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The Summer’s Hottest Nonfiction You Need to Pick Up Now

by  | July 24

Usually our summer reading lists are filled with fiction reads—some feel good rom-coms, sizzling thrillers that keep us up all night, and a few historical fiction stories that take us to another time and place. But it’s always good to balance out fiction TBRs with a hearty dose of nonfiction reads too. Our summer reccos include true-crime reads for fans of con-artist tales and a little something for you murderinos, as well as celeb memoirs and stories of awakenings—both sexual and otherworldly in nature. 

Three Women

Three Women

by Lisa Taddeo

Hannah’s Pick:

When I think about Three Women, I think, “Oh my god, who else has read this, because we need to talk NOW.” With sex, sex, truly shocking sex, more sex…and incredibly powerful social commentary on women’s desires, this is rightfully being touted as an intensely compelling book and immediate feminist classic. Oh, and it’s nonfiction—Lisa Taddeo followed three women around for eight years to report on their sex lives. One woman is in a loveless marriage and has an affair with an old flame. Another woman is married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other people. And the third story follows a woman who, as a high school student, had an affair with her married teacher. Taddeo is an excellent narrative nonfiction writer, and because of her skill, there were multiple moments where I forgot I was reading a journalist’s reporting, and when I remembered, the impact of what I was reading was like a blow to the head. It’s so personal and so powerful—and so pointed—that it’s impossible to stay quiet about it after you’ve finished it.

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My Friend Anna

My Friend Anna

by Rachel DeLoache Williams

Saimah’s Pick:

Without a doubt, this is the BEST nonfiction book I’ve read this year. It has everything I want in a true-crime story! When Rachel DeLoache Williams met Anna “Delvey” Sorokin through mutual friends, she had no idea the mess she was stepping into. Now infamously known as the “SoHo grifter,” Anna Sorokin conned Rachel and many others by claiming she was a German heiress named Anna Delvey. Shortly after the two girls met, Anna began inviting Rachel to go with her to all the New York hot spots, to her personal training sessions with a celebrity trainer, and more! Rachel was a photo editor at Vanity Fair at the time and didn’t have the means to pay for all the extravagance that Anna was so accustomed to. So when Anna extended an invite to Rachel to join her on an all-expenses-paid luxury trip to Morocco, Rachel couldn’t resist the incredible offer…but that’s when everything started to crumble. My Friend Anna shares Rachel’s side of the story and how she helped uncover Anna’s real identity.

Like the Fyre Festival, there is already dueling interest from HBO and Netflix to create true-crime documentaries about the story, and they are both racing to hit the play button.

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Savage Appetites

Savage Appetites

by Rachel Monroe

Amy’s Pick:

In this incredibly compelling new collection, Savage Appetites examines women’s role within the true- crime community with four-character studies featuring women involved within larger crime stories in completely different ways. Whether advocating for criminal justice reform, discussing how forensic science is being revolutionized, or showing how a massacre was plotted, Monroe combines the succinct clarity of a journalist with a literary voice that propels these stories into a unique realm of readability. I blazed through this collection and appreciated the focus on stories that existed on the periphery of larger cases I know verbatim, such as the Manson murders and the West Memphis Three, surprising even me as a diehard true- crime nerd. Monroe captures both the problematic and empathetic aspects of the true-crime boom that’s happening now, making this a timely and increasingly relevant read. Add it to your TBR now so you can get it when it releases on August 20th!

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Waking the Witch

Waking the Witch

by Pam Grossman

Linda’s Pick:

Part memoir, part essay collection, with a dose of history and cultural critique, Waking the Witch is a long, shallow dive into a deep, deep pool. Debunking some of the more common notions about witchcraft, Pam Grossman also deftly points out the stereotypes about witches that have persisted throughout the centuries. She ties Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Anna Biller’s The Love Witch and demonstrates time and time again that the fears we have about witches and witchcraft are intimately connected to the fears men have about women. Later in the book Grossman dismisses the notion that witchcraft is only for women, but she does point out that women are in the majority when it comes to practitioners. A fascinating look at the way that modern witches have adapted to the pressures of history—rejecting some parts and accepting others—Waking the Witch is a powerful, mystical, and magical read.

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Naturally Tan

Naturally Tan

by Tan France

Sienna’s Pick:

I love Netflix’s Queer Eye. I can only watch it with a box of tissues nearby and not a bit of mascara on, or else I look like a giant raccoon with all my tears of joy when the Fab Five do their thing. Now I have to  confess: Jonathan is my favorite and then Karamo, but Tan is definitely next on my list. He would be tied with Karamo but his only fashion upgrade lately seems to be the French Tuck. Not everyone looks good with their shirt tucked in the front and the back hanging out, Tan. Anyway, there is way more to Tan than his French Tuck obsession. In his memoir, Naturally Tan,Tan talks about growing up as the youngest child of a family of Pakistani immigrants in South Yorkshire, England. They were one of the very few South Asian, Muslim families living in a predominantly white area of the UK. He was often bullied both for his culture and the color of his skin. Tan knew he was gay from an early age, and he kept his sexually identity a secret to avoid more harassment and because he didn’t want to alienate his traditional family. He kept his lifestyle a secret from them until he came out in his 30s and married a Mormon cowboy from Utah. What a fascinating story!

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My Squirrel Days

My Squirrel Days

by Ellie Kemper

Heather’s Pick:

You’ve laughed at her antics as a charming new receptionist struggling to fill Pam’s shoes in The Office and as a sweet, innocent cult survivor in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Ellie Kemper’s formidable talents don’t end there, however. Off-screen, she’s also a brilliant writer who has published pieces with The Onion, McSweeney’s, and The Huffington Post. What I’m saying is, don’t be surprised if you laugh your ass off as you read her first book, a collection of hilarious essays that grant us a backstage pass to “one pale woman’s journey from the Midwest to Hollywood.” Long may she reign as a queen of comedy.  This hilarious read is now out in paperback, so even easier to carry along on your next vacation!

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What Kind of Quiz Book Are You?

What Kind of Quiz Book Are You?

by Rachel McMahon

Nick’s Pick:

If you’re like me (or the general public…or at least I’m assuming), you’ve filled out a Buzzfeed quiz at 2 in the morning over a bag of Doritos. In order to scratch your pop culture-y quiz itch, you should most definitely check out Rachel McMahon’s What Kind of Quiz Book Are You? It contains new and popular quizzes, with Rachel’s own commentary and breakdowns, to give you the full experience. Get to it, or you’ll never be able to use your favorite Pop Tart flavor to reveal your relationship status!

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