Books·Fall Book Preview

22 works of nonfiction from around the world to watch for this fall

Here is the nonfiction from outside Canada that we can't wait to read this fall.

Here is the nonfiction from outside Canada that we can't wait to read this fall.

The Pretty One by Keah Brown

The Pretty One is a memoir by Keah Brown. (Simon & Schuster, Katelyn Shufelt)

Keah Brown describes her journey to self-acceptance in The Pretty One, from working through her internalized shame of having a disability to loving herself for everything she is. In her essays, Brown describes her relationship with her twin — described as "the pretty one" by friends — as well as her experiences in dating, love for popular culture and frustration with the ways people with disabilities are portrayed in the media.

Brown is a journalist and activist from New York who was born with cerebral palsy. She has written for publications like Teen Vogue, Essence and Harper's Bazaar.

When you can read it: Aug. 6, 2019

When I Was White by Sarah Valentine

When I Was White is a memoir by Sarah Valentine. (St. Martin's Press, Marcello Rostagni)

At the age of 27, Sarah Valentine found out that she wasn't white and that her father was a black man. This discovery led Valentine to rethink her identity, question why her white family had kept this secret and dive deep into race relations in the U.S. She writes about this is her memoir When I Was White.

Valentine is a writer, poet and translator from the U.S. When I Was White is her first book.

When you can read it: Aug. 6, 2019

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Trick Mirror is an essay collection by Jia Tolentino. (Random House, Elena Mudd)

Trick Mirror is a collection of insightful and humourous essays from New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino. With each essay, Tolentino tackles some phenomenon of popular culture — from social media to female literary characters — and explores the way they interact with our own self-delusions.

Tolentino was born in Toronto, but grew up primarily in the U.S. Trick Mirror is her first book.

When you can read it: Aug. 6, 2019

The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina

The Outlaw Ocean is a nonfiction by Ian Urbina. (Jabin Botsford, Knopf)

Ian Urbina exposes the rampant criminal activity that takes place in the world's oceans in his book The Outlaw Ocean. From smugglers and traffickers to pirates and poachers, the stories Urbina tells have been collected over five years of research.

Urbina is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times. He lives in Washington, D.C.

When you can read it: Aug. 20, 2019

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

The Yellow House is a memoir by Sarah M. Broom. (Adam Shemper, Grove)

In The Yellow HouseSarah M. Broom chronicles 100 years of her family's history and their ties to a shotgun house built by her mother, Ivory Mae, in 1961. The Yellow House was located in New Orleans East, which was also home to a NASA plant during the space race. Hurricane Katrina erased the Yellow House, but its significance to the Broom family remains indelibly intact.

Broom is a writer now based in New York. She has written for publications like the New Yorker, The New York Times and O, The Oprah Magazine.

When you can read it: Aug. 23, 2019

The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri

The Ungrateful Refugee is a memoir by Dina Nayeri. (Anna Leader, Catapult)

In The Ungrateful RefugeeDina Nayeri tells her story of fleeing Iran at the age of eight with her mother and brother, eventually moving to the U.S. and earning a spot at Princeton University. Nayeri also tells the stories of other refugees and delves deep into how Western countries treat refugees.

Nayeri is a writer based in London. Her previous books include A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea and Refuge.

When you can read it: Sept. 3, 2019

Whose Story Is This? by Rebecca Solnit

Whose Story Is This? is a nonfiction book by Rebecca Solnit. (Haymarket Books)

Who will write the history of our times? How will they tell it? Rebecca Solnit explores these questions in her latest book, examining how women, people of colour and non-straight people have seized the moment to tell their own stories, while white people are grasping to maintain their status as the centre of the narrative.

Solnit is the author of 20 books exploring history, feminism and social change. Her previous work includes The Mother of All Questions and Men Explain Things to Me.

When you can read it: Sept. 3, 2019

We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer

We Are the Weather is a nonfiction book by Jonathan Safran Foer. (Hamish Hamilton)

Jonathan Safran Foer describes the impact of meat farming on the climate crisis in We Are the Weather. He writes that while eliminating meat completely from your diet may be an insurmountable challenge, cutting back consumption will also make a major improvement on the planet's health.

Safran Foer is a New York-based writer. His other books include Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Eating Animals.

When you can read it: Sept. 17, 2019

Sontag by Benjamin Moser

Sontag is a nonfiction book by Benjamin Moser. (HarperCollins)

Sontag is a biography of American intellectual and writer Susan Sontag, who died in 2004. Benjamin Moser chronicles her life as a first-person witness to historic events and a woman who struggled privately while presenting a grounded sense of self to the world. 

Moser's previous work includes the biography Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award.

When you can read it: Sept. 17, 2019

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

Year of the Monkey is a memoir by Patti Smith. (Knopf Canada, Jesse Dittmar)

After a series of shows in San Francisco, Patti Smith begins the New Year with a solitary journey along the west coast. Smith contemplates loss, aging and politics on her trip, all the while encountering strangers and listening to a testy talking sign that hangs over her head.

Smith is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and award-winning author. Her previous books include the National Book Award winner Just Kids and M Train.

When you can read it: Sept. 24, 2019

Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs

Toil & Trouble is a memoir by Augusten Burroughs. (St. Martin's Press)

Toil & Trouble is the latest memoir from bestselling writer Augusten Burroughs ​​​​​​. As a kid, it troubled Burroughs that he knew things he shouldn't. His mother assured him that he wasn't crazy, but rather he descended from a long line of witches. Burroughs explored his magical heritage with his mother, until she left him to be raised by her psychiatrist and his family. This left Burroughs with the mess of having to figure out how to use his powers on his own.

Burroughs's previous books include the memoir Running with Scissors and the self-help book This is How.

When you can read it: Oct. 1, 2019

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

How We Fight for Our Lives is a memoir by Saeed Jones. (Simon & Schuster, John Premosch)

Saeed Jones, an award-winning poet, describes the boyhood and adolescence of a young, gay black man from the American South in How We Fight for Our Lives. Over a series of vignettes, Jones tells stories of the man's family and romantic encounters, building a portrait of how identity, race and sexuality interact and manifest in America.

Jones is a New York-based writer. His previous book is Prelude to Bruise, winner of the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award.

When you can read it: Oct. 8, 2019

Parking the Moose by Dave Hill

Parking the Moose is a memoir by Dave Hill. (Doubleday Canada)

Dave Hill is three-quarters Ohioan and one-quarter Canadian. His grandfather was from Clinton, Ont. and always talked about how the actual greatest country in the world was north of the border. This made Hill very proud to be Canadian, and, with a small publisher's advance, he set off around the country on "the greatest Canada-based literary thrill ride." He chronicles this journey in Parking the Moose.

Hill is a comedian now based in New York City. 

When you can read it: Oct. 8, 2019

Me by Elton John 

Me is a memoir by Elton John. (Valentin Flauraud/Keystone/Associated Press, Henry Holt & Co.)

Elton John releases his first autobiography this fall, describing the evolution of a shy boy named Reginald Dwight to the legendary musician he is today. Me chronicles the ups and downs of John's stardom — from dancing with Queen at disco clubs to hiding his drug addiction.

When you can read it: Oct. 15, 2019

Life Undercover by Amaryllis Fox

Life Undercover is a memoir by Amaryllis Fox. (Doubleday Canada, Brent Bolthouse)

Life Undercover is a memoir from former CIA agent Amaryllis Fox. When Fox was in her final year at Oxford, her mentor Daniel Pearl was beheaded in Pakistan. His death spurred her to study terrorism at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, where she created an algorithm that was uncannily accurate at predicting where a new terrorism cell may spring up anywhere in the world. She was recruited by the CIA at the age of 21, beginning her work there by writing briefings for the president and later sent to infiltrate terrorist networks in the Middle East and Asia.

When you can read it: Oct. 15, 2019

The Rise of Wolf 8 by Rick McIntyre

The Rise of Wolf 8 is a nonfiction book by Rick McIntyre. (Greystone Books, Julie Argyle)

Rick McIntyre tells the story of Wolf 8, one of the wolves brought to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 in an effort to re-introduce the population to the area. Wolf 8 was smaller and bullied by the other pups, until he bonded with an alpha female who had lost her mate.

McIntyre is a biologist and has worked with the National Park Service for over 50 years. He observed the Yellowstone wolves every day for 15 years.

When you can read it: Oct. 15, 2019

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Wild Game is a memoir by Adrienne Brodeur. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Julia Cumes)

When she was 14 years old, Adrienne Brodeur was woken up in the middle of the night by her mother, Malabar. She had come to tell Brodeur that Ben, her father's best friend, had kissed her. Brodeur became her mother's confidante over the course of their ensuing affair, which would have calamitous effects on the whole family.

Wild Game is Brodeur's first book. The film rights to her memoir were purchased by Chernin Entertainment.

When you can read it: Oct. 15, 2019

Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz

Ordinary Girls is a memoir by Jaquira Díaz. (Maria Esquinca/, Algonquin Books)

Jaquira Díaz writes about her difficult coming-of-age in Ordinary Girls, raised in the housing projects of Puerto Rico and Miami Beach by a mother who struggled with schizophrenia and a father who sold drugs. Díaz faced her own mental health battles in her youth, troubled by her queer sexuality in a homophobic community. She found a sense of empowerment at the age of 18 when she joined the Navy.

Díaz's writing has received two Pushcart Prizes. Ordinary Girls is her first memoir.

When you can read it: Oct. 29, 2019

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

In the Dream House is a memoir by Carmen Maria Machado. (Strange Light, Art Streiber)

Carmen Maria Machado examines her story of domestic abuse in her memoir In the Dream HouseShe uses narrative tropes like haunted houses and bildungsroman to understand the volatile progression of her relationship with this woman. Machado also reflects on the stereotype of utopian lesbian relationships, exploring the history of abuse in queer relationships.

Machado is an award-winning writer from Philadelphia. She won the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize for her short story collection Her Body and Other Parties.

When you can read it: Nov. 5, 2019

Be My Guest by Priya Basil

Be My Guest is a nonfiction by Priya Basil. (Canongate Books,

Priya Basil explores what it means to be a host and to serve food to others in the memoir Be My Guest. She draws from her own Sikh heritage, as well as her time spent in Kenya, India, Britain and Germany, to create a portrait of identity, immigration, food and hospitality.

Basil is a writer based in Berlin. Her previous books include the novels Ishq And Mushq and The Obscure Logic of the Heart.

When you can read it: Nov. 15, 2019

Disturbance by Philippe Lançon, translated by Steven Rendall

Disturbance is a memoir by Philippe Lancon. (Europa Editions)

Philippe Lançon, a contributor to the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdodescribes the terrorist attack that killed 12 of his colleagues and left him gravely injured. In the aftermath, Lançon struggles to move on and turns to writers like Proust, Thomas Mann and Kafka for answers.

Lançon's Disturbance won the 2018 Prix Femina, Prix du Roman News and Prix Renaudot Jury's Special Prize.

When you can read it: Nov. 22, 2019

On the Shoulders of Giants by Umberto Eco

On the Shoulders of Giants is an essay collection by Umberto Eco. (Vintage, Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via Associated Press)

Bestselling Italian writer Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose and The Prague Cemetery, died in February of 2016 at the age of 84. On the Shoulders of Giants collects his essays in a final book, exploring a wide-range of ideas — from the origins of civilization to beauty to conspiracy and the myth of the hero.

When you can read it: Nov. 26, 2019


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