Stories from and about moms, introverts, maids and bank robbers, this selected list of nonfiction from 2019 will enlighten and inform you. From a high-profile sexual assault trial to three women searching for love and affection and an actress who is balancing beauty in the every day, these are the best nonfiction books of 2019.
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Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land
When a fling turned into a pregnancy, Stephanie Land’s plans to go to college and become a writer were halted. She became a housekeeper so she could provide for her daughter and took classes online to get her college degree. She kept writing. She wrote the stories not being told, the ones needed to be heard – what it’s like to live on food stamps, how the government programs operate, how people told her she was lucky. In Maid, she writes about her clients and their lives, their sadness and their love, while she creates a new path for her family. Compassionate and inspiring, Maid is a must-read.
Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller
Everyone knew her as Emily Doe during the Brock Turner sexual assault trial. But now everyone knows her name: Chanel Miller. This is her account of the trauma she experienced the night Brock Turner raped her and also the trauma she experienced by our justice system as they minimized what happened to her. Perfect for those who are passionate about the #MeToo movement, this memoir will introduce you to an extraordinary person and writer.
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
Three women. A homemaker and mother of two in a passionless marriage, Lina suffers daily panic attacks. When she reconnects with an old flame the affair is all-consuming. Seventeen-year-old Maggie has had a relationship with her married English teacher and a criminal trial will rock her small community. Sloane is a restaurant owner who is happily married. But her husband enjoys watching her have sex with other people, both men and women. Follow along with these three women as we learn from their experiences that we are not alone.
The Body Papers: A Memoir by Grace Talusan
Filipino Grace Talusan moves to New England in the ‘70s and things do not go well. She is confronted with racism because she looks different from the others. Her grandfather is abusing her. She learns early on how to protect herself with a wall of silence as she soon finds that no matter what is happening, ‘family is first.’ Abuse and trauma during childhood affect her mental health and all her relationships, and as she gets older, she discovers her family has been riddled with violence and abuse. Something else her family is afflicted with: cancer. When Grace is in her 30s she has to make some serious medical decisions. Despite it all, she becomes a successful teacher and falls in love, later returning to the Philippines to make peace and reclaim herself.
Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan
Jessica Pan decided to put herself out there for one year in order to discover what happens when an introvert makes big changes. She plans personal tasks like talking to strangers, doing standup, traveling alone and hosting dinner parties in order to implement change in her life. Hilarious and painful at times, her misadventures will have you cringing and laughing!
Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History by Peter Houlahan
Courtroom drama mixed with action, Norco ’80 is the true story of an attempted bank robbery that turned out to be one of the most violent events in the U.S. The bank robbers were armed with military-grade weapons and as they tried to make their getaway, the towns became war zones. A helicopter forced from the sky, 32 police cars ruined by gunshot, 20 wounded and three dead, the event and the resulting trial shook the community. Post-traumatic stress disorder, extreme religious beliefs and how the local police band together round out this action-packed and thought-provoking read.
This Particular Happiness: A Childless Love Story by Jackie Shannon Hollis
Jackie marries Bill knowing full well that he doesn’t want children, but when she holds her newborn niece, she gets the longing for a child of her own and begins to wonder if she made the wrong decision to be childless. Navigating roles of wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and more, Jackie considers the path she has taken and all its messy and beautiful details in This Particular Happiness.
Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression by Teresa Wong
Author Teresa Wong writes a letter to her daughter, Scarlet, detailing her postpartum depression. Heartbreaking yet equally funny, it is a story of quiet desperation immersed with feelings of inadequacy and loss. Dealing with her fears and anxieties, and searching for a remedy, we learn of one woman’s battle and the real effects of postpartum depression in Dear Scarlet.
The Art of Happy Moving: How to Declutter, Pack, and Start Over While Maintaining Your Sanity and Finding Happiness by Ali Wenzke
Moving is tough! I’ve had the pleasure of doing so cross-country with three kids in tow. Rather than being overwhelmed, why not look at it as a new adventure? Author Ali Wenzke has moved with her husband 10 times in 11 years and has lived in seven states. In her book, The Art of Happy Moving, she shares invaluable advice and tips. From selling your house and saying goodbye to friends, to making new friends and finding your happy new home, you’ll be feeling Home Sweet Home in no time.
Gracefully You: Finding Beauty and Balance in the Everyday by Jenna Dewan
Actress Jenna Dewan shares her personal journey in order to help readers find their true self and how to connect on a deeper level in order to live with grace. From the importance of movement, mantras, establishing physical and spiritual boundaries, Gracefully You shows readers how to create a happy life.
(Feature image courtesy of @readtheresistance)
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