Fall Preview 2023: 10 Nonfiction Must-Reads

Sep 22, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This list is a republication- Source: Kirkus Reviews (by Eric Liebetrau).

Welcome to the 2023 Fall Preview. Here are 10 nonfiction favorites, representing an array of subjects, arranged by publication date.

Let’s start with one of my favorite New Yorker writers, Jill Lepore. The Deadline (Liveright/Norton, Aug. 29), a gathering of essays from the past decade, is yet another winner for the prolific author. Whether she’s discussing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, #MeToo, or Moby-Dick, she delivers what our starred review calls “a noteworthy collection from an indispensable writer and thinker.”

As summer winds down, the baseball playoff races heat up, and Joe Posnanski’s Why We Love Baseball: A History of 50 Moments (Dutton, Sept. 5) covers all the bases, from legendary moments to more obscure factoids. Digging deep into the archives of baseball lore, the author creates what our critic calls “a book for any baseball fan to cherish.”

Road ecology may not be familiar to many readers, but Ben Goldfarb makes the subject come alive in Crossings: How Road Ecology Is Shaping the Future of Our Planet (Norton, Sept. 12), which “chronicles his journeys through numerous countries with colleagues to conduct extensive field research and mixes his findings with historical research showing the effects of roads on our ecology.” It’s a surprisingly entertaining journey, as the author takes us into “an astonishingly deep pool of wonders.”

Debates about public education continue to rage, and Bettina L. Love adds significantly to the conversation with Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal (St. Martin’s, Sept. 12), “a stark critique of 40 years of education policies that were deliberately crafted ‘to punish Black people for believing in and fighting for their right to quality public education,’ ” our reviewer says. Not just “an impassioned plea for educational justice,” this book is a must-read for policymakers and parents alike.

Ditto Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America (Dey Street/HarperCollins, Sept. 19) by Michael Harriot, illustrated by Jibola Fagbamiye, a “simultaneously humorous and heartbreaking” history that masterfully counters countless whitewashed myths about the U.S. As our critic notes, “Fresh eyes and bold, entertaining language combine in this authoritative, essential work of U.S. history.”

Acclaimed naturalist Sy Montgomery is back with Of Time and Turtles: Melding the World, Shell by Shattered Shell (Mariner Books, Sept. 19), illustrated by Matt Patterson, a wondrous celebration of a fascinating animal. Like all Montgomery’s books, this one is an “engaging, informative, and colorful journey” into the natural world, according to our review.

How To Say Babylon (Simon & Schuster, Oct. 3), by Safiya Sinclair, is one of the best memoirs of the year, a sharp exploration of her upbringing within a strict, sexist brand of Rastafari. “Sinclair’s gorgeous prose is rife with glimmering details, and the narrative’s ending lands as both inevitable and surprising,” notes our starred review. “More than catharsis; this is memoir as liberation.”

You can find the full list here

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