29 Nonfiction Books Coming Out In 2019 To Start Getting Excited About
With just under a month left in 2018, it's possible that you're still trying to finish the best books of the year before the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31. But if you've already reached your reading goals and are thinking ahead to next year, you're going to want to learn all about the most anticipated nonfiction books of 2019, including fascinating true crime titles, moving memoirs, eye-opening histories, and more. It's shaping up to be another outstanding year in nonfiction.
If you're 2019 reading resolution is to include more nonfiction on your TBR list, rest assured that you won't have any trouble finding great books to add to it next year. For starters, Furious Hours, Casey Cep's highly anticipated true-crime book about an Alabama serial killer and Harper Lee's obsession with the case, hits shelves in May. David Grann, bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon, calls it "a triumph on every level." Other true-crime offerings include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Humes's Burned and Cara Robertson's The Trial of Lizzie Borden. If serial killers aren't your thing, there are also engaging essay collections expected from celebrated authors including Jennifer Traig, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Barry Lopez. Fans of Toni Morrison can also look forward to a new book of essays, speeches, and meditations from the literary legend. So too can Dani Shapiro readers, who will be thrilled to get their hands on the bestselling author's latest memoir, Inheritance.
Without further ado, here are 29 of the most anticipated nonfiction books of 2019. Of course, there are more books coming out next year that haven't been announced yet and others that are still flying below the radar, so this is far from a complete list. Think of it as a sampling of what is to come, a little taste of 2019's best offerings.
'Act Natural: A Cultural History of Misadventures in Parenting' by Jennifer Traig (Jan. 8)
In this funny and informative book, Jennifer Traig explores the cultural history of Western parenting, from ancient Rome to Puritan New England to the Dr. Spock craze of mid-century America to the mommy bloggers of today. Her purpose: to find out if our parenting techniques have evolved over time, or if we are all still guessing which mother knows best.
'How to Date Men When You Hate Men' by Blythe Roberson (Jan. 8)
In this comedic philosophy book, New Yorker and Onion writer and comedian Blythe Roberson investigates what it means to date men in modern society. Featuring sections like "Real Interviews With Men About Whether Or Not It Was A Date" and "Definitive Proof That Tom Hanks Is The Villain Of You’ve Got Mail," this clever collection offers readers all the dating advice they'll ever need for embarking on a relationship with men.
'Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love' by Dani Shapiro (Jan. 15)
In her follow-up to Hourglass, acclaimed author Dani Shapiro shares the emotional and genealogical journey she took after learning, to her utter surprise, that her father was not her biological father. It's a powerful memoir about identity, paternity, family, and, ultimately, love.
'Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive' by Stephanie Land (Jan. 22)
In this memoir about her years spent working as a maid while raising her daughter, Stephanie Land explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of those people in service to them. It's an eye-opening exploration of poverty in America, and it includes a foreword by Nickel and Dimed author Barbara Ehrenreich.
'Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions' by Briallen Hopper (Feb. 5)
In this smart collection of essays, Briallen Hopper explores love and relationships beyond the bonds of marriage and coupledom. Through personal narratives and pop culture touchstones, she celebrates the meaningful but often under-appreciated forms of intimacy, including friendship, kinship between adult siblings, care-taking teams, and more.
'The Unwinding of the Miracle' by Julie Yip-Williams (Feb. 5)
In this gut-wrenching memoir, Julie Yip-Williams chronicles her terminal metastatic colon cancer diagnosis and the incredible life journey that brought her to that moment. A honest and humorous meditation on motherhood, marriage, ambition, love, the immigrant experience, and so much more, The Unwinding of the Miracle offers readers a guide to living a full life in the face of unbelievable hardships.
'Figuring' by Maria Popova (Feb. 5)
In her latest book, Maria Popova examines the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries in an attempt to better understand the complexities of love and the human search for truth. Featuring the likes and loves of Johannes Kepler, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Rachel Carson, and more, Figuring asks what it means to live a good life and to leave a lasting mark on the world.
'The Collected Schizophrenias' by Esmé Weijun Wang (Feb. 5)
The winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award, this essay collection from Esmé Weijun Wang offers an intimate look at life with mental and chronic illness. Opening with the journey towards the author's diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, the book takes readers down the winding, often frustrating road towards acceptance and understanding.
'Brown White Black: An American Family at the Intersection of Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion' by Nishta J. Mehra (Feb. 5)
In her newest collection, Nishta J. Mehra offers up a stirring portrait of her family: her white wife, her black adopted son, and their experiences navigating modern America together. Touching on issues of race, gender, sexuality, parenthood, marriage, and love, it's a timely book of essays that challenges readers to examine their own understanding of identity and family.
'The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations' by Toni Morrison (Feb. 12)
This new nonfiction book collects four decades of essays, speeches, and meditations from one of American's most celebrated writers, Toni Morrison. Featuring the Beloved author's thoughts on female empowerment, literature, language, human rights, and being Black in America, its a powerful and welcome addition to an already impressive catalog of work.
'The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick' by Mallory O'Meara (Mar. 5)
Go behind the scenes of one of Hollywood's most classic movies in this gripping biography of Milicent Patrick, one of Disney's first female animators. The creator of the iconic monster from Creature from the Black Lagoon, Patrick's life and legacy has remained a mystery — until now.
'The Trial of Lizzie Borden' by Cara Robertson (Mar. 12)
If you think you know the story of Lizzie Borden, think again. In this remarkable new account, Cara Robertson takes readers behind-the-scenes of the trial that captivated a nation to reveal why and how the sensational story of the Borden murders — and the question of Lizzie's innocence — continue to endure over a century later.
'The Sakura Obsession: The Incredible Story of the Plant Hunter Who Saved Japan's Cherry Blossoms' by Naoko Abe (Mar. 19)
In this thoroughly researched book, journalist Naoko Abe tells two stories: one about the 1,200 history of the Japanese cherry blossom, and the other about the English gardener who saved the iconic tree from extinction.
'Murder by the Book: The Crime That Shocked Dickens's London' by Claire Harman (Mar. 26)
In this expertly researched book, acclaimed biographer Claire Harman combines the little-known story of the Victorian-era murder of Lord William Russel with the account of the rise of the novel form to create one truly fascinating narrative. Featuring appearances by Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, and Queen Victoria herself, Murder by the Book is part true-crime story, part literary history, and all fun.
'We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood' by Dani McClain (Apr. 2)
A guide to parenting in uncertain times, We Live for the We is writer and reporter Dani McClain's attempt to understand how to ensure her own daughter lives a life full of dignity and joy. It's also a powerful meditation on black mothering as an inherently political act that explores everything from segregated schools, sex and consent, the need for community, and more.
'Women's Work: Reckoning with the Work of the Home' by Megan K. Stack (Apr. 2)
In Women's Work, National Book Award finalist Megan K. Stack explores the intersections of marriage, motherhood, feminism, and privilege through the lives of four Chinese and Indian women who helped her raise her own children. It's at once an account of the author's experience with motherhood and an eye-opening investigation of working mothers seeking upward mobility and what they have to sacrifice to achieve it.
'I Miss You When I Blink' by Mary Laura Philpott' (Apr. 2)
In her memoir-in-essays, acclaimed writer Mary Laura Philpott addresses the conflicting pressures of modern adulthood and that inevitable "stuck" feeling so many of us become familiar with. Part confessional, part pep talk, I Miss You When I Blink is a reassuring read about learning how to accept that doing things wrong can be the way to do life right.
'Southern Lady Code' by Helen Ellis (Apr. 16)
In her new essay collection, the best-selling author of American Housewife writes candidly about womanhood from the perspective of someone straddling the Mason-Dixon line. Topics include manners, marriage, thank-you notes, gynecology, sex, and how to say not-so-nice things in a nice way.
'Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting' by Anna Quindlen (Apr. 23)
In Nanaville, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and bestselling author Anna Quindlen considers the different roles we play throughout our lives. With the help of personal stories, the Living Out Loud author offers advice on the unique joys and problems of middle age.
'What My Mother and I Don't Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence' edited by Michele Filgate (Apr. 30)
In this collection, which is inspired by Michele Filgate's powerful 2017 essay in Longreads, 15 writers open up about the important and often painful things we can't discuss with our mothers, and how those things affect us. Contributors include Alexander Chee, Leslie Jamison, Cathi Hanauer, and more.
'All That You Leave Behind' by Erin Lee Carr (Apr. 30)
Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Erin Lee Car opens up about her own life and that of her father, the late New York Times journalist David Carr in this forthcoming memoir. A coming-of-age story of addiction, sobriety, family, and work, it promises a behind-the-scenes look at two incredibly talented people and the incredible relationship they shared.
'No Walls and the Recurring Dream' by Ani DiFranco (May 7)
In this coming-of-age memoir, celebrated singer-songwriter and social activists Ani DiFranco recounts her early life, from being an emancipated minor facing homelessness in Buffalo to recording her first album at the age of 18 to creating her own label, Righteous Babe Records, after rejecting the mainstream industry. It's a deeply personal narrative about music, feminism, political activism, storytelling, and a whole lot more.
'Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee' by Casey Cep (May 7)
In what is already one of the most talked about nonfiction books of 2019, Casey Cep weaves together the stunning stories of an Alabama serial killer and the In Cold Blood-style nonfiction book about him that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a fascinating true crime narrative that offers an intimate look at the life, work, and personal struggles of one of America's most beloved authors.
'Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom' by Katherine Eban (May 14)
In this important book, award-winning journalist Katherine Eban reveals the truth about generic-drug manufacturing and the shocking ways in which it puts global health at risk. It's a sweeping decade-long investigation medicine and the world of pharmaceuticals that exposes a complicated web of fraud, falsified date, fooled inspectors, and big money.
'How to Forget: a Daughter's Memoir' by Kate Mulgrew (May 21)
In this poignant memoir, bestselling author and star of Orange Is the New Black recounts what it was like to return to her hometown in Iowa to take care of her parents after her mother was diagnosed with atypical Alzheimer's and her father with lung cancer. She looks back the unconventional Irish Catholic household in which she was raised and reflects on the lives of her parents and the many ways they shaped her own.
'Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide' by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark (May 28)
In this dual memoir from the creators of My Favorite Murder, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark write candidly about their personal struggles with addiction, eating disorders, and depression as well as larger cultural issues, like the importance of self-advocating and putting safety over appearing polite. They investigate their own pasts as well as true crime stories with the same humor and empathy that make their podcast a hit.
'Trick Mirror: Reflections of Self Delusion' by Jia Tolentino (Aug. 6)
In this essay collection, The New Yorker's Jia Tolentino tackles the conflicts and contradictions that define our modern time. Over the course of nine original essays, she explores contemporary culture and identity with the same humor, honesty, insight, and critical dexterity that have made her a writing star in recent years.
'Coventry' by Rachel Cusk (Aug. 20)
In her first collection of essays, Rachel Cusk, the author of the critically acclaimed Outline Trilogy, writes about motherhood, marriage, feminism, and art. Named for a piece previously published in Granta, Coventry mixes memoir with cultural criticism and features plenty of the author's thoughts on writing, literature, her craft, and her own life.
'Make It Scream, Make It Burn' by Leslie Jamison (TBA)
Leslie Jamison fans, prepare yourselves: the author of the bestselling books The Recovering and The Empathy Exams is publishing a brand new book of essays, and it is expected next fall. Few details are available, but you can get a taste of what is to come by reading the piece the collection gets its title from, "Make it Scream, Make it Burn," in Oxford American.