True Story

Memoirs, Essays, and More New Nonfiction

Hello and welcome to a new week, nonfiction friends! The onslaught of new books that marks fall in the publishing world is not letting up any time soon, which is amazing and intimidating and seems like it’ll never quit.

This week, I’ve got three books to feature – two highly-anticipated memoirs and a collection of essays – plus seven more books to put on your radar. Let’s get going!

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones – This coming-of-age memoir about growing up black and gay in the South is one of the most anticipated titles of this year. In it, Saeed Jones writes about finding a place for himself “within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears.” The book is told in a series of vignettes that are about himself and a bigger look at race, queerness, power, love and grief.

Further Reading: Jones was interviewed in The Nation about “queer masculinity and the point of being an artist.”

Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper – As a child, Megan Phelps-Roper protested alongside members of her grandfather’s church, Westboro Baptist Church. She eventually started manning the organization’s Twitter account, where debates about religion began to make her question the church. In this memoir, she chronicles her awakening, departure from the church, and shift away from black-and-white thinking.

Further Reading: Last week, People magazine published a profile of Phelps-Roper where she talks about her relationship with her family.

Burn it Down: Women Writing About Anger by Lilly Dancyger – Given the state of the world, I am always going to pay attention to books about women’s anger. This essay collection brings together 22 writers looking at how anger has shaped their lives. It looks at the #MeToo movement, women running for office, and what anger can mean both personally and systemically.

Further Reading: Dancyger writes a column for Catapult called Fallen Women with a deep and interesting archive.

And to wrap up, seven more books that you could add to your TBR:

  1. Erosion: Essays of Undoing by Terry Tempest Williams
  2. On Time: A Princely Life in Funk by Morris Day and David Ritz
  3. American Radicals: How Nineteenth-Century Protest Shaped the Nation by Holly Jackson
  4. Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despite One Another by Matt Taibbi
  5. Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For by Susan Rice
  6. A Savage Dreamland: Journey’s in Burma by David Eimer
  7. Horror Stories: A Memoir by Liz Phair

That’s all for this week! You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, on email at, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot. Happy reading! – Kim