Curious about the best nonfiction books of 2022? Read stunning memoirs and learn more about history, science, or self-improvement with these must-read nonfiction books.
While I will admit that I absolutely love reading fiction, the older I get the more I seem to crave nonfiction books.
Fiction allows you to feel powerful emotions – sobbing when a character dies, exploring magical worlds, or laughing at bizarre scenarios – without having to leave your bed. Yet, in the back of your mind, you know the story is made up.
With the best nonfiction books, you get that feeling that only comes from a true story. You know these things actually happened to real people. You get to learn new skills, discover your self-worth, and examine the truths of the world around us.
I think good nonfiction books are harder to find than fiction titles, so to help you out, here is my list of the best nonfiction books of 2022. Some I’ve read, some I can’t wait to read, but all are getting plenty of buzz this year.
The Best Celebrity Memoirs
Both vulnerable and hilarious, Jennette McCurdy’s tell-all memoir sends a poignant message of the dangers of child acting. McCurdy brilliantly embraces her inner child by describing how desperately she wanted to please her mom by acting, even if it lead to an eating disordered and a chaotic relationship with her family that she didn’t fully understand until attending therapy after her mother’s death.
Known for his role as Chandler Bing on Friends, Matthew Perry gives a behind-the-scenes look at the hit sitcom. Yet, while his career was hitting a high, Perry struggled through some of his darkest days. In this candid memoir, Perry discusses his lifelong battle with addiction and the persistence, hope, and friends who helped him along the way.
The powerful memoir from actress and producer Viola Davis about finding herself. From her roots in a rundown apartment in Rhode Island to center stage in New York, Davis constantly had to find the courage to forget the judgment of the world and fall in love with herself.
Bestselling author James Patterson is among the best nonfiction books of 2022, not for one of his thrillers but for a new memoir detailing his life. Patterson describes how a kid whose dad grew up in a poorhouse became one of the most famous modern storytellers.
MSNBC news anchor Katy Dur recounts a lifetime of chasing news. Her parents Marika Gerard and Bob (now Zoey) Tur gained fame and wealth as helicopter journalists covering such events as O.J. Simpson’s car chase. By high school, they had lost it all, leaving Tur with a complicated relationship with her parents. Telling of her own rise from local reporter to foreign correspondent and eventually news anchor, Tur ponders on the roles and responsibilities of journalists.
The Best Memoirs of 2022
Growing up in a small town in El Salvador, Javier Zamora watched his father and mother both migrate to the United States when he was very young. When he turned nine, Javier left the protection of his extended family to reunite with his parents. Traveling alone with strangers with the help of a “coyote,” Javier’s two-week journey turns into a two-month trek full of danger and uncertainty and the kindness of the strangers he was traveling with.
Rejecting the capitalistic path of others, Brianna Madia always sought to take the road less traveled. So she bought a beat-up orange van named Bertha and set out to travel the deserts of the American West with two dogs and her husband. Madia’s journey – from married to single and from lost to found – is about more than #vanlife or minimalism or dogs; it’s a memoir that explores both the outer world and her inner self. With a unique voice describing the beauty of the Utah deserts, Madia isn’t afraid to dive into the mistake of her life, parsing out why she made the choices she did, which helps connect her story to life at large.
In a painful memoir, Congressman Jamie Raskin tells of the 45 days at the beginning of 2021 that changed his life forever. On December 31, 2020, his only son committed suicide after a long struggle with depression. Less than a week later, Raskin found himself in the Capitol building stormed by insurrectionists. Although reeling from both events, Raskin was forced to set his feelings aside and use his experience as a constitutional law professor to lead the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
For over four decades, Margaret Sullivan has spent her life in the newsroom, going from a summer intern at the Buffalo News to becoming the first female public editor at The New York Times. Along the way, Sullivan has battled sexism along with normal competition and become a sharp critic of the ethics of journalism. In Newsroom Confidential, Sullivan describes her journey and discusses how the public has lost trust in the media and what journalists can do to regain that trust.
Must Read Nonfiction Books
After Princess Diana’s celebrity almost tore the British royal family apart, Queen Elizabeth II vowed to never let such a thing happen again. Yet, like any other family, the royal family has had twenty-five years of scandals, affairs, and power struggles which Tina Brown masterfully leads you through. From the death of Princess Margaret to the stepping away of Harry and Megan, The Palace Papers has all the juicy details for you to devour.
In an uncertain world, former First Lady Michelle Obama teaches strategies to help you find hope and balance. Instead of cliche affirmations, Obama digs deep into the conversation about difficult topics and finds practical wisdom to help readers cope. With insightful stories and usable tools, Obama hopes to empower readers to find connections in an ever-changing world.
Patrick Radden Keefe
Bestselling author and journalist Patrick Radden Keefe brings together twelve acclaimed articles from The New Yorker that showcase fascinating stories of underhanded intrigue. From a forger of vintage wines to a whistleblower at a Swiss Bank who is either a hero or a liar, Keefe collects deeply human stories of criminals and rascals and those who stand up to them.
In his first collection of new essays since Calypso, David Sedaris writes of the change the pandemic has wrought in the world and in himself. Stuck in lockdown during the pandemic, Sedaris finds himself changing – sometimes for the good and sometimes for the humorous. Yet, even after normal life begins to return after the lockdowns, Sedaris finds himself in a different America, scarred by the pandemic, while dealing with his emotions from his father’s death.
Can’t Miss History Books
A. J. Baime
Born with mixed-race heritage to parents who were born as slaves, Walter F. White’s skin was light enough that he could easily “pass” as white. A leader of the Harlem Renaissance and an important member of the NAACP, White used his ability to lead a dual life, going undercover to investigate some of the worst racist murders in America. White’s leadership shaped public opinion, pushed forward the Civil Rights Movement, and altered the mission of the NAACP toward legal and political activism.
In the 19th Century, European powers were fascinated by ancient Egypt and the competition was fierce to be the first explorer to find the headwaters of the Nile River. Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke set out on a dangerous expedition to find the source of the mighty river, with Speke succeeding in finding Lake Victoria. Upon their return, they became bitter enemies, disputing each other’s claims. Yet, a third man was on their trip – a local guide named Sidi Mubarak Bombay whose resourcefulness, courage, and power was the only thing keeping the European explorers alive.
Chuck Klosterman takes you back to the decade between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terror of 9/11. Klosterman shows the giant shifts in the decade in technology as the internet comes into full force, politics before 9/11, and the power of pop culture to shape opinions.
One of the most incredible athletes to ever live, Jim Thorpe was a gold medal winner in the pentathlon and decathlon as well as a professional football, baseball, and basketball player. A member of the Sac and Fox Nation, Thorpe encountered prejudice and racism throughout his career. Yet despite his fame, Thorpe’s later years were full of trials, failures, and incredible endurance.
Best Books 2022: Science
Science writer Ed Yong pushes you to expand your view beyond the limitation of your six senses to see the world as other creatures see it. From beetles that react to fire and turtles that track the Earth’s magnetic field, Yong describes tales in nature of an immense world teeming with more than you ever imagined.
Daniel H. Pink
Instead of living with “no regrets,” Pink teaches that regret is a natural part of our lives. By understanding how regrets work, you can make better decisions in the future and bring greater meaning into your life. Using true stories and showcasing practical takeaways, The Power of Regret builds off of Pink’s research into transforming regret into a positive experience.
After showing the power of introverts in Quiet, Susan Cain uses the same mix of science and storytelling to explore what bittersweet feelings of sorrow and longing can teach us about creativity, compassionate leadership, and love. Cain shows that bittersweetness isn’t just a fleeting emotion but a powerful way of being that can lead to transcendence.
What Would You Say Are The Best Nonfiction Books of 2022?
What nonfiction books did you enjoy most this year? Did I miss any of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2022 that you loved? As always, let me know in the comments!
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