Most Anticipated Summer 2021 Nonfiction Books
There are many exciting nonfiction releases that will be hitting bookshelves by storm in Summer 2021. There are some captivating memoirs, untold stories, investigations, treasure hunts, life at sea and so much more. So make space on your bookshelves, stop by your favorite indie bookstore, and make those library requests after you’ve browsed our most anticipated Summer 2021 nonfiction book list!
The Windsor Diaries by Alathea Fitzalan Howard
The never-before-published diaries of Alathea Fitzalan Howard–who spent her teenaged years living out World War II in Windsor Great Park with her close friends Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth, the future queen of the United Kingdom–provide an extraordinary and intimate look at the British Royal Family.
The Nine by Gwen Strauss
The Nine follows the true story of the author’s great aunt Hélène Podliasky, who led a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escaped a German forced labor camp and made a ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII from Germany back to Paris.
My Time Will Come by Ian Manuel
The inspiring story of activist and poet Ian Manuel, who at the age of fourteen was sentenced to life in prison. He survived eighteen years in solitary confinement–through his own determination and dedication to art–until he was freed as part of an incredible crusade by the Equal Justice Initiative.
Madhouse at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton
The harrowing true survival story of an early polar expedition that went terribly awry–with the ship frozen in ice and the crew trapped inside for the entire sunless, Antarctic winter.
Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Notes on Grief is an exquisite work of meditation, remembrance, and hope, written in the wake of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s beloved father’s death in the summer of 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged around the world, and kept Adichie and her family members separated from one another, her father succumbed unexpectedly to complications of kidney failure.
Better, Not Bitter by Yusef Salaam
This inspirational memoir serves as a call to action from prison reform activist Yusef Salaam, of the Exonerated Five, that will inspire us all to turn our stories into tools for change in the pursuit of racial justice.
Nothing Personal by Nancy Jo Sales
A raw and funny memoir about sex, dating, and relationships in the digital age, intertwined with a brilliant investigation into the challenges to love and intimacy wrought by dating apps.
Chasing the Thrill by Daniel Barbarisi
A full-throttle, first-person account of the treasure hunt created by eccentric millionaire art dealer—and, some would say, robber baron—Forrest Fenn that became the stuff of contemporary legend.
Downeast by Gigi Georges
In Downeast, Gigi Georges follows five girls as they come of age in one of the most challenging and geographically isolated regions on the Eastern seaboard. Their stories reveal surprising truths about rural America and offer hope for its future.
Things I Learned from Falling by Claire Nelson
The gripping first-person account of one woman’s survival in Joshua Tree National Park against the odds. Claire tells not only her story of surviving, but also her story of falling. What led this successful thirty-something to a desert trail on the other side of the globe from her home where no one knew she would be that day? At once the unbelievable story of an impossible event, and the human journey of a young woman wrestling with the agitation of past and anxiety of future.
The Lost Boys of Montauk by Amanda M. Fairbanks
An immersive account of a tragedy at sea whose repercussions haunt its survivors to this day. The story itself is a universal tale of family and brotherhood; it’s about what happens when the dreams and ambitions of affluent and working-class families collide. Captivating and powerful, The Lost Boys of Montauk explores one of the most important questions we face as humans: how do memories of the dead inform the lives of those left behind?
Footnotes by Caseen Gaines
The triumphant story of the all-Black Broadway musical that changed the world forever.
Footnotes is the story of how Sissle and Blake, along with comedians Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles, overcame poverty, racism, and violence to harness the energy of the Harlem Renaissance and produce a runaway Broadway hit that launched the careers of many of the twentieth century’s most beloved Black performers.
House of Sticks by Ly Tran
An intimate, beautifully written coming-of-age memoir recounting a young girl’s journey from war-torn Vietnam to Ridgewood, Queens, and her struggle to find her voice amid clashing cultural expectations.
Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
Somebody’s Daughter steps into the world of growing up a poor, Black girl in Indiana with a family fragmented by incarceration, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she embarks on a powerful journey to find the threads between who she is and what she was born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them.
Pure Flame by Michelle Orange
Through a blend of memoir, social history, and cultural criticism, Pure Flame pursues a chain of personal, intellectual, and collective inheritance, tracing the forces that helped transform the world and what a woman might expect from it. Told with warmth and rigor, Orange’s account of her mother’s life and their relationship is pressurized in critical and unexpected ways, resulting in an essential, revelatory meditation on becoming, selfhood, freedom, mortality, storytelling, and what it means to be a mother’s daughter now.
Cack-Handed by Gina Yashere
The British comedian of Nigerian heritage and co-executive producer and writer of the CBS hit series Bob Hearts Abishola chronicles her odyssey to get to America and break into Hollywood in this lively and humorous memoir.
Ethel Rosenberg by Anne Sebba
New York Times bestselling author Anne Sebba’s moving biography of Ethel Rosenberg, the wife and mother whose execution for espionage-related crimes defined the Cold War and horrified the world.
Home Made by Liz Hauck
A tender and vivid memoir about the radical grace we discover when we consider ourselves bound together in community, and a moving account of one woman’s attempt to answer the essential question: Who are we to one another?
The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson
A sharp, hilarious memoir about a nontraditional upbringing and growing up Black in a predominantly white community. With humor, wit, and deep insight, Danielle shares how she grew up and grew wise–and the lessons she’s carried from those days to these. In the process, she upends our conventional understanding of family and redefines its boundaries to include the millions of people that share her story.
Forget the Alamo by Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, Jason Stanford
Three noted Texan writers combine forces to tell the real story of the Alamo, dispelling the myths, exploring why they had their day for so long, and explaining why the ugly fight about its meaning is now coming to a head.
Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi
Through candid, intimate correspondence with friends, lovers, and family, Emezi traces the unfolding of a self and the unforgettable journey of a creative spirit stepping into power in the human world. Their story weaves through transformative decisions about their gender and body, their precipitous path to success as a writer, and the turmoil of relationships on an emotional, romantic, and spiritual plane, culminating in a book that is as tender as it is brutal.
Where You Are Is Not Who You Are by Ursula Burns
The first Black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company looks back at her life and her career at Xerox, sharing unique insights on American business and corporate life, the workers she has always valued, racial and economic justice, how greed is threatening democracy, and the obstacles she’s conquered being Black and a woman.
Live Your Life by Amanda Kloots
Live Your Life is the story of Nick and Amanda’s life together–of their beautiful relationship, of Nick’s dramatic fight for survival, of those sudden tragic months that permanently changed her world and ours–and of their interrupted future as a family.
Seeing Serena by Gerald Marzorati
A riveting chronicle of trailblazing tennis champion and cultural icon Serena Williams’s turbulent 2019 tour season and a revealing portrait of who she is, both on and off the court.
Miseducated by Brandon P. Fleming
An inspiring memoir of one man’s transformation from a delinquent, drug-dealing dropout to an award-winning Harvard educator through literature and debate–all by the age of twenty-seven.
The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore
From the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Radium Girls comes another dark and dramatic but ultimately uplifting tale of a forgotten woman whose inspirational journey sparked lasting change for women’s rights and exposed injustices that still resonate today.
Leaving Breezy Street by Brenda Myers-Powell, April Reynolds
Belonging on the shelf with Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle and Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, Leaving Breezy Street–the stunning account of Brenda Myers-Powell’s brutal and beautiful life–is a critical addition to the American canon.
Vessel by Chongda Cai, translated by Dylan Levi King
An unprecedented and heartfelt memoir that illuminates the lives of rural Chinese workers, offering a portrait of generational strife, family, love, and loss that crosses cultures and time.
London's Number One Dog-Walking Agency by Kate MacDougall
The irresistibly charming memoir of a young woman who started her own business as a dog walker for London’s busy, well-heeled dog lovers. A true love letter to London, dogs, and growing up.
Swan Dive by Georgina Pazcoguin
Award-winning New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin, aka the Rogue Ballerina, gives readers a backstage tour of the real world of elite ballet–the gritty, hilarious, sometimes shocking truth you don’t see from the orchestra circle.
Ladyparts by Deborah Copaken
A frank, witty, and dazzlingly written memoir of one woman trying to keep it together while her body falls apart–from the New York Times bestselling author of Shutterbabe.
This Will All Be Over Soon by Cecily Strong
A powerful memoir from the Saturday Night Live cast member Cecily Strong about grieving the death of her cousin–and embracing the life-affirming lessons he taught her–amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Baby Girl: Better Known as Aaliyah by Kathy Iandoli
The definitive biography of Aaliyah–the talented R&B singer and artist whose tragic death at only twenty-two years old shocked the entertainment world and solidified her as an unforgettable music legend, featuring new in-depth research and exclusive interviews.
Sometimes I Trip On How Happy We Could Be by Nichole Perkins
A passionate, magnetic memoir that explores writer and podcast host Nichole Perkins’s obsession with pop culture and the challenges of navigating relationships as a Black woman through feminism and Southern mores.
Center Center by James Whiteside
A daring, joyous, and inspiring memoir-in-essays from the American Ballet Theatre principal dancer-slash-drag queen-slash-pop star who’s redefining what it means to be a man in ballet.
Seeing Ghosts by Kat Chow
For readers of Helen Macdonald and Elizabeth Alexander, an intimate and haunting portrait of grief and the search for meaning from a singular new talent as told through the prism of three generations of her Chinese American family.
Are you looking forward to any of these books?
What nonfiction books are you looking forward to in 2021? What books would you add to the list?