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Do you set reading goals for yourself at the beginning of a new year? I do, even though I don’t usually stick to them. One goal I consistently set every year — and consistently fail to meet — is reading more nonfiction. I love nonfiction books, yet somehow I only manage to pick one up for every dozen or so novels I read. I’m once again trying to read more nonfiction this year. That was my incentive for writing this post about exciting upcoming 2022 nonfiction books!
But this post isn’t just self-serving! I know there are a ton of you out there who love nonfiction, and also want to read more as well. I mean, novels are amazing. But learning about things that have actually happened or exist in our world is really awesome for your brain, too. And when you find that nonfiction book that tells you such unbelievable things that you’re like, “Shut the front door!” That is a great feeling. So here are ten excellent-sounding upcoming nonfiction books that you can mark down on your TBR now. I hope they knock your socks off! (And although none of them are about socks, there surely must be books about socks out there.)
The Trayvon Generation by Elizabeth Alexander (Grand Central Publishing, April 5)
Alexander, to New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist, has written this mediation on America’s unresolved racial issues for her sons’ generation. It’s a discussion of how to live with hope in the face of the often frightening and heartbreaking realities of what it means to be Black in America today.
Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad by Matthew Delmont (Viking, October 18)
Dartmouth history professor and civil rights expert Delmont has written a definitive history of World War II from the African American perspective. African American’s contributions to the war are often overlooked and underreported. He also discusses the terrible treatment of African American soldiers on their return home to the States.
Left on Tenth: Memoir by Delia Ephron (Little, Brown and Company, April 12)
When it rains, it pours: this is Ephron’s humorous, heart-squeezing story of finding hope and love in the face of many challenges. Several years ago, Ephron lost her sister and her husband to cancer within a few months of each other. She thought things were turning around when she was reunited with a man she dated 54 years earlier. But then she was diagnosed with the same cancer that took her sister from her. Ephron has written a tearjerker about falling in love while fighting cancer, and staying hopeful through it all.
In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions, March 15)
The beloved Italian novelist of such bestsellers as The Lost Daughter and the Neapolitan novels returns with her first work of nonfiction. It’s a slim book, four essays, about her formation and life of her as a reader, her influences of her, and her thoughts of her on writing.
Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels, and Crooks by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday, June 28)
And how exciting, another Patrick Radden Keefe already! The bestselling author of Say Nothing and Empire of Pain will return this summer with a collection of 12 stories about criminals of all kinds from both sides of the law.
River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard (Doubleday, May 17)
Another returning favorite is bestselling Candice Millard. Known for her her thoroughly researched history books set in the 19th century, this is another excellent examination set in that time period. This is the adventurous story of the search for the source of the Nile River.
Fen, Bog and Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis by Annie Proulx (Scribner, September 27)
Lifelong environmentalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Proulx takes a deep dive into the world’s wetlands. She explores different ecosystems, their importance, and what their ongoing destruction means for the planet.
Koshersoul by Michael W. Twitty (Friendship, August 9)
Like Twitty’s award-winning book The Cooking Gene, this is an exploration of history through his heritage. In kosher soulhe examines the crossroads between Jewish and African diaspora cuisine, how food can make the people, and his own paths involving food and Judaism.
An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong (Random House, July 12)
And this year we also get a new book from the Pulitzar Prize–winning author of I Contain Multitudes! This is an in-depth look at not just what humans see when gazing upon nature, but the views of other creatures in nature as they look upon the world around them.
Requiem for the Massacre: A Black History on the Conflict, Hope, and Fallout of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by RJ Young (Counterpoint, November 1)
And last, but not least, an in-depth examination of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the century since it took place. How could an event like this be left out of most history books for almost 100 years? Young does a deep dive into the massacre, including interviews from survivors and his own search for the truth in Oklahoma.
And if you want to read about more great nonfiction books, check out 20 Must-Read Sports Stories To Immerse You in the Games You Love and True Story: The Best Journalistic Nonfiction. And be sure to subscribe to For RealBook Riot’s podcast all about nonfiction.