New In: Non-fiction
Whilst fiction allows us to escape the world for a while, non-fiction encourages us to reconnect with it. From powerful memoirs to essay collections that examine contemporary issues, we’ve rounded up some unmissable August non-fiction releases to keep on your radar.
A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi
August 20, Vintage Publishing
Poignant, emotive, and incredibly powerful, Mohsin Zaidi’s stunning coming of age memoir, A Dutiful Boy, is set to be one of the most ground-breaking non-fiction releases of the summer. Growing up in a poor area of East London in a devout Shia Muslim community, Mohsin’s home life was religiously conservative, and being gay was simply not an option. Struggling through his teenage years as a closeted gay Muslim, and attending a school where gang violence was rife and opportunities were scarce, Mohsin’s life takes a drastic turn when he is offered a place at Oxford University. Yet, Mohsin’s father is determined to ‘cure’ him, and he is faced with an impossible choice. Harrowing, evocative, yet completely inspirational, this memoir is an unforgettable story about life and its many barriers, and the resilience and courage it takes to break through them.
They Didn’t See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties by Lisa Levenstein
August 13, Basic Books
Lisa Levenstein has devoted herself to the feminist movement in both areas of the academic and popular press. As the director of the women's, gender, and sexuality program at the University of North Carolina, she has triumphantly found a way to locate today's fourth wave feminism in the context of earlier activism. They Didn't See Us Coming provides an account of the evolution of feminism over the last twenty years. Utilising interviews with dozens of women, Levenstein illustrates the theories and techniques used by feminist leaders to combat global discrimination of all varieties –– from climate change to reproductive rights to racism. Combining years of well-documented research, interviews and personal observations, Levenstein generates an accessible and enlightening narrative that everybody should have on their bookshelf.
The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg
August 4, Abrams Press
From best-selling memoirist Molly Wizenberg comes a compelling and thoughtful story that explores female sexual identity, motherhood, marriage and selfhood. At 36, Molly Wizenberg found herself attracted to a woman she barely knew, forcing her to rethink her sexuality and the belief that her identity was ‘fixed’. She examines what it means when a part of you fundamentally changes, and how to regain a sense of self following a transformative experience. Whilst contending with her shifting identity, Wizenberg must also navigate being a mother to a young child, the breakdown of her marriage and coming out to family and friends. Wizenberg’s beautiful prose is unflinchingly honest – The Fixed Stars is a ground-breaking must-read account of sexuality and identity.
Bunker: Building for the End Times by Bradley L. Garrett August 4, Allen Lane
Bradley L. Garrett’s book, Bunker: Building for the End Times is an in depth study on the growing global fascination with preparing for the end of days, or ‘Doomsday’, and the construction of safe havens across the world to protect humanity from forces beyond our control. However, rather than focusing on the buildings themselves, Garrett’s novel is more concerned with getting to know the people behind the bunkers’, and sharing their views on the current political, economic and environmental situation. Sure to appeal to fans of The 100 and The Walking Dead, Bunker: Building for the End Times is a brilliant, original and thought-provoking book that offers a grim and startling reflection on modern society, and the potential threats to our way of life.
The Unreality of Memory: Essays by Elisa Gabbert
August 20, Atlantic Books
In this compelling collection, poet and essayist Elisa Gabbert dissects the discourse of tragedy and how our consumption of catastrophe in the digital age has made it a pervasive presence in both our inner, and outer lives. Beginning with an anecdote about an animation of the sinking of the Titanic, Gabbert moves from the horrors of 9/11 to climate change, pandemics, memory and pain. Artfully weaving together the personal and political, each essay places not only our fears, but vitally, our responses to them, under the microscope. Aiming not to solve society’s ills nor eradicate our anxiety, Gabbert instead encourages us to consider why we feel this way, and how we might adapt to our strange new condition. Rigorously researched and eloquently written, The Unreality of Memory is a literary zeitgeist that reminds us how “Nothing is safe. Everything’s fine.”
Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith
August 6, Penguin
From critically acclaimed author Zadie Smith, best known for her novels such as White Teeth and Swing Time, comes Intimations; a collection of short non-fiction essays written entirely during lockdown. The pieces centre primarily around the crisis of the pandemic, but also extend to the killing of George Floyd, and the response to racial injustice this incited across the globe. At a time when the world was seemingly put on pause, Smith reflects on life in lockdown, through intimate and powerfully crafted essays. Smith writes with warmth and tenderness, she is often humorous and self-deprecating while managing to capture the significance of our current historical moment. In a book which is fewer than 100 pages, Smith retains a level of optimism and highlights the importance of connection. A powerful non-fiction book from a powerful author.