I always get excited for September — even though I’m long past back-to-school days, September feels like a new start, and it’s the time when I’m ready to learn a ton of new things. I’ve got my shiny new school supplies ready, and now I’m looking forward to diving into books that will teach me new things and take me new places. Fortunately, September is also an excellent month for brand-new books to gobble up to do just that!
From memoirs of all kinds to true crime to graphic nonfiction, there’s something for everyone in this month’s batch of new releases — I also have my eye on a paperback release, Thicker than Water: The Quest for Solutions to the Plastic Crisis by Erica Cirino, which comes out September 22. This month’s nonfiction new releases also take place all across the world, so they’re perfect for learning about new places and a bit of armchair traveling.
There are many more books coming out over the month of September, but here are 10 nonfiction new releases I am particularly excited to check out, and I think you should be too! The publication dates are listed after each title to make it easier to add to your never-ending TBR pile.
Hysterical by Elissa Bassist (September 13)
Elissa Bassist writes about her own experience, over the course of two years, seeing more than 20 medical professionals — none of whom could figure out what was ailing her. She had pain no one could find the source for and was told she was being dramatic, or that it couldn’t hurt that bad, or that it was probably just cramps. Like millions of women, her illness was downplayed until she began to believe it was all in her head. Her memoir is her own account of this journey and her rise to reclaim her own voice and be able to speak about her feelings rather than quash them down.
They Called Me a Lioness by Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri (September 6)
Ahed Tamimi is a Palestinian activist participating in nonviolent demonstrations and protests at a young age in Nabi Saleh, her home village, one of the centers of conflict against Israeli occupation. In 2017, when she was only 16, Ahed was seen around the world when she was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier who refused to leave her yard, and she was arrested for the offense. Ahed tells her story of fighting back, of growing up visiting her father — who was also a resistance fighter — in prison, and of her own time spent in jail.
The Sporty One: My Life as a Spice Girl by Melanie Chisholm (September 20)
The Spice Girls released their first single “Wannabe” in 1996 and became instant pop stars. The group began after five women answered an ad in the paper, and Melanie Chisholm was one of them. And though the success was everything she’d ever dreamed of, it also came with its own set of pitfalls: exhaustion, pressure to constantly perform, and the shaming and bullying that comes with being a woman in public. Melanie — Sporty Spice — finally shares her own story of everything that happened after she became a Spice Girl.
Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton (September 13)
This work of graphic nonfiction from Kate Beaton tells the story of her journey leaving Mabou, her small community on the East Coast, for the west, to take advantage of the oil rush to pay off her student loans. She’s one of only a few women at the camps when she arrives, and it’s much harder work than she ever anticipated. Working with the machinery and the men around her, she begins to experience firsthand the hardships of this line of work, and how some things that happen will stick with her forever.
The Monsoon Diaries: A Doctor’s Journey of Hope and Healing from the ER Frontlines to the Far Reaches of the World by Calvin D. Sun (September 27)
Calvin Sun was on the front lines as an emergency room doctor during the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This account is his personal story of that experience, what led him to ultimately end up as an ER doctor, and how that journey has shaped him into the doctor he is today.
Stay True: A Memoir by Hua Hsu (September 27)
Hua Hsu, a writer for the New Yorker, begins penning this memoir after his friend, Ken, is killed in a carjacking. The two seemed like polar opposites: Hua was the son of recent Taiwanese immigrants and never felt like he fit in; Ken was part of a long line of Japanese Americans who had been in the US for generations. But despite their differences, the two became fast friends, until Ken’s violent and sudden death. Hua began writing to heal, to remember their friendship, and to tell Ken’s story, along with his own, as he moved through this tumultuous grieving period.
A Visible Man: A Memoir by Edward Enninful (September 6)
Edward Enninful was appointed editor-in-chief of British Vogue in 2017, the first Black person to hold the position. He knew he had an uphill battle but was ready to champion diversity and inclusion in the fashion world. Enninful shares his story of going from a young refugee to a rising star in the fashion world, how that world provided him a home, and his desire to share that home with others who need it.
When the bodies of Rev. Edward Hall and Eleanor Mills were found in September 1922, the crime shocked everyone. The killer had arranged the bodies in an intimate pose, but Hall had been a devout and married clergyman, and Mills was a choir member married to the church sexton. Locals had no idea what it meant, but it was the scandal of the decade. Pompeo investigates the century-old case and digs into how it became so widespread due to the birth of the modern mainstream media.
Solito: A Memoir by Javier Zamora (September 6)
Javier was just 9 years old when he made the 3,000-mile journey from El Salvador to the United States, to reunite with his mother who had made the trip four years earlier. Javier’s story is the story of so many others who have also had to leave their homes behind for a perilous and terrifying journey for the hope at a new life, and he recounts how the journey was neither easy nor did it go as planned.
Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories that Make Us by Rachel Aviv (September 13)
Award-winning writer Rachel Aviv writes about how we as humans come to grasp our own periods of crisis. She reports as a journalist as well as writes personally about the topic, interviewing and following many different people through their own journey to answer this question of themselves, including a celebrated Indian woman who lives in healing temples, an incarcerated mother trying to reconnect with her children, and a young woman who decides to stop medication after decades on them. This is an account of humans living their lives through the hardest moments and how we, collectively, can make it to the other side.