a great book to pick up this spring.

On shelves: March 20

Look Alive Out There

Sloane Crosley, the author of I Was Told There’d Be Cake, is back with a collection of essays that tackle everyday life with humor and feeling. Crosley takes on a multitude of subjects, including New York City, what it’s like to approach middle age, and Gossip Girl. As much fun as this collection is, it blends its humor and fun with real insight. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raved: “Crosley is exceedingly clever and has a witticism for all occasions, but it is her willingness to confront some of life’s darker corners with honesty and vulnerability that elevates this collection.”

On shelves: April 3

The Recovering

Author Leslie Jamison needs no introduction, and memoir fans will be excited about her newest effort. The Recovering is an intensely personal recollection of Jamison’s own struggles with alcoholism and a broader look at the role drinking plays in both the literary world and our culture at large. This book spans Jamison’s teenage years and follows her time at college and then the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Jamison bravely narrates her journey to sobriety, weaving in far-ranging material that makes this story rich, captivating, and memorable.

On shelves: April 3

God Save Texas

Travel to the Lone Star State in Lawrence Wright’s new book, God Save Texas. Pulitzer Prize-winner Wright opens up about his home state, which has both informed his identity and looms large in American culture. He writes about the state’s politics and demographics, and the ways in which it might look different in the coming years and what that might mean for the country. He touches on its diversity, its economy, and its relationship with Donald Trump. In a starred review, Kirkus gushed: “A revelation—Wright finds the reflection of his own conflicted soul in the native state he loves and has hated.”

On shelves: April 17

The Soul of Basketball

Alright, sports fans: This one is for you. Relive the excitement of the 2010-2011 NBA season in this fast-paced new book from Ian Thomsen. The 2010-2011 season, as readers may remember, was an eventful one. Memorably, LeBron James moved to the Miami Heat from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Soul of Basketball is the story of James’ move, and what that year was like for him as he competed against stars like Doc Rivers, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kobe Bryant. Whether you love shooting hoops or prefer to leave it to the professionals, this is an engaging read.

On shelves: April 17

The Moralist

Admit it—you’ve been dying to read a great new presidential biography. Luckily for you, Patricia O’Toole’s newest book about Woodrow Wilson comes out this spring. In it, O’Toole delves into Wilson’s life and presidency. Much of this book concerns the years leading up to World War I and the difficult situation Wilson was in as he had to decide whether or not the United States should get involved in the conflict. O’Toole also points to the ways in which Wilson’s policies and decisions impacted those who came after him, and makes a case that his influence can be felt even today. If you’re an American history buff, there’s no better book to pick up this spring.

On shelves: April 24

The Best Cook in the World

Most people have a favorite dish that their mother makes. Maybe it’s meatloaf, or macaroni and cheese, or maybe it’s the way she toasts a Pop-Tart just the way you like it. Whatever the case, Rick Bragg is right there with you. In this book, he writes about his mother’s Southern cooking and his upbringing in Alabama. Readers of this book will learn about Bragg’s mother’s kitchen, of course, but also about what makes food good, and what role food can play in a family and in a culture. Just thinking about this book is making us hungry.

On shelves: April 24

Not That Bad

Here at Bookish, it’s no secret that we are huge, huge fans of Roxane Gay’s nonfiction. We dog-eared pages of Bad Feminist, and we eagerly paged through Hunger. This spring, Gay is back with an anthology that she’s edited about rape culture. The essays in this collection come from a range of voices, including actor Gabrielle Union and author Amy Jo Burns. This is a difficult read but an undeniably important one. We feel confident that this brave and necessary book will be the perfect addition to feminist readers’ libraries.

On shelves: May 1


Zora Neale Hurston is renowned as the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God. She passed away in 1960, but this spring, readers can pick up Barracoon, her previously unpublished work about Cudjo Lewis. Lewis was the last living person who survived being forcibly taken from Africa and sent to America on a slave ship. Hurston conducted her interviews of Lewis in 1927 and 1931. Lewis told Hurston his life story, including his years as a slave. This affecting and important work takes on an incredibly dark chapter of American history.

On shelves: May 8


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