2018 was the year that I rediscovered my love for non-fiction! There were so many amazing non-fiction books that came out this year (I will talk about my favourites in a future post!) and I am excited to see what 2019 brings! I had a hard time trying to figure out which non-fiction novels are being released next year, so any recommendations you may have are more than welcome!
The Five: The Lives of Jack Ripper’s Women by Hallie Rubenhold
The “canonical five” women murdered by Jack the Ripper have always been dismissed as society’s waste, their stories passed down to us wrapped in a package of Victorian assumptions and prejudice. But social historian Hallie Rubenhold sets the record straight in The Five. In reality, only two of the victims were prostitutes, and Rubenhold has uncovered entirely new research about them all–in some cases, material no one has ever seen before.
The Five tells for the first time the true stories of these fascinating women. It delves into the Victorian experience of poverty, homelessness, and alcoholism, but also motherhood, childbirth, sexuality, child-rearing, work, and marriage, all against the fascinating, dark, and quickly changing backdrop of nineteenth-century London. From rural Sweden to the wedding of Queen Victoria, from the London of Charles Dickens to the factories of the Industrial Revolution and the high-class brothels of the West End, these women were not just victims but witnesses to the vagaries and vicissitudes of the Victorian age.
Release Date: February 19th, 2019
There is so much talk about Jack the Ripper that his victims are often forgotten. I am glad that Hallie Rubenhold is giving these women a voice. I am looking forward to learning more about the people that they were and the lives that they lead.
Sounds Like Titanic: A Memoir by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman
A young woman leaves Appalachia for life as a classical musician—or so she thinks.
When aspiring violinist Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman lands a job with a professional ensemble in New York City, she imagines she has achieved her lifelong dream. But the ensemble proves to be a sham. When the group “performs,” the microphones are never on. Instead, the music blares from a CD. The mastermind behind this scheme is a peculiar and mysterious figure known as The Composer, who is gaslighting his audiences with music that sounds suspiciously like the Titanic movie soundtrack. On tour with his chaotic ensemble, Hindman spirals into crises of identity and disillusionment as she “plays” for audiences genuinely moved by the performance, unable to differentiate real from fake.
Sounds Like Titanic is a surreal, often hilarious coming-of-age story. Hindman writes with precise, candid prose and sharp insight into ambition and gender, especially when it comes to the difficulties young women face in a world that views them as silly, shallow, and stupid. As the story swells to a crescendo, it gives voice to the anxieties and illusions of a generation of women, and reveals the failed promises of a nation that takes comfort in false realities.
Release Date: February 12th, 2019
I have come to the realization that I love stories that involve music in some shape or form, and Sounds Like Titanic sounds completely wild and original! I am very curious to learn more about this scheme and the person behind it.
Mother Winter: A Memoir by Sophia Shalmiyev
Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev was raised in the stark oppressiveness of 1980s Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). An imbalance of power and the prevalence of antisemitism in her homeland led her father to steal Shalmiyev away, emigrating to America, abandoning her estranged mother, Elena. At age eleven, Shalmiyev found herself on a plane headed west, motherless and terrified of the new world unfolding before her.
Now a mother herself, in Mother Winter Shalmiyev depicts in urgent vignettes her emotional journeys as an immigrant, an artist, and a woman raised without her mother. She tells of her early days in St. Petersburg, a land unkind to women, wayward or otherwise; her tumultuous pit-stop in Italy as a refugee on her way to America; the life she built for herself in the Pacific Northwest, raising two children of her own; and ultimately, her cathartic voyage back to Russia as an adult, where she searched endlessly for the alcoholic mother she never knew. Braided into her physical journey is a metaphorical exploration of the many surrogate mothers Shalmiyev sought out in place of her own—whether in books, art, lovers, or other lost souls banded together by their misfortunes.
Mother Winter is the story of Shalmiyev’s years of travel, searching, and forging meaningful connection with the worlds she occupies—the result is a searing observation of the human heart and psyche’s many shades across time and culture. As critically acclaimed author Michelle Tea says, “with sparse, poetic language Shalmiyev builds a personal history that is fractured and raw; a brilliant, lovely ache.”
Release Date: February 12th, 2019
Mother Winter sounds like a powerful memoir and it seems that Sophia Shalmiyev has lead an interesting life. I am looking forward to reading her perspective on life as a refugee and an artist, and on motherhood.
Ungovernable: The Victorian Parent’s Guide to Raising Flawless Children by Therese Oneill
The wickedly funny feminist historian who brought you Unmentionable: A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners is back, to educate you on what to expect when you’re expecting . . . a Victorian baby.
Twenty-first century parents are drowning in theories and advice and guilt, with maybe one in a hundred managing some façade of success. What can we learn from our foremothers? Is it possible that the rather draconian methods of Victorian childrearing worked? Better than the ones we bend our backs to today?
Ungovernable will address parents’ concerns about raising a model Victorian child, advising you on:
– How much lager to consume while pregnant
– How to select the best peasant teat for your child
– How to choose an appropriately homely governess
– Which toys are most likely to turn your child into a sexual deviant
– And more
Consulting actual advice manuals from the 19th century, Oneill takes us on a shocking and hilarious tour through the backwards, pseudoscientific, downright bizarre childrearing fashions of the Victorians, giving us some much-needed perspective on contemporary parenting fads.
Release Date: April 16th, 2019
This book just sounds hysterical! I love everything Victorian and I am looking forward to reading a feminist’s take on some of the ridiculous practices that went on during that time. The author’s first novel sounds hilarious as well so I am hoping to get to that before the release of this one!
Good Talk: Conversations I Am Still Confused About by Mira Jacob
Mira Jacob’s touching, often humorous, and utterly unique graphic memoir takes readers on her journey as a first-generation American. At an increasingly fraught time for immigrants and their families, Good Talk delves into the difficult conversations about race, sex, love, and family that seem to be unavoidable these days.
Inspired by her popular BuzzFeed piece “37 Difficult Questions from My Mixed-Raced Son,” here are Jacob’s responses to her six-year-old, Zakir, who asks if the new president hates brown boys like him; uncomfortable relationship advice from her parents, who came to the United States from India one month into their arranged marriage; and the imaginary therapy sessions she has with celebrities from Bill Murray to Madonna. Jacob also investigates her own past, from her memories of being the only non-white fifth grader to win a Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest to how it felt to be a brown-skinned New Yorker on 9/11. As earnest and moving as they are sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, these are the stories that have formed one American life.
Release Date: April 16th, 2019
I have never read a graphic memoir, but I have fallen in love with graphic novels. Good Talk sounds like the perfect book to start me on my graphic memoir journey. It seems like it is going to tackle a variety of very important issues, and I am interested in Mira Jacob’s voice and perspective.
If you know of any interesting non-fiction novels coming out in 2019 I would love to hear about them!