My nonfiction streak from late this year seems to be carrying over to next, because I’ve been tagging and looking forward to upcoming titles for quite some time now. Just like the fiction I’m looking forward to for next year, there are so many books I’d like to highlight that I’m going to keep this window relatively narrow and focus on just the first few months of 2016—Spring books still to come!
“NeuroLogic explores the brain’s internal system of reasoning, from its unconscious depths to conscious decision making, and illuminates how it explains our most outlandish as well as our most stereotyped behaviors. From sleepwalking murderers, contagious yawning, and the brains of sports fans to false memories, subliminal messages, and the secret of ticklishness, Dr. Eliezer Sternberg shows that there are patterns to the way the brain interprets the world—–patterns that fit the brain’s unique logic.”
“Part manifesto, part history, part memoir, it makes the case that multiple forces have conspired to deepen the impoverishment of black communities. Whether discussing the disproportionate wealth lost by blacks in the Great Recession, the complacency of black leaders content with bundling black votes for politicians, or the new political language whereby talk of “entitlements” becomes a code meant to stoke racial fears of working-class whites, Glaude crystallizes the untenable position of black America—and offers thoughts on a better way forward.”
“A smart, lively history of the Internet free culture movement and its larger effects on society—and the life and shocking suicide of Aaron Swartz, a founding developer of Reddit and Creative Commons—from Slate correspondent Justin Peters. In vivid, accessible prose, The Idealist situates Swartz in the context of other ‘data moralists’ past and present, from lexicographer Noah Webster to ebook pioneer Michael Hart to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In the process, the book explores the history of copyright statutes and the public domain; examines archivists’ ongoing quest to build the ‘library of the future’; and charts the rise of open access, copyleft, and other ideologies that have come to challenge protectionist IP policies.”
“On a summer night in 2009, three lives intersected in one American neighborhood. Two people newly in love—Teresa Butz and Jennifer Hopper, who spent many years trying to find themselves and who eventually found each other—and a young man on a dangerous psychological descent: Isaiah Kalebu, age twenty-three, the son of a distant, authoritarian father and a mother with a family history of mental illness. All three paths forever altered by a violent crime, all three stories a wake-up call to the system that failed to see the signs.”
“Are America’s schools little more than cinder-block gulags that spawn vicious cliques and bullying, negate creativity, and true learning and squelch curiosity in their inmates, um, students? Nikhil Goyal, a journalist and activist all of twenty years old whom the Washington Post has dubbed a ‘future education secretary’ and Forbes has named to its 30 Under 30 list, passionately thinks so, and in this book he offers both a scathing indictment of our teach-to-the-test-while-killing-the-spirit educational assembly line and maps out a path for all of our schools to harness children’s natural aptitude for learning by creating an atmosphere conducive to freedom and creativity.”
“Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840–1894), who contributed to Henry James’s conception of his heroine Isabelle Archer in The Portrait of a Lady, was one of the most accomplished American writers of the nineteenth century. Yet today the best-known (and most-misunderstood) facts of her life are her relationship with James and her probable suicide in Venice. This first full-length biography of Woolson provides a fuller picture that reaffirms her literary stature.”
“New York Times bestselling author Adam Cohen tells the story in Imbeciles of one of the darkest moments in the American legal tradition: the Supreme Court’s decision to champion eugenic sterilization for the greater good of the country. In 1927, when the nation was caught up in eugenic fervor, the justices allowed Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, a perfectly normal young woman, for being an ‘imbecile.'”
“Today, only twenty percent of Americans are wed by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. The Population Reference Bureau calls it a ‘dramatic reversal.’ All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the single American woman. Covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures, All the Single Ladies is destined to be a classic work of social history and journalism.”
“Melissa Broder always struggled with anxiety. In the fall of 2012, she went through a harrowing cycle of panic attacks and dread that wouldn’t abate for months. So she began @sosadtoday, an anonymous Twitter feed that allowed her to express her darkest feelings, and which quickly gained a dedicated following. In So Sad Today, Broder delves deeper into the existential themes she explores on Twitter, grappling with sex, death, love low self-esteem, addiction, and the drama of waiting for the universe to text you back.”
“For four years Monique W. Morris, author of Black Stats, chronicled the experiences of black girls across the country whose intricate lives are misunderstood, highly judged—by teachers, administrators, and the justice system—and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish. Morris shows how, despite obstacles, stigmas, stereotypes, and despair, black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives in classrooms, juvenile facilities, and beyond.”
Which nonfiction titles are you looking forward to in early 2015?