The leisurely months of summer are ideal for thinking about the ideal TBR stack. Our goal? A lovely mixture of nonfiction and memoir reads. The best nonfiction books and memoirs that will be released in the summer of 2023 offer a wealth of knowledge about a variety of subjects and cover significant themes including love, trauma, social inequity, family, and the environment. Here are 10 most anticipated nonfiction novels of summer 2023.
In Search of Amrit Kaur
Livia Manera Sambuy
On a sweltering day in 2007, having just lost her brother to illness, Livia Manera Sambuy finds herself at a museum in Mumbai, enthralled by a 1924 photograph of a stunningly elegant Indian princess. What she reads in the picture’s caption will change her life forever. This alluring Punjabi royal had supposedly sold her jewels in occupied wartime Paris to save Jewish lives, only to be arrested by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp, where she died within a year.
Could it be true? And if so, how could such a sensational story have gone unreported? Almost against her will, Manera becomes drawn into the mystery of Amrit Kaur.
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Your Brain on Art
Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen
Many of us think of the arts as entertainment—a luxury of some kind. In Your Brain on Art, authors Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross show how activities from painting and dancing to expressive writing, architecture, and more are essential to our lives. We’re on the verge of a cultural shift in which the arts can deliver potent, accessible, and proven solutions for the well-being of everyone. Magsamen and Ross offer compelling research that shows how engaging in an art project for as little as forty-five minutes reduces the stress hormone cortisol, no matter your skill level, and just one art experience per month.
Release Date: March 21, 2023
When the Heavens Went on Sale
With the launch of the Falcon 1 rocket in 2008, Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the first private company to build a low-cost rocket that could reach orbit. And that milestone carried major implications: Silicon Valley, not NASA or nation states, was suddenly cemented as the epicenter of the new Space Age. Start-ups and the wealthy investors behind them began to realize that the universe—ungoverned and infinite—was open for business. Welcome to the Wild West of aerospace engineering. When the Heavens Went on Sale tells the remarkable, unfolding story of this frenzied intergalactic land grab.
Release Date: May 9, 2023
King: A Life
Vividly written and exhaustively researched, Jonathan Eig’s King: A Life is the first major biography in decades of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.—and the first to include recently declassified FBI files. In this revelatory new portrait of the preacher and activist who shook the world, the bestselling biographer gives us an intimate view of the courageous and often emotionally troubled human being who demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. He casts fresh light on the King family’s origins as well as MLK’s complex relationships with his wife, father, and fellow activists.
Release Date: May 16, 2023
Lesbian bars have always been treasured safe spaces for their customers, providing not only a good time but a shelter from societal alienation and outright persecution. In 1987, there were 206 of them in America. Today, only a couple dozen remain. How and why did this happen? What has been lost—or possibly gained—by such a decline? What transpires when marginalized communities become more accepted and mainstream?
In Moby Dyke, Krista Burton attempts to answer these questions firsthand, venturing on an epic cross-country pilgrimage to the last few remaining dyke bars.
Release Date: June 6, 2023
A Place for Us
Brandon J. Wolf
Growing up in rural Oregon, Brandon Wolf grappled with the devastating loss of his supportive mother and with the embedded racism and homophobia of a community that made him feel like an unwelcome stranger. After the lack of connection and role models led him down a spiral of risky behavior, Wolf escaped to survive. In Orlando, he found what he’d been searching for: belonging—in a community that was a safe space with people he’d come to call his chosen family. They taught Wolf how to love, and be loved, unconditionally. Then, on June 12, 2016, in an exhilarating refuge where Wolf and hundreds of others had discovered a liberating new normal.
Release Date: July 1, 2023
What an Owl Knows
For millennia, owls have captivated and intrigued us. Our fascination with these mysterious birds was first documented more than thirty thousand years ago in the Chauvet Cave paintings in southern France. With their forward gaze and quiet flight, owls are often a symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and foresight. But what does an owl really know? And what do we really know about owls? Though our fascination goes back centuries, scientists have only recently begun to understand in deep detail the complex nature of these extraordinary birds. Some two hundred sixty species of owls exist today, and they reside on every continent except.
Release Date: June 13, 2023
Pulling the Chariot of the Sun
When Shane McCrae was three years old, his grandparents kidnapped him and took him to suburban Texas. His mom was white and his dad was Black, and to hide his Blackness from him, his maternal grandparents stole him from his father. In the years that followed, they manipulated and controlled him, refusing to acknowledge his heritage—all the while believing they were doing what was best for him. For their own safety and to ensure the kidnapping remained a success, Shane’s grandparents had to make sure that he never knew the full story, so he was raised to participate.
Release Date: August 1, 2023
The Many Lives of Mama Love
Lara Love Hardin
No one expects the police to knock on the million-dollar, two-story home of the perfect cul-de-sac housewife. But soccer mom Lara Love Hardin has been hiding a shady secret: she is funding her heroin addiction by stealing her neighbors’ credit cards.
Lara is convicted of thirty-two felonies and becomes inmate S32179. She learns that jail is a class system with a power structure that is somewhere between an adolescent sleepover party and Lord of the Flies. Furniture is made from tampon boxes.
Release Date: August 1, 2023
For Jenn Shapland, the barrier between herself and the world is porous; she was even diagnosed with extreme dermatologic sensitivity—thin skin. Recognizing how deeply vulnerable we all are to our surroundings, she becomes aware of the impacts our tiniest choices have on people, places, and species far away. She can’t stop seeing the ways we are enmeshed and entangled with everyone else on the planet. Despite our attempts to cordon ourselves off from risk, our boundaries are permeable. Weaving together historical research, interviews, and her everyday life in New Mexico, Shapland probes the lines between self and work, human and animal.
Release Date: August 15, 2023