AMERICA IS a country of readers. Pew Research Center reported in 2022 that 75% of U.S. adults read books in any format (print, ebooks, audiobooks). Despite all the television shows and movies out there to binge, Americans still love the classic pastime of settling down with a nice book (or maybe a fancy e-reader) and in one way or another consuming the written word. And our reading appetites aren’t exclusive to any one genre or type of book.
Sales for various fiction and non-fiction categories have risen since the start of the pandemic, as BookRiot reports. Graphic novels and fantasy are the two types of books featuring a boost in sales. On the nonfiction side, travel and business/economics books also saw an increase in sales, potentially pointing toward Americans renewed interest in exploring the world since the pandemic began. And the growth in business and economics shows readers’ interest in nonfiction and learning has in no way diminished.
A good nonfiction book is both entertaining and informative. Too pedantic and filled with jargon means a book will be no different than the textbooks we all suffered through in high school. Too simplified of a book and it may feel as if you’re not really understanding the complex topic you hoped to learn more about. And since, in 2018 alone, 1.8 billion books were published, according to the Association of American Publishers, there’s a lot of books one has to root through to find a well-researched and well-written nonfiction book.
To relieve some of the stress, we’ve got a list below of notable nonfiction releases to keep an eye out for this year.
History, Pop Culture
Decades after law enforcement raided the Branch Davidians’ compound in Waco, Texas, author Jeff Guinn looks back on the historic event, interviewing numerous ATF and FBI officials on the various decisions which lead to a disastrous siege. Plus, Guinn explores how Waco’s legacy persists into the present. Released on January 24, 2023.
Horror is having a moment right now (see: M3GAN, Scream VI, and other notable 2023 releases). For anyone interested in a deeper look at Black horror films and Black characters in the history of the spooky genre, The Black Guy Dies First starts in 1968, at the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, and paints the story of Black people’s portrayal in horror up to the present day. Released on February 7, 2023.
Mourning the end of Succession? Unscripted is a real-life equivalent of the popular HBO show, providing a close look at the Redstone family, which owns Paramount Global. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Rachel Abrams and James B. Stewart break down the complex and astonishing narrative of a rich and powerful family and how their personal strifes impacted a major brand. Released on February 14, 2023.
Want to learn the ins and outs of Silicon Valley? Malcolm Harris’ Palo Alto has you covered. This doorstopper of a book charts the history of the Northern California hub from its unassuming beginnings to the central tech locale it is today. Released on February 14, 2023.
If you’re looking for a recent history of businesses and the U.S. economy, Crash Landing attempts to explain how companies braved the pandemic, which shocked the U.S. and the economy. At the same time, Hoffman argues the pandemic also showed the cracks within companies’ infrastructure. By looking at AirBnb, American Airlines, and others, Hoffman seeks to chart out the recent past, present, and potential future of various U.S. companies. Released on March 7, 2023.
Scholar Therea Runstedtler chronicles the groundbreaking history of the 1970s NBA, and argues the importance of the Black players of the time (including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Spencer Haywood). Their innovative play styles and push for higher salaries and better treatment changed the game as we know it today. Released on March 7, 2023.
In Alexandra Robbins’ book, three teachers provide an honest account of what it’s like to hold one of the most unforgiving yet rewarding jobs in contemporary America. Their stories cover everything from belligerent parents to the Covid-19 pandemic, and make The Teachers one of the standout books of the year. Released on March 14, 2023.
Sociologist Matthew Desmond delves into why America, a major economic power, has such glaring poverty. Through history, research, and reporting, Desmond points out the infrastructure in place which keeps poor people poor, and offers his own solutions to the country’s worrying issue. Released on March 21, 2023.
Kerry Nelson details the story of Reality Winner, Edward Snowden, and the overall story of America and its relationship with secret intelligence. Anyone interested in a humorous look at the deep state will enjoy this read. Released on March 21, 2023.
If you’re interested in learning more about fringe medicine (while avoiding falling into the rabbit hole yourself), If It Sounds Like a Quack explores modern non-traditional medicine, talking to various advocates who seek to take alternative forms of treatment into the mainstream. Released on April 4, 2023.
In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was at its height. One of the major influences of the time was the Grand Dragon of Indiana, D.C. Stephenson. But, as author Timothy Egan writes, a woman named Madge Oberholtzer revealed Stephenson’s secrets and threatened the Klan’s hold over the nation. Released on April 4, 2023.
From the author of Killers of the Flower Moon (which will soon be brought to the screen by Martin Scorsese) comes The Wager, which recounts the real tale of two groups of sailors who wash up on the coasts of Brazil and Chile respectively. The remnants of the ship’s broken crew tell conflicting stories about treachery, mutiny, and murder. A court martial is held, and whoever is deemed to be telling falsehoods could hang. Grann provides a thrilling narrative about the ship the Wager and its crew. Released on April 18, 2023.
With the #MeToo movement, artists and musicians’ actions have now been called into question. But what do we do with the art of Picasso, Hemingway, Miles Davis, and others? Claire Dederer explores the question in her new book, birthed from a Paris Review essay. Released on April 25, 2023.
NASA brought us to the moon. Now, its Silicon Valley’s turn to bring us into a new Space Age. The new goal is to make getting to space cheaper and faster. When the Heavens Went on Sale follows the various private tech companies (like Musk, Bezos, and Richard Branson’s) who seek to make a business out of space travel. Release Date: May 9, 2023.
For those of us who are nostalgic for the days when we drew on black eyeliner before dashing off to school, Where Are Your Boys Tonight chronicles the history of emo music from its inception to (what some may argue) its fall from popularity. Members of the most influential groups (Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Dashboard Confessional, Say Anything, etc) give their personal accounts of how the rock subgenre began and what its lasting impact has been. Release Date: June 6, 2023.
It wouldn’t be a 2023 nonfiction list without mentioning one of the biggest books of the year. Prince Harry’s tell-all memoir on the Royal Family, his marriage, and decision to leave behind the duties of the monarchy was is already one of the most talked about books of 2023 (and came with a press tour for the ages). Released on January 10, 2023.
Emmett Till’s cousin and best friend Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr. recounts the night of his cousin’s disappearance while discussing the cold case and its impact on civil rights, both then and now. Released on January 10, 2023.
This memoir follows a 40-year friendship between two men who met in college. For a look at just how important those social connections are, We Should Not Be Friends is a worthy read. Released on February 21, 2023.
American historian Martin Duberman reflects on his life (he’s 92) and the lessons he’s learned along the way. A trailblazing LGBTQ+ activist, Duberman looks back on the history of the movement, and what it will take to achieve an equitable society. Released on March 7, 2023.
As a Black man and a physician, Anthony Chin-Quee explores his family’s mental health struggles, his past mistakes, and how to move forward in life despite his fear of failure and his struggle to craft lasting relationships. Released April 4, 2023.
With three years of research and over 250 interviews, it’s safe to say Jeff Benedict did his homework for this biography of LeBron James. Benedict traces the basketball superstar’s life, from his start as a young boy in Akron, Ohio to the legend he is today. Released on April 11, 2023.
South African non-fiction writer Jonny Steinberg details the complexities of Winnie and Nelson Mandela’s tumultuous marriage. Winnie and Nelson examines both Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and her husband, their romance, and the impact their relationship had on their political ambitions. Release Date: May 2, 2023.
Jonathan Eig pens a new biography on Dr. Martin Luther King. The book features new research into the Civil Rights leader’s life, and provides a fresh perspective on the famous figure. Release Date: May 16, 2023.
In May 2020, Christian Cooper went viral after he filmed a video of a racially charged encounter with a dog walker. In a new memoir, Cooper reflects on the event, but also reflects on his life as a Black nerd, an avid birdwatcher, and his work with Marvel Comics. Release Date: June 13, 2023.
Young activist Greta Thunberg talked to a number of scientists, historians, philosophers, and others to encourage people around the world to care about climate change–and act before it’s too late. Released on February 14, 2023.
Longtime friend and collaborator of Hawking, Thomas Hertog adds to the famous scientist’s legacy with this new book on Hawking’s findings on the cosmos. Released on April 11, 2023.
Want to learn more about your favorite furry friend? A leading biologist explores the origins of the cat, from its evolutionary origins to its contemporary, domestic life. All your burning questions about felines (Do lions and tigers meow? Why does my cat bring dead mice to me?) are answered in this enjoyable read. Release Date: May 2, 2023.
Are you ready to live in a colony on Mars? Before you don your spacesuit, Kelly and Zach Weinersmith ask the tough questions about space settlement. Can we actually survive on Mars? And if so, should we try to colonize it? Space nerds will enjoy this one. Release Date: November 7, 2023.
Health and Fitness
For the yoga enthusiast in your life, Living in the Light provides a 30-day program which seeks to bring focus and bliss into your life. Whether you can barely touch your toes or can manage a handstand no problem, Living in the Light hopes to teach you more tools to center yourself. Released on January 3, 2023.
A doctor and his philosopher daughter explore how even when living with chronic illness, you can live a full and fulfilling life. Through engaging stories and case studies, Healthy No Matter What seeks to help you redefine what healthy lifestyle looks like. Released on January 31, 2023.
If you’re tired of dieting and dealing with “wellness culture,” Christy Harrison’s new book explores how social media and wellness influencers could be doing your more harm than good. Harrison combines memoir, history, and research into this deep dive into a modern headache. Released on April 25, 2023.
If you ever wanted to know more about the muscles you’re training at the gym, Muscle seeks to dispel the mystery behind this integral part of our anatomy. Filled with illustrations, illuminating stories, and historical deep dives, Muscle will give you new insight into the power of our bodies. Release Date: June 13, 2023.
You may be more familiar with the basic emotions: anger, sadness, happiness. But what about awe? Scientist (and consultant on Pixar’s Inside Out) Dacher Keltner explores why it’s important to feel awe and how to incorporate more of it into our lives. Whether its traveling to see the Grand Canyon or singing at a concert, Awe wants you to find a deeper connection to the world around you. Released on January 3, 2023.
Psychologist Gloria Mark wants you to break your multitasking habit. Switching tasks too often can actually hurt your productivity, she says. If you’re ready to focus better and longer, Attention Span seeks to prove how social media and other aspects of the modern world do more than good for our attention, and provides tips for how we all become more engrossed in singular tasks. Released on January 10, 2023.
Famed music producer Rick Rubin distilled his thoughts on creativity into The Creative Act. For musicians, artists, writers, and other creative people looking for inspiration and expert advice on what it takes to make great art, Rubin’s new book is a worthy read. Released on January 17, 2023.
Having trouble communicating with your partner? Need to have a tough conversation with a friend? Dr. Rick Hanson’s Making Great Relationships is meant to empower readers to express their needs, put up boundaries when they need to, and foster healthier relationships with the people closest to them. Released on January 17, 2023.
The best-selling author of How to Do Nothing returns with Saving Time, a new meditation on how we’re spending our days in the modern world and what we can do to expand our leisure time. Released on March 7, 2023.
The Body Liberation Project is for anyone tired of diet culture and being obsessed with getting skinny. Part memoir, part activities and prompts, Chrissy King’s new book is a guide to how to love yourself more. Released on March 14, 2023.
The Internet is a hard place to navigate. To avoid falling into misinformation rabbit holes, Foolproof explains the psychology behind why we fall for false information and provides tips for how to avoid being led astray while surfing the net. Released on March 21, 2023.
If you are (or you know someone who is) struggling with suicidal ideation, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. How Not to Kill Yourself is a historical, philosophical, and personal look at suicide, and serves as a way to help anyone who feels suicidal find a better path forward. Released on March 28, 2023.
Whether you’re trying to write a novel, experiencing a midlife crisis, or working through a bad breakup, Anatomy of a Breakthrough wants to help you to get through it all. With scientific studies, anecdotes, and interviews, author Adam Alter seeks to give anyone stuck in a rut a way to pull themselves out. Release Date: May 16, 2023.
Journalist Maria Yagoda interviews psychologists, coaches, pro-dommes and more to get to the bottom of a cultural crisis: too many of us are having bad sex. Not only does the book explore why this is happening, but it also gives people tools to start having more satisfying sex in the future. Release Date: May 30, 2023.
Even if you’re not a sports fan, we can all agree: it takes dedication to be an athlete. In Sally Jenkins’ new book The Right Call, she argues the success of various sportspeople, whether it be coaches or players, can help us non-athletes in the regular world. Release Date: June 6, 2023.
If you’re having trouble in the bedroom, check out Dr. Emily Morse’s new book Smart Sex. Whether you need help with your technique, or just want to communicate better with your partner to have more satisfying sex, Morse wants to help you increase the intimacy in your life. Release Date: June 13, 2023.
CNN senior analyst Elie Honig explores why the rich and famous seem to get off easy when it comes to their crimes, versus regular people who get put away for years, and what can be done to make justice more equitable for everyone. Released on January 31, 2023.
This harrowing book tells a story of a white couple who adopted six Black children, then were found at the bottom of a cliff in an apparent murder-suicide. The case serves as the start of the book’s discussion on the country’s flawed foster care and adoption system, and why it fails both birth parents and children. Released on March 14, 2023.
For readers who want to learn more about financial crimes, Fool Me Once explores the motives behind the perpetrators who commit the crimes, the victims who fall for the scams, and the whistleblowers who gain the courage to take down their employers. From “Nigerian prince” scams to Bernie Madoff and Elizabeth Holmes, Fool Me Once is a riveting read on fraud and everyone involved in it. Released on March 21, 2023.
If you’re not into true crime deep dives on murders, how about art theft? Michael Finkel’s new book details one of the world’s greatest art thieves’ rise and fall. His determination to acquire art (for a personal collection, not money), his dedication to his girlfriend (who served as a lookout), and his insatiable appetite for a good heist offers a compelling story. Release Date: June 27, 2023.
Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.
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