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15 Books Out in 2016 You Should Mark Down Now: Nonfiction Edition

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Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

I do not think I am alone when I say, “HOLY CATS! 2015 has been the best year ever for books!” Seriously, there were SO many incredible releases. And ready for more good news? 2016 is shaping up to be just as awesome! Here are 15 nonfiction books coming out in 2016 that you should know about. And check out the fiction and young people’s (coming tomorrow!) selections, too. (I had such a hard time narrowing it down to 15, so I made more posts!)

These are but a few of the amazing titles being released. Tell us what other 2016 books you’re looking forward to next year!

cover of shame and wonder by david searcyShame and Wonder: Essays by David Searcy (Jan. 5)

I read a weird novel by Searcy many years ago that still pops up in my brain now and again, and this book of essays on a wide range of subjects is just as interesting and compelling.

Poor Your Soul by Mira Ptacin (Jan. 12)
Ptacin’s heartbreaking memoir about finding hope and strength after the loss of her baby, coupled with the story of her mother’s own loss of a child. Ptacin writes beautifully about both.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Jan. 12)

This amazing, heart-wrenching story of neurosurgeon Kalanthi’s struggle with stage IV lung cancer is an absorbing look at what it is like to be a doctor on the other side of a diagnosis.

The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship by Paul Lisicky (Jan. 19) Lisicky ruminates on two long-term relationships, one with a woman novelist, the other with his ex-husband, and how they affected him as the world seemed to offer up one disaster after another.

cover of the good death by ann neumannThe Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America by Ann Neumann (Feb. 16)

After caring for her father in his last days, Neumann was haunted by the question: Did her father die a ‘good death’? She sought answers to what constitutes a good death, and if such a thing even exists. Fascinating.

Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve by Tom Bissell (March 1)
The widely acclaimed author of The Magic Hours and Extra Lives, Bissell traveled to holy sites all over the world to learn more about who the apostles really were, their relationship to Jesus, and their contemporary portrayals.

Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Shirin Ebadi (March 8)
The first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Ebadi’s powerful book details her work as a human rights lawyer defending women and children against a brutal regime in Iran.

The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New by Annie Dillard (March 15)
Make way for the queen: Dillard herself has curated this collection of essays old and new, some rarely seen. If you’ve never read her, go get An American Childhood immediately. I’ll wait here.

cover of lust and wonder by augusten burroughsLust & Wonder by Augusten Burroughs (March 29)
The hilarious Running with Scissors author is back with his possibly most personal memoir yet (and that’s saying something.) Lust & Wonder tackles love and lust, the difference between them, and what it means to experience them.

Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for the Real James Brown by James McBride (April 5)
McBride returns to nonfiction with this insightful look into musician James Brown, and the influences he had over American music, using Brown’s fame as a way to examine racial tensions in America.

True Crimes: A Family Album by Kathryn Harrison (April 5)
Harrison, possibly best know for her memoir The Kiss, has collected ten years of essays on family, from marriage and love to illness and loss. She makes sharp observations, and all of the essays are superb.

Everything is Teeth by Evie Wyld (May 10)
Wyld, author of the amazing novel All the Birds, Singing, returns with a graphic memoir about her childhood in New South Wales, told through her love and fascination with sharks.

cover of the hour of land by terry tempest williamsThe Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams (June 7)
The wonderful, wonderful Tempest Williams has written twelve beautiful essays about national parks and how we our personal stories are shaped by a sense of place, and what the parks mean to us.

Patient H.M.: A Family’s Secrets, the Ruthless Pursuit of Knowledge, and the Brain That Changed Everything by Luke Dittrich (August 9)
In the tradition of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Patient H.M. is the true story of a 27-year-old man whose short-term memory lasted only thirty seconds, and how he became one of the most important research subjects in history.

Ghostland by Colin Dickey (Fall)
Okay, this one doesn’t have a release date yet, but I’m so excited for it! I’m a huge fan of his previous books, and of books about ghosts, so I am SO here for this. Dickey describes the book as “a cultural history of America through its haunted houses, hotels, graveyards and other places.” YES PLEASE.