True Story

Lizzie Borden, Invisible Women, and a Lost Bible

Hello nonfiction nerds! After the bonanza of new books that came out last week, I almost feel bad writing about five more titles coming out this week… but not really. This week’s selection has some historical true crime, data science, animal research and more. Let’s go!

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The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson – This book is a new account of one of America’s most sensational murder trials. In the book, Robertson “explores the stories Lizzie Borden’s culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom” using newspaper accounts, transcripts, and letters written by Lizzie herself.

Further Reading: If you like the behind-the-scenes stories of how books get made, Publisher’s Weekly has a great piece on the 16 years it took Robertson to get this book published.

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez – I love books that make an argument I’ve never really thought about before. In this book, Caroline Criado Perez looks into how the data we collect and use makes men the default, treating women as atypical and, therefore, embedding bias into everything from the workplace to the doctor’s office. I just started this one and it’s so interesting.

Further Reading: Bustle published a great excerpt from the book looking specifically at how “one-size-fits-all” usually means “one-size-fits-men.”

The Lost Gutenberg by Margaret Leslie Davis – A literary history! The Gutenberg Bible, one of the first books published on a printing press, is one of the most widely-sought collectibles in literature. This book traces the history of one copy of the book, from its creation by Johannes Gutenberg to its final major collector, Estelle Doheny. This one looks really fun.

Further Reading: Book Riot has a post of 10 things you should know about the Gutenberg Bible, which seems like a good starting point before reading the book.

Mama’s Last Hug by Frans de Waal – Beginning with a viral moment between an aging chimpanzee matriarch and a biologist saying goodbye, this book argues “humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, fear, shame, guilt, joy, disgust, and empathy.” I feel like this one has a high probability of making me cry, but that’s ok.

Further Watching: Frans de Waal has given a couple of TED Talks about primate social behavior.

What You Have Heard Is True by Carolyn Forché – This memoir is the story of “a woman’s radical act of empathy, and her fateful encounter with an intriguing man who changes the course of her life” during visits to El Salvador at the dawn of a civil war.

Further Reading: Forché is a well-regarded poet. You can read her 1978 poem, “The Colonel” thanks to the Poetry Foundation.

Ya’ll, there are just so many good books out there right now. You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, on email at, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot. Happy reading! – Kim