We have officially transitioned from winter to spring, and though winter is the perfect season for readers, I’m ready to move on. The year’s most anticipated books have been solid so far, and the month ahead will continue to deliver. April’s best nonfiction books in particular form quite the lineup. The titles coming out in the days and weeks ahead will give us all a great reason to celebrate spring.
This month, well-known authors like Sloane Crosley and Alexander Chee, among others, release new work. They’re joined by public figures — including former FBI Director James Comey, Oscar winner Christine Lahti, and outgoing Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards — all of whom are putting out compelling reads to carry you through to summer. And I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that there are also excellent books from skilled writers whose names you may not know yet.
While the end of winter does mean fewer fires to curl up beside, I’m all about the arrival of promising nonfiction new releases. Cozy indoor reading is great and all, but the books themselves are still the most important part. Read on for 16 nonfiction books being published in April that you’ll definitely want to consider reading soon.
'True Stories from an Unreliable Witness' by Christine Lahti (April 3; Harper Wave)
Academy Award winner Christine Lahti is using her own life as source material for her new creative project. The actress and director has penned a new essay collection called True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness: A Feminist Coming of Age. Together, the essays show her personal and professional evolution, from a woman who knows all the ins and outs of Hollywood.
'Make Trouble' by Cecile Richards, With Lauren Peterson (April 3; Touchstone)
Cecile Richards is stepping down as the president of Planned Parenthood in 2018, but she’ll never stop being an activist for women's rights. The long-time advocate finds another way to inspire women throughout the world with her memoir, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead—My Life Story.
'Unwifeable' by Mandy Stadtmiller (April 3; Gallery Books)
The battle to find love in New York City is a popular — nearly overdone — category of personal essay and memoir, but Mandy Stadmiller's completely fresh take is absolutely worth reading. While she admits that her story is “not unique” in that general sense, she does offer her journey of self-discovery in what she calls “a textbook manual for everything one can do wrong.”
'Can’t Help Myself' by (April 3; Grand Central Publishing)
Popular Boston Globe advice columnist Meredith Goldstein compiles some of her favorite readers’ stories (and her own!) in Can’t Help Myself: Lessons and Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist. In it, she talks frankly about the fact that giving advice when you don't have everything figured out yourself is one of the scariest — and more rewarding — tasks of a lifetime.
'The Recovering' by Leslie Jamison (April 3; Little, Brown and Company)
With addiction in the United States reaching crisis levels, the timing couldn’t be better for Leslie Jamison’s new book, The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath. An alcoholic herself, she explores how society approaches the issue of addiction, divulging in her own story as well as examining others’ experiences, particularly those of male writers whose addiction has been romanticized through the ages.
'And Now We Have Everything' by Meaghan O’Connell (April 10; Little, Brown and Company)
Meaghan O’Connell writes about becoming a parent earlier than planned in And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready. Her memoir is a candid exploration of motherhood in all its complexities — emotional, practical, and otherwise.
'The Opposite of Hate' by Sally Kohn (April 10; Algonquin Books)
It feels trite at this point to say that we’re living in a time of extreme polarization. Still, we are, and to deal with it, political commentator Sally Kohn is giving us The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity. The book investigates hate and how it affects us, and better still, Kohn shows us a way out.
'Fascism' by Madeleine Albright (April 10; Harper)
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivers an important message in Fascism: A Warning in this timely read. She lays out what makes a fascist and how the ideology threatens democracy. Additionally, Albright shows how fascism has regained a foothold in the United States and lays out a road map for combating it.
'Sharp' by Michelle Dean (April 10; Grove Press)
In Sharp, Michelle Dean charts the influence of 10 women who made a significant contribution to the cultural and intellectual landscape of the United States, including Nora Ephron, Dorothy Parker, Susan Sontag, and Joan Didion.
‘Miss Ex-Yugoslavia’ by Sofija Stefanovic (April 17; Atria Books)
In Miss Ex-Yugoslavia: A Memoir, Sofija Stefanovic writes about leaving behind her homeland as political tensions boiled over. Her family eventually moves to Australia, where Stefanovic attempts to reconcile her two cultures while coping with all the normal coming-of-age growing pains — and dealing with the collapse of her homeland thousands of miles away.
'How to Write an Autobiographical Novel' by Alexander Chee (April 17; Mariner Books)
Novelist Alexander Chee has written his first nonfiction collection, and it's one of the most highly anticipated essay collections of the year. Called How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays, it examines a variety of subjects, from his identities as a son, gay man, Korean American, artist, and lover to his father's death to tarot card readings.
'A Higher Loyalty' by James Comey (April 17; Flatiron Books)
Get ready for former FBI Director James Comey’s much-anticipated book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, which is already a #1 Amazon bestseller, weeks before release. Copies of this book are under strict embargo, but according to the publisher, Comey details his career in full — yes, all the way up to the Trump White House.
'The Big Ones' by Lucy Jones (April 17; Doubleday Books)
Floods, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and other natural events might be scary, but they’ve played a role in molding our planet, history, and culture. In The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (And What We Can Do About Them), seismologist Lucy Jones brings us through some of the most shattering events. Not only does she look at their impact, she considers what we can do to limit their destruction in the future.
'The Girl Who Smiled Beads' by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil (April 24; Crown Publishing Group)
Clemantine Wamariya, together with Elizabeth Weil, writes about her childhood in war-torn Rwanda in The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After, a reflection on the horrors of war and its aftermath. The story follows Wamariya and her sister as they bounce around refugee camps before being granted asylum in the United States.
'Beneath a Ruthless Sun' by Gilbert King (April 24; Riverhead Books)
Pulitzer Prize winner Gilbert King brings us Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found. It’s a book for true-crime aficionados as well as anyone interested in criminal justice reform. In it, King delves into a complicated rape case that is rife with corruption, and in doing so, he shines a light on issues of sex, race, and class.