New Nonfiction for Spring 2022 – Book Riot | Bowluk

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So many great new nonfiction releases coming out in the next few months! I’ve rounded up some of the most exciting non-fiction books to be released this spring, but the list could easily be much longer.

These include memoirs, collections of essays and works critical of culture. I’ve added books on maternity, illness, climate, grief, race, and real estate. There aren’t any straight history, science, or political science books on the list (I’ll be honest, those aren’t my genres), but many of these titles incorporate elements of those genres into their structure.

I’m constantly looking for my favorite non-fiction form, the kind that’s hard to categorize. Many of the following books reflect this preference: they are broad, innovative and surprising. These books argue or analyze their issues from different angles. You could combine history and memoirs, or maybe sociology, political science, literature and criticism. Others are more traditional in nature, particularly the memoirs, and can offer the comforts of the familiar while telling new stories and asking new questions.

A few of these books are available this week and the rest are available for pre-order. Anyway, keep an eye out for them and see what you think!

Cover of The Trayvon Generation: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow by Elizabeth Alexander, black with white lettering and a photo of a little black boy in the centre

The Trayvon Generation: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow by Elizabeth Alexander (Grand Central Publishing, April 5)

The Trayvon Generation began as an essay, originally published in The New Yorker. For the book, Alexander expanded this essay into a wide-ranging view of race in America. She interweaves her ideas and observations with works of art by contemporary artists. It is an essential book for understanding the tragedies of the past and present and the current movement for change.

Bittersweet by Susan Cain book cover

Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain (Crown, April 5)

Susan Cain is best known for her 2012 book Calm. In this new book, she uses a similar method to combine research and memoir to explore grief and the lessons we can learn from painful experiences. She argues for the importance of acknowledging grief and longing and the power these experiences have to bring people together. She shows how pain can transform into creativity and connection.

Cover of Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson;  Illustration of two dancing women.  One is fully illustrated and one is made up of squiggly lines

Construction of a Nervous System by Margo Jefferson (Pantheon, April 12)

In this sequel to her 2015 book negro country, Margo Jefferson takes the memoir genre in a whole new direction. She writes in fragments about key life moments, combining criticism and personal writing to record how she constructed a self. With a wide range of cultural references and analysis, this book is stunningly varied, wide-ranging, and intimate.

Left on Tenth by Delia Ephron book cover

Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life by Delia Ephron (Little, Brown and Company, April 12)

Tenth left tells a story of sadness and new love. Delia Ephron lost her husband and sister to cancer and was reeling from those beatings when a friend from over 50 years ago contacted her. Romance soon blossomed. But not long after, she was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. Ephron’s memoir is a heartfelt, candid look at life’s ups and downs.

Skinny Places by Kerri ní Dochartaigh

Thin Places: A Natural History of Healing and Home by Kerri ní Dochartaigh (Milkweed Editions, April 12)

thin spots is both a treatise and a work of nature writing. Kerri ní Dochartaigh describes growing up in Derry, a city on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Faced with poverty and violence during the riots, she found solace and refuge in nature. Her book is an argument for understanding the landscapes that surround us and a call to live in peace with nature and with each other.

Shelter by Lawrence Jackson book cover

Shelter: A Black Tale of Homeland, Baltimore by Lawrence Jackson (Graywolf Press, April 19)

Protection is a treatise in essays on real estate, paternity, and race. Jackson returned to his childhood town of Baltimore after landing a job at Johns Hopkins. His new neighborhood has been shaped by racial alliances and is mostly white. In the book, he describes what this move as a black man was like, while also exploring his own past and the history of Baltimore.

Finding Me by Viola Davis book cover

Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis (HarperOne, April 26)

Find me tells the life story of Viola Davis from her childhood in Rhode Island to her time on the stage in New York City and her success in film. It’s an honest and personal story about overcoming adversity and finding your purpose and voice. It is also an inspiring call for readers to find their own sources of creativity and courage.

Linea Nigra by Jazmina Barrera book cover

Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes by Jazmina Barrera, translated by Christina MacSweeney (Two Lines Press, May 3)

linea nigra is an intimate, philosophical meditation on pregnancy and motherhood. The book is broad-based, bringing earthquakes, plants, animals, books, and more into the discussion. Barrera, known for her previous book On lighthouses (also translated by Christina MacSweeney), calls for a new canon of literature on pregnancy and the body.

Ill Feelings by Alice Hattrick book cover

Ill Feelings by Alice Hattrick (Feminist Press, May 10)

sick feelings tells the story of Hattrick’s mother’s struggle with pneumonia and chronic fatigue syndrome, followed by Alice’s own illness. Alice appeared to have the same illness as her mother, but with no physical cause. The book combines memoir, medical history, biography and more to explore Alice and her mother’s illnesses, as well as the afflictions of famous women in literature, art and history.

Essential Labor by Angela Garbes book cover

Essential Labour: Mothering as Social Change by Angela Garbes (Harper Wave, May 10)

essential work is a much-needed look at how little support our society offers to mothers, despite the fact that motherhood’s labor is essential. Garbes uses research and personal experience to examine cultural assumptions about the value of caregiving and work. She offers her perspective as a first-generation Filipino American and shows how this experience impacts her understanding of the work of motherhood and its potential to influence social change.

Ma and Me by Putsata Reang book cover

Ma and Me: A Memoir by Putsata Reang (MCD May 17)

Putsata Reang’s family fled Cambodia when she was 11 months old. Reang barely survived the trip. mom and me is a reminder of Reang’s efforts to live up to her mother’s high expectations for a daughter. Reang also described what happened to their relationship when she came out as gay and married a woman. Her book takes an in-depth look at cultural trauma and family debt.

Embrace Fearless the Burning World by Barry Lopez Cover

Fearlessly Embrace the Burning World: Essays by Barry Lopez (Random House, May 24)

This collection of essays brings together some new and some old work in honor of the great environmental writer Barry Lopez, who died on Christmas Day 2020. The pieces include memories, stories, reports and meditations on landscapes. This includes travelogues and reflections on Lopez’ teachers. It’s a book about the importance of staying present on earth for the beauty all around us.


Looking for more non-fiction books? Book Riot is here for you. You can check out 20 of the best nonfiction books of the decade, or maybe 50 of the best nonfiction books of the last 100 years. You can listen to our non-fiction podcast, For real, and find more articles than you can imagine in our nonfiction category. Happy reading!

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