A new month, a new set of exciting nonfiction releases to impulse buy! Here are eleven must-reads coming out in August.
Made In China by Anna Qu
When Anna Qu grew sick of working in her family’s garment factory, only to return home and face glorified servitude and discouragement when trying to complete her homework, she called on the Office of Child and Family Services.
Years later, she accesses the report filed by OCFS, only to find a slew of inaccuracies. Juggling the sinking start-up that employs her, the inaccurate report, and alienation from her mother, Qu reexamines her “life’s truths” in Made In China.
All The Frequent Troubles of Our Days by Rebecca Donner
Mildred Harnack is the revolutionary you never heard of. The American PhD student relentlessly fought the Nazi regime, organizing underground resistance meetings, hiding Jewish citizens, and creating anti-Hitler leaflets delivered under the cover of night.
Donner documents her modest beginnings, dangerous life, and grisly death, in All The Frequent Troubles of Our Day.
The Star Builders: Nuclear Fusion and the Race to Power the Planet by Arthur Turrell
The title might sound like that of fiction found next to titles like Dune, but star building has become our reality. Scientists all over the world actively try to harness the same energy found in the stars for the sake of finding the next big source to keep our world chugging forward.
If successful, they unleash “potentially millions of years” of clean energy, potentially helping to solve the climate crisis we now face. Turrell uses his innate gift of dumbing down the inconceivable in this “star-studded” (sorry) work of nonfiction.
The State Must Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal — and How to Set Them Right by Adam Harris
This may, or may not, shock you, but our higher education system wasn’t built for Black students to succeed. Harris breaks down the legacy of underfunding and neglect that HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) have remained subject to for decades, while majority-white universities welcome floods of funding.
The State Must Provide illustrates “the definitive chronicle of higher education’s failed attempts at equality” and the challenging path towards that ever-illusive goal now before us.
Sometimes I Trip On How Happy We Could Be by Nichole Perkins
Perkins is a force of cutting evaluation, picking apart pop culture and its pervasive impact on her as a Southern Black woman. To give you an idea of how good this book is, it’s been named Roxanne Gay’s Audacious Bookclub November Pick and belongs to Buzzfeed and Lithub’s “Most Anticipated Books of 2021” list, and it’s not even out yet!
“Hear the dark liquor of her laughter rippling behind her sentences” in this magnetic memoir as it explores a journalist’s obsession with pop culture and the difficulty of navigating relationships as a Black woman through fanfiction, feminism, and Southern mores,” wrote Saeed Jones, author of How We Fight For Our Lives.
Let Perkins capture your attention and assess the marble pillars of our culture in Sometimes I Trip On How Happy We Could Be.
All In by Billie Jean King
Follow tennis legend, Billie Jean King, on her journey to self-discovery, covering her six-year dominance, famous “Battle of the Sexes,” and her thirty-nine grand slam titles. King incorporates the tumultuous cultural backdrop to her success, including the Civil Rights Movement, anti-war protests, and the eventual LGBTQ+ rights movement.
You may never rack up as many championships as King, but that doesn’t mean her inspiring and complicated story isn’t within reach!
Eloquence of the Sardine: Extraordinary Encounters Beneath the Sea by Bill Francois, translated by Antony Shuggar
We may not know much about the ocean, but marine biologist Bill Francois is an expert on what we do know. Francois takes readers on an underwater journey that explores the secrets of these sea-dwellers, from immortal eels to war-causing herring. Unlock your inner ocean-lover with this unique tale of myth and science looking to uncover the secrets of the shadowy underwater world.
Mystery: A Seduction, A Strategy, A Solution by Jonah Lehrer
Do you love true crime maybe a little too much? Turns out, you’re hardwired to! Lehrer unlocks the reason we inherently love a good mystery that breaks up the patterns our brains are designed to gravitate towards. Analyzing the “science of suspense,” Lehrer explains why we love to problem solve, and how our proclivity for making sense of disorder led to groundbreaking discoveries in medicine, tech, and culture.
Seeing Ghosts: A Memoir by Kat Chow
We have all, in one way or another, become acquainted with grief this past year and a half. Chow must do the same when her vivacious mother passes away, rocking her Chinese American family and pushing her entire family into a lonely puddle of mourning. Her memoir documents her family’s journey from China to the U.S., with stops in Hong Kong and Cuba, constructing a narrative of grief along the way and confronting “what it means to reclaim and tell your family’s story.”
Not “A Nation of Immigrants”: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Dunbar-Ortiz’s nonfiction burns down an age-old idea that America is indeed a nation of immigrants. She expertly explains how this convenient little white lie effectively wiped away our country’s history of colonialism, slavery, and white supremacy, and genocide in favor of a fluffy historical retelling.
The author of Peoples’ History of the United States addresses historical atrocities that we wrestle with even today, and how while some might descend from immigrants, others descend from settlers and captives.
God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning by Meghan O’Gieblyn
Drawing from her own authentically human experience, O’Gieblyn tackles the question of what it means to be human in a world where A.I. increasingly blurs the line between machine and man. What is the purpose of life, of identity and knowledge? How does humanity’s definition change in the age of advanced technology that we have arrived at?
God, Human, Animal, Machine seeks to reexamine these long-dormant questions to understand what it means to live out humanity as we make unforeseen digital progress.
featured images via amazon, penguin random house
synopses quotes via amazon