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12 Nonfiction Books We Can't Wait To Read in 2023

By Joanne Camas

These enticing new reads belong at the top of your TBR list.

The new year is here, and by now we’ve all devoured the best books of 2022. So we rounded up stellar new nonfiction books we can’t wait to read this coming year. From moving memoirs and historical true crime to eye-opening investigations into the natural world, the following nonfiction narratives are sure to entertain and enlighten you all year long.

Birdgirl

By Mya-Rose Craig

As a passionate birder, environmentalist, and activist, 20-year-old Mya-Rose Craig is a true force of nature. In her spirited new memoir, Birdgirl, Craig chronicles her family’s globe-trotting adventures as together they immerse themselves in birdwatching and celebrate the natural world while documenting its increasing fragility. Along the way, Craig reveals the impact of her mom’s mental health struggles on her family and how being in nature plays a vital role in her family’s well-being. “Birdwatching has never felt like a hobby, or a pastime I can pick up and put down,” she writes, “but a thread running through the pattern of my life, so tightly woven in that there’s no way of pulling it free and leaving the rest of my life intact.”

Publication date: March 28, 2023

You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live by Paul Kix

You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live

By Paul Kix

Author Paul Kix and his wife, Sonya, were horrified by the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. For them, the incident possessed a personal dimension: As parents of Black children, they worried about the future of their family. The TV footage also reminded Kix of a notorious 1963 Civil Rights photo taken during the Civil Rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, that showed a Black teen confronted by a police officer with a lunging police dog. In You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live, Kix vividly documents the hope, heartbreak, and horror of those momentous 10 weeks. It’s the first book to focus on Birmingham’s “Project C” Civil Rights campaign, and Kix’s detailed examination of the many heroes of the era — among them, Martin Luther King, Jr, Wyatt Walker, Fred Shuttlesworth, and James Bevel — brings the turbulent moment to life.

Publication date: May 2, 2023

While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence

By Meg Kissinger

Journalist Meg Kissinger has long focused her award-winning reporting on our country’s flawed mental-health-care system and the people inside it. But behind closed doors, members of Kissinger’s own devoted family had silently suffered from mental illness for decades. In her searing memoir, she recounts her early years with a heavily medicated mother hospitalized for anxiety and depression, a manic father prone to violence, and siblings in the throes of bipolar disorder and depression, two of whom would take their own lives. Through it all, the Kissingers faced the world with their signature dark humor and the unspoken family rule — never talk about it. In her no-nonsense yet humorous tone, Kissinger reveals how these childhood traumas shaped her life and led her to a career focused on exposing inadequacies in mental health care and helping other families tell their stories in the process.

Publication date: September 5, 2023

Saving Time

By Jenny Odell

New York Times bestselling author Jenny Odell first tackled our relationship to time in How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. In it, she stressed the importance of unplugging from the frenetic world we’ve created and granting ourselves a moment to breathe and contemplate our lives. In Saving Time, due out on March 7, Odell takes things a step further, revealing how throughout history the idea of time has been commodified, forcing us into an artificial system of counting down the days and hours. Odell proposes living with a different clock, one that’s in tune with the patterns of nature and our brain. “This is a moving and provocative game changer” says Publishers Weekly in its starred review of Saving Time. If your sense of time went sideways during the pandemic, Odell’s latest work may serve as a much-needed corrective.

Publication date: March 7, 2023

The Climate Book

By Greta Thunberg

It’s hard to believe that climate activist Greta Thunberg will only turn 20 this year. Her inspirational solo protests and school strikes focused the world on the climate emergency — and she’s determined to show us that we can make a difference in combating the crisis. In The Climate Book, due out on February 14, Thunberg draws on insight from more than 100 experts, from oceanographers and meteorologists to engineers, mathematicians, and Indigenous leaders, to create a climate compendium that equips us to take action. Thunberg is no idealist; she knows the world is in peril. Rather, she’s a hopeful pragmatist who understands that we must listen to climate science and rise up to make a difference now, before it’s too late.

Publication date: February 14, 2023

Quietly Hostile

By Samantha Irby

We adore Samantha Irby’s comedic essays. Her bestselling funny memoirs are suffused with hilarity and humanity. So we can’t wait to dive into Quietly Hostile, Irby’s latest collection of essays, due out on May 16. In it, Irby muses on the life she leads, mining the absurdities of day-to-day existence and her literary career as well as her newfound success in show biz to uproarious effect. From bathroom etiquette and the perils of pandemic-era dog adoptions to very weird emails about Carrie Bradshaw, Irby’s latest will have you “crying and laughing” (Today) in the best way possible.

Publication date: May 16, 2023

A Living Remedy

By Nicole Chung

In the national bestseller All You Can Ever Know, Nicole Chung movingly chronicled her quest to find the parents who gave her up for adoption and her struggle to find her place in the world. In A Living Remedy, due out on April 4, the author shares her grief and anger over losing her adoptive parents to illness, noting that years of financial struggle and poor access to health care played a critical role in her father’s death. Inequality and grief are key themes in A Living Remedy, which Chung delivers in gorgeous prose. “At its core, [it is] a work of art undergirded by a tender, forgiving, and awe-filled gaze at what it means to live and hurt in the human world” (Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous).

Publication date: April 4, 2023

Wolfish

By Erica Berry

Erica Berry’s powerful new nature book is the culmination of years of research into wolves and our relationship to them. The fascinating narrative follows tagged wolf OR-7 as he breaks away from his pack and sets out on a solo trek across Oregon. At the same time, Berry draws parallels to her personal journey as she, too, branches away from her family in the Pacific Northwest and strikes out on her own. Berry’s grandfather runs a sheep farm, and that personal experience colors her views of predator versus prey and the fluctuating states of nature. Why have we viewed wolves through a negative lens for so long? Can we coexist with creatures we fear? Due out on February 21, Wolfish is a dazzling and insightful mix of science and nature writing, historical review, and memoir, and Berry reveals as much about humans and our fears as she does about wolves.

Publication date: February 21, 2023

A Guest at the Feast

By Colm Tóibín

In A Guest at the Feast, set to hit shelves on January 17, acclaimed Irish author Colm Tóibín invites us inside his private life through a series of essays — and he doesn’t hold back. From his Catholic childhood in the quaint town of Enniscorthy to his European adventures as a young man and his battle with testicular cancer, Tóibín is fearlessly open. He’s also vocal about his relationship with the church and its pious contradictions — he recalls being taught in school by priests who were later accused of sexual abuse. Essays on three very different popes are accompanied by profiles of three writers whose work is also colored by religion. “Tóibín’s voice is so powerful and distinct, his descriptions so precise, that a single thread does weave through each of these pieces and does not snap…” (Laura Hackett, The Sunday Times).

Publication date: January 17, 2023

What an Owl Knows

By Jennifer Ackerman

Jennifer Ackerman knows birds. She’s an award-winning science writer and the New York Times bestselling author of The Genius of Birds and The Bird Way. In What an Owl Knows, due out on June 13, Ackerman trains her focus on the owl, a nocturnal bird of prey revered throughout human history and charged with a wise and mystical aura. But how much do we really know about these enigmatic creatures? Ackerman draws on new scientific findings and her own field research to round out her portrait of owls. With 260 owl species and a variety of hunting, nesting, and communication techniques, there’s plenty to learn. And yet, Ackerman’s new narrative never reads like a science textbook. Instead, Ackerman makes science personal and approachable as she dives into the mythology and natural history of this cherished and elusive bird.

Publication date: June 13, 2023

The Wager

By David Grann

David Grann, the New York Times bestselling author and journalist of Killers of the Flower Moon, takes us on a gripping voyage 300 years into the past in this nautical true crime mystery. The Wager, due out on April 18, takes its name from the British warship that sank off the coast of Patagonia in 1741. Months after the ship’s sinking, emaciated survivors of the shipwreck turned up on the coast of Brazil. They received a hero’s welcome — that is until a second raft of survivors appeared and told a very different story of mutiny and murder. Grann vividly brings this high-seas mystery to life in The Wager, examining all angles of the event to create a riveting narrative.

Publication date: April 18, 2023

Bloodbath Nation

By Paul Auster

Award-winning author Paul Auster pulls no punches in his dissection of gun culture and gun violence in America. Bloodbath Nation is a searing examination of the history of gun use in our country, from the colonial era through the Wild West to our present moment of mass shootings and rampant firearm violence. Why is the U.S. so polarized on the issue of gun rights and gun control? What makes the U.S. one of the most violent countries in the Western world? Auster’s clear-eyed analysis, combined with Spencer Ostrander’s unflinching photos from mass shootings across the country, focuses the reader on the essential arguments, issues, and facts that demand a national reckoning. Boldly told, Bloodbath Nation presents “a harrowing, haunting reflection on the routine slaughter wrought by guns” (Kirkus, starred review).

Publication date: January 10, 2023

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