17 Of The Best Nonfiction Books Coming In January 2017
We’ve finally made it out of 2016 — a year that was just plain rough in the eyes of many — and into 2017. The New Year brings more than potential, party horns, and resolutions, though. The months ahead promise a ton of awesome new books as well, especially for nonfiction fans. If you’ve resolved to read more, prepare for options galore.
January’s titles are extremely varied, but you’ll notice some common trends. With the transition to a new president on the horizon, multiple books tackle the Obama family’s legacy, the incoming administration, and burning political issues. Don’t worry if you need a break from all things politics, though. There’s more to read, from moving memoirs to riveting true crime stories to fresh examinations of historical figures.
It’s almost hard to know where to begin, because the exciting titles coming in January extend well beyond those on this list. Since you can’t read everything, I had to narrow it down, as hard as that was. If the quality of books coming out this year is any indication, 2017 is going to be a good one.
Below are 17 books coming out in January, so get ready to start the New Year off right.
'The Art of the Affair' by Catherine Lacey, Forsyth Harmon (Jan. 3; Bloomsbury USA)
Author Catherine Lacey explores scandalous liaisons in The Art of the Affair: An Illustrated History of Love, Sex, and Artistic Influence. With illustrations by Forsyth Harmon, the book untangles the complicated love lives of some of art’s biggest names, including Frida Kahlo, Ernest Hemingway, and Coco Chanel, among others. If you have a weakness for gossip, you won’t be able to resist.
'Mrs. Sherlock Holmes' by Brad Ricca (Jan. 3; St. Martin’s Press)
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Brad Ricca delves into the absorbing life of Grace Humiston, a real-life detective and lawyer who earned the nickname “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes” and challenged gender norms by investigating murders. In his new book, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation, we revisit Humiston’s extraordinary career. There’s a lot to capture your attention, from a mysterious disappearance to dirty cops.
'Letters to a Young Muslim' by Omar Saif Ghobash (Jan. 3; Picador)
Ambassador of the UAE to Russia Omar Saif Ghobash passes on wisdom to his son and readers in Letters to a Young Muslim. He shines a light on a religion that often gets a bad rap, discussing what it means to be a “good Muslim,” the impact of extremism and terror, and the struggles of Muslims all over the world.
'A Consequential President' by Michael D’Antonio (Jan. 3; Thomas Dunne Books)
If you’re sad to see the POTUS leave office, A Consequential President: The Legacy of Barack Obama will give you a chance to look back at his two terms. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael D’Antonio walks us through Obama’s myriad accomplishments and examines the impact of the contentious and uncompromising political climate.
'The Meaning of Michelle,' Edited by Veronica Chambers (Jan. 10; St. Martin’s Press)
The president isn’t the only influential Obama. Veronica Chambers and a diverse group of contributors explore the importance of the White House’s “mom-in-chief” in The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own. The essay collection examines “Lady O” through different lenses, looking at her strength, intelligence, beauty, and style. You can look forward to writing from a group that includes feminist thinker Roxane Gay, chef Marcus Samuelsson, Hamilton star Phillipa Soo, and more.
'The Trump Survival Guide' by Gene Stone (Jan. 10; Dey Street Books)
Anyone dreading Inauguration Day will appreciate The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen. Author Gene Stone lays out the key fights ahead — over women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, the environment, health care, and more — and offers actionable solutions to counteract your feelings of powerlessness. Tweeting your fear and frustration isn’t enough; this book will help you make a bigger impact.
'Audacity' by Jonathan Chait (Jan. 17; Custom House)
Journalist Jonathan Chait offers his take on the Obama presidency in Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail. The book offers a comprehensive review of the accomplishments of the administration and how the president’s work will continue, even with a new POTUS and a Republican-controlled Congress in power.
'Tears We Cannot Stop' by Michael Eric Dyson (Jan. 17; St. Martin’s Press)
In Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, Michael Eric Dyson explains black grievances, often illustrating them using his own experiences. His message is personal and powerful.
'My Life, My Love, My Legacy' by Coretta Scott King (Jan. 17; Henry Holt and Co.)
Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t alone in accomplishing extraordinary things. We get to hear Coretta Scott King’s incredible story, as told to the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds, in My Life, My Love, My Legacy. The book covers her childhood in the Deep South, her life at the center of the civil rights movement with her husband, and her long-time advocacy.
'Unbound' by Steph Jagger (Jan. 24; Harper Wave)
Writer Steph Jagger recounts a life-changing adventure in Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery. After leaving the corporate world behind, selling most of her belongings, and taking on the mission of skiing ski 4 million vertical feet in a year, Jagger traveled to five continents and nine countries, pushing herself to her emotional and physical limits. This inspiring memoir reflects on subjects like success, love, and life.
'A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea' by Melissa Fleming (Jan. 24; Flatiron Books)
Author Melissa Fleming shares the unimaginable and heartbreaking journey of a young Syrian woman in her new book, A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival. Centering on Doaa Al Zamel, it follows her family’s journey out of their war-torn homeland and the circumstances that led to her floating adrift in the Mediterranean with nothing but an inflatable water ring, two girls clinging to her to stay alive. It’s a story of strength in the face of incredible suffering.
'Dust Bowl Girls' by Lydia Reeder (Jan. 24; Algonquin Books)
Dust Bowl Girls: A Team's Quest for Basketball Glory centers on a coach and a college team looking for hope in the midst of the Great Depression. Written by Lydia Reeder,the story follows the group as they join together and try to improve their lives. With a great underdog story, you don’t have to be a history or sports enthusiast to enjoy it.
'Rise' by Cara Brookins (Jan. 24; St. Martin’s Press)
Cara Brookins reconstructs her life and family after an abusive marriage in Rise: How a House Built a Family. Her memoir tells how she and her four kids managed to build a home with just a small loan, YouTube how-to videos, and a heavy dose of determination. Their powerful story is one of rebirth and resilience.
'The Mistress of Paris' by Catherine Hewitt (Jan. 24; Thomas Dunne Books)
Catherine Hewitt recounts the intriguing and scandalous life of Comtesse Valtesse de laBigne in The Mistress of Paris: The 19th-Century Courtesan Who Built an Empire on a Secret. Born into poverty, the faux-Comtesse managed to climb the social ladder, carving out a place for herself among the elite. Needless to say, the enigmatic courtesan makes for a fascinating protagonist.
'The Actual One' by Isy Suttie (Jan. 31; Harper Perennial)
British stand-up comedian and actress Isy Suttie reflects on life and growing up in The Actual One: How I Tried, and Failed, to Avoid Adulthood Forever. She shares lessons learned, drawing on her often awkward and hilarious stories. Her reflections are relatable and creative.
'The Blood of Emmett Till' by Timothy B. Tyson (Jan. 31; Simon & Schuster)
You may remember the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till from your high school history class, but Timothy B. Tyson digs deeper. Using court transcripts, accounts from those involved, and recently uncovered documents, he revisits the horrific case. The Blood of Emmett Till provides insight on how the hate crime impacted the civil rights movement.
'Bears in the Streets' by Lisa Dickey (Jan. 31; St. Martin’s Press)
Lisa Dickey explores a fascinating and relevant country in Bears in the Streets: Three Journeys across a Changing Russia. Crossing the nation, she meets colorful characters in 11 different cities, and then returns twice over the years to see how their lives have changed. Her journeys give her a window into how Russians’ thoughts on a variety of topics, not to mention some very unique experiences.