We’re headed into the second month of the year, and 2017 has already been eventful, to say the least. If you’re in need of a book to digest the chaos, cope with it, or escape it, the reading options available to you are only growing. February’s nonfiction new releases are on their way, and there are plenty you won’t want to miss, wherever your interests lie.
Recent political developments have had readers busting out copies of George Orwell’s 1984, but new books make good options, too. Upcoming titles dive into everything from current partisan divides to social justice to feminism and more. If you need a break from controversy, though, that’s not a problem at all. Other new releases focus on history, science, and travel, among other intriguing topics.
If you’re looking for unique memoirs written by women, February will win you over. Not only is the selection large, it is varied. You can choose from stories of love, identity, growing up, motherhood, and much, much more.
February may be a short month, but the list of good books coming out is long. Below are 16 of the best nonfiction new releases, so get ready to start adding to your TBR.
1. ‘Get Well Soon’ by Jennifer Wright (Feb. 7; Henry Holt and Co.)
Disease isn’t exactly a funny topic, but Jennifer Wright manages to find the humor in Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them. She looks at outbreaks and their impact, highlighting key players and interesting occurrences along the way, like a strange dancing plague that swept through a French town in the 1500s. Even if science isn’t your thing, Wright’s irreverent storytelling is infectious.
2. ‘Modern Death’ by Haider Warraich (Feb. 7; St. Martin’s Press)
People are living longer than ever, and dying has changed, too. Dr. Haider Warraich examines why and how in his new book, Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life. It might sound morbid, but it’s enthralling.
3. ‘Age of Anger’ by Pankaj Mishra (Feb. 7; Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
It’s impossible to miss how tense global and national politics have become, so if you’re like me and struggling to wrap your head around how we got to this point, Pankaj Mishra’s new book, Age of Anger: A History of the Present, is for you. He looks at everything from ISIS to social media hostility and breaks down the contributing factors. Let’s hope that the more we understand the issues, the more we can fix them.
4. ‘Darling, I’m Going to Charlie’ by Maryse Wolinski (Feb. 7; Atria / 37 INK)
Journalist Maryse Wolinksi pays tribute to her husband, a victim of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, in her new book. Named for the last words he spoke to her, Darling, I’m Going to Charlie: A Memoir paints a poignant portrait of their 47-year-marriage. Beyond that, the book also explores France’s security and why another horrific attack occurred less than a year later.
5. ‘Schadenfreude, A Love Story’ by Rebecca Schuman (Feb. 7; Flatiron Books)
Writer Rebecca Schuman revisits her past in Schadenfreude, A Love Story: Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words For. As is clear from the memoir’s very lengthy and detailed subtitle, there’s plenty of focus on Schuman’s love for German culture. Her stories of traveling in Europe, taking language classes, and falling in love may be cringe-worthy at times, but they’re also fun.
6. ‘Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire)’ by Jen Glantz (Feb. 7; Atria Books)
A professional bridesmaid, Jen Glantz explains how she started her unique business in her new memoir. Full of humor and candid reflections, Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire): Stories on Growing Up, Looking for Love, and Walking Down the Aisle for Complete Strangers tackles the relatable struggles of young adulthood. Glantz opens up about everything from the trials of dating to finding the courage to fail.
7. ‘A Country Between’ by Stephanie Saldana (Feb. 7; Sourcebooks)
Writer Stephanie Saldana writes about taking on motherhood in a conflict-torn city in A Country Between: Making a Home Where Both Sides of Jerusalem Collide. Her memoir recounts the years she spent living at the dividing line of East and West Jerusalem and how it shaped her perspective on issues like family, beauty, and hope.
8. ‘Caught in the Revolution’ by Helen Rappaport (Feb. 7; St. Martin’s Press)
History lovers will appreciate Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 – A World on the Edge by Helen Rappaport. Her book provides a broad account of the Russian Revolution from the perspective of numerous foreign nationals who witnessed the chaos firsthand. The stories come from the diaries and letters of volunteer nurses, wealthy expats, diplomats, governesses, and more.
9. ‘Glass House’ by Brian Alexander (Feb. 14; St. Martin’s Press)
Journalist Brian Alexander looks at the example of Lancaster, Ohio, in Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town. The book details the downfall of a local glass company, and the ripple effect on the community. Alexander also goes beyond the town to show how inequality and division have cropped up around the country.
10. ‘Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember’ by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee (Feb. 14; Ecco)
Christine Hyung-Oak Lee reflects on a harrowing experience in Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember: The Stroke That Changed My Life. After waking up in the hospital, she began to write down all of her memories, which ultimately inspired her memoir. Lee’s story is one of recovery and self-discovery.
11. ‘May Cause Love’ by Kassi Underwood (Feb. 14; HarperOne)
Kassi Underwood takes readers on a deeply personal adventure in May Cause Love: An Unexpected Journey of Enlightenment After Abortion. Years after having an abortion at 19, she finds herself still coping with the emotional fallout. To “get over” it, she takes an unconventional route — one that includes a Buddhist “water baby ritual,” a “Midwife for the Soul,” and more.
12. ‘Traveling With Ghosts’ by Shannon Leone Fowler (Feb. 21; Simon & Schuster)
Heartbreaking but beautiful, Traveling With Ghosts: A Memoir is the story of Shannon Leone Fowler’s travels around the world after her fiancé’s unexpected death. She brings us along as she drifts from one place to the next, weaving in memories from their time together as well. As much as this is a tale of grief and loss, it’s one of love, too.
13. ‘The Not-Quite States of America’ by Doug Mack (Feb. 14; W. W. Norton & Company)
Doug Mack goes beyond the 50 states in The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches From the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA. Determined to learn more about the United States’ many far-flung territories, he decides to visit them all in a more than 30,000-mile journey. Along the way, he highlights the impact of each on American history as well as shares stories from the fascinating he meets.
14. ‘Illusion of Justice’ by Jerome F. Buting (Feb. 21; Harper)
Making a Murderer attorney Jerome F. Buting is back. He offers insight into the now-infamous Steven Avery trial and the criminal justice system in his new book. Called Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System, it also lays out the reforms Buting would like to see.
15. ‘Divided We Stand’ by Marjorie J. Spruill (Feb. 28; Bloomsbury USA)
Yet another book that tackles the current political climate, Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics looks back at the 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston, Texas. Majorie J. Spruill examines how the event created a rift between liberals and conservatives, and what impact that chasm has had in the decades since.
16. ‘Abandon Me’ by Melissa Febos (Feb. 28; Bloomsbury USA)
Melissa Febos explores different bonds in her new memoir, Abandon Me. She looks at various relationships in her life, from the father-daughter one with the man who raised her to her long-distance love affair with a woman. Along the way, she also ties in religion, pop culture, mythology, and more.