BitchReads: The 30 Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2018

Nonfiction deepens our individual and collective understanding of the human experience. Whether it’s learning about the last living person to survive the transatlantic slave trade or the intense social pressure fat people face, nonfiction books shows us the world through the lens of the writer, their research, and the people they’ve encountered or interviewed on their journeys.

Since life is an ongoing learning experience, Bitch has compiled 30 nonfiction books that will open new worlds for those who read them. You’ll learn about police violence activists, a Native American woman navigating the classic coming-of-age pitfalls, and a writer with a chronic illness who’s fighting to survive. Immerse yourself in their experiences and those of the people they’ve chronicled, and emerge with more wisdom and understanding.

These are our Bitch Approved nonfiction releases for 2018.

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1. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Seal Press
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Price: $27.00

Buy It Now

Ijeoma Oluo has built a career on speaking truth to power. Whether profiling Rachel Dolezal in a widely-read piece for The Stranger or calling out USA Today for insinuating that those who are holding serial predators accountable don’t believe in due process, Oluo forces institutions and people to grapple with their complicity in oppressive systems. In her first book, So You Want to Talk About Race, Oluo offers a guidebook for those who want to confront racism and white supremacy in their everyday lives, but are unsure where to start.

 

2. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Price: $24.99

Buy It Now

Black women rarely publish coming-of-age memoirs, particularly ones that grapple with issues that are often gendered as male, such as mass incarceration, the war on drugs, and militarized policing. Patrisse Khan-Cullors, with the assistance of prominent writer asha bandele, breaks that mold in When They Call You a Terrorist. The Black Lives Matter cofounder beautifully merges memoir with political analysis to explore how oppression infiltrated so many aspects of her childhood in 1980s suburban Los Angeles. Khan-Cullors also explores how the death of Trayvon Martin ignited Black Lives Matter and presents a pathway forward for those invested in justice.

3. A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story About Schizophrenia by Sandra Allen

A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise

Scribner
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Price: $26.00

Buy It Now

Former BuzzFeed journalist Sandra Allen didn’t know much about her uncle Bob other than that he had spent time in mental hospitals in Berkeley, and then lived a pretty solitary life in a remote area of California. Then, in 2009, Bob sent Allen over 60 pages about being “labeled a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic” and living with the stigma of mental illness. She decided to piece together his story and combine his narrative with bigger cultural context about how we treat people with mental illnesses. A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise is a devastating yet humorous account of one man’s attempt to find and maintain normalcy.

4. This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black Female & Feminist in White America by Morgan Jerkins

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins

Harper Perennial
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Price: $15.99

Buy It Now

Morgan Jerkins is a prolific writer, essayist, and editor whose words about feminism, police violence, and even Josephine Baker’s iconic skirt soothe readers who are searching for guidance in such a tenuous political and cultural moment. In her debut essay collection, This Will Be My Undoing, the writing savant sifts through her life and pop culture to illuminate how she has navigated Blackness, womanhood, and so many other facets of her identity and the multitude of lessons she’s learned along the way.

 

5. Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Penguin Press
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Price: $28.00

Buy It Now

Zadie Smith has given us a plethora of successful and beloved novels to cherish, including Swing Time and White Teeth. Now, one of our generation’s most celebrated writers is delivering a collection of essays that explores everything from how Get Out uncovers every Black person’s deep-seated fear of racial terror to how Billie Holliday navigated her day-to-day life. Feel Free is a refreshing departure from the work most readers are accustomed to from Smith.

 

 

6. Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

Bloomsbury
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Price: $23.00

Buy It Now

Sherman Alexie has called Terese Marie Mailhot’s forthcoming memoir “an Iliad for the Indigenous.” That’s an understatement. Heart Berries is an innovative coming-of-age narrative about Mailhot’s upbringing on the Sea Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Through navigating a complicated childhood, which included her abusive father being murdered and her social-worker mother falling for prisoners, Mailhot learned to be self-reliant. Her memoir chronicles how she survived such a turbulent childhood and is learning to live with both post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II, and explores being Indigenous in a world that has neglected the community for centuries.

7. The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú

The Line Becomes a River

Riverhead Books
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Price: $26.00

Buy It Now

Americans are embroiled in a political debate about what becomes of undocumented immigrants. We often use absolutes when having those conversations without ever actually considering the immigrants who risk their lives and their freedom to cross borders. In The Line Becomes a River, former Border Patrol agent Francisco Cantú examines the four years he spent patrolling the borders of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, including the heinous tactics his fellow authorities used to capture those attempting to emigrate. By combining personal experiences with analysis of immigration, Cantú embodies the idea of the personal being political.

8. Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Price: $25.99

Buy It Now

What does it mean for Black women to use anger as a catalyst for their public and private interactions with their partners, politicians, coworkers, and family members? That’s the question Brittney Cooper, a women’s and gender studies professor at Rutgers University, explores in her highly anticipated third book, Eloquent Rage. Through a combination of cultural and political analysis, Cooper delves into how the perception of Black women’s anger and the reality of it frames our collective understanding of Black women.

 

9. Invisible: How Young Women with Serious Health Issues Navigate Work, Relationships, and the Pressure to Seem Just Fine by Michele Lent Hirsch

Invisible by Michele Lent Hirsch

Beacon Press
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Price: $26.95

Buy It Now

Illnesses strike young women all the time, but somehow, young women with chronic and serious illnesses are still considered exceptions to the rule rather than the rule itself. In Invisible, writer Michele Lent Hirsch offers an intimate portrait of the harrowing consequences of being ill for those who are supposed to be in the prime of their lives. Through her interviews with young women who’ve been diagnosed with serious illnesses, her own personal experience with overlooked medical issues, and expertise from leading researchers, Hirsch explores how they survive relationships, workplaces, and beauty standards.

 

10. Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain by Abby Norman

Ask Me About My Uterus by Abby Norman

Nation Books
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: $27.00

Buy It Now

In 2010, college student Abby Norman collapsed after taking a shower. She then lost 40 pounds and began sprouting gray hair, but doctors saw nothing wrong with her. Instead, they told her the excruciating pain was “all in her head.” So, Norman took her medical care in own hands and fought with her doctors until they diagnosed her with endometriosis. In Ask Me About My Uterus, Norman pairs her frustrating experience with research about the cultural disregard for women’s pain and delivers a compelling memoir that should be taught in every medical school.

 

11. Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure by Amy Kaufman

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman

Dutton
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: $25.00

Buy It Now

Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman has been integral in exposing the harmful and predatory behavior of men in Hollywood, including filmmaker Brett Ratner. In her first book, Kaufman turns her critical cultural lens on the Bachelor franchise, which has engrossed millions of people for 15 years and 35 seasons. Kaufman counts herself as a member of Bachelor Nation, and in this unauthorized journalistic feat, she explores our cultural fascination with the show as well as controversial behind-the-scene details that have been hidden from the public for far too long.

12. Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine & Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery

Doing Harm by Maya Dusenbery

HarperOne
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: $26.95

Buy It Now

Doing Harm is a gut punch. Through hard-hitting reporting and research, Feministing editorial director Maya Dusenbery shows how modern medicine is inadequately treating conditions that primarily impact women, leading to dangerous, and sometimes deadly, outcomes. Although 50 percent of women in the United States have a chronic illness, such as asthma and Alzheimer’s, doctors are still woefully undereducated about how symptoms differ between men and women, and research into the impact of these illnesses is underfunded. In her shocking book, Dusenbery exposes how women are harmed by this lack of investment in our survival.

 

13. Stealing the Show: How Women are Revolutionizing Television by Joy Press

Stealing the Show by Joy Press

Atria
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: $26.00

Buy It Now

We’re in the age of the female showrunner. Shonda Rhimes, Jill Soloway, Jenji Kohan, Courtney Kemp, Mindy Kaling, and many other women are leading their own television shows, and in the process, shaking up the entertainment industry. In Stealing the Show, veteran cultural journalist Joy Press examines the rise of female showrunners—beginning with Roseanne Barr of Roseanne and Diane English of Murphy Brown—and the barriers that have made the path for behind-the-scenes women more difficult. Stealing the Show is informative and incredibly entertaining, and features insight from the very women who are continuing to make cracks in television’s glass ceiling.

 

14. Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride

Tomorrow Will Be Different by Sarah McBride

Crown Archetype
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: $26.00

Buy It Now

In 2016, Sarah McBride made history when she became the first openly transgender person to speak at a national political convention. While that triumphant moment is emblazoned in the minds of those who watched, it was just one step in her journey. In Tomorrow Will Be Different, the prominent transgender activist and national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign traces her childhood, in which she always knew she was a girl, but hid her identity; her time at American University, where she served as student body president; and her decision to reveal that she’s transgender in a viral Facebook post. Tomorrow Will Be Different is an exhilarating and heartbreaking ride.

 

15. The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

The Recovering by Leslie Jamison

Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Price: $30.00

Buy It Now

Addiction is dominating headlines as an opioid epidemic sweeps America, ravaging both rural communities and communities of color. Addiction and recovery are often painted with broad strokes, but in The Recovering, New York Times-bestselling author Leslie Jamison excavates the illness and our societal relationship to it by blending memoir with sharp cultural criticism and empathetic reporting. The Recovering completely departs from the traditional memoir about addiction and offers a necessary perspective on a ravaging condition that so many people, including politicians, still don’t understand.

16. Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead—My Life Story by Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards

Touchstone Books
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Price: $27.00

Buy It Now

Cecile Richards is currently the president of Planned Parenthood, but she has spent her entire life creating necessary trouble in her quest for America to live up to its stated promise. In Make Trouble, Richards recounts her lifelong journey as an activist, which began in seventh grade when she was sent to the principal’s office for wearing an armband to protest the Vietnam War. Although Richards was raised in Texas, her parents were both social activists in their own right who encouraged their daughter to use her voice to make change. Make Trouble is a classic coming-of-age memoir that gives us a better understanding of one of feminism’s leading forces of change.

17. The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity by Sally Kohn

The Opposite of Hate by Sally Kohn

Algonquin Books
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Price: $27.95

Buy It Now

What causes people to hate and to act on their hatred? In The Opposite of Hate, popular political commentator Sally Kohn sets out to answer that question in a moment where acts fueled by hatred seemingly dominate the news cycle. By interviewing researchers, traveling around the world to interview former terrorists, white supremacists, and social media trolls, and mining her own history for understanding, Kohn presents a clear cut picture of what we’re collectively facing and what it will take to bend the arc toward justice.

 

18. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee

How to Write An Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee

Mariner Books
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Price: $15.99

Buy It Now

In his first collection of nonfiction essays, novelist Alexander Chee immortalizes himself through his art and literature. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is Chee’s ode to the work that has shaped him through his father’s death, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the recent election of Donald Trump. Chee’s essays are enlightening, revealing the true impact of the arts. Spending a life reading and writing leaves an indelible mark on those who embark on creative careers and changes our vision of the world, justice, and what it means to truly live.

 

19. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay

Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay

Harper Perennial
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Price: $26.99

Buy It Now

Roxane Gay has dedicated her career to peeling back the layers to reveal the interiority of lives that are often devalued and considered less than. She continues this critical work in Not That Bad, an anthology of essays about rape culture and how women who speak out against it are “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, [and] bullied.” With a mixture of work from writers, advocates, and survivors, including Gabrielle Union, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz, Not That Bad is an important intervention in a conversation that often feels circular.

20. Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave by Zora Neale Hurston

Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

Amistad
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Price: $25.99

Buy It Now

In 1927, anthropologist and celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston traveled to Plateau, Alabama, to interview Cudjo Lewis, the last known survivor of the Middle Passage. Lewis and other formerly enslaved people founded Plateau, which is just outside of Mobile. Four years later, Hurston moved to the city for more than three months to better understand him and record his memories of being transported across the Atlantic ocean over 50 years after the slave trade was supposedly outlawed. Now, 57 years after Hurston died penniless in Florida, their conversations have been compiled into a book that will surely shake up the world.

21. Landwhale: On Turning Insults Into Nicknames, Why Body Image Is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My Ass by Jes Baker

Landwhale by Jes Baker

Seal Press
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Price: $15.99

Buy It Now

When Jes Baker created satirical versions of Abercrombie & Fitch advertisements in 2013, she ended up on the Today Show, marking her arrival as one of the leading voices in the body positivity movement. Now, three years after her groundbreaking book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living, Baker is back with an equally as captivating look at her life as a fat girl and how our culture still devalues those whose bodies have been deemed unruly. True to form, Landwhale is full of wittiness and a lot of truth.

 

22. The Trials of Nina McCall: Sex, Surveillance, and the Decades-Long Government Plan to Imprison “Promiscuous” Women by Scott W. Stern

The Trials of Nina McCall by Scott W. Stern

Beacon Press
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Price: $26.95

Buy It Now

Women are the fastest-growing prison population, and though this seems like a new phenomenon, it has sordid roots in the “American Plan,” a covert operation that penalized women who contracted sexually-transmitted diseases. In The Trials of Nina McCall, Scott W. Stern explores how women such as 18-year-old Nina McCall were wrongfully incarcerated between the early 1900s and the 1950s. This mass quarantine, which was supported in the upper-echelon of the federal government, undergirds current policies around incarceration and fuels the dehumanization of female prisoners. The Trials of Nina McCall has already been optioned for screen.

23. Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist by Franchesca Ramsey

Franchesca Ramsey

Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Price: $27.00

Buy It Now

Franchesca Ramsey is a comedic force. Whether it’s her viral “What White Girls Say to Black Girls” YouTube video, her hilarious work on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, or her educational MTV Decoded series, Ramsey has combined humor with social justice in a unique way that continually shines a spotlight on her. In Well, That Escalated Quickly, Ramsey takes the route of Phoebe Robinson and Issa Rae to offer a collection of essays about navigating her career as an accidental activist, comedian, and master of social media.

 

24. No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America by Darnell L. Moore

No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell L. Moore

Nation Books
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Price: $26.00

Buy It Now

As police violence has become a national conversation, readers have been treated to a number of coming-of-age memoirs about Black men navigating a precarious world predicated on their subjugation and death. Writer and activist Darnell L. Moore’s forthcoming memoir, No Ashes In the Fire, is a necessary entry into that canon that has recently expanded to include Between the World and Me, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, and Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching. No Ashes In the Fire traverses Moore’s childhood in Camden, New Jersey, as well as the harassment he faced as a gay Black boy. In the voice that’s made him a standout writer, Moore gives readers much to chew and ruminate on.

25. Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour

Sick by Porochista Khakpour

Harper Perennial
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Price: $15.99

Buy It Now

Porochista Khakpour has been sick her entire life, but for most of that time, she had no idea what illness was causing her symptoms. After spending almost $100,000 on medical expenses, spending extended time in the hospital on three separate occasions, and battling daily pain, Khakpour was diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease, an tick-borne illness that impacts upwards of 30,000 people each year. In Sick, Khakpour candidly explores how her undiagnosed illness shaped so much of her life and decisions.

 

26. Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin

Dead Girls by Alice Bolin

William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Price: $15.99

Buy It Now

Pop culture has an obsession with dead women. Whether it’s Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), the victim on Twin Peaks, or Hae Min Lee, the victim whose murder is explored on Serial, dead girls proliferate our favorite pop culture products. In Dead Girls, Alice Bolin uses a sharp critical lens to explore how these narratives devalue women who have been killed, abused, and disregarded. Bolin’s debut essay collection will surely resonate with readers who are invested in how women’s bodies are devalued to bolster men’s stories.

 

27. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

Beacon Press
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Price: $16.00

Buy It Now

Robin DiAngelo, a pioneer in whiteness studies and an antiracist educator, conceptualized the idea of “white fragility” in 2011 to explain the many ways white people deflect when they’re forced to discuss race, white supremacy, and the ways they benefit from white privilege. Since then, the fragility of whiteness has become a circular conversation that’s incredibly prevalent on social media. In White Fragility, DiAngelo aims to answer a simple question: How does white fragility develop? In this informative book that should be taught in courses about whiteness offers a framework for understanding how privilege informs white people’s lack of engagement with race.

28. I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé by Michael Arceneaux

I Can't Date Jesus by Michael Arceneaux

Atria Books
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Price: $17.00

Buy It Now

Michael Arceneaux is one of the funniest and most incisive writers of this generation. From nicknaming members of the presidential administration to writing about his Jack’d chronicles, Arceneaux has his finger on the pulse of culture and pushes it forward with his sharp commentary. I Can’t Date Jesus, his debut collection of essays, turns his lens inward toward his upbringing in Houston, Texas, and finding his footing as a gay Black man in a world that’s still homophobic as fuck. Arceneaux’s wit shines through his essays and will surely please the audience that has fallen in love with his bold writing and candid observations.

 

29. You Have the Right to Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar

You Have the Right to Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar

Feminist Press
Release Date: August 14, 2018
Price: $14.95

Buy It Now

Like so many fat children, Virgie Tovar was taught that her body was too unruly to be loved and needed to be fixed through dieting and exercise. The plus-size fashion blogger then embarked on yo-yo dieting for two decades before finally deciding to embrace herself as she is—and to encourage other fat people to do so as well. In You Have the Right to Remain Fat, Tovar explores how fatphobia colors so much of how fat people understand their bodies and what we can collectively do to encourage fat people to live their best lives.

 

30. Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Our Movement by Charlene Carruthers

Charlene Carruthers

Beacon Press
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Price: $11.77

Buy It Now

Charlene Carruthers is one of America’s most prominent activists. At the age of 31, she has appeared on The Root 100, led Black Youth Project 100 as the founding national director, and has greatly influenced our national conversation about the movement for Black lives. In Unapologetic, Carruthers explores how a rich history of protest, including the Haitian Revolution, the Civil Rights Movement, and the ongoing Black and LGBTQ movements, provide a blueprint for how political strategies can be built around liberation.

by Evette Dionne
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Evette Dionne is Bitch Media’s editor-in-chief. She’s all about Beyoncé, Black women, and dope TV shows and books. You can follow her on Twitter.

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