December is a bit of a sleepy time in publishing, but have no fear! There are still plenty of new nonfiction books coming out this month that will pique your interest and provide all kinds of tidbits for you to share at your holiday parties. Or maybe you prefer to keep all your nonfiction nuggets in your brain for late-night deep thinking about the universe and your place in it. That’s cool, too; I don’t judge.
These are 10 of the nonfiction books I’m most excited about this month. We’ve got a feminist take on personal finance (a new favorite), a deep dive into humanity and pests (who decides which animals are worthy or not?), an engrossing memoir about running and grief (oof, all the feels), a new way of thinking about energy and boundaries (perfect for preparing to be a new you in the new year), and so many more. Memoir, history, self-help, science — it’s all here.
As always, you can find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index, carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors, organized by genre and release date.
Now let’s get to the books.
Ace Voices: What It Means to Be Asexual, Aromantic, Demi or Grey-ace by Eris Young (December 21)
Ace Voices aims to answer all your burning questions about asexuality: How does an ace person experience attraction? What does love mean for them? When did they know they were ace? Eris Young interviewed tons of people across the asexual spectrum to tell their stories and empower others to tell theirs.
Financial Feminist: Overcome the Patriarchy’s Bullsh*t to Master Your Money and Build a Life You Love by Tori Dunlap (December 27)
Tori Dunlap’s mission is to break down the barriers that keep people — especially women and people of color — from living lives they enjoy. Financial Feminist outlines some of the deeper work Dunlap did on her journey to financial freedom, like getting to the root of her emotional relationship with money and figuring out what she truly values, and offers journal prompts for you to do the same work. It’s the empowering and shame-free personal finance book we all need.
The world of reproductive technology is huge and amazing, but there’s still work to do. Jenni Quilter was one of the people struggling with fertility and raising her eyebrows at the way the medical field views motherhood and the female body when she started doing some deeper thinking. Hatching is a stunningly personal and cultural history of fertility, from the first test-tube baby in 1978 to the anxious message boards of parents-to-be today.
How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler (December 6)
This blend of science writing and personal essays is magnificent. Sabrina Imbler was always fascinated by sea creatures — they even protested the sale of goldfish at a pet store when they were a teen. It makes sense, then, that their career followed suit, studying and writing about the alluring creatures. Each essay of How Far the Light Reaches profiles a different sea animal as Imbler writes their own story as a queer, mixed-race science writer.
I’m Not Yelling: A Black Woman’s Guide to Navigating the Workplace by Elizabeth Leiba (December 13)
Being a Black woman in white corporate America is no picnic; express an ounce of anger at an injustice and it’ll be brushed off as a personality trait. I’m Not Yelling is a guidebook for navigating toxic work environments — full of microaggressions, discrimination, pay inequity, and so much more — and empowering Black women to strive for success.
Orchid Muse: A History of Obsession in Fifteen Flowers by Erica Hannickel (December 6)
Orchids are considered by many around the world to be the most beautiful flower. They appear in many a work of art, can be a wonder to scientists, and powerful people throughout history have deemed orchids the very best. In Orchid Muse, Erica Hannickel dives into the obsession humans have with orchids and offers guidance on keeping your own orchids alive and well.
Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains by Bethany Brookshire (December 6)
Who decides which animals are pests, and what does that say about the way humans view nature? Bethany Brookshire delves into those questions in Pests, chronicling human history and the ways we’ve deemed rats, pigeons, and squirrels as lesser animals, while elephants and lions are wondrous beings. This book is about human nature and the ways perspective changes everything.
Thirty-Thousand Steps: A Memoir of Sprinting toward Life after Loss by Jess Keefe (December 15)
When Jess Keefe moved in with her brother after a breakup, she thought it would be the perfect way for her to heal from heartbreak. But then her brother’s heroin addiction arose and he died of an overdose. Thirty-Thousand Steps is a moving memoir about running and addiction and grief: The trifecta that kept her company in the year after her brother died.
The Sugar Jar: Create Boundaries, Embrace Self-Healing, and Enjoy the Sweet Things in Life by Yasmine Cheyenne (December 27)
Wellness advocate and coach Yasmine Cheyenne has a brilliant metaphor that works better than the standard rhetoric around setting boundaries and protecting your energy: A sugar jar. If you are a jar filled with sugar, with no lid, anyone can take (or spill) sugar whenever they want, leaving you empty and out of control. The Sugar Jar takes that metaphor into deeper introspection, providing exercises and prompts to get you to recognize truths around your energy: Who uses it all up? What replenishes it?
Weightless: Making Space for My Resilient Body and Soul by Evette Dionne (December 6)
Evette Dionne is proud of her body. It has endured a lot, from harassment to heart failure, and it still keeps her safe. Weightless is a memoir of her body through the lens of friendship, sex, motherhood, health, pop culture, and self-image. It’s about the ways Black women and fat women are demonized or fetishized in society.
For even more fabulous nonfiction books, be sure to check out our nonfiction archives.