August is bringing the 2016 Olympics to the world stage, but you should still carve out time to continue working on your “to read” list. Expect plenty of excellent nonfiction book releases in August 2016 — ones interesting enough to rival even the most fascinating sporting events.
August adds to a summer of fantastic nonfiction releases. Not only does it mark the release of the ever-hilarious Amy Schumer’s first book, it offers up crucial social critiques, poignant memoirs, brilliant essay collections, and more. There’s even a book dedicated to the captivating case of Serial subject Adnan Syed.
Social issues are big this month, which is fitting given that both major political parties’ conventions are just behind us. Topics featured include the role millennials will play in the United States’ future, ways to revamp higher education, and what it takes to escape poverty. If those won’t tear you away from tracking the medal count, there’s plenty more.
Below are 17 nonfiction books coming in August 2016 that you won’t want to miss.
1. Rebellious Daughters , Edited by Maria Katsonis, Lee Kofman (Aug. 1; Ventura Press)
A collection of Australian writers open up with relatable stories of revolt in Rebellious Daughters: True Stories from Australia’s Finest Female Writers, edited by Maria Katsonis and Lee Kofman. The writers candidly discuss fights with family, sneaking out, and even reckless marriages as they attempted to assert their independence. You’re bound to see yourself or your family and friends in their work.
2. Please Enjoy Your Happiness by Paul Brinkley-Rogers (Aug. 2; Touchstone)
Please Enjoy Your Happiness: A Memoir is the moving account of how writer Paul Brinkley-Rogers fell in love with a Japanese woman in 1959 while stationed overseas and never managed to get over her. Through both his depiction of their relationship and the touching letters they wrote one another, the book shares pieces of her fascinating life and her country’s history and how she left her mark. The memoir is a beautiful love letter in itself.
3. The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward (Aug. 2; Scribner)
Jesmyn Ward and a group of contributors delve into an essential issue in The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race. The collection, inspired by writing from James Baldwin in the 1960s, offers numerous perspectives shared through essays, memoir, and poems. Touching on the United States’ past, present, and future, the book explores the progress we’ve made and the work left to be done.
4. 1 Out of 10 Doctors Recommends by Eric H. Bender, Murdoc Khaleghi, Bobby Singh (Aug. 2; St. Martin’s Griffin)
Three doctors write about strange medical recommendations in 1 Out of 10 Doctors Recommends: Drinking Urine, Eating Worms, and Other Weird Cures, Cases, and Research from the Annals of Medicine. As the title suggests, the book takes a humorous approach to examining strange medical practices, but it is also highly educational. It may even save you from attempting any ill-advised methods, like drinking your own urine to stave off infection.
5. Black Lotus by Sil Lai Abrams (Aug. 2; Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing)
Sil Lai Abrams shares a complex personal journey in Black Lotus: A Woman’s Search for Racial Identity. The memoir reveals the challenge of embracing her blackness after only finding out she was part African-American at age 14. Her story is one of struggle but, ultimately, self-acceptance.
6. Land of Enchantment by Leigh Stein (Aug. 2; Plume)
Getting over an unhealthy relationship is never easy, but it’s even more complicated when you find yourself mourning your ex’s death just weeks after the breakup. In Land of Enchantment, Leigh Stein writes candidly about coping with just that, from her sadness over his loss to acknowledging that she deserved better. Her book is heartbreaking, honest, and handled with grace.
7. The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl by Jaime Primak Sullivan (Aug. 2; Touchstone)
Reality TV star Jaime Primak Sullivan taps into her experience of moving from New Jersey to the Alabama in The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl: Adventures in Life and Love in the Heart of Dixie. Using a healthy dose of humor, she tells the charming tale of falling in love with her now-husband and adjusting to their life together, offering lessons learned living in the South along the way.
8. I'm Supposed to Protect You From All This by Nadja Spiegelman (Aug. 2; Riverhead Books)
I'm Supposed to Protect You From All This: A Memoir looks at four generations of author Nadja Spiegelman’s family. Trying to better understand her mother, she digs into family history, only to find contradictions and difficult truths. While she focuses specifically on her family, the lessons she takes away are relatable.
9. When Millennials Rule by David and Jack Cahn (Aug. 2; Post Hill Press)
Brothers David and Jack Cahn explore the future of our country in When Millennials Rule: The Reshaping of America. Using insight gained from conversations with more than 10,000 members of the oft-maligned generation, the Cahns reveal their understanding of millennials. Spoiler alert: We’re about more than just selfies, but you already knew that, didn’t you?
10. I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong (Aug. 9; Ecco)
Microbes have been gaining more attention in recent years, but if you don’t know what they are yet, Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life is a good place to start. Yong reveals how the microorganisms affect our bodies and what this means for our relationship with nature, plus spotlights scientists hard at work studying them. You’ll be amazed by the massive impact of these tiny creatures.
11. Adnan's Story by Rabia Chaudry (Aug. 9; St. Martin’s Press)
Serial and Undisclosed fans will get still more of Adnan Syed’s fascinating case in this book by Rabia Chaudry. In Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial, Chaudry looks at everything from the initial investigation to his life in prison to the recent turn in his case. You’ll find yourself tearing through the book as quickly as you binged on episodes of the podcasts.
12. Scream by Tama Janowitz (Aug. 9; Dey Street Books)
Tama Janowitz’s Scream: A Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction takes readers through her life from the 1980s till now, both in New York City’s literary scene and outside of it. She opens up about her days as part of the “Literary Brat Pack,” later becoming a wife and mother, and the difficulties of finding a sense of purpose. Although her life has been unique, there are universal elements, which she writes about with honesty and humor.
13. Fail U. by Charles J. Sykes (Aug. 9; St. Martin’s Press)
Fail U.: The False Promise of Higher Education by Charles J. Sykes takes on flaws in the American university system. He discusses the insanely high cost of a college degree, campus rape, declines in tenured faculty positions, and more. Fail U. isn’t just full of criticism, though; Sykes also proposes solutions.
14. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (Aug. 16; Galley Books)
Amy Schumer offers readers personal and observational essays in The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. The collection shares her adventures in romance, musings on growing up, and more, with lots of hilarity mixed in. As usual, the comedian doesn’t hold back — and you’ll be glad for it.
15. Born Bright by C. Nicole Mason (Aug. 16; St. Martin’s Press)
C. Nicole Mason reveals the challenges of rising out of poverty by telling her own story in Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America. At times heartbreaking, Mason highlights the obstacles that many face and why the path is such a difficult one. Her memoir is intimate and insightful.
16. The Cyber Effect by Mary Aiken (Aug. 23; Spiegel & Grau)
Everyone knows that the internet can bring out strange sides to people, but the why of it is less clear to many of us. Fortunately, cyberpsychology is a real discipline and one of its leading experts, Mary Aiken, is sharing her knowledge. In The Cyber Effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online, Aiken looks at topics ranging from cyberchondria to internet addiction. With as much time as younger generations spend online, we should spare some to read about the impact.
17. Elizabeth and Michael by Donald Bogle (Aug. 30; Atria Books)
Donald Bogle explores the friendship of two icons in Elizabeth and Michael: The Queen of Hollywood and the King of Pop—A Love Story. Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson are each captivating in their own right, so naturally, so too is the story of their bond. Bogle tells a poignant tale of how they supported one another through success, scandal, failure, pain, and heartbreak.