Spring is all about new beginnings, so we book-lovers can take that as an excuse to flip open the next title on our to-read lists. If that’s not a drastic enough start for you, you can always branch out into a new genre or acquaint yourself with unfamiliar authors. No matter how you choose to celebrate the new season, though, I suggest you check out the nonfiction books being released in April.
This particular category is always full of variety, but that seems to be especially true this month. April’s offerings are seriously all over the map. We’re talking work from high-profile figures ranging from Elizabeth Warren to Kelly Osbourne, a look into the lives of women married to high-ranking cartel members, examinations of various social issues, and more. The world of nonfiction is your oyster.
In spite of the differences, many of the books will have the same side effect: inspiring you. There are life lessons to be learned, motivation to be doled out, and secrets to be shared, all courtesy of senators, millennials, daughters, reality stars, and other brilliant writers. Books are so good to us.
Below are 20 of the best nonfiction books being published in April 2017, so start something new to welcome in spring.
1‘The Yellow Envelope’ by Kim Dinan (April 4; Sourcebooks)
If you’re looking for a travel memoir with a unique twist, look to Kim Dinan’s The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and a Life-Changing Journey Around the World. Her book recounts her and her husband’s trip around the world with an unusual assignment from friends: The two have a yellow envelope containing $1,000 to give away as they see fit. Between their mission and their adventures, they pick up plenty of useful lessons.
2‘Rebel Mother’ by Peter Andreas (April 4; Simon & Schuster)
In Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution, writer Peter Andreas recounts some unconventional adventures. He tells the story of how his 1950s housewife mother got into radical feminism and Marxism, and then brought him along as she took off for South America. It is a captivating tale that includes everything from a custody battle to a stint living in a hippie commune.
3‘The Scarlett Letters’ by Jenny Nordbak (April 4; St. Martin’s Press)
Forget Anastasia Steele — Jenny Nordbak has a more intriguing post-grad story. In The Scarlett Letters: My Year of Men in an L.A. Dungeon, she opens up about moonlighting as a professional dominatrix after college. As she shares her life as Mistress Scarlett, she provides an interesting look at human sexuality.
4‘Behaving Badly’ by Eden Collinsworth (April 4; Nan A. Talese)
Morality is a complicated subject, but Eden Collinsworth breaks it down in Behaving Badly: The New Morality in Politics, Sex, and Business. Using various perspectives, she examines how morals have evolved in various spheres and what that means. Thanks to the examples she pulls in from pop culture and current events, her analysis is surprisingly light and fun.
5‘Pause’ by Rachael O’Meara (April 4; TarcherPerigee)
Anyone with high stress levels should check out Pause: Harnessing the Life-Changing Power of Giving Yourself a Break by Rachael O’Meara. The book reveals the value in taking a step back to reassess. You shouldn’t need an excuse to take breaks, but O’Meara gives you a compelling one.
6‘Wait, What?’ by James E. Ryan (April 4; HarperOne)
James E. Ryan, dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, expands on the memorable commencement address he delivered in 2016 in his new book, Wait, What? And Life’s Other Essential Questions. Like his speech, his book shares his secret to leading a meaningful life, but it goes even further with entertaining anecdotes and stories.
7‘The Destruction of Hillary Clinton’ by Susan Bordo (April 4; Melville House)
Donald Trump’s electoral victory came in November, but many of us still can’t quite comprehend how that happened. Pulitzer Prize nominee Susan Bordo is here with some answers in her new book, The Destruction of Hillary Clinton. She offers a fascinating take on the painfully long campaign and how the political upset happened.
8‘An American Sickness’ by Elisabeth Rosenthal (April 11; Penguin Press)
Health care has been all over headlines lately, and it seems like no one can agree on what’s wrong with the system and how to fix it. Elisabeth Rosenthal, a journalist and doctor, shares her perspective in An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back. Her work will help you examine the complex and controversial issue.
9‘Post Grad’ by Caroline Kitchener (April 11; Ecco)
Princeton graduate Caroline Kitchener looks at life immediately after university in Post Grad: Five Women and Their First Year Out of College. Using her own experience as well as those of four female classmates working in different fields, she examines what they go through, both personally and professionally. Not only are their stories relatable, they offer insight into an interesting period of life.
10‘Baseball Life Advice’ by Stacey May Fowles (April 11; McClelland & Stewart)
Stacey May Fowles pays tribute to her favorite sport in Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved Me. Don't worry: you don’t have to live and breathe baseball to appreciate her work. Fowles’ shares insightful and often hilarious commentary on a variety of relevant subjects, ranging from stereotypes about female sports fans to mental health.
11‘When You Find Out the World Is Against You’ by Kelly Oxford (April 18; Dey Street Books)
Writer and social media star Kelly Oxford serves up a new collection of essays in When You Find Out the World Is Against You: And Other Funny Memories About Awful Moments. Her trademark humor is out in full force as she covers different periods of her life and a range of random topics. Expect to laugh out loud.
12‘Cartel Wives’ by Mia Flores, Olivia Flores (April 18; Grand Central Publishing)
Mia and Olivia Flores offer a rare look into the lives of high-ranking drug traffickers in Cartel Wives: A True Story of Deadly Decision, Steadfast Love, and Bringing Down El Chapo. In addition to revealing the unbelievable lifestyle of these women, the book details how their husbands turned their backs on the cartels to become informants. As you can imagine, it’s quite a story.
13‘How to Be Married’ by Jo Piazza (April 18; Harmony)
Jo Piazza delves into life after “I do” in How to Be Married: What I Learned From Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage. After getting engaged, she gathers fascinating perspectives on married life from people around the world, ranging from Dutch sex workers to Swedish stay-at-home dads. You’ll be hooked, whether or not there’s a ring on your finger.
14‘Beauty Sick’ by Renee Engeln (April 18; Harper)
In Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women, Renee Engeln sheds light on the serious damage strict beauty norms inflict. The Northwestern University psychology professor looks at curious contradictions and touches on relatable behaviors. Better still, she passes on actual solutions we can use to overcome the constant barrage of negativity.
15‘This Fight Is Our Fight’ by Elizabeth Warren (April 18; Henry Holt and Co.)
Elizabeth Warren is still persisting. The Massachusetts senator’s new book, This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class, highlights the plight of working families. Her stories of Senate battles and her motivations will inspire you. #Resist, y’all.
16‘Option B’ by Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant (April 24; Knopf)
Sheryl Sandberg shares lessons on coping with tragedy in Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, written with Adam Grant. The Facebook COO taps into her own experiences, including the death of her husband. She and Grant also rely on research to make their points, which are sure to resonate with anyone who has suffered a loss.
17‘There Is No F*cking Secret’ by Kelly Osbourne (April 25; G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Kelly Osbourne has been in the spotlight for decades, but there is still plenty for us to learn about her. The TV personality offers up new pieces of her life in There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters from a Badass Bitch. The book illuminates her past through very personal letters that Osbourne penned over the years.
18‘She-ology’ by Sherry A. Ross (April 25; Savio Republic)
If you have a vagina (or even if you don’t), you should check out Sherry A. Ross’ new book, She-ology: The Definitive Guideto Women’s Intimate Health. Period. As an ob-gyn, she’s equipped to answer the questions we’re often too shy to ask. That in itself should be enough to get you to read her book, but if you need more convincing, know that She-ology features contributions from stars like Reese Witherspoon, Brooke Shields, Christina Applegate, and more.
19‘The Secrets of My Life’ by Caitlyn Jenner (April 25; Grand Central Publishing)
Caitlyn Jenner revisits her years as Bruce and her struggle to embrace her true self in The Secrets of My Life. As you can imagine, her memoir is a moving one, and it covers her childhood, life as a public figure, and finally her high-profile transition and its aftermath. Sure, we already know a ton about Jenner, but this work takes us even deeper.
20‘Ma Speaks Up’ by Marianne Leone (April 25; Beacon Press)
Italian-American writer Marianne Leone writes about life with her immigrant mother in Ma Speaks Up: And a First-Generation Daughter Talks Back. Like many adolescents, she was embarrassed by her mother, but her shame was made worse by how different her family was. Even if you can’t relate, it’s touching to see her look back on her childhood through the eyes of an adult.