Top 10 Fall Nonfiction Must Reads

The other week, we showed you some of the fiction we’re most excited about this fall. But isn’t there also something about watching all the kids head back to school that makes you want to learn more about the world? We’ve got all of this season’s best nonfiction lined up right here! And there are some real goodies on this year’s list…

1. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is the epitome of awesome lady power – so how could her book not be? Holding an early copy of Yes Please was a rather thrilling fan-girl moment for me. This is Amy’s first book, and her trademark wit and charming sarcasm offer up all the advice you could ever want, like when to be funny and when to be serious. Yes Please is a delicious read full of juicy never-before-heard personal stories and funny anecdotes about her adventures through life and comedy. Plus the pink neon cover is just so perfect. You go, Amy! On sale October 28.

2. Circling the Midnight Sun by Jim Raffan

Circling the Midnight Sun is not just any adventure book. It manages to be at once fascinating, funny, beautiful, and important. Jim Raffan takes us on a breathtaking adventure to circumnavigate the globe at 66.5 degrees latitude. He is a very passionate writer, and he describes the lives of the people who live there with great care – these are communities whose lives are changing rapidly and dramatically as the planet shifts around them. This is perhaps one of the most original and compelling discussion of climate change yet. Fun fact: Jim Raffan is now the Executive Director of the Canadian Canoe Museum, which is awesome. On sale September 23.

3. Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story by Rick Bragg

Great Balls o’ Fire! For the very first time, Jerry Lee Lewis, the greatest rock and roller of all time, tells his own story of the (many) shenanigans that make up his work and life. Lewis has performed with everyone from Elvis Presley to Keith Richards to Bruce Springsteen to Kid Rock, all while surviving more sex and drugs and drinking than one person should ever be able to handle. Have you heard the time an IRS raid stripped his apartment bare – literally? Rick Bragg’s skillful narrative and Lewis’ shocking stories set Jerry Lee Lewis up to be the best rock and roll story ever. On sale October 28th.

4. The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller

How many of you have ever lied about finishing a book you just never got through? Every book nerd has a pile on their bedside table and mental list of scary huge books that we know we all should read. I’ll admit that I never actually finished Ulysses… tell us what books you’ve lied about finishing in the comments! Andy Miller has decided to stop two decades worth of literary lies and finally delve into his own frightening tower of unread tomes in The Year of Reading Dangerously. Miller’s decision to read more dangerously and become the lettered man he has always pretended to be is a witty and inspiring tale that will resonate with everyone who loves books but has forgotten how to read. On sale September 16th!

5. Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow.

It is mind-bending how quickly some very public people and companies are able to leap into incredible success. And how is it that some are able to skip so many steps and advance so implausibly fast? Shane Snow proposes that some people are using what he calls Smartcuts to scoot ahead. Snow discusses how people like Alexander the Great, YouTube phenomenon Michelle Phan, and Jimmy Fallon have employed this lateral thinking technique to break rules of convention that aren’t in fact rules at all. Get smart! On sale September 9th.

6. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott.

This is just a great title. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by the amazing Karen Abbott is the story of four incredible undercover women in the American Civil War. Seventeen-year-old Belle Boyd was a rebellious teenager who, after shooting a Union soldier, became a spy for the confederate army who charmed men into trusting her. After Rose O’Neal Greenway was left a widow, she began a series of affairs with high-level Northern politicians to gain access to information she could send back south. Elizabeth Van Lew was a wealthy southern abolitionist responsible for infiltrating the highest levels of government. And one of these women is even Canadian! Sarah Emma Edmonds was a master of disguise who traveled to America, cut her hair, and enlisted in the Union army under the name Franklin Thompson. On sale September 2nd.

7. Jamie’s Comfort Food by Jamie Oliver

Isn’t this just the perfect cookbook for fall? I mean, really, comfort food is perfect for always, but especially cozy fall sweater weather. Jamie Oliver, true to form, emphasizes flavour and freshness over labour-intensive preparation, and the dishes in Jamie’s Comfort Food are a pleasure to make. The pictures will have you drooling – there is no doubt that Jamie can teach you how to make the most photogenic and delicious burger probably ever. Treat yourself! On sale Septmber 23rd.

8. The Crazy Game by Clint Malarchuk

I’ll admit it, I’m not a huge hockey fan (*gasp!*). But somehow, Clint Malarchuk’s book was still completely captivating. You may recall hearing about the on-ice accident that left him with the large scar you can see on the cover – a skate across the neck almost ended his career and his life, intensely exacerbating Malarchuk’s anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. After the accident, his struggles with alcohol nearly cost him his life and left him with a bullet in the head. This book really gives you a glimpse inside the mind of someone at the heart of the darker side of hockey and the struggles of those who play The Crazy Game. This story is great for hockey fans and non-fans alike. On sale October 21st.


9. Lady Parts by Andrea Martin

I’m so excited that we have another funny lady featured on this list! Andrea Martin is a comedy-darling who has truly done it all. Her collection of essays, Lady Parts, is moving, hilarious, fallibly human, and all-around wonderful. She opens up about her experiences in and out of showbiz. (Chimps in tutus: I’ll leave you with that thought). PLUS she has even dedicated this book to Canada! On sale September 2nd.

10. Common Ground by Justin Trudeau.

We may think we know everything there is to know about Justin Trudeau, but the thing about politicians whose daily lives are constant media features is that we rarely get the whole story. This candid memoir is full of personal anecdotes, family photos, and political reflections about the events and experiences that have shaped Canada’s Liberal leader. And just in case you needed any convincing that Common Ground is a great buy, all proceeds will be donated to the domestic programs of the Canadian Red Cross Society that serve our country’s local communities and people across the country that need it most. On sale October 21st.

Which of these nonfiction titles will you add to your 50 Book Pledge To Read shelf? Tell us on Twitter @SavvyReader.

~ Susannah

follow me on Twitter @sazames

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