Feature photo @ChloeKBenjamin
Summer 2022, meet your reading buddies! While there is amazing nonfiction/memoir coming out all year long in 2022, here’s a brand-new batch of books arriving this summer to join in the fun. If you’re looking to add some interesting books to your collection, this list will not disappoint. Whether you like memoirs or true stories, these non-fiction finds are the ultimate page-turners.
Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver (May 3, 2022)
Although Minnie Driver attended acting school in her youth, she was the only student in her class that did not get signed with an agent. But it wouldn’t take long for her to be discovered, and soon after, she shot to stardom as a movie star in the ’90s. Although acting was her passion, nothing captured her heart like the birth of her son, and nothing broke it more than the death of her mother. As an Academy Award nominee and a single mother, Minnie’s memoir is engaging, intriguing and inspiring. Raw and real, her story reminds us that life is beautiful, even when it is messy.
Mean Baby by Selma Blair (May 17, 2022)
From a young age, Selma was told that she was a mean baby; her mouth was always snarled, and she constantly looked angry. She decided she should live up to that reputation and behaved as badly as possible throughout her youth. Even though Selma went on to find fame as a successful Hollywood actress, she couldn’t shrug off this dark side that haunted her. She also began to acknowledge the physical pain she felt and how she would cope with alcohol. Later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she was forced to face her demons head-on. This is her story, and it’s both heartbreaking and beautiful.
James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life by James Patterson (June 6, 2022)
James Patterson recollects his journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of the world’s most best-selling authors in this enthralling memoir. Patterson shares that, as a boy, he didn’t even like reading. In his first jobs, he worked at a mental hospital and then worked in advertising. After a series of run-ins and chance encounters, he found the path that would lead him to become a writer and a man who rubs elbows with celebrities and presidents.
We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power by Caleb Gayle (June 7, 2022)
We Refuse to Forget is an astonishing story that tells the untold history of the Creek Nation and the Black citizens that were accepted into their tribe in the 1800s. The Creek Nation was a native tribe that both owned slaves and accepted Black citizens. Cow Tom, a Black chief of the tribe, helped the tribe gain recognition by the U.S. government. Decades later, the citizenship of Black Creek members was revoked. Author Caleb Gayle uncovers the story of corruption and greed that lead to this decision and tells the story of the Black Creek members still fighting to be recognized as Creek Nation tribal members.
Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa (June 14, 2022)
Under the Skin is essential reading this summer as Linda Villarosa exposes the powers operating within the American health care system that cause Black Americans to be unhealthier and die more quickly than white Americans. Villarosa shares numerous studies showing that medical treatment and care of Black people is overall less effective and delivers far worse outcomes than for white people. Further, this eye-opening exposé lays bare the indisputable facts that suggest that the toll of racism directly impacts the health of Black people.
BI: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality by Julia Shaw (June 28, 2022)
We’ve come a long way when it comes to inclusivity, but we’ve still got miles to go when it comes to creating lasting change. This book beautifully illustrates the common and quiet struggles that many bisexuals experience. Even though bisexuality is statistically more common than homosexuality, it can often be more misunderstood. Julia draws on her own experiences to deliver an honest look at the hidden culture of bisexuality in this extremely important book. While the human life is filled with complexities, her hope is for people to realize that love and respect are what truly matter.
The Man Who Could Move Clouds by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (July 12, 2022)
Although Ingrid was raised amongst political chaos in the 1980s and ’90s of Colombia, she was more interested in her mom’s busy fortune-telling business. Her maternal grandfather was a healer who held the “secrets,” giving him the power to see the future, help the sick, and speak to the dead. Ingrid never felt that she inherited their abilities until she sustained a head injury that left her with amnesia one day. Convinced that this was her ticket to learning the “secrets,” her mom takes her back to Colombia to explore the family history and what it means to trust in things we cannot explain.
Crying in the Bathroom by Erika L. Sánchez (July 12, 2022)
Born to Mexican immigrants and raised in Chicago, Erika took the nineties by storm as a self-proclaimed oddball. She didn’t fit in, but did her best to stand out with her signature black nail polish and her ability to make people laugh. Joking around was her favorite thing, and she often found herself leaving the school classroom because she was laughing too hard. However, that comedic timing paid off later and led her to become an award-winning novelist. This collection of essays covers it all – from depression to feminism and sex to self-awareness, all while sprinkling in laughter along the way.
All Down Darkness Wide by Seán Hewitt (July 12, 2022)
Seán Hewitt delivers a beautiful and unforgettable memoir about finding happiness and being queer, two things that are often at odds in our imperfect world. Partly a love story and partly an exploration of identity, Hewitt shares his journey from loneliness to community, from darkness to light. He references history, touches on mental illness, and explores the impact of community in this breathtaking memoir.
None of the Above: Reflections on Life Beyond the Binary by Travis Alabanza (August 4, 2022)
Another must-read this summer is the illuminating and relevant memoir from performance artist Travis Alabanza. In None of the Above, Alabanza considers seven sentences people have said to Alabanza about their gender identity. Alabanza shares how these seven sentences impacted and informed their thoughts on gender and identity as well as how these sentences affected them personally. Through this exploration, Alabanza challenges society to rethink how we live and to imagine new possibilities for the future.
Fruit Punch by Kendra Allen (August 9, 2022)
As a millennial Black woman in the south, growing up in the nineties and early 2000s was an interesting time for Kendra in Dallas, Texas. Although forced to conform to her family’s conservative values, she would find a way to rebel whenever she could. Even though she was required to wear stockings to her uncle’s Southern Baptist Church, she’d poke a hole in every pair. Yet, Kendra did her best to come into her own while managing her family’s expectations. This is a collection of stories that boldly illustrate her experiences with class, race, and what it means to be brutally honest in a complicated world.
A Visible Man by Edward Enninful (September 6, 2022)
In this provocative memoir, Edward Enninful shares his incredible journey from a working class background to becoming editor-in-chief of fashion’s most coveted magazine—and how he used that power to create change. As the first Black editor-in-chief, Enninful helped create opportunities for designers and photographers of color to be included in British Vogue. He also championed activists and changemakers by putting them on the cover. Enninful offers wisdom and thought-provoking insights about appreciating beauty not just in the fashion industry, but in our world.