From long-awaited celebrity memoirs (Bruce Springsteen! Carrie Fisher!) to tragically timely reportage (Another Day in the Death of America), scratch your nonfiction itch with these 21 phenomenal works coming this fall. Though if you prefer imaginary tales, fear not: We also recommend these 12 blockbuster novels and 7 YA treats to pre-order ASAP.
In the Mountains of Madness by W. Scott Poole (Sept. 13)
This H.P. Lovecraft bio delves into the writer’s life and his influence on pop culture.
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin (Sept. 27)
The “Lottery” author finally gets the critical biography she deserves.
Something in the Blood by David J. Skal (Oct. 4)
Skal plumbs the intriguing mysteries of Dracula creator Bram Stoker’s life.
Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge (Oct. 4)
At a time when gun control (or the lack of it) is hotly debated, Younge’s book, which profiles 10 children killed by gun violence on Nov. 23, 2013, is particularly prescient.
Mary Astor’s Purple Diary by Edward Sorel (Oct. 4)
The golden age of Hollywood wasn’t all glitz and glamor, as Sorel shows in this copiously illustrated examination of “the great American sex scandal of 1936,” which revolved around the dirty laundry aired at actress Mary Astor’s child-custody trial.
Rogue Heroes by Ben Macintyre (Oct. 4)
Macintyre, the great chronicler of World War II (Agent Zigzag; Double Cross), investigates the backstory of Britain’s secret fighting force, the SAS.
Knives & Ink by Isaac Fitzgerald & Wendy MacNaughton (Oct. 18)
One of the fall’s most unusual books is a gorgeous look at the tattoos (and the stories behind them) of 65 chefs, some famous, some not.
Truevine by Beth Macy (Oct. 18
Would that it were fiction. But Macy’s impeccably reported tale—about albino African-American brothers snatched from a Virginia tobacco field in 1899 and forced to work in a circus sideshow—is all too true.
The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar by Matt Simon (Oct. 25)
Simon, a science journalist at Wired who writes the Absurd Creatures column, likes animal stories—the weirder, the better—and here he’s amassed a bizarre collection of evolution tales.
Bellevue by David Oshinsky (Nov. 15)
The professor who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of polio here recounts the tumultuous history of America’s oldest hospital, New York City’s Bellevue.
The Wood for the Trees by Richard Fortey (Dec. 6)
It’s rare to find nature writing as precise and elegant as Fortey’s, which follows the changes in a few acres of English woodland through all four seasons.
Swimming in the Sink by Lynne Cox (Sept. 6)
Cox, an open-water swimmer who famously crossed the Bering Strait without a wet suit, covers a period in her life marred by grief and illness.
Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson (Sept. 13)
After starring in beloved films like Matilda as a child, Wilson left the spotlight. She returns as a talented writer with Where Am I Now?
The Fortress by Danielle Trussoni (Sept. 20)
Trussoni has already written a remarkable coming-of-age memoir, Falling Through the Earth—largely about her relationship with her dad, a Vietnam vet—and now delivers a scorching account of her marriage.
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (Sept. 27)
Is the notoriously private rock star finally going to spill all? He’s been writing Born to Run—easily this fall’s most anticipated book—for the past seven years.
Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright (Sept. 27)
In what looks to be a groundbreaking work, the gender revolutionary and artist reminisces about his East Village upbringing and early life.
A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston (Oct. 18)
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (Oct. 18)
The diary she kept while filming the original Star Wars inspired Fisher’s latest memoir.
Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins (Oct. 25)
The musician has promised an unvarnished “warts-and-all” look back at his life and career.
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (Nov. 15)
The Pitch Perfect star can sing, act, and write hilarious tweets. Fortunately she’s imbued the pieces in Scrappy Little Nobody with that same humor.
Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham (Nov. 29)
Just in time for Gilmore Girls revival mania, Graham—who already has a novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe, under her belt—tries her hand at nonfiction in Talking as Fast as I Can.