11 New Works of Nonfiction to Read This Season

Dasani was a precocious and spunky 11-year-old with limitless potential when Elliott, a Times investigative journalist, first met her at a Fort Greene homeless shelter in 2012. That encounter led to a five-part series shadowing Dasani as she navigated child poverty in New York City. For this book, Elliott immersed herself in the lives of Dasani and her family de ella for eight years, at times slipping past security guards at the shelter. She also traces the family’s ancestry back to a North Carolina slave plantation, telling a vivid and devastating story of American inequality.

Random House, Oct. 5 | Read our review | Listen to Elliott on the Book Review podcast

This book is an ambitious attempt to wrestle with the Marvel Comics universe, a web so expansive that almost no one has bothered to read all of its half-million pages (and counting). No one, that is, besides Wolk, who has pored over yellowing originals from at garage sales, abandoned copies at his local Starbucks and even collections on show at Burning Man. The result is 400 pages of insights — for Marvel fans and casual readers alike — and what they reveal about American dreams and fears over the past 60 years.

Penguin Press, Oct. 12 | Read our review

In his essays and comments, Kang, a contributor to the Magazine who also writes a newsletter for The Times’s Opinion section, has been interrogating the ideas underpinning Asian American identity for years. His nonfiction debut by him is a culmination of these efforts, blending memoir, historical writing and reportage as he questions the usefulness of this identity in describing people who live profoundly different realities conditioned by class, language and ethnicity.

Crown, Oct 12

The ACLU had never before filed a patent case when a policy analyst and civil rights lawyer teamed up in 2005 to challenge a decades-long practice allowing private companies to patent naturally occurring human genes. Jorge L. Contreras, a law professor at the University of Utah, interviewed nearly 100 lawyers, patients, scientists, and policymakers in this behind-the-scenes history of Molecular Pathology vs. Myriad Genetics, a long-shot lawsuit that culminated in a landmark 2013 Supreme Court decision that opened the human genome to the benefit of researchers, cancer patients and everyday Americans.

Algonquin, Oct. 26

Our understanding of the opioid epidemic is indebted in part to Quinones and his eye-opening first book, “Dreamland,” which connected the dots between OxyContin’s popularity and a booming heroin market. In this follow-up, Quinones explores the neuroscience of addiction, lays out how the crisis has morphed and deepened with the spread of synthetic drugs, and celebrates the slow efforts at rebuilding community in hard-hit counties across America.

Bloomsbury, Nov. 2 | Read our review

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