Fall 2015 Nonfiction

Fall 2015: Nonfiction Watchlist

Fall 2015 Nonfiction

I’m beyond thrilled that Fall is officially here, but in a bit of denial that October is just around the corner. October and November are chock full of new books, especially some great sounding nonfiction. With all the craziness that’s popped up lately, conquering this list is nothing but a dream, but I can’t help wishing for time to read them all.

Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-seven Women Untangle an Obsession by Elizabeth Benedict – September 29th

“Ask a woman about her hair, and she just might tell you the story of her life. Ask a whole bunch of women about their hair, and you could get a history of the world. Surprising, insightful, frequently funny, and always forthright, the essays in Me, My Hair, and I are reflections and revelations about every aspect of women’s lives from family, race, religion, and motherhood to culture, health, politics, and sexuality.”

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue by Piu Marie Eatwell – October 5th

“In 1898, an elderly widow, Anna Maria Druce, came to the British court with an astonishing request. She stood among the overflowing pews of St. Pauls Cathedral claiming that the merchant T. C. Druce, her late father-in-law, had in truth been a secret identity for none other than the deceased and enormously wealthy 5th Duke of Portland. Maintaining her composure amid growing agitation from the clutch of lawyers, journalists, and curious onlookers crowded into the church, Mrs. Druce claimed that Druce had been the duke’s alter ego and that the duke had, in 1864, faked the death of his middle-class doppelgänger when he grew tired of the ruse. Mrs. Druce wanted the tomb unlocked and her father-in-law’s coffin exhumed, adamant that it would lie empty, proving the falsehood and leaving her son to inherit the vast Portland estate.”

Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes – October 13th

“Over the past few years, new insights from social psychology and cognitive science have deepened our understanding of the role of ambiguity in our lives, and Holmes brings this research together for the first time, showing how we can use uncertainty to our advantage. Whether we’re dealing with an unclear medical diagnosis or launching a risky new product, Nonsense promises to transform the way we conduct business, educate our children, and make decisions.”

Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape by Lauret Savoy – October 19th

“In this provocative and powerful mosaic of personal journeys and historical inquiry across a continent and time, Savoy explores how the country’s still unfolding history, and ideas of ‘race,’ have marked her and the land. From twisted terrain within the San Andreas Fault zone to a South Carolina plantation, from national parks to burial grounds, from ‘Indian Territory’ and the U.S.-Mexico Border to the U.S. capital, Trace grapples with a searing national history to reveal the often unvoiced presence of the past.”

Speed Kings: The 1932 Winter Olympics and the Fastest Men in the World by Andy Bull – October 20th

“In the 1930s, as the world hurtled toward war, speed was all the rage. Bobsledding, the fastest and most thrilling way to travel on land, had become a sensation. Exotic, exciting, and brutally dangerous, it was the must-see event of the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, the first Winter Games on American soil. Bobsledding required exceptional skill and extraordinary courage—qualities the American team had in abundance.”

You Don’t Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism by Alida Nugent – October 20th

“Alida Nugent’s first book, Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse, received terrific reviews, and her self-deprecating ‘everygirl’ approach continues to win the Internet-savvy writer and blogger new fans. Now, she takes on one of today’s hottest cultural topics: feminism. Nugent is a proud feminist—and she’s not afraid to say it. From the ‘scarlet F’ thrust upon you if you declare yourself a feminist at a party to how to handle judgmental store clerks when you buy Plan B, You Don’t Have to Like Me skewers a range of cultural issues, and confirms Nugent as a star on the rise.”

The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe by Thomas Levenson – November 3rd

“Levenson, head of MIT’s Science Writing Program, tells the captivating, unusual, and nearly-forgotten backstory behind Einstein’s invention of the Theory of Relativity, which completely changed the course of science forever. For over 50 years before Einstein developed his theory, the world’s top astronomers spent countless hours and energy searching for a planet, which came to be named Vulcan, that had to exist, it was thought, given Isaac Newton’s theories of gravity. It took Einstein’s genius to realize the mystery of the missing planet wasn’t a problem of measurements or math but of the theory of gravity itself. ”

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard – November 9th

“In S.P.Q.R., Beard changes our historical perspective, exploring how the Romans themselves challenged the idea of imperial rule, how they responded to terrorism and revolution, and how they invented a new idea of citizenship and nation, while also keeping her eye open for those overlooked in traditional histories: women, slaves and ex-slaves, conspirators, and losers. Like the best detectives, Beard separates fact from fiction, myth and propaganda from historical record.”

The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour through America’s Food by Matthew Gavin Frank – November 9th

“Following his critically acclaimed Preparing the Ghost, renowned essayist Matthew Gavin Frank takes on America’s food. In a surprising style reminiscent of Maggie Nelson or Mark Doty, Frank examines a quintessential dish in each state, interweaving the culinary with personal and cultural associations of each region. From key lime pie (Florida) to elk stew (Montana), The Mad Feast commemorates the unexpected origins of the familiar.”

What nonfiction titles are you looking forward to this Fall?

 

  • I’m reading The Dead Duke (etc.) right now and, you’ve given me eight more books to look forward to! The last three look especially appealing to me: science, history, and food.

  • The Mad Feast sounds interesting. I’m not really a big ‘foodie’ reader, but I’m interested to see what the author chooses as the ‘signature’ dish for the different states.

  • The Dead Duke…what an awesome title! I might have to take a closer look at that one. And The Mad Feast as well..I love foodie books. And, of course, I’ve got Speed Kings on my list too…can’t pass that one up given my Olympics obsession. Great list – thanks!

  • So much awesomeness coming out! The Nugent sounds really good – I think I’ll need to find her first book too. And I hadn’t heard of The Mad Feast, but it sounds like something I need!

  • I have such trouble sticking with nonfiction and yet Benedict and Nugent’s sound like they would be in my wheelhouse. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Oh man. This is such a great list. There’s something about fall and winter that makes me want to read all the non-fiction. So many of these are going on my list: Me, My Hair and I, The Dead Duke, You Don’t Have To Like Me, Nonsense…AH. Now I just need something that will clear me from going to work so I can actually read all of these.

  • Amanda

    So many good books! I am really excited about the Dead Duke – and am enjoying Speed Kings right now. I need to get SPQR on my list and the Mad Feast!

  • So many of these sound wonderful, Shannon; I am especially interested in Nonsense and Speed Kings. Thanks so much for sharing these and I look forward to your thoughts; hope things are going well on the home front!

  • Me, My Hair, and I is at the absolute tippy top of my list. And wow at some of these…The Dead Duke and You Don’t Have to Like Me. Must haves.

  • Awesome! These all sound good to me :)

  • I just started Me, My Hair, and I. So far so good!

  • Karen White

    The hair book looks wonderfully unique. I’d have to recommend a book coming out at the end of this book that I was honored to narrate: UNFINISHED BUSINESS by Anne Marie Slaughter. I think she has some fantastic new viewpoints on how we address balancing work and family.

  • Oh my goodness, so many delicious nonfiction titles on this list. I really need to check out The Hunt for Vulcan, especially. :)

  • Great list! I have Me, My Hair, and I on my shelf but now you have me eyeing a few more.

  • SPQR! That’s what I should have put on my list of books I’m excited about for the fall! I love Mary Beard, and I think it’s awesome that she’s written a real proper history of Rome. Yay. Can’t wait.

  • Speed Kings! I actually had a publisher friend send me a copy in May because she was raving about it so much. I can’t wait!

  • I still have The Wright Brothers to read soon!