The Best Nonfiction of Summer 2019

The Best Nonfiction of Summer 2019

must-read nonfiction

Summer is here, and regardless of what your travel plans are, you can travel through both space and time with this season’s exciting new nonfiction books. For readers interested in the heavens, Oliver Morton has a new book coming out about the moon. Readers who are fans of Queer Eye (and really, who isn’t?) can dive into Tan France’s new memoir. No matter what your reading tastes are, there’s a nonfiction book here for you. Read on for summer 2019’s must-read nonfiction.

Underland by Robert Macfarlane

Robert Macfarlane is a master at taking nuanced parts of the natural world and rendering them vividly for his readers. He’s at it again in his latest book Underland, which burrows into the ground under our feet and explores what Macfarlane terms “deep time.” Readers will encounter all sorts of wonders in this volume including funeral chambers from the Bronze Age, sea caves with prehistoric art on their walls, and the deepest corners of the ocean where nuclear waste is stored. For readers who want to go adventures from the comfort of their reading nook, this is a great book to pick up this summer.

On shelves: June 4

Naturally Tan by Tan France

Do you watch Queer Eye religiously? Do you French tuck your shirts and smile, knowing Tan France would be proud? Do you daydream about hanging out with the Fab Five? We see you, reader, and we know you’ll love France’s new memoir, Naturally Tan. This volume contains all of the warmth and compassion that France projects on the show, and readers will delight in learning more about his upbringing, his experience coming out in his 30s, and what it was like to fall in love with his now-husband. You won’t want to miss this memoir!

On shelves: June 4

The Moon by Oliver Morton

The moon is beautiful, mysterious, and definitely not made out of cheese. It’s also the subject of Oliver Morton’s book, which is perfect for readers interested in humanity’s evolving relationship with the heavens. Readers will find themselves immersed in topics like art, history, science, and even speculation about the future of space travel. This far-ranging and fascinating book will make you think twice next time you step outside on a clear night and glimpse the glowing orb hanging above you in the sky.

On shelves: June 4

My Parents / This Does Not Belong to You by Aleksandar Hemon

What’s better than having a great new book to read? Having two great new books to read. Readers get a double dose with Aleksandar Hemon’s latest volume which has two parts, each with its own cover and title. In My Parents, Hemon writes about his parents’ journey to Canada from Bosnia while also providing lots of personal and historical context. This Does Not Belong to You contains fragments and memories from Hemon’s own life. The end result is a wholly unique meditation on family and memory that readers won’t soon forget.

On shelves: June 11

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women is definitely one of the season’s most buzzed-about works of nonfiction. Taddeo takes on the subject of female desire and relationships in this book that, as the title suggests, follows three women and monitors their feelings and experiences during relationships. One of the women is having an affair with a former crush. Another is dealing with the aftermath of a secret relationship with a teacher at her school. The third is married to a man who likes to bring other people into the bedroom. This book is candid, deeply reported, and its subjects will stay with readers for a long time.

On shelves: July 9

Beneath the Tamarind Tree by Isha Sesay

In April of 2014, Boko Haram abducted 276 Nigerian schoolgirls, shocking the world. In this book, Isha Sesay tells the story of the kidnapping based on her extensive reporting. Sesay addresses the way the world and the Nigerian government responded to the crisis, and she had unparallelled access to the 21 girls who were later released. For readers who love taking a deeper dive into current events, or for those specifically interested in the kidnapping, this book promises to deliver excellent reporting and lots of insight.

On shelves: July 9

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, illustrated by Harmony Becker

You may know George Takei from his role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, but here he’s writing about experiences he had as a child held imprisoned in a “relocation center” during World War II. They Called Us Enemy is a graphic novel that captures the unjust treatment of Takei and his family as they awaited release from the camp where they were forced to stay. Readers can deepen their understanding of a dark chapter of American history with this powerful graphic novel.

On shelves: July 16

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Avid New Yorker readers, get excited: Jia Tolentino is releasing a collection of essays later this summer. Trick Mirror takes on a wide range of subjects including her appearance on a reality TV show, social media, and our culture’s relentless pursuit of optimization. In a starred review, Kirkus raved: “Tolentino offers a millennial perspective that is deeply grounded, intellectually transcending her relative youth. She brings fresh perspective to current movements in a manner similar to that of Joan Didion in the 1960s and 70s.” We bet you’ll love this one.

On shelves: August 6

And How Are You, Dr. Sacks? by Lawrence Weschler

It’s no secret that the Bookish team is full of Oliver Sacks fans. Now, Sacks is the subject of a book by his friend and fellow writer Lawrence Weschler. The two because close in the 1980s when Weschler was doing interviews and research for a profile of Sacks that he planned to publish in The New Yorker. The story didn’t make it onto the magazine’s pages (at Sacks’ request) but the bond between the two men stayed strong. Weschler’s new book gives readers a look at the famed neurologist and writer as they’ve never seen him before.

On shelves: August 13

I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi

Bassey Ikpi writes about the alienating effects of her mental health struggles in this essay collection. Ikpi was born in Nigeria and came to the United States when she was four, settling in Oklahoma with both of her parents. While it would take a while for her to receive a formal diagnosis, she has struggled with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder for years, and she opens up about those experiences here. Ikpi has been an enthusiastic advocate for those dealing with mental health issues, and readers interested in the subject will love her brave and honest approach to this book.

On shelves: August 20

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