January seemed to stretch on forever, but at long last, February is here. The month may be shorter, but the list of intriguing
new nonfiction books hitting shelves is certainly not. Forget flowers and Valentine’s Day chocolates — with all of these great options coming, the only thing you are going to want this month is a stack of shiny, newly published tomes. Can’t you just picture them?
The books being released in February collectively serve as a literary smorgasbord. You can read about topics as wide-ranging as the adventures of a secular exorcist, gender problems in Silicon Valley, and nightmarish crimes. However, that said, you’re in for disappointment if you’re looking for a warm, fuzzy, and romantic nonfiction selection for Valentine’s Day. If you insist upon something love-related, your best option is probably a book on recovering from heartbreak, which is, well, close-ish… maybe?
While perhaps lacking when it comes to nonfiction love stories, February’s new releases definitely are not devoid of passion. Several authors have put out fiery feminist works. They will by turns anger, inspire, and educate readers.
Read on for 16 nonfiction books, all due out this month, that you should buy, borrow, or check out, as soon as you possibly can.
‘Text Me When You Get Home’ by Kayleen Schaefer (Feb. 6; Dutton)
Kayleen Schaefer looks at an issue near and dear to many of our hearts in
Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship. Her book explores not only how women’s friendships have transformed but also how their portrayal in fiction has. To do so, she ties in examples ranging from personal anecdotes to Mean Girls. Click here to buy. ‘Slutever’ by Karley Sciortino (Feb. 6; Grand Central Publishing)
Writer Karley Sciortino reclaims the word "slut" in
Slutever: Dispatches from a Sexually Autonomous Woman in a Post-Shame World. She draws on her own experiences to lay out the benefits of earning the controversial title — and breakups, sex parties, open relationships, and more are all part of the journey. Click here to buy. ‘Heart Berries’ by Terese Mailhot (Feb. 6; Counterpoint Press)
Terese Mailhot revisits her childhood on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in her new memoir,
Heart Berries. Through her essays, she shows a difficult and dysfunctional coming of age and how she ultimately pushed through her trauma. Click here to buy. ‘Feel Free’ by Zadie Smith (Feb. 6; Penguin Press)
Acclaimed novelist Zadie Smith reflects on a variety of aspects of life in her latest collection,
Feel Free: Essays. She covers an eclectic mix of topics; you’ll find essays discussing everything from what makes libraries special to how Smith sees Facebook. Click here to buy. ‘Brotopia’ by Emily Chang (Feb. 6; Portfolio)
Emily Chang calls “Time’s up!” on the world of tech in
Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley. In her book, she reveals how the male-dominated industry has harmed women, and maps out a path to reform. Click here to buy. ‘The Line Becomes a River’ by Francisco Cantú (Feb. 6; Riverhead Books)
The Trump administration’s
plans for the border wall remain in limbo, so it isn’t too late to deepen your understanding of the issue. In The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border, Francisco Cantú shares his perspective. He writes of his time working as a Border Patrol agent and shares painful, human tales of the people actually affected by these policies. Click here to buy. ‘A False Report’ by T. Christian Miller, Ken Armstrong (Feb. 6; Crown Publishing Group)
With the #MeToo movement maintaining momentum, the timing could not be better for
A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America. Written by Pulitzer Prize winners T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, the true crime book looks at the case of Marie, an 18-year-old woman charged with false reporting, only for detectives to later discover that she had actually been the victim of a manipulative serial rapist. Click here to buy. ‘Sister of Darkness’ by R.H. Stavis, Sarah Durand (Feb. 6; Dey Street Books)
Prepare to be creeped out. In
Sister of Darkness: The Chronicles of a Modern Exorcist, Rachel H. Stavis shares eerie tales about the work she does. Not only does she recount how she became an exorcist — which is interesting enough — but she describes the various “entities” out there and the cases she's actually worked on. Don't read this one at night. Click here to buy. ‘Cringeworthy’ by Melissa Dahl (Feb. 13; Portfolio)
You know the red cheeks, racing pulse, and sweaty palms that can go with an awkward moment, but how to reframe such situations is likely less familiar territory. That’s where Melissa Dahl comes in. Her new book,
Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness, looks at why we feel this discomfort and how we can move beyond it. Dahl even lets readers in on her own embarrassing moments. Click here to buy. ‘How to Fix a Broken Heart’ by Guy Winch (Feb. 13; Simon & Schuster/TED)
Psychologist Guy Winch examines how we handle heartbreak in
How to Fix a Broken Heart. Specifically, he uses science to advocate for a new and more compassionate approach, and provides tools and advice for healing. Click here to buy. ‘What Are We Doing Here?’ by Marilynne Robinson (Feb. 20; Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson philosophizes on faith and politics in
What Are We Doing Here?: Essays. If you’re looking for a book that will make you think, this one’s for you. Click here to buy. ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover (Feb. 20; Random House) Educated: A Memoir tells the unique story of Tara Westover. In spite of being raised by survivalist parents who didn’t send her to school growing up, she managed to teach herself — enough to get her into college and into a Ph.D. program at Cambridge. Click here to buy. ‘Eloquent Rage’ by Brittney Cooper (Feb. 20; St. Martin’s Press)
As author Brittney Cooper puts it,
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower is “a book by a grown-ass woman written for other grown-ass women.” She shows the power in being angry using the examples of strong black women such as the Williams sisters and Michelle Obama. Cooper also points out flaws with mainstream feminism today and makes a case for improvements that would benefit us all. Click here to buy. ‘Don’t Call Me Princess’ by Peggy Orenstein (Feb. 27; Harper Paperbacks)
Feminist writer Peggy Orenstein is back — this time, with her first essay collection. Called
Don’t Call Me Princess: Essays on Girls, Women, Sex, and Life, her book reflects on the state of being a woman today, touching on everything from work to marriage. Click here to buy. ‘In Praise of Difficult Women’ by Karen Karbo (Feb. 27; National Geographic Society)
If you could use some inspiration, it’s right here in the form of Karen Karbo’s
In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons from 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules. She spotlights an impressive group that includes Carrie Fisher, Frida Kahlo, Shonda Rhimes, and more. Through their stories, she shows how it can pay off to be bold, smart, and even flawed. Click here to buy. ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’ by Michelle McNamara (Feb. 27; Harper)
Michelle McNamara died with a work in progress, but with help from her colleagues, the book is complete. Called
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, it explores a string of horrific decades-old crimes and how McNamara became captivated by the unsolved mystery. Click here to buy.