The months of October and November are always powerhouses of nonfiction. It's the time of year when the weather turns cooler and the books start singing their siren songs to seduce us into an evening of reading. It's particularly easy to give into that song right now, and below are a few selections from our Best Nonfiction of November. I sometimes find myself arguing that the nonfiction category is the most varied books category out there. You can literally read about anything. As long as it's true. So, here are four true tales well-told, and be sure to check out our full list here.
True crime stories tend to reflect some form of obsession. Whether through the victim, the perpetrator (i.e., the criminal), or the person researching and telling the story, passion and mystery often intersect to weave a tale laced with obsession. Such is the case with Becky Cooper's We Keep the Dead Close. As an undergraduate at Harvard, Becky Cooper first hears the whisperings of the 40-year-old murder of a graduate student named Jane Britton. It is a ghost story that she cannot shake, one that she researched—obsessively—for 10 years. It was a story that turned out to be much more complex than the rumors.
Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life by John Gray
Let's face it. Anyone who has a cat, or who has even known a cat, entertains a slight suspicion that cats know more than we do. Like, they literally know something about life that we don't know. John Gray takes a serious but entertaining approach to exploring philosophy—the thoughts and actions of philosophers, as well as the thoughts and actions of cats—to ask What can we learn from them about life? Equally comfortable talking about Spinoza, or Montaigne's cat, Gray has written a book to chew on.
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
Emmanuel Acho first opened a public dialogue about racism with his popular videos. It was an approach that easily translates into a book, and we named Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man a Best Book of the Month. Amazon Senior Editor Adrian Liang describes it this way: "With an easy warmth, Acho serves up the perfect read for those who might be intimidated by weightier books like How to Be an Antiracist. Listening to this former NFL player talk about race is like listening to the insights of a trusted friend, so that even the uncomfortable bits sink in without sparking defensiveness."
It could be argued that Ree Drummond isn't just living her best life, she's living many people's best life. So it makes sense that people would want to settle down with a book full of her stories and musings—stories and musings about family, about love, and about laughing through the difficult times (or at least laughing about them after they have happened).
November is a sweet spot for nonfiction publishing.