True Story

Diverse Summer Nonfiction Recommendations!

Hello, True Story readers! After a crazy few months at my day job, I’m taking a vacation “up North,” as we say here in Minnesota, for a week at my parent’s cabin in Wisconsin. I’ve got an entire bag devoted just to books (and another one for booze), which seems just about right for a full week off the grid. I cannot wait.

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Truthfully, most of the books I’m bringing along are fiction. I love fantasy and young adult novels for reading by the beach, mostly because I don’t have to pay attention as carefully as I do otherwise. But never fear, a couple of memoirs have made their way to the stack – Don’t You Ever by Mary Carter Bishop (July 3 from Harper) and Stalking God by Anjali Kumar.

But before I am off on vacation, some bookish news and some new books for late June and early July:

Bookish has collected this summer’s must-read nonfiction, a pretty wide-ranging list of titles that includes everything from “a thriller-like trip to Shanghai” to “a heart-wrenching illness memoir.” I am not as on top of my 2018 nonfiction reading as I’d like to be, but several on this list are on my TBR.

If you want to add some more diversity to your summer reading, the African American Intellectual History Society put together a list of recommended nonfiction that “offer(s) valuable insights on the Black experience in the United States and across the globe.” I love that many of these are from small or university presses because that means they’ve probably slipped under my radar. Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper is on my shelf, and History Teaches Us to Resist by Mary Frances Berry just got added to the list.

Still not sure what nonfiction to read this summer? A few more general summer reading lists also have some nonfiction sections that might help:

Finally, a few upcoming titles to keep your eyes open for:

Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin (June 26 from William Morrow) – A collection focused on “illuminating the widespread obsession with women who are abused, killed, and disenfranchised, and whose bodies (dead and alive) are used as props to bolster men’s stories.” A couple readers I trust have highlighted this one, so I am in.

Empress by Ruby Lal (July 3 from W.W. Norton) – I’m obsessed with reading about queens, but need to branch out beyond Europe. Empress is a biography of Nur Jahan, who in 1611 married an emperor, becoming his partner and most cherished wife. Sold!

City of Devils by Paul French (July 3 from Picador) – I’m in the middle of this one, and so far really enjoying it. It’s a nice mash-up of history and true crime, all about the two gang leaders who ruled the underground scene in Shanghai in the lead up to World War II. The first section is written in a sort of 1930s newspaper style, which takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s fun.

And with that, I’m out for vacation – look for a guest editor of this newsletter next week! You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot. Happy reading!