2017 books I need to get my hands on: non-fic!

Last February I discussed 10 upcoming novels I needed to get my hands on and featured 10 more in May. I thought it would be fun to take a break from reviews and instead devote the entire week to the January – June books of 2017 that are calling my name!

Each day will feature a new genre and today we’re chatting non-fiction. I’ve always been a big non-fic fan, especially bios or books on random facts/events in history (I’m currently reading Michael Farquhar’s Bad Days in History and it’s a blast) and as I mentioned last week, this year I want to focus on reading books for pleasure, rather than reaching a goal. Enter non-fic. Maybe I’m the only one who considers non-fiction to be fun, but I’d like to make time for more of it this year.

Here are nine upcoming non-fiction reads I would love to sink into!

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca | January 3, 2017
Okay, so technically this is already out (but just barely) and yes, I’ve already got a request put in for a copy at my library. The subtitle of this one is The True Story of New York City’s Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation and pretty much says it all. Grace Humiston was a detective and lawyer in New York at a time when such professions were most definitely NOT acceptable for women. She essentially thumbed her nose as society, however, and went on to investigate underground tunnels, slavery, corrupt cops, affairs, and her cases sent her traveling all over the globe. She battled Congress in Washington and visited a medieval tower in Italy. Her badassery doesn’t stop there: she was the first woman to be appointed US District Attorney as well as NYPD’s first female consulting detective. I’m shocked that I have never heard of Grace before and am determined to fix that! This book sounds awesome.

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston | January 3, 2017
Another book that recently came out (and another requested from my library). Despite owning some of the novels he co-wrote with Lincoln Child, the only book of his I’ve read so far is another non-fic: The Monster of Florence. I have a thing for True Crime, I guess! The Lost City isn’t TC, but more about archaeology and history (be still, my heart ♥). For centuries there have been rumors of a fabled El Dorado-like city called the White City or The Lost City of the Monkey God. Naturally, there’s said to be a curse that befalls anyone who dares to enter and in the 1940s, a journalist actually did return from the rainforest of Honduras (along with a load of artifacts AND exciting stories). However, before he could tell anyone the city’s location, he committed suicide. In 2012, armed with the latest medicines and technology, Douglas Preston joined a team of scientists and boarded a plane to find to city once and for all. The book already appealed to me, but then it went a step further when Preston and the rest of the team suddenly contracted a strange, potentially fatal disease. YES PLAGUE BOOKS. Oh this one needs to be in my life.

The Mistress of Paris by Catherine Hewitt | January 24, 2017
Comtesse Valtesse de la Bigne was painted by the masters, inspired literary works, and was rumored to have had affairs with European royalty. What the society papers didn’t know was that the Comtesse wasn’t who she claimed to be. Born and raised on a Parisian backstreet, she grew up in absolute poverty. Fiercely ambitious and determined to make a better life for herself, she rose from the rubble, amassing a fortune, three mansions, lavish carriages, expensive art, and became the talk of the town. Another woman I had never heard of, but her story sounds fascinating.

The Book Thieves by Anders Rydell | February 7, 2017
Along the vein of The Monuments Men, this book explores a part of WWII I didn’t know about: the Nazis’ ransacking of European libraries! Much like the artwork that was stolen, once the war had ended, the books were never returned to their rightful owners. Instead, the majority found homes within public libraries and today a small group of librarians (including the author) have joined forces to track down owners of the stolen books.

Caught in the Revolution by Helen Rappaport | February 7, 2017
Okay, cheating here, since I have an ARC, but I couldn’t NOT include it. I’m super curious about Helen’s work (and own a copy of The Romanov Sisters) and this new book is no exception. Caught in the Revolution tells the story of the socialites, journalists, foreign diplomats, businessmen, volunteer nurses, and nannies. Those who were, literally, caught in Russia’s upheaval.

Never Caught by Erica Armstrong Dunbar | February 7, 2017
It’s common knowledge that the Founding Fathers owned slaves, right? That shouldn’t surprise anyone. This book sheds light on a story I never heard: the story of George Washington’s runaway slave. After Washington was elected president, he had to relocate to Philadelphia temporarily and, while there, had to abide by Northern laws regarding slaves namely, any slave living in Pennsylvania for six months would be set free. Washington got around this basically by rotating his slaves: just before the six month mark, he would send them back to Virginia, and during one of these journeys, a 22-year-old slave named Ona Judge took her chance at freedom.

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel | March 7, 2017
Christopher Knight was 20 years old in 1986 when he left his home one night and disappeared into the wilderness of Maine. It wasn’t until nearly 30 years later that he held a conversation with another person – and that was only because he was caught stealing food. For three decades Knight survived on his own, living in a tent, getting by with just his wits. I don’t know about you, but this sounds SO interesting. What makes someone up and leave? And not just to a new city, but to total isolation, living alone in the woods with no human contact?

The Lucky Few by Heather Avis | March 21, 2017
I’ve been following Heather and her family on instagram for a while now and was ecstatic when I learned she was writing a book! Through her IG photos, I’ve grown to absolutely adore her family (she and her husband have three adopted children, two with Down syndrome) through all their ups and downs. She doesn’t sugar-coat anything, she talks about the struggles her children face, but she also celebrates every little joy. Love her, love her kids, and I cannot wait to read this book.

A Stitch of Time by Lauren Marks | May 2, 2017
Similar to Brain of Fire, this memoir details a woman’s journey to rediscover language after a brain aneurysm. Lauren was a 27-year-old writer and actress when an aneurysm ruptured in her brain. Upon waking in the hospital, she realize it severely affected her ability to speak, write, and read. Forced to give up her independence and move back home in order to recover, Lauren was encouraged by her family and doctors to catalog her journey. This definitely isn’t my typical read, but it sounds very interesting and the thought of waking up one day to realize I can’t read is terrifying.


Two more I desperately want to read, but didn’t include above because they don’t have final covers yet!
Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy by Nicholas Reynolds | March 14, 2017
Aaaand I lied. This one does have a cover. When I first heard of it it was titled A Spy in Wartime and I didn’t think to research further. Whoops. ANYWAY, I love me some Papa Hemingway. This book explores the espionage work he did before and during WWII.

Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha | April 11, 2017
The only kids book today! If you’re a longtime reader of the blog, you’re aware that I’m slightly obsessed with bees. I took a beekeeping course a while back and in 2015, when Matt and I were in the process of buying our first home, one of my requirements was that I had ample room for bees! This book is only 80 pages, but I would love to be able to share it with my nieces. Not only does Socha explore bees themselves, but also their impact on culture and the ecosystem – even history!

19 thoughts on “2017 books I need to get my hands on: non-fic!

  1. These all sound fascinating! I do love a good nonfiction book as well and will definitely be looking more closely at the ones you list. Thanks for bringing these to my attention!

  2. The Mistress of Paris is the only book on this list I’d heard of already, but it seems like it’s in plenty of great company! I especially think I’m going to have to check out The Book Thieves and The Stranger in the Woods. Great list! :)

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