Feature Image Credit: @putnambooks
New year, new books! With 2022 coming in hot, there’s a brand-new batch of books arriving 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.
Let’s Get Physical by Danielle Friedman (January 4, 2022)
Although it’s perfectly acceptable for women to work out in today’s world, it wasn’t that long ago that it was frowned upon. There was a time when it was considered unladylike for a female to sweat or appear stronger than a man. As humankind has progressed, luckily so have the social norms when it comes to exercising. In this book, Danielle Friedman takes us for a walk down memory lane, revisiting the inception of step aerobics along with the variety of fitness crazes that have crossed our paths. From empowerment to inclusivity, this book is a great motivator to kick off the new year.
A Little Closer to Home by Ginger Zee (January 11, 2022)
Depression and mental health can be tough things to tackle, but Ginger Zee recognizes the importance of normalizing the discussion. As a self-proclaimed people pleaser, it was challenging for her to peel back the layers and figure out what she needed to find her bliss, instead of focusing on everyone else’s happiness. Through her storytelling of struggles and hope, she takes the reader on a journey of self-love. It wasn’t until she allowed herself to be vulnerable that she started healing. She hopes that she can help others do the same.
Enough Already by Valerie Bertinelli (January 18, 2022)
Beyond Valerie Bertinelli being a celebrity, her story paints the picture of an extremely relatable woman going through normal mid-life trials and tribulations. As a female in her fifties, she started to face new challenges, including taking care of her ailing mother. Despite a successful career and critically acclaimed cookbook, she still felt self-conscious if she gained weight or started showing signs of aging. It wasn’t until she lost her mother and found an old recipe box that she said, “enough!” This is a story about self-acceptance and embracing the journey, no matter what part of the path you’re on.
Heiresses by Laura Thompson (February 1, 2022)
When the average person thinks of an heiress, thoughts of money, fame and excess run through the mind. Even though that may appear to be the case on the outside, many times it’s a much different situation on the inside. This book takes a look at some of the trials and tribulations that these women have had to go through, along with stories of success and charity. These pages highlight some of the most well-known ladies of luxury and paint quite a different picture than what the modern-day media displays. You’ll learn how some had to fight for equality, which was worth way more than any money.
God Is a Black Woman by Christena Cleveland (February 8, 2022)
Even though Christena was raised to believe in God, she had a realization that this particular God was no longer working for her. The God that she had believed in all of these years is perceived as a white man, for all intents and purposes, and she started to think about how this idea continued to fuel racism, oppression, and powerlessness. To re-evaluate everything she knew, she embarked on a spiritual journey through France to create her path of faith. Her intimate story encourages the reader to question old ways of thinking and deconstruct the things that are hindering growth.
The Lonely Hunter by Aimée Lutkin (February 8, 2022)
While it’s common for more and more people to stay single, there is still a stigma attached to being unhitched. It seems that the older you get, the more questions arise about marital status. As an unattached woman in her thirties, Aimée sat down to enjoy dinner with her coupled-up friends when all of a sudden, she was facing a barrage of questions about her dating status. She decided to take matters into her own hands and do a social experiment, dating as many people as she could within one year. If rules were made to be broken, this is the book that is going to permit you to do just that.
This Monk Wears Heels by Kodo Nishimura (February 8, 2022)
This life was meant to be lived full of authenticity and Kodo Nishimura is doing just that. At one time or another, all of us feel like we don’t fit in. This story takes a Buddhist approach to what it means to truly live your best life and to let all of your uniqueness shine through, even if that means outrageous outfits and the highest heels. This book encourages you to let those feelings of inadequacy go so that you can trade them in for self-acceptance. You’ll learn how to start releasing your fears and begin to live a life full of celebration.
In Defense of Witches by Mona Chollet (March 8, 2022)
Witches are often perceived as being evil, scary and fictional characters that come to life on Halloween. While this may be the common way of thinking, there is a lot more history behind the horror stories. This book takes a deep dive into the true stories of witches from the past and how they lived. Mona explains how different types of women were accused of witchcraft and the persecution they faced. Connecting the past with the present, she examines how some things haven’t changed enough for the women who are choosing to live life on their terms.
Finding Me by Viola Davis (April 26, 2022)
Viola Davis is well known for her acting chops, but now it’s time to see her in a different light. Her memoir isn’t sugar-coated, allowing the reader to gain true insight into her life, both on and off the screen. She takes you on a personal journey, starting from her younger years and landing here in the present day. Although honest raw, she tells her tale in a way that is truly inspiring and loaded with optimism. This relatable read is one to look forward to in 2022, and also one you won’t want to put down.
BI 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.
With 2022 in full swing, it’s a good time to update your reading list. Luckily, there’s a new batch of memoirs set to hit the shelves this spring and summer. These page-turners are filled with true-life stories that will keep you captivated from cover to cover.
Left on Tenth by Delia Ephron (April 12, 2022)
Delia couldn’t catch a break; she lost her sister and husband to cancer back-to-back. When she decided to let go of her husband’s landline one day, all hell broke loose, and she found herself in internet limbo. Delia decided to seek solace in writing, and her work caught the attention of recently widowed Peter. As they began to commiserate and collaborate, they also fell madly in love. But the upswing was cut short when Delia was diagnosed with AML, an aggressive form of leukemia. You’ll root for Delia all the way to the last page in this heart-wrenching memoir.
Constructing a Nervous System by Margo Jefferson (April 12, 2022)
Margo Jefferson credits her colorful life to the cast of characters who shaped her world growing up. In this captivating memoir, Margo fills the pages with the people who profoundly affected her – good, bad, and indifferent. Jefferson beautifully expresses what a black female body is capable of, from ballet dancers to Olympic athletes. With Ike Turner and Bing Crosby showing up as her alter-egos, while her parents come to life in the form of a jazz duo, the reader will remain entertained from start to finish. Her memoir provides a poignant look at the American perspective from a specific pair of eyes.
Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott (April 12, 2022)
Early in life, Mary Philpott developed an interesting habit of always being on the lookout for danger. As she got older and became a mom, this instinct only intensified. However, Mary didn’t let it debilitate her; in fact, she used it to be optimistic. As long as she kept an eye out, she could keep her family safe. But when a tragedy leaves her son unconscious, her whole outlook completely changes. This book looks at what it means to face your fears, especially when what you are most afraid of becomes part of your darkest reality.
Hello, Molly! By Molly Shannon (April 12, 2022)
At just four years old, Molly’s mom, little sister, and cousin were all killed in a terrible car accident while her dad was driving. Left to be raised by her grieving father, she grew up in a very lackadaisical environment, where she used comedy to cope. It became clear that Molly was genuinely talented, which led her to develop her comedic skills in New York City. Soon after, she became a well-known household name for her role on Saturday Night Live. These pages are filled with funny behind-the-scenes encounters with the rich and famous and shed new light on the life story of this funny lady.
Burn the Page by Danica Roem (April 26, 2022)
As a transgender woman, Danica Roem made history when she unseated Bob Marshall as Virginia state delegate. She knew going in that this would be a bumpy road and strategized how she could put herself in the best light possible. She hired someone who could dig up every unfavorable story and help her re-tell it. Prepared to take on anything that her opponent picked up from the past, Danica was able to set fire to the tall tales that weren’t true and show real growth from the things that no longer defined her. This powerful memoir shows that it’s never too late to re-write your story.
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.
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.
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.
An Immense World by Ed Young (June 21, 2022)
Ed Young takes readers on a journey through the sensory world of wildlife, eloquently describing the sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes experienced by a variety of sophisticated creatures. He discusses fish that have the ability to send electrical messages down a river, turtles that can sense the Earth’s magnetic fields, and the extraordinary evolution of several other animals and insects. An immersive glimpse into the existence of creatures that experience the world in unique and beautiful ways.
Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe (June 28, 2022)
In this collection of his most celebrated New Yorker articles, Patrick Radden Keefe explores the lives and motivations of a variety of criminals, rebels, and outliers. Amongst others, he writes about cases that deal with expensive wine forgeries, questionable whistleblowers, sketchy arms merchants, those facing the death penalty, and those who represent them. This culmination of his work paints a captivating portrait of crime, corruption, and human behavior.
Why Didn’t You Tell Me? by Carmen Rita Wong (July 12, 2022)
Former national television host, professor, and advice columnist Carmen Rita Wong tells all in this memoir about the secrets her mother kept from her and the ways in which they impacted her life. She discusses her childhood in Harlem, surrounded by Black and brown Latina women, her time in Chinatown with her hustler father, and the white playgrounds in New Hampshire where she relocated after her mother remarried. As she got older and her relationship with her mother began to fray at the edges, Carmen started questioning everything she thought she knew. When her mother’s secrets were finally revealed, it was too late. Why Didn’t You Tell Me? is a compelling story about race, culture, and the hidden histories we keep within us.
Animal Joy by Nuar Alsadir (August 16, 2022)
In this enlightening book about the power of laughter, poet and psychoanalyst Nuar Alsadir describes the importance of being present and feeling alive. She combines personal experiences and theoretical concepts, drawing from her time in clown school and her knowledge of a variety of subjects (such as Anna Karenina’s morphine addiction, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and laugh tracks). Woven throughout the book is her relationship with her daughters, a warm intercession that constantly challenges Alsadir and her thinking. A unique meditation on the importance of staying connected to one’s true self.
Nomad Century by Gaia Vince (August 23, 2022)
Gaia Vince dives into the seismic repercussions of climate change and its effects on global migration. As diminishing coastlines, wildfires, and hurricanes rewrite our planet’s human geography, the threat of displacement looms for billions. Vince draws on her travel experiences and career in environmental reporting to educate readers about the changes that will ultimately reshape our way of life.
Who I Am by Melanie Chisholm (September 15, 2022)
A member of the iconic Spice Girls band, Melanie Chisholm shares her experience in the music industry and the ups and downs of her journey to stardom. She reflects on the highlights, describing performances at Madison Square Garden and the London 2012 Olympics, and discloses struggles she faced as a woman in the spotlight. Her memoir is insightful, inspiring, entertaining, and powerful.
The Family Outing by Jessi Hempel (October 4, 2022)
Growing up, Jessi Hempel and her siblings were conflicted and struggling as they grappled with their family, their identities, and the world they lived in. But by the time they reached adulthood, everyone in Jessi’s seemingly perfect middle-class American family had come out: Jessi and her father as gay, her brother as transgender, her sister as bisexual, and her mother as a survivor of a harrowing experience with a serial killer. Revealing these things allowed the Hempel family to explore other personal truths, helping them discover a sense of freedom and belonging.
Inciting Joy: Essays by Ross Gay (October 25, 2022)
In this collection of poignant essays, poet and author Ross Gay explores the joy incited by caring for others and creating meaningful connections. “We Kin,” “Share Your Bucket,” “Grief Suite,” and “Through My Tears I Saw” dive into concepts of remedial nature, toxic masculinity, and healing through grief. Gay’s eloquent works paint a beautiful portrait of what could be possible if we more often devoted our attention to the things that unite us.
Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono (November 1, 2022)
In this captivating memoir, iconic artist and activist Bono reveals the experiences that shaped him, inspired him, and humbled him. He describes the loss of his mother during his adolescence, U2’s wild success as a rock band, and his tenure as an activist devoted to the fight against AIDS and poverty. An honest reflection written with humor and sincerity, the story of Bono’s life is as inspiring as one would have guessed.
Conversations with Birds by Priyanka Kumar (November 8, 2022)
Filmmaker and author Priyanka Kumar shares her passion for wildlife and preservation in this study of the transformative power of nature. Raised at the foot of the Himalayas in India, Kumar was disappointed after moving to North America and consistently witnessing destruction of the environment. But when she moved to Los Angeles in her twenties to work on films, she was finally able to reconnect with her surroundings through birdwatching. This collection of essays follows Kumar across the American West, describing the experiences that shaped her while she studied the magnificent avian world.
How Far the Light Reaches by Sabrina Imbler (December 6, 2022)
This collection of essays written by science and conservation journalist Sabrina Imbler dives into the deep sea to explore the mystery of several creatures lurking below where the light reaches. Each essay focuses on one of these creatures: A mother octopus who starves herself while ensuring her eggs are safe, the Chinese sturgeon who struggles to migrate due to pollution and dams, colonies of deep-sea crabs that survive off the chemicals and heat emanating from the core of the Earth, and several others. How Far the Light Reaches examines the communities and relationships between the ocean’s wildlife and its surrounding environment and discusses ideas of adaptation, survival, sexuality, and care, prompting readers to reimagine the way we live our own lives.
Weightless by Evette Dionne (December 6, 2022)
In this deeply insightful and important novel, author Evette Dionne dives into personal experiences and milestones, and highlights how race and weight intersect with social variables like relationships, sex, health, and image. Through this journey, she shines a light on the obstacles and restrictions created by societal prejudices that fat women face every day. Dionne introduces a whole new perspective to many readers and brings attention to the neglect, stigma, and fetishization that often goes unnoticed by many in our society. Weightless crucially encourages us to recognize the “subtle” reinforcements and consequences of our prejudices, as well as the importance and empowerment of self-love.