25 unmissable non-fiction books for autumn 2022
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This autumn is filled to the brim with non-fiction from incredible writers – from biographies to life guides.
Autumn brings with it a glorious selection of brilliant non-fiction books that go beyond simple life stories to provide wisdom, support and survival tactics in these uncertain times. Michelle Obama, Malorie Blackman and Dolly Alderton offer life lessons; actors including Friends’ Matthew Perry and iCarly’s Jennette McCurdy reveal the dark truth about their careers in jaw-dropping and honest memoirs while wellbeing books tackle everything from imposter syndrome to the importance of play – even when you’re over the age of 10.
There are also moving books from Catastrophe actor and writer Rob Delaney, singer Nick Cave (in conversation with journalist Seán O’Hagan) and activist Zarifa Ghafari with entertaining and wise words from Sali Hughes, Adam Kay and Marina Hyde that are perfect for a season of darker nights and comfort reads. Read on to discover the 24 titles you need to know about this season…
The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
With publishing clearing the decks for 15 November, Michelle Obama’s new book is set to be one of the biggest for 2022. Tackling “change, challenge and power”, expect wisdom and insight from the former first lady as we continue to navigate unprecedented times.
Shop The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama (£25, Penguin) at Bookshop
What Just Happened? by Marina Hyde
Don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the world of Boris Johnson, supreme court justices and Meghan hounding? Marina Hyde’s weekly Guardian columns have been collated into this handy bible that allows you to weep and howl with laughter simultaneously (out 6 October).
Shop What Just Happened? by Marina Hyde (£20, Guardian Faber) at Bookshop
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
This no-holds-barred memoir has become a US publishing sensation as the former star of iCarly and Sam & Cat delves into her childhood of abuse and exploitation at the hands of her mother. Offering redemption and reflections on whether we do have to forgive people, it’s a brave, unsparing and very readable book (out now).
Shop I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (£20, Simon & Schuster)
Just Sayin’ by Malorie Blackman
The wondrous former Children’s Laureate and author of the Noughts And Crosses series (among many others) has written a memoir that highlights significant moments in her life and what she’s learned from them. Beautifully written, honest and thought-provoking (out 20 October).
Shop Just Sayin’ by Malorie Blackman (£16, Cornerstone) at Bookshop
Settlers by Jimi Famurewa
Exploring the London diaspora of Black Africans from countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Somalia, writer and food journalist Famurewa creates a spellbinding portrait of culture, talent, food and activism while never shying away from Britain’s backdrop of policy, politics and discrimination (out now).
Shop Settlers by Jimi Famurewa (£18.98, Bloomsbury) at Bookshop
Faith, Hope And Carnage by Nick Cave and Seán O’Hagan
A book that’ll stay with you forever, the conversation between singer, writer and composer Nick Cave and his friend Seán O’Hagan touches on the loss of Cave’s son Arthur, the grief that followed and the unexpected-but-necessary uplift that can be found in creativity, work and human connection (out 20 September).
Shop Faith, Hope And Carnage by Nick Cave and Sean O’Hagan (£20, Canongate) at Bookshop
Fingers Crossed by Miki Berenyi
Miki Berenyi is one of the most influential women in British music – her band Lush took no prisoners before and during the Britpop era. In this beautifully written memoir, she reveals the emotional damage of her childhood, the thorny navigation of becoming a front woman in a male-dominated industry and unpacks the complexity of her relationships with her beloved fellow band members (out 29 September).
Shop Fingers Crossed by Miki Berenyi (£20, Bonnier) at Bookshop
Dear Dolly by Dolly Alderton
A compilation of Alderton’s Agony Aunt columns, this is a book full of wisdom when it comes to navigating modern-day love, friendships, family, work and social pitfalls. Written with humour and empathy, you really can’t go wrong by picking a page and delving in (out 27 October).
Shop Dear Dolly by Dolly Alderton (£16.98, Penguin) at Bookshop
Women In White Coats by Olivia Campbell
The uplifting story of three friends – Elizabeth Blackwell, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Sophia Jex-Blake – who became the first women to earn medical degrees. Faced with obstacles at every turn, it’s a story of single-minded resilience and we’re ready for the Netflix adaptation, please (out 20 October).
Shop Women In White Coats by Olivia Campbell (£14.99, Swift Press) at Bookshop
Ten by Rylan
Rylan’s book is filled with life lessons from the last decade – an era that has seen him move from reality TV breakout star to what’s not far off a national treasure. Tackling fame, family and his own mental health and identity, this is a surprisingly frank and moving memoir.
Shop Ten by Rylan (£14.99, Orion) at Bookshop
Zarifa by Zarifa Ghafari
After secretly receiving an education as a child, Zarifa Ghafari became mayor of Maidan Wardak in Kabul aged 24. She faced striking male staff, death threats and violence culminating in her father’s murder. In August 2021, she escaped from the Taliban to seek refuge in Germany and continues to raise awareness of grassroots activism for women’s freedoms across the world and in Afghanistan. This is her incredible story (out 29 September).
Shop Zarifa by Zarifa Ghafari (£20, Virago) at Bookshop
Everything Is Washable by Sali Hughes
One of the best things about reading Nora Ephron is the life advice she arms you with: a go-to salad dressing, the pros and cons of red coats… Writer Sali Hughes is her spiritual successor with this new book – a compendium of wisdom for everything life can throw at you, from store cupboard essentials that won’t let you down to empathising with a friend during a tough time. Buy it and keep it by your bedside for every possible situation.
Shop Everything Is Washable by Sali Hughes (£26, HarperCollins) at Bookshop
Forgiveness by Marina Cantacuzino
A big moral question of a book, Cantacuzino explores what forgiveness means, how we apply it and if it’s possible to forgive the worst elements of human nature. Speaking to people who have lived through atrocity and grief, this is a book to read over a weekend with plenty of space and time to reflect (out now).
Shop Forgiveness by Marina Cantacuzino (£14.99, Simon & Schuster) at Bookshop
She’s In CTRL by Anne-Marie Imafidon
Computer scientist Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, an advocate for women in STEM, “calls time on women being cut out of the tech story”. Bearing in mind that the tech world is run by men making decisions about our lives on a day-to-day basis, Imafidon outlines why women need to pioneer a different way of doing things and how we can go about doing it (out now).
Shop She’s In CTRL by Anne-Marie Imafidon (£16.98, Transworld) at Bookshop
Burn Before Reading by Daisy Buchanan
The Pound Project releases one story or essay at a time, producing only what it can sell. Its current project is an essay by the brilliant writer Daisy Buchanan about the impact of reading on our mental health; now’s your chance to support this little gem of genius.
Support Burn Before Reading by Daisy Buchanan (from £5) at The Pound Project
Landlines by Raynor Winn
Raynor Winn’s 2018 memoir The Salt Path was a gut-wrenching yet uplifting read about the loss of her home and her husband’s terminal diagnosis – and it sold a million copies as people found comfort and healing in its celebration of nature. Now attempting a 200-mile walk through Scotland, Landlines is about finding our way in the strangest of times (out now).
Shop Landlines by Raynor Winn (£20, Penguin) at Bookshop
Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries
Actor Alan Rickman made Snape his own in the Harry Potter movies, was awful to Emma Thompson in Love Actually and one of the greatest action movie villains in Die Hard. He died in 2016, but these posthumous, entertaining diaries are the perfect tribute to one incredible man.
Shop Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries (Canongate) at Bookshop, £25
Undoctored by Adam Kay
The follow-up to This Is Going To Hurt, Kay reveals just what happened to him next as he left the medical profession for a whole new path. Interweaving anecdotes with medical flashbacks (it’s not for the squeamish), this is a funny, truthful and fascinating memoir (out now).
Shop Undoctored by Adam Kay (£22, Orion) at Bookshop
No Choice by Becca Andrews
Just how did Roe v Wade fall after all of these years? In a brilliantly researched and enlightening book, journalist Andrews reveals the history of abortion across the world, why it’s been such a political lightning rod in the US and shines a light on the activists still fighting to make abortion safe, accessible and legal (out 11 October).
Shop No Choice by Becca Andrews (£16.98, Orion) at Bookshop
Duplicity by Donna Freed
Adoption, con artists, fraudulent child agencies, reunions… This jaw-dropping true story by Donna Freed is written with verve and heart as she creates a memoir that mixes her personal history with bigger questions about what makes us who we are (out 10 November).
Shop Duplicity by Donna Freed (£14.99, Muswell Press) at Bookshop
Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries by Kate Mosse
From Kate Mosse, the author and founder-director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, this is a book that gives voice to women from all over the world who have made staggering contributions to history – only to find themselves glossed over or ignored entirely. The perfect Christmas present for women of all ages (out 13 October).
Shop Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries by Kate Mosse (£20, Pan Macmillan) at Bookshop
A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney
In 2018, Catastrophe actor, writer and comedian Rob Delaney’s nearly three-year-old son Henry died after being diagnosed with brain cancer. Delaney has channelled his grief, anger and humour onto the page to create a remarkable reminder that love can permeate even the darkest of times, all the while celebrating Henry and the carers, nurses and NHS that kept Delaney and his family from falling apart (out 20 October).
Shop A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney (£16.98, Hodder & Stoughton) at Bookshop
Why We Play by Joanna Fortune
A timely reminder that life isn’t just about being productive, and that taking time out just to be silly, to have fun and to let our imaginations roam can bring myriad benefits. You don’t have to play to problem solve and relieve stress but they are definitely welcome byproducts (out now).
Shop Why We Play by Joanna Fortune (£8.99, Octopus) at Bookshop
Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry
An honest celebrity memoir? Hell yes. Matthew Perry reveals what it was like when Friends hit the big time, how the bonds with his fellow actors became essential (Lisa Kudrow writes the intro) and how addiction took hold in the eye of the storm (out 1 November).
Shop Friends, Lovers And The Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry (£25, Headline) at Bookshop
Ditch Your Inner Imposter by Anna Lou Walker
According to a 2021 survey by KPMG, 75% of executive women have experienced imposter syndrome at some point in their working lives. Giving a much-needed perspective on what imposter syndrome is and how it affects us – plus how to banish it – this is essential reading (out 13 October).
Shop Ditch Your Inner Imposter by Anna Lou Walker (£10.99, Octopus) at Bookshop
Images: courtesy of publishers
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