We’ve hit the halfway point in 2017, and even though the year has been extremely eventful so far, you’re not alone if you can’t quite believe how fast July managed to sneak up on us. Yet, unbelievable or not, the month is here, along with its annual patriotic festivities. That includes the usual fun — fireworks, barbecues, apple pie, etc. — but in the midst of it all, there are so many new books coming out in July. Between lighting sparklers and locating the best swimming spot nearby, you’ll want to find time for the many quality nonfiction books due out in July.
The genre features quite the hodgepodge of options this month. Fittingly, there are books about important historical figures, along with work that examines different aspects of our culture and society. Since our founding fathers were all about creating a more perfect union, you can honor them by learning more about today’s issues. If that’s not your cup of tea, memoirs dealing with everything from serial killers to stray cats are also on offer.
If you have extra days off this month, get reading. The 16 nonfiction books below, all due out in July, are a great place to start.
'In the Days of Rain' by Rebecca Stott (July 4; Spiegel & Grau)
Author Rebecca Stott writes about her childhood in her new memoir, In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult. She grew up in a cult until it was rocked by a sex scandal, so as you can imagine, her upbringing was unique and fascinating, just like her recollections and reflections are.
'Queen of Bebop' by Elaine M. Hayes (July 4; Ecco)
Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan by Elaine M. Hayes looks at the life of a pioneer in jazz music as well as women’s and civil rights. The book shines a light on the importance of Vaughan’s often overlooked contributions and accomplishments while also delving into her personal journey.
‘A Stone of Hope’ by Jim St. Germain, Jon Sternfeld (July 4; Harper)
Jim St. Germain tells the story of how a rehabilitation program saved him in A Stone of Hope: A Memoir. Written with Jon Sternfeld, the book recounts St. Germain’s struggles with poverty, drugs, violence, and crime as he grew up in Haiti and New York, and how he was lucky enough to be given the chance to turn his life. Prepare to be challenged and inspired.
'Policing the Black Man,' Edited by Angela J. Davis (July 11; Pantheon)
An anthology edited by Angela J. Davis, Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment looks at the main tenets of the Black Lives Matter movement. With its essays on the criminal justice system, written by experts and scholars, you’ll learn more about racial profiling, implicit bias, mass incarceration, and more.
'Reading with Patrick' by Michelle Kuo (July 11; Random House)
In Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship, Michelle Kuo tackles education, justice, poverty, race, and more. The book recounts her experience teaching in rural Arkansas and then later returning to help one of her students after he is arrested for murder.
‘Regretting Motherhood’ by Orna Donath (July 11; North Atlantic Books)
Orna Donath takes on a topic that is rarely discussed in her new book, Regretting Motherhood: A Study. As the title implies, she looks at the decision to have children from the perspective of women who wouldn’t become mothers if they could do it over again. However you feel about the topic, Donath’s work is sure to make you think.
‘Coming of Age’ by Deborah Beatriz Blum (July 11; Thomas Dunne Books)
Deborah Beatriz Blum explores the life of a radical woman in Coming of Age: The Sexual Awakening of Margaret Mead. The book details the ways Mead, an anthropology pioneer, bucked convention in the ’20s, from keeping her maiden name to taking lovers to studying sexuality. Mead may have been a researcher, but she also makes a great subject.
‘Apprenticed to Venus’ by Tristine Rainer (July 11; Arcade Publishing)
Tristine Rainer shares her complicated relationship with a famed writer in Apprenticed to Venus: My Secret Life with Anïs Nin. Rainer was just 18 when they met, and Nin took her under her wing, acting as a mentor. There was good and bad to the friendship, though, making it all the more fascinating.
‘A Beautiful, Terrible Thing’ by Jen Waite (July 11; Plume Books)
Both heartbreaking and riveting, Jen Waite’s A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal takes readers through the highs and (incredibly low) lows of her relationship with her husband. As she revisits their past, she shares the secrets she uncovered, leading to her realization that he fit the criteria of being an actual psychopath. And you thought your ex was bad.
‘Reckless Years’ by Heather Chaplin (July 11; Simon & Schuster)
Heather Chaplin recounts her exit from her marriage and the period that followed in Reckless Years: A Diary of Love and Madness. Drawing from her diaries, her memoir provides an honest look at fallout. The path to self-discovery definitely isn’t always a smooth one.
‘Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8’ by Naoki Higashida (July 11; Random House)
Naoki Higashida offers readers insight into his life in his new memoir, Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man’s Voice from the Silence of Autism. Translated by KA Yoshida, the book shares stories from Higashida’s school days, family life, and challenges. It is a rare and powerful look into the experience of living with autism.
‘Women in Sports’ by Rachel Ignotofsky (July 11; Ten Speed Press)
Rachel Ignotofsky highlights talented and tough ladies in Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win. With female athletes often underappreciated, the book’s goal is to spotlight their impressive accomplishments. It manages just that, too — in fact, you’ll have a new set of role models to inspire you.
‘The Chickenshit Club’ by Jesse Eisinger (July 11; Simon & Schuster)
Pulitzer Prize winner Jesse Eisinger breaks down an interesting issue in The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives. In it, he examines why CEOs and corporations often go unpunished, looking at holes in the justice system as well as the history and precedents in play.
‘Strays’ by Britt Collins (July 18; Atria Books)
Get ready to feel with Britt Collins’ Strays: A Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America. The book tells the story of how a stray, injured cat and an alcoholic man living in a UPS loading bay come to depend on and heal one another. When the man, Michael, discovers that Tabor the cat has an owner, he has to adjust to life without her. It’s a tearjerker of a movie waiting to happen.
‘What She Ate’ by Laura Shapiro (July 25; Viking)
Laura Shapiro uses the diets of famous historical figures to dig deeper into their lives in What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories. The individuals featured in the book are all fascinating, and you’ll quickly see that food choices are more revealing than you might expect.
‘Dangerous Ground’ by M. William Phelps (July 25; Kensington Publishing Corp.)
If you can handle a chilling story and you’re not squeamish, you’ll get hooked on Dangerous Ground: My Friendship with a Serial Killer. The new book from journalist M. William Phelps explores his close relationship with the convicted murderer known as “Raven,” plus a dark part of Phelps’ own past. It’s grisly but compelling.