I never thought I would read nonfiction books outside of school….
I saved nonfiction books on Goodreads all the time, but getting around to actually reading them was another matter. On top of that, I was super picky on what I went for. And why are so many of them so dense?
Discovering audiobooks in 2021 changed nonfiction for me. The majority of this genre I read in 2021 were on audiobook. This made these specific books far easier, and entertaining, to read. All of a sudden, this barrier within my comfort zone was broken.
I tried to narrow down this list. Only between the primary audiobook apps I use (Libby and Scribd), there are a lot of nonfiction books and memoirs I want to listen to. Those are:
Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons
Happy Fat by Sofie Hagen
Landwhale by Jes M. Baker
Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes M. Baker
Big Girl by Kelsey Miller
One of the subgenres of nonfiction I discovered last year was fat-positive nonfiction. Memoirs, biographies, and anthologies by plus-size individuals accepting their bodies as well as encouraging others to do the same. These books provided insight on how society views plus-size people, and how it is reflected in media, medical fields, etc. Ever since, I’ve been itching for more. The ones listed here are what I’m most interested in at the moment. All cover basically the same topics: fatphobia, body neutrality, and society’s views on plus-size people.
The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn
Lady Killers by Tori Telfer
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
Last Call by Elon Green
Cultish by Amanda Montell
Red Roulette by Desmond Shum
The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi
We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper
I love true crime shows, so it should be no surprise I am attracted to true crime books. And yet I have read the bare minimum. All of these titles are the ones I am most hoping to get to, several of them I’ve had my eye on for years.
The Road to Jonestown is about how Jim Jones built his cult from the ground up and the mindset behind its members. Lady Killers is a collective biography of different female serial killers. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is about the author’s hunt for the Golden State Killer and how her efforts led to his capture. The Five is an in-depth biography on the women murdered by Jack the Ripper. Last Call is about a serial killer targeting members of the queer community in New York. Cultish is a study in cults. Red Roulette is about the author’s search for his missing ex-wife, whom he fears was targeted by corrupted officials in the Chinese government. The Monster of Florence is about a serial killer in Florence whose methods were scarily similar to the Zodiac Killer. We Keep the Dead Close is about the author’s investigation into a mysterious murder that took place at Harvard University years prior.
The Choice by Edith Eva Eger
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes
Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang
Prior to last year, I thought memoirs extremely narcissistic. Then, I stumbled upon a few by individuals who had real stories to tell. The Choice is a memoir of the author’s experience as a ballet prodigy being forced to entertain the Nazi guards when she and her family are sent to a concentration camp. Beautiful Country is the author’s memoir on her experiences growing up an undocumented Chinese immigrant in Queens, New York. In the Dream House is a memoir about the author’s experience in an emotionally abusive relationship. What’s more, her partner was a woman and this book does a deep-dive into the dynamics in queer abusive relationships. Ordinary Hazards is a memoir written in verse, about the author’s experience growing up in poverty, in an abusive situation, and how writing helped her cope with her circumstances.
They Were Her Property by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers
The Three Mothers by Anna Malaika Tubbs
When Women Invented Television by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
When it comes to historical nonfiction, my interests are all over the place. Books about women. Books about war. Books about race and diversity. These next four books all fit into these categories in one form or another.
They Were Her Property is about white women’s role in the slave trade and how they were often worse than their male counterparts, given slaves were often their only form of income. The Three Mothers follows the mothers of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and James Baldwin, and how their influences on their sons’ lives influenced later generations. When Women Invented Television is about women’s roles behind the scenes of Hollywood. The Splendid and the Vile is a biography of Winston Churchill during World War II.
The Panic Years by Nell Frizzell
Thanks for Waiting by Doree Shafrir
But You’re Still So Young by Kayleen Schafer and Lauren Fortgang
I turned 29 on the 19th of January. I’ve reached the final year of the “sh*t, I’m almost 30!” club. The “current global situation” threw a wrench into the plans I had for my life at this point. Not to mention some other life circumstances, but I had managed to work around those (or so I thought). On top of all that, for the first time in my life, I had been hit by a major case of the “birthday blues.” I know it is a privilege to get older. But I won’t lie: there’s a sense of panic that comes with being so close to 30.
These three particular books are appealing to what I’m currently feeling about 29. The Panic Years are about the stress on women to have children before it’s “too late.” Thanks for Waiting is the author’s memoir about being a “late bloomer,” where her life progresses later than her friends and others, but there are more benefits than she expected. But You’re Still So Young is about the changing lives of 30-year-olds and how this generation does things differently.
What genre do you specifically want to read more of in 2022?