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As February rolls in, waves of new books are hitting the shelves with their titles, inviting readers to explore the adventures held between their pages. A lot of readers find themselves drawn to fiction, the mysterious comings and goings of invented lives. But those of us who love nonfiction are in on the secret: there’s nothing stranger, few things more magical than true stories. (Though, I must admit a bit of bias on this front.)
True stories come in all different kinds of shapes and sizes. There’s history, science, essays, and memoirs. Sometimes, true stories are written in prose, while others are written in verse. Their authors explore traveling the world, navigating their close relationships, recovering from disclosed secrets, and more. These books take us to real places around the world, giving us a glimpse into cultures and communities different from our own. That’s the joy of nonfiction.
In celebration of true stories, I’ve collected ten of some of the hottest nonfiction titles landing in bookstores this February. Whether you are looking for a place to start with nonfiction or you’re a nonfiction pro who’s just overwhelmed with choice, there’s sure to be something on this list that catches your eye.
Dinner on Monster Island by Tania De Rozario (Feb 6)
In her new essay collection, Tania De Rozario examines ideas around her experience growing up as a self-identified fat, queer, brown girl in Malaysia. She begins to realize that, outside the world of fairytales, monsters don’t necessarily have to look monstrous.
How to Live Free in a Dangerous World by Shayla Lawson (Feb 6)
Kentucky author Shayla Lawson takes us on their travels, exploring the world as a disabled Black nonbinary femme. In their travels, they examine ideas around Blackness, colonialism, and relationships.
I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition by Lucy Sante (Feb 13)
Lucy found her heart place when she moved to New York City in the 1970s. But she didn’t feel really at home until her recent transition into her new identity as a trans woman. Her memoir ties together these two threads of her life, creating a cohesive memoir.
Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt: A Memoir in Verse by Brontez Purnell (Feb 13)
Brontez Purnell tells the story of his life in verse, chronicling his misadventures in sex, love, and loneliness. He struggles with his past, his family, his place in the world, all told with a poet’s ear for prose.
Private Equity: A Memoir by Carrie Sun (Feb 13)
The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Carrie Sun has a great job and a seemingly incredible fiance. But when she leaves her job and drops out of her MBA program, she decides to take a new job at a hedge fund and finds herself sucked into a new world.
My Side of the River: A Memoir by Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez (Feb 13)
When Camarillo Gutierrez is left alone to care for her younger brother in the United States after her parents are sent back to Mexico, she becomes one of the thousands of homeless youth left on their own after their parents were deported.
This American Ex-wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life by Lyz Lenz (Feb 20)
Lyz Lenz, known for her incredibly popular substack, Men Yell at Me, has a new memoir out about her divorce. Along with her own story, she uses a feminist lens to examine how ex-wives have historically been perceived in America.
Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story by Leslie Jamison (Feb 20)
Literary darling Leslie Jamison’s new memoir Splinters picks apart the many things women are expected to be at once — daughter, mother, wife, artist, academic. For the first time, Jamison turns her investigative eye on herself, examining her own life as its sole subject.
Slow Noodles: A Cambodian Memoir of Love, Loss, and Family Recipes by Chantha Nguon with Kim Green (Feb 20)
Chantha Nguon shares the story of losing her entire family in Cambodia, moving to the United States, and starting again. Through food, she’s able to revisit her mother’s kitchen, the familiar aromas washing over her and taking her home.
Dead Weight: Essays on Hunger and Harm by Emmeline Clein (Feb 27)
Emmeline Clein examines her own history of disordered eating through the stories of other women, historical figures, celebrities, and people from her life. She moves back and forth between her struggles with the ups and downs of her recovery and the lives of other women up against toxic diet culture and impossible beauty standards.
There are so many good books — I don’t know where to start! If you’re looking for even more nonfiction book recommendations, check out 9 New Nonfiction Releases to Read in January and 8 Award-Winning Nonfiction Books You Might Not Have Heard Of.