Great Nonfiction Reads for the New Year

American Rose, Revolution, and More

nonfiction reads!

If novels are the popular kids who stir up trouble with their slippery lies, nonfiction books are the brainy-cool nerds who whisper a truth that’s stranger than fiction. Here, we present ten compelling new (and true) reads to take you through winter and into spring.

American Rose
Author Karen Abbott’s meticulously researched, rollicking biography of vaudeville stripper Gypsy Rose Lee peels away the layers of Lee’s grim childhood spent on the road with her sister and their stage mother from hell. You think wire hangers are bad? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Available now.

sometimes i feel like a nut!Sometimes I Feel like a Nut
Jill Kargman identifies with the ’80s advertising jingle for Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars. Her little book of stories regales readers with a wicked and witty take on love, hate, kids, family, and work. Release date: February 1.

We ran away from university with our hippie boyfriend to a house trailer near the ocean. Deb Olin Unferth was a little more ambitious. She and her college sweetie went to Nicaragua in search of jobs with the Sandinistas. Subtitled “The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War,” Revolution is a heartbreaking story of idealism and youthful search for meaning. Release date: February 1.

tiger tiger!Tiger, Tiger
Margaux Fragoso was only 7 years old when she swam up to a guy in his 50s and asked him to play with her. The mesmerizing memoir of the next fifteen years — spent with the pedophile who became her playmate, father, and lover — had us enraged, horrified, and unable to put it down. Release date: March 1.

Winged Obsession
Butterfly smugglers? Who knew? Journalist Jessica Speart chases down the butterfly world’s most elusive criminal, the notorious Yoshi Kojima, in her fantastic new book. It’s a journey with the twists and turns of a taut thriller — like The Orchid Thief only with wings. Release date: April 5.

Book club coming up? We have more real-life reads.

Photos: Hey Christine / Flickr; Courtesy of William Morrow; Courtesy of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux