Now that we’ve passed Memorial Day, summer is just weeks away. Poets throughout history have sung their praises of the season, so I don’t have to tell you how fantastic it is. Instead, I’ll just highlight the fact that summer reading is one of the best parts, especially given how many excellent nonfiction books are due out this month.
With June’s long hours of natural light, not to mention warm weather worthy of bringing your books outside, comes a list of great reading options. The nonfiction genre’s new releases range in subject matter, but you’ll find a lot of memoirs on the list this month, tackling everything from identity to ice cream in America. Among them are works from vets like Sherman Alexie and feminist writer Roxane Gay, as well as a new book from motivational speaker Lizzie Velasquez.
Memoirs aren’t all you have to look forward to, though. You can also learn more about topics like wine, controversial celebrities, and death. With all these options, finding a book to bring to the pool or the park won’t be a challenge.
Get your TBR ready for new additions, because below are 14 of the best nonfiction books set to release in June 2017.
1‘Dare to Be Kind’ by Lizzie Velasquez (June 6; Hachette Books)
Once the target of a cruel viral video naming her the “World’s Ugliest Woman,” Lizzie Velasquez turned her hurt and shame into positivity. She began speaking out against bullying, becoming a viral sensation for a much better reason. Now a motivational speaker who teaches empathy and compassion, Velasquez continues her lessons in her new book, Dare to Be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World, written with Catherine Avril Morris.
2‘Beyond Trans’ by Heath Fogg Davis (June 6; NYU Press)
Heath Fogg Davis, an associate professor at Temple University and a transgender man, explores interesting questions in Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? He examines why we use sex categories for sports, on bathroom doors, and on official forms like birth certificates and driver’s licenses, as well as whether or not doing so is actually useful. He’ll make you rethink what it means for society to be inclusive.
3‘The Pretender’ by Marc Ruskin (June 6; Thomas Dune Books)
Marc Ruskin draws on his real-life experiences in The Pretender: My Life Undercover for the FBI. After years of immersing himself in cases involving everything from white-collar crime to drug trafficking, he has plenty of inspiration to draw on. The result is a fascinating look at a job that most of us only see on TV screens.
4‘How to Be a Muslim’ by Haroon Mogul (June 6; Beacon Press)
The 9/11 attacks brought drastic changes to Haroon Moghul’s life. As an undergraduate leader at NYU’s Islamic Center, he found himself in the public eye, speaking for Muslim Americans and trying to change negative perceptions. In his new book, How to Be a Muslim: An American Story, he writes about this unique experience and also reflects on his faith and growing up as the child of immigrants.
5‘Hunger’ by Roxane Gay (June 13; HarperCollins)
Feminist writer Roxane Gay is back. Her latest book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, tackles food, body image, and weight, so it is powerful but at times painful. Gay candidly shares her personal experiences, including struggles and anxieties many of us will be able to relate to.
6‘You Don't Have to Say You Love Me’ by Sherman Alexie (June 13; Little, Brown and Company)
Acclaimed author Sherman Alexie writes about his childhood and family in his new book, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir. He specifically focuses on his late mother, showing the many sides of her multifaceted character through dozens of poignant poems and essays. Their relationship is as complicated as Alexie’s stories are enthralling.
7‘So Much I Want to Tell You’ by Anna Akana (June 13; Ballantine Books)
YouTube star Anna Akana, whose little sister committed suicide in 2007, continues sharing the lessons she sadly didn’t get to pass on to her in So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister. Her book takes insight she’s gained through her own challenges and successes, and she offers wisdom on topics that range from love to money to following your dreams.
8‘The Chick and the Dead’ by Carla Valentine (June 13; Thomas Dune Books)
If you’re up for getting a little morbid, Carla Valentine explores death in The Chick and the Dead: Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors. She lays out what happens to our bodies after we die, progressing through the autopsy process as she goes. Along the way, Valentine also weaves in engrossing cultural and historical insight.
9‘Daring to Drive’ by Manal Al-Sharif (June 13; Simon & Schuster)
Manal Al-Sharif shares how she became an accidental activist in her memoir, Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening. After a childhood of toeing the line, she began to grow frustrated with the limitations women routinely faced. Her inspiring story details how she fought for Saudi Arabian women to be able to drive and highlights the importance of speaking up for yourself and others.
10‘Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud’ by Anne Helen Petersen (June 20; Plume Books)
This one is for all you pop culture-loving feminists out there. Anne Helen Petersen looks at how celebrities are changing what’s “acceptable” for women in her new book Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman. You’ll find the likes of Lena Dunham, Nicki Minaj, and other controversial figures among Petersen’s examples.
11‘A Paris Year’ by Janice MacLeod (June 20; St. Martin’s Press)
The City of Light gets yet another love letter in A Paris Year: My Day-to-Day Adventures in the Most Romantic City in the World. Author Janice MacLeod takes readers with her as she explores the French capital, sharing even the tastes and smells. You’ll get swept up in her adventures whether you or not are already intimately acquainted with the city.
12‘Sweet Spot’ by Amy Ettinger (June 27; Dutton Books)
Amy Ettinger lets us accompany her on a dream trip in Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America. Her journey delves into how the United States’ love affair with ice cream began, and it also offers another treat. As the title indicates, Ettinger tastes her way around the country and even attends a boot camp taught by ice cream masters.
13‘How to Fall in Love with Anyone’ by Mandy Len Catron (June 27; Simon & Schuster)
Mandy Len Catron tackles romantic myths in How to Fall in Love with Anyone: A Memoir in Essays. Not only does her book analyze our relationship with love stories, she breaks down some of the most important romances in her and her family members’ lives. On top of that, Catron raises intriguing questions and investigates interesting theories.
14‘Wine. All the Time.’ by Marissa A. Ross (June 27; Plume Books)
There’s so much to know about wine, and Marissa A. Ross makes the information manageable in Wine. All the Time.: The Casual Guide to Confident Drinking. Her book helps with issues ranging from how to pick out the right bottle to taste and beyond. You’ll be able to enjoy your wine even more, which you know is always a win.