10 excellent fall nonfiction reads

10 excellent fall nonfiction reads

Readers, September and October are always great months for book releases, but this year’s crop of new books has been even better than most. Today I’m sharing some of my favorite nonfiction titles hitting shelves this fall. This isn’t a complete list of what’s been on my nightstand lately, but it’s a solid beginning.

I can’t wait to hear what’s on your fall reading list. Be sure to share your favorite nonfiction picks in comments.

Series: Nonfiction Round-up 2017
Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Author:
Brené Brown's work has meant a lot to me (my favorite: Daring Greatly, and I'm so excited to have another new book in my hands. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown tackles what she calls our current spiritual crisis of disconnection. We don't know what it means to belong anymore, or why it matters, or how to experience true connection—and we are suffering for it. In her new work she sets out four practices of true belonging, explains how we can practice them in our own lives, and shares heaps of stories so we can see what they look like in practice. A timely read, and a good one. Publication date: September 12. More info →
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Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything

Author:
This is my book, y'all. For readers who long to dig deeper into what makes them uniquely them (and why that matters), Reading People explains the life-changing insights that can be gained from the most popular personality frameworks, such as Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, and others and shares specific, practical real-life applications across all facets of life, including love and marriage, productivity, parenting, the workplace, and spiritual life. Bustle featured this as one of September 2017's releases to add to your TBR list. Publication date: September 19. More info →
How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds

How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds

Author:
From the author of The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, a new release which is getting great press from an impressively diverse array of readers. Thinking is hard, Jacobs says, especially these days when we have an endless number of forces (social media chief among them) that actively prevent us from thinking. But all is not lost: Jacobs explores our current options, and thoughtfully prescribes what the thoughtful citizen can do to take back their mental life. Jacobs seems to have carved out an über-nerd, we-all-need-to-hear-this niche à la Cal Newport. Publication date: October 17. More info →
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Grant

Grant

Author:
The author of Alexander Hamilton and Washington: A Life is back, this time with another whopping presidential biography that clocks in at 1098 pages. This exhaustive treatment of the man Chernow admiringly calls "the single most important figure behind Reconstruction" is packed with details and stories but, according to the critics, is rarely dull—despite its doorstop status. Publication date: October 10. More info →
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The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

I LOVED this book and have been waiting impatiently to share it with you! We've all had them—those memorable moments that have a disproportionate impact on our lives, the ones that make us feel proud, insightful, connected, even transcendent. The moments that we know are special, both as we experience them, and through the lens of memory, years later. In this pageturner of a business book (yep, that's a thing) the Heath brothers explain not only why those moments are so special, but how we can deliberately create more of them in our own and other people's lives. Practical and inspiring, and one of my favorite reads this year. Publication date: October 3. More info →
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The Origin of Others (The Charles Eliot Norton lectures, 2016)

The Origin of Others (The Charles Eliot Norton lectures, 2016)

Author:
In 2016, Morrison delivered the Norton lectures at Harvard University about race, human nature, and other-ness. This is the book form of those addresses; because they were first delivered as lectures they are exceptionally easy to read, although the themes themselves are hard. I especially enjoyed Morrison's discussions of her own popular works, like Beloved and Paradise, and her references to authors like Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O'Connor, and William Faulkner. With a foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Publication date: September 18. More info →
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Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

Author:
I'm in the middle of this one right now. This is the story of the American female code breakers whose vital work helped win World War II, but whose work has gone unsung for decades. 10,000 American women served the U.S. Army and Navy as cryptanalysists; their call to action came in the form of a letter that asked them two short questions: did they like crossword puzzles, and were they engaged to be married? A fascinating, thoroughly researched, and well-told true account. Publication date: October 10. More info →
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The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home

The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home

Author:
From the author of the bestselling The Girls of Atomic City, a new work about how the largest dwelling in America came to be built, what life there was like, and how it's managed to survive to the present day. I've been fascinated with the Biltmore estate ever since reading Wytold Rybczynzki's incredible book A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th century. Publication date: September 26. More info →
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Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites

Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites

Author:
My introduction to Deb Perelman of the fantabulous food blog smittenkitchen.com wasn't via the usual route: I found out she was speaking at my local library, a friend told me I should go, I took her advice and found Deb and warm and funny and smart, and only then did I look up her website and her first cookbook, the excellent The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I love them both, and was so excited when I found out about Smitten Kitchen Every Day. The advance copy looked fantastic and I can't wait to get my hands on the finished product. Publication date: October 24. More info →
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Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks

Author:
This book was a delightful surprise. In this debut, Detroit librarian Spence writes love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life and in her library's stacks. (The last 20% of the book is not letters, but the letters were my favorite part.) Imagine a younger Nancy Pearl, with a few f-bombs and a lot more snark. Don't miss the adorable hardcover version; it's a beauty and would make an excellent gift for your favorite book-lover. Publication date: September 26. More info →
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What nonfiction titles have you read and loved this fall? Which ones are you most excited about reading next?

fall nonfiction books

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41 comments

  1. Aimee says:

    I submitted a request to our local library for your book and they responded to my email that they would order it and put me first on the waiting list. Can’t wait! 🙂

  2. Karen says:

    Oh my goodness! I have your book (can’t wait to dig in!) and pre-ordered the new Smitten Kitchen one a while back. But now I will be adding all the rest to my TBR pile! Thank you for these recommendations!

  3. Kelly says:

    Anne,
    These all look great! (Especially #2 – I recommended our local library acquire a copy & I’m eagerly waiting to be the first to check it out)
    I just started The Girls of Atomic City – I put several of these on my “to read” list as well.

  4. Lori East says:

    Oooh, thank you for a great list! I have been reading both fluff AND theology lately and needed something more middle-ground, if that makes sense. Have YOUR book on order too. 🙂

  5. Carrie says:

    Anne,
    I’m half way through “Reading People” (and putting photos of it on social media:)). I’m a Psych. grad, so it’s right up my ally. I’ve also been reading Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier at Home”.

  6. Brooke says:

    “Dance, Stand , Run”, Jess Connolly’s second book, is releasing this month! I have been lucky enough to be on the launch team of both her book and yours, and I have loved them both!

  7. I am at the 3 chapter of your book but i am little confused which type of personality i am, after quite a few tests i am both expressionist and ambi but how i feel i should be an introvert with expressionis as well. What i read this fall is also a book about shame ” I Thought It Was Just Me ” Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame by Brené Brown, it belongs in a way in the same genre as yours. So inspiring and you see yourself in a totally other way.

  8. Cathy says:

    I just finished Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century by Jessica Bruder. Absolutely fascinating look at the displaced elderly in our country, living in old Rvs or “van dwelling”. If every young person read it, there would be a phenomenal surge in saving accounts across the US.

  9. Heather says:

    Anne, I had pre-ordered your book “Reading People” and gobbled it up immediately when it arrived on my Kindle. Since then, I have wanted to thank you for a terrific book which has already helped me so much. With only a novice’s understanding of the different personality frameworks, I had only a slim grasp of who I am and how to understand the people in my life. You have given me the key. Thank you!!

  10. Kris says:

    Reading your book, HSP as you’ve recommended and have Still Alice waiting for me to work up the courage to tackle it. That won’t happen until I finish This Is How It Always Is, which is kicking me in the gut. When We Were Worthy did that too. I’m no stranger to the tragedies and difficult times in life, but it gets more difficult to let the impact go. Heck, I’m an old ICU nurse & survivor of way too much family drama — you’d think it would get easier.

  11. Laura says:

    I’m looking forward to Quiet until the Thaw by Alexandra Fuller, Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks, and Wild Things by Bruce Handy.

  12. Kitty Skinner says:

    I’m so glad you included “Dear Fahrenheit 451”. I just finished the audio version and LOVED it. I wanted to email you right away and tell you all about it, but I was afraid the language would put you off. I listened while I was working, and laughed out loud. I wanted to get out paper and write down the names of the books she listed at the end: if you want a long read, etc. I’m happy that you are sharing this with others

  13. Emily says:

    Great list, Anne! My current nonfiction fall reads are (1) The Journals of Lewis and Clark and (2) The Witches by Stacy Schiff.

  14. Kyla says:

    Next up are two non-fiction titles: American Fire and The Undoing Project. Also hoping to get to Evicted and Julia Child’s memoir before the end of the year.

  15. Kelcey says:

    Just checked my Goodreads and out of 20 books I’ve finished in September and October, only one has been nonfiction (Dear Fahrenheit 451)- this is highly unusual for me! The absolute inverse of how I used to read. All thanks to WSIRN- thank you!!! Also, I just read Young Jane Young (for MMD bookclub), which is not at all the kind of book I would normally read and I really liked it. I should be getting Gorge by Kara Richardson Whitely (mentioned on WSIRN) and The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan, any day now from my library, so those are my next nonfiction pics.

  16. Adding so many of these to my TBR list! The Power of Moments, How to Think, The Last Castle, and Dear Fahrenheit 451. All sound right up my audiobook alley! Since this Fall’s fictino has been terrible for me, I can’t wait to dig into something different!

  17. Emily, an Asheville local says:

    Yay for The Last Castle. Hope you get a chance to visit the Biltmore house when you are in Asheville next month at Malaprops. By then the house will be decorated for Christmas and it is always beautiful! Definitely plan on 3-4 hours there if you can manage it.

  18. Diana says:

    I really enjoyed your book and just finished Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies which I also liked. I find myself reading more non-fiction in the fall (after a summer of mostly beach and YA reads) and in January (when I’m gung-ho on resolutions) so this is perfect! I read Lassosing the Sun a few weeks ago, about a year in the National Parks and found that so enjoyable! Made me want to visit more of them!

  19. Guy Austin says:

    I pre ordered Grant and just started. I also have the new Harvard annotated Grant Memoirs I just received. So… that’s a couple thousand pages. I’ve ordered Capital Gains – Chip Gaines’ book. Also, some older stuff. Bird by Bird and On Writing. I’ll be busy!

  20. Guy Austin says:

    Ok, so on top of my last post. I had a 4 hour drive ahead of me today so I checked out the audio of Dear Fahrenheit 451 on Hoolpa through my library. This is hilarious! Thanks for making a trip across the center of Florida more bearable. Though I could do without some of the language. I’m getting old I guess. Sure I may slip from time to to time under my breath, but hearing it out loud from others is… well… you know.

    Be well
    Guy

  21. Donna says:

    Such a great list, Anne! Reading People is on my fall reading list. Waiting on my local bookstore here in Toronto to get it in!😊 Also, looking forward to Braving the Wilderness.

    Non-fiction books (new and old) on my fall reading list:
    What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (currently reading and loving)

    Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly (October 17) I’ve been looking forward to this one since January!

    Life on the Ground Floor: Letters From the Edge of Emergency Medicine by Dr. James Maskalyk

    Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship by Michelle Kuo

    The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs

    A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

    As always, thanks for the amazing recs!

  22. Rachel says:

    The Power of Moments sounds amazing and is definitely being added to my to read list. I recently read Awakenings, which is an older non-fiction text. In fact, it was made into movie starring Robin Williams. It reads as part memoir, part scientific journal article, but there is something about it that just resonated with me.

  23. Louise says:

    You should totally totally include ‘What Happened’ on this list…the book is fascinating and she did a great job with it. There’s tons of amazing, mind-boggling info in it. ( I apologize if this suggestion brings trolls to your page, a lot of people have strong opinions about this book but wouldn’t ever think of actually reading it)

  24. Jane K says:

    After decades of reading fiction exclusively, I am now relentlessly drawn to nonfiction books (may have something to do with my aging Boomer sensibilities…?). I’m currently getting a better understanding of American religious culture from “The Evangelicals,” by Frances Fitzgerald. Also, memoirs rank high on my TBR list. Here’s a suggestion from the WWII, Holocost survivor experience “The Choice,” by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. Dr. Eger examines how choices made “along the way” inform the scope of one’s lifetime and she does it with a celebratory dancer’s high kick!

  25. Lynne Welch says:

    If you are into funny memoirs, check out Dr. Carroll James’ book series Tooth is Stranger than Fiction. His life as a dentist is so funny, I wouldn’t have thought there could be that much humor in it, but it’s so great! Well worth the read.

  26. Denise says:

    I’ve added some of these books to my reading list. My library finally has your book in (yeah!) so I’m on list! Way down on the list, though, so it will be a while. (Sorry I’m not purchasing it.)

  27. Susie Inman says:

    I love a good survival story and “Ruthless River -Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon’s Relentless Madre De Dios” by Holly Conklin Fitzgerald fits the bill. Looking forward to reading Brene’s new book. (We can call her Brene, can’t we? I mean she reaches in and touches your soul like a true friend, right?)

  28. Aimee says:

    This fall Im love love LOVING Shalom Sistas by Osheta Moore. Such a challenging & inspiring read about what it looks like to pursue a kind wholeness inside ourselves that radiates outward to those around us. Could not be more timely in my opinion.

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