36 Nonfiction Favorites Now Out in Paperback

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Kim Ukura

Staff Writer

Kim Ukura is a book lover, recovering journalist, library advocate, cat mom, and lover of a good gin cocktail. In addition to co-hosting Book Riot’s nonfiction podcast, For Real, and co-editing Book Riot’s nonfiction newsletter, True Story, Kim spends her days working in communications at a county library system in the Twin Cities area. Kim has a BA in English and journalism from a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. When not getting to bed before 10 p.m., Kim loves to read nonfiction, do needlework projects, drink tea, and watch the Great British Baking Show. Instagram: @kimthedork Twitter: @kimthedork

This post originally ran in True Story, our nonfiction newsletter. Sign up here!

Fall is finally here, which means it’s time to cuddle up with some tea, a fuzzy blanket, and great books. Winter is probably my favorite reading season—I live in Minnesota, so there are many days of the year when it’s best to just never leave the house—but autumn is a close second.

To kick off the start of my favorite reading seasons, I put together one of my favorite things: a giant, TBR-busting list of popular nonfiction that’s finally out in paperback. This list features some heavy-hitters, as well as some books that I missed when they first came out last year. All are nonfiction favorites that came out in paperback between July and September of this year.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande—A look at medicine, aging and death.

The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams—A literary celebration of national parks and what they mean to us.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer—Essays from a comic actress on growing up making people laugh.

Blood at the Root by Patrick Phillips—The history of Forsyth County, Georgia, and the violent means by which locals kept Forsyth ‘all white’ well into the 1990s.”

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi—A history of “how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.”

Code Warriors by Stephen Budiansky—An inside look at the roots of the National Security Agency.

Rogue Heroes by Ben Macintyre—The inside history of Britain’s elite Special Air Service.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance—Memoir by a Yale Law School graduate about “growing up in a poor Rust Belt town.”

Sing for Your Life by Daniel Bergner—The story of a young black man’s journey from prison to life as a rising opera star.

White Rage by Carol Anderson—A history of how “social progress for African American was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition” from white America.

Urban Forests by Jill Jonnes—An exploration of how trees and urban green spaces contribute to public health and urban infrastructure.

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton—An Oprah-endorsed memoir about confronting pain to build deeper, truer relationships.

Presence by Amy Cuddy—Techniques for improving confidence and performance through mind-body connections.

Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson—A memoir of “family, friends, the hustle to make it from DC to Hollywood, and the joy of living your own truth.”

The Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky—A look at Russia’s nationalist movement and aggression against America.

You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessie Klein—Essays on growing up as a tomboy and becoming a woman.

I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This by Nadja Spiegelman—A memoir of mothers and daughters and the complexity of families.

A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston—A memoir by the star of Breaking Bad.

The Battle for Home by Marwa al-Sabouni—An eyewitness account of life in Syria by an architect.

Forty Autumns by Nina Willner—The true story of an American family separated by the Iron Curtain for more than 40 years.

Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood—”A journey through the world of death fraud.”

Pilgrimage by Mark K. Shriver—A portrait of Pope Francis based on interviews from the people who knew him as Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick—Essays on life from a short, funny, introverted actress.

Never Look an American in the Eye by Okey Ndibe—”A memoir of flying turtles, colonial ghosts, and the making of Nigerian American.”

Books for Living by Will SchwalbeA look at the books that can help answer life’s big and small questions.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen—Rock star memoir!

In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett—A behind-the-scenes look at The Carol Burnett Show.

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston—An eyewitness account of following in the footsteps of a swashbuckling journalist in Honduras.

The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy—A Book Riot favorite, a memoir of growing up working class in Queens.

The Pigeon Tunnel by John le Carré—A memoir from a legendary author who got his start in British Intelligence during the Cold War.

Messy by Tim Harford—An economist explores “the benefits that messiness has in our lives: why it’s important, why we resist it, and why we should embrace it instead.”

When We Rise by Cleve Jones—A memoir of life in the gay rights movement in the 1970s.

The Boys of Dunbar by Alejandro Danois—The true story of a Baltimore basketball coach whose undefeated team launched four players to the NBA.

Soul at the White Heat by Joyce Carol Oates—Critical and personal essays on the writing life.

Frantumaglia by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein—An invitation into Elena Ferrante’s workshop where she answers questions on the writing life.

Best. State. Ever. by Dave Barry—A humorous collection of essays on why Florida is just so damn weird.